In middle school, I had a band teacher, Royal J. Singleton III, who was truly wonderful.
He motivated the students in my class to learn how to play our instruments beyond our perceived and often self-imposed limits, challenged us with pieces that were not for "people our age," or "skill set," and exposed us to many types of music. Although he was extremely supportive and nurturing, he would become frustrated when we clearly had not practiced or learned the music as instructed. He would point out what was wrong and insist that we change it. When he was particularly annoyed, he would often say, "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired." We would giggle and shift in our seats, but we understood that when he uttered those words, something had to change, or our tranquil times in class would end. Even though Mr. Singleton has since passed on, his words, deeds and actions stay with me. When Mr. Singleton got "sick and tired of being tired," he demanded change, so I have decided to take a cue from him.
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired about faux celebrities pretending to be famous and media outlets covering them; America's obsession with "alleged" murderer O.J. Simpson, a man that is quite possibly a murderer (wink, wink) and clearly a moron; Super Wal-Mart and Target Superstores; fast food; questioning Obama's "blackness" as if being an educated, attractive, articulate man with integrity is something foreign to black culture; the price of gasoline; inflation; celebrities with fake boobs, leather jackets and heels serving as spokespeople for animal rights organizations; Terrell Owens; Bill Belichick; Mike Tyson; Nancy Grace; Jennifer Lopez; Bill O'Reilly; Britney Spears; Oprah Winfrey; Kanye West; Justin Timberlake; arguing over when to pull out of the war in Iraq; inaccurate statistics; people who hang nooses on trees and pretend that they are unaware of the sadistic nature of this act; school shootings; Mitt Romney being chastised for taking his religion seriously; drunk flight attendants and pilots; bad customer service; late and canceled flights; 40-year-old men and women dressed like teenagers; 40-year-old men and women acting like teenagers; spoiled and ill-behaved children; cheating spouses; the denigration of the Muslim faith; politicians; criminals; forensic television shows; Osama bin Laden; coverage of people being attacked by animals and then vowing to do the same thing again; people who do not read; people who do not think for themselves; followers; lame leaders; attractive "dumb" people as if it is alright for the two to be mutually exclusive; "friends;" boys pretending to be men; men pretending to be boys; promiscuity; duplicity; great people dying young; young people wasting their lives; old people living through their children's lives; needy relatives; crazy husbands; weddings; funerals; divorces; hate mail; selfishness; cowardice; debt; the multiple levels of hate directed at dynamic, professional, women; people saying that they are going to do right by you and then screwing you over; sexism; racism; homophobia; honoring the sanctity of marriage only when trying to prevent gay people from legally marrying; unhappily married people trying to convince single people to marry; people pretending that they know what they want and having absolutely no clue about it; cancer; diabetes; AIDS; poverty; wealthy people adopting needy children from overseas instead of needy children in the states; insurance coverage for Viagra and not for the "pill;" infertility being attributed to women when 40 percent of issues are related to men; bad sex with great partners; great sex with bad partners; high insurance premiums; people with half-a-million dollar homes with no life insurance; people thinking that it is alright for children to spend all of their time with their mothers and little time with their dads; fathers who think it is alright to see their kids for 10 minutes a day and a couple of hours on the weekend; men who put sports in front of their families; women who put everyone else in front of themselves; feminists who bash men but have to have a "man" at all costs; allowing other countries to unload their "crappy products" over here; pretending that homemakers are getting off easy; "friends" setting you up with their loser friends; hearing that you'll be great for someone else, but not caring if they will be great for you; parents who coddle; telemarketers; greed; smart women acting dumb to get dates; smart men choosing dumb women; good girls dating thugs; good men pretending to be thugs; gold diggers; former nerds pretending to be players; people who insist on having something, when they do not have it to offer; wacky weather; celebrity clothing and perfume lines; reality TV; bad music; and violence against women.
As you can see, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of a lot of things. But, the great thing about this list is that it identifies concrete areas of possible change. Instead of wallowing in these observations, there is an opportunity to perform better, as was the case in Mr. Singleton's class. It wasn't that you played a bad note; rather, it was about how you responded to it once the problem had been identified. One day soon, I hope to no longer be sick and tired of being sick and tired because, like Mr. Singleton, I will create positive change in my life and the lives of others.