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To the men I love, about men who scare me.

I went to get a drink by myself, and I have a message for men everywhere.

To the men I love, about men who scare me.

I got a promotion a few days ago, so I decided to stop for a drink on my way home — just me and my sense of accomplishment.

I ended up alone in the bar, running defense against a bouncer who held my ID hostage while he commented on my ass (among other things) and asked me vaguely threatening questions about my sex life.


Photo via iStock.

This is not a Yelp review. It’s not an angry rant, and it’s definitely not something women need to be reminded of.

As far as I can tell, there is only one good lesson to pull out of this otherwise shitty and all-too-familiar interaction: In my experience, a lot of thoroughly decent men are still having trouble understanding this.

I have a friend who once joked that it was all right for him to catcall women because he’s good-looking. I had another ask me in faux outrage why it was OK for me to describe a cupcake (as in an actual chocolate baked good) as a “seven,” but not OK for him to rank women the same way. I was recently at a house party where a group of guys referred to a soundproofed recording studio in the basement as the “rape room" 45 times.

Some of these jokes were a little funny. Some of them really weren’t. But they were all endemic of something more sinister, and I honestly don’t think the men in question even realize it.

So to the generally well-intentioned men in my life, please consider this:

No matter what I accomplish or how self-assured I am feeling, the aforementioned dickhead bouncers of the world will still believe they have a right to demand my time and attention, even when I want to be alone.

They will still insist I be polite and cheerful, even while they make me uncomfortable and afraid.

They will still comment about my body and allude to sexual violence and then berate me for being “stuck up” if I don’t receive it with a sense of humor.

They will still choose to reinforce their dominance with a reminder that they could hurt me if they wanted to and that I should somehow be grateful if they don’t.

Photo via iStock.

This has made me defensive. It has put me more on my guard than I would like to be.

Decent male humans, this is not your fault, but it also does not have nothing to do with you.

If a woman is frosty or standoffish or doesn’t laugh at your joke, consider the notion that maybe she is not an uptight, humorless bitch, but rather has had experiences outside your realm of understanding that have adversely colored her perception of the world.

Consider that while you’re just joking around, a woman might actually be doing some quick mental math to see if she’s going to have to hide in a bathroom stall and call someone to come help her, like I did three days ago.

Please adjust your mindset and your words accordingly.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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