October, 2001,LOS ANGELES - It has not been a month since the horrific events of September 11th but our lives have been undeniably transformed. Our resolve to get back to our "normal" lives now seems abnormally resolute. Despite our determination, however, my calendar has been changed by the cancelations and postponements of scheduled meetings and events. Today, normality requires conscious effort. We are aware of the need for caution in surroundings that we once blithely accepted without a thought. Even with some of the most normal activities -- like spending money -- I am conscious of our need to buttress up our wounded economy. Shopping has an air of patriotism about it. Indeed, the American flag can be seen everywhere - fluttering from cars, draped on buildings, prominent in advertising and adorning peoples' lapels and dresses. Most of all, I have been deeply affected by and learned from the people who have contacted me since the tragedies.
I've had phone calls and letters from friends far and near - from Europe, Brazil, Japan and other parts of the world. My statement on the tragedies of September 11th, which I posted on my web site last month, brought a tidal wave of comments. I heard from people in the military, industry colleagues, journalists, and from fans throughout the world. I appreciate the strong words of support that I've received. I've been touched by the concerns expressed. I've been stirred by their outrage. And, I have learned from the many thoughtful views that were conveyed to me. I'd like to share a sampling of their comments with you.
One writer, in describing the hate crimes being inflicted on Arab Americans, said that they "simply happened to resemble the enemy-du-jour." That phrase has a chilling echo for Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by our own government simply for "looking like the enemy." The writer emphasized that in the effort to assure security, civil liberties must not be compromised. He then referred to a statement from Benjamin Franklin. "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither," he quoted from Franklin. In his own words he said, "If my neighbor is not free, then neither am I."
An industry colleague wrote, "I'm proud of the leadership and patriotism that you show in your statement regarding the tragic events of 9/11. I am also proud of the courageous efforts made by yourself and other members of our industry [he is a visual effects operator] who have a visible presence around the world. I believe it truly shows the motto 'E Pluribus Unum' (of many - one) that this country, in particular, stands for."
Another man now living in Austin, Texas, expressed the same kind of understanding. "I was born and spent a lot of my life in southern Arkansas - typical Smalltown, USA. I didn't realize [the U.S. internment camp for Japanese Americans] was only forty miles from the place my family called home. A good friend of mine took me to the site at Rohwer, and I was deeply moved. We walked up to the memorial [in the graveyard] and stood silent for a few minutes. Then we began to look around and I thought how awful it must have been to be wrenched from a place you thought of as home and placed in this isolated, desolate place. Then I started wondering, 'What about the people who died there? Will they be forgotten, what they went through erased by time? I have since made a point to tell friends, family, and others about that place and why it's important NOT to forget. I picked up the paper and read of a gentleman who had his business set on fire over the weekend because he was Muslim. People don't get it - they just added another casualty to the list. They are no better than the terrorists."
A Japanese American woman from New York wrote, "After seeing the sheer devastation of the World Trade Center and knowing many of my neighbors are among the missing. I hear so much anger and need for revenge against anyone of Muslim or Middle Eastern ethnicity. Your words in your book [To The Stars] were so profound about the prejudice Americans vented against Americans I wish you would write so that the level of current hate would not escalate... I too am a Nisei [Japanese American] who grew up in the suburbs of NYC where there are so few Japanese Americans or any other Asian groups and I always cringed to hear ethnic jokes and gestures. A shame that my children still endure the same type of prejudice I tolerated."
Words have tremendous power to hurt. From the letters I received, I've been reminded of the care that I, too, need to put into the words I use. In my statement on the tragedies of September 11th , I used the word, "rednecks." In my anger, I referred to the deluded fanatics among us here in America that lashed out in blind vengeance against Arab Americans for only looking like the enemy. They were white men ranting that they are "American." I used the word "rednecks" to mean racist, bigoted whites with a proclivity for violence. I've had more than a few people remind me that there is a larger connotation to that word. One wrote, "I understand (and maybe even agree in principle) with the sentiment some people may have with regards to ignorant, inconsiderate people, but as a white male, I am sensitive to what I consider a term mostly aimed at white people, particularly males: it seems it's okay to single out some, still. We should eradicate ALL racist remarks from our vocabulary, no matter how they are meant, in order to, hopefully, achieve the world that Gene Roddenberry and yourself hoped to inspire."
Words and how we use them indeed do have great force. Especially in this great multi-cultural and multi-racial society of that we live in, I should have exercised keener understanding of that simple fact. I was careless. My thanks to all who have written to remind me of the responsibility and care we all must take with the power of words. I have learned. I have revised my September 11th statement, substituting the phrase "domestic fanatics" for the now-deleted "rednecks." I know that I will continue to learn. Perhaps there are some silver linings we can find in all this, after all.
We all have strong opinions about something, but when we think of opinions, we often think of hot button topics like political subjects.
But as it turns out, sometimes we can have just as strong of opinions of our preferred types of pasta.
Redditor PeeB4uGoToBed asked:
"What's the best pasta shape and why?"
The Right Answer
"I prefer my pasta, like my nuggets, to be dinosaur-shaped."
"This is my true answer, but if I have to pretend to be an adult, I always say Cavatappi."
"Radiatori. Thick and perfect for pasta sauces."
"They're so fun. They're my favorite, ahead of rotini. I just like ridges, I guess."
"Best for mac and cheese."
"My first time having cavatappi mac and cheese changed my life."
"Cavatappi gang, RISE UP."
"I see your cavatappi and raise you cavatelli."
"Cavatelli is the bee's knees, man."
"The shell shape stores cheese and sauces, so with each bite, you get tons of flavor."
"Yes! Mac n cheese always tastes amazing with Conchiglie, I don't make the rules."
"Rigatoni. My favorite dish is baked rigatoni with bolognese. I love the texture of the ridges and the larger hollow part scoops up the sauce very well as compared to ziti or penne."
"Cascatelli. Some crazy f**k got obsessed with answering the OP's question and invented this."
"Cascatelli is great, but his second round of shapes, specifically vesuvio, might be better."
"Agreed. Vesuvio is peak."
"I prefer quattrotini. I find it has better forkability and toothsinkability."
"Fusilli because it's silly."
"Bucatini is the best of all worlds. You have everything that's great about the long noodles and it's hollow! It absorbs sauce and oil on the inside."
"I hate bucatini! You can't suck a protruding part into your mouth because of the hole in the middle. You can't pick it up with a fork, because it's too slippery with sauce."
"Penne... because the sauce is in AND on it, lol (laughing out loud)."
"The pasta that would literally drive me insane if I tried to make it from scratch."
"I came to say this. Just something about it. Amazing mouth feel. Great texture. Good with light and heavy, meaty sauces."
"This one. There’s something so nostalgic about it for me. And I feel like it does well with most sauces. A very versatile shape for a variety of pasta dishes."
"Linguine: the spaghetti that went to private school."
"I am totally on board with linguine. Flat to catch the sauce and thin enough to cook evenly for the perfect consistency! Pairs with many sauces too!"
"Flat pasta is better than round pasta (like spaghetti) for sauces and flavors being absorbed. It's long enough to give the lady and the tramp vibes and not feel like you're a kid eating some superhero shapes out of a bowl like Fusilli and Farfalle can give off."
"It's thicker than tagliatelle to give it enough girth to feel like more of a main event than just being the bed your sauce and toppings sit on."
"Overall, it's just the best all-rounder in my book."
This conversation just goes to show how many pasta options there actually are in the world, some that we may have not even heard of yet, because of them being invented in 2020!
But it also goes to show that we all have our favorites, and we can have very strong opinions about them.
One of life's most unfortunate moments is when we feel our lives are genuinely in danger.
These horrific moments can involve the behavior of people with malicious intentions or just being at the wrong place and time.
Even though many people live to share their harrowing stories, the trauma doesn't necessarily go away completely.
But all anyone who's experienced a terrifying ordeal can do to find peace is to count their blessings and be grateful they are survivors.
Curious to hear from strangers online, Redditor Fearless-surfur-ee asked:
"What was the scariest incident happened with you?"
These Redditors experienced heart-stopping false alarms.
"Half a dozen masked men broke into my bedroom, threatened me and my girlfriend, realised they had the wrong house, apologised and left. Edit - I told the full story here a while back."
Witness At A Shopping Mall
"Similar thing happened to my Aunt. She witnessed an attack at a shopping centre (on going disagreement between 2 well known families) and was threatened. A few days later one of the older family members approached her in her driveway and apologised profusely for the younger persons behaviour and offered her compensation. She was so scared she just said no thanks and he left."
Sometimes, you gotta listen to your gut.
"Wife and I took a dark exit towards out neighborhood. Whole backseat full of bags cause we went shopping at the mall. There’s a red light at the intersection once you get off the exit and we pull up to this tinted oldsmobile. They were in the right lane to go straight or turn right and we were in the left lane to turn left."
"Nobody is around, maybe 10 at night. I turn left and look in my rear view and it’s the car that was next to us a bit back. I pull in my driveway and just had a really weird feeling, so I told my wife I’m gonna reverse and drive around the block. She thinks it’s weird as hell, but as we are reversing, this dude is walking towards us from that Oldsmobile parked around the corner. I dip the f**k out and make it look like I was just turning around and drove like a mile away before heading back."
"Just had this gut feeling, man. Who knows what would have happened? But it was scary as f'k, nonetheless."
A Tragic Stop
"Friend borrowed dad’s Benz to take wife on anniversary date. He stopped for flowers and was followed home by someone thinking he was wealthy. He was shot dead in his driveway in what turned out to be a gang initiation; you did the right thing."
These Redditors looked down the barrel of a gun...and lived to tell their story.
"Was at a train station that was empty and I was sitting down waiting for a train and a man walks over with a bag, opens it and takes out a shotgun and points it at me and I just stare at him, he then says 'you're not scared are you' then puts the shotgun back in the bag then walks out of the train station."
"Actually not sure if that was the scariest or weirdest or if I was even scared."
The Right Answer
"Reminds me of the time a guy put a gun to my neck and said, 'What would you do if I pull the trigger right now.'"
"I was in a completely apathetic state of mind at that time anyway and said, 'Not much I can do, but I'll haunt you.'"
These Redditors experienced medical emergencies.
"Last week had a heart attack after almost recovering from chemotherapy."
"I asked the nurse if I was going to die and she said I’m in the right place and they will look after me. Then I got more scared then I ever have before"
"I should not have survived but I did."
"The scan came back and we found a mass. We'd like you to come in to talk to the doctor today or tomorrow. You should see if someone can drive for you as you may be upset afterwards"
"Can I come in next week, I have a trip planned?"
"The doctor says you should come in today anytime and we will clear an appointment for you."
"Luckily that doctor kicked a**. 3 years post-surgery. Scans are clean in August and I move into the "only 10% chance of reoccurrence" bracket."
"Felt sick, kind of like the flu. Felt completely fine in the morning, but got worse as the day went on. It was the middle of the night and I was up with my husband and our new 6 week old baby. I was pumping breastmilk."
"Next thing I know, I’m waking up to EMTs surrounding me on my bed telling me not to move or sit up. My heart rate was incredibly high and blood pressure incredibly low. They took me to the hospital and no one knew what was wrong with me for a while. They kept asking me what drugs I took. I kept telling them nothing (which is true). I just had a baby, the biggest 'drug' I was taking was Tylenol. They didn’t believe me for a while."
"I couldn’t remember a lot of things at this point. I could barely even remember my own kid’s name. I couldn’t tell them who the president was or what year it was when they asked. It was a weird feeling to have memory missing. Kind of like having lost some puzzle pieces. Talking was also kind of difficult."
"After a BUNCH of tests, turns out I had a UTI so bad that I went into septic shock and my kidneys were shutting down. Didn’t know I had a UTI because I was still healing from childbirth and I am pretty asymptomatic when it comes to UTIs. I don’t feel pain when I get them. Spent a few days in the ICCU. Was extra scary considering my brand new baby was at home and I wasn’t and there was a chance I wouldn’t make it home at all."
"In the end, I thankfully made a full recovery."
"Not as intense as some of these other stories, but please don’t sleep on a UTI guys. Sepsis is no joke."
The last time I truly feared for my life was when I was at a party and a fight between two drunk partygoers turned into a Swiss army knife fight.
I'm not kidding.
A couple of my friends and I jumped off the second floor balcony and got chased in the parking lot.
After some fumbling with the car keys, my buddy managed to get five of us crammed into his car and the perpetrator started pounding on the rear window with his fists and bloodying it up from smashing his knuckles onto the glass.
The police came just in time. Thank you annoyed neighbor who called the cops on us for our blood-curdling screams disturbing the peace.
Perhaps the best thing about our friends is that we can always rely on them.
To help us out, to give us words of comfort and wisdom when we need them, or to just be a willing pair of ears.
Even so, our friends still have a way of surprising us, as well as disappointing us from time to time.
Sometimes they'll do things that just make us groan and roll our eyes but are easily forgiven over time.
Other times, however, they might do or say something which can only be described as "f*cked up."
Potentially putting an effective end to your friendship.
"What is the most f**ked up thing you've seen a friend do?"
Those Poor Cats...
"A guy I worked with was about to take his wife on a trip back to their mutual hometown in another state."
"They had a pair of delightful kittens and they asked me if I would watch them while they were gone."
"I had little experience with cats but these 2 were just wonderfully playful."
"I gave him a call when he got back to arrange returning the kittens but he said they had picked up a non-cat friendly dog on the journey and he would just drop off the kittens in the woods."
"Needless to say, I kept them and they were wonderful furry friends for me and eventually to my wife and kids."
"I still think what would have happened to them if I had not been in the right place at the right time."- PoloGrounder
"I went on holiday for a week and asked my 'best friend' to pop in and feed my cat (he lived a few doors away)."
"When I got back, my cat was laying by the back door of my house, went inside and his bowl was empty, I called him and asked when the last time he fed him, he said 'oh yeah, I forgot'."
"My cat had been outside for a week with no food or water. "
"I haven't spoken to him in 12 years."- Reddit
Always Listen To Your Doctor
"Convinced his girlfriend she was suffering from gluten intolerance instead of schizophrenia, and got her to stop taking medication."- lightningandmadness
But Was It A Point Worth Proving?
"Deliberately get knocked down by a car, in order to prove that when drunk (and we were very drunk), his bones were flexible."
"Fortunately, the car had been slowing to turn."
"There followed a couple of minutes trying to reassure the driver he was ok, whilst calling him an idiot."
"Meanwhile, he was laying flat on his back, maintaining he'd proved his point."- anothercynicaloldgit
It Is Never Attractive To Gloat
"Best friend was excited for me to meet his new gf."
"The whole evening he bragged about how she was still married and he was going to be the reason she got divorced."
"Haven't spoken to him since."
"Did hear she broke up with him and sorted out the issues with her husband."- hmfiddlesworth
Karma Is Pretty Unforgiving...
"Brought my friend to watch my boyfriend practice his drumming."
"She kept spreading her legs wide wearing a skirt with no underwear."
"She slept with him and he left me thinking he would be with her."
"Needless to say she didn’t date him because she already had a boyfriend."- Final_Objective_6204Kar
"We were working in an old lady's attic and he kicked the sh*t out of a pipe on purpose then went and told her it needed to be replaced."
"I never worked with him again after that."- FriendlyDifference72
"Brag about a then—boyfriend not leaving her despite constant cheating."
"Then cry when he left her."
"I don’t know either."- Snapesnape716
In With The Wrong Crowd
"They were arguing and he made fun of the friend for being an orphan."
"Tried to stab the other friend cuz his ex was crushing on him."- we_are_ghetto
Not Worth A Second Thought
"Throw McDonald’s fries and burger as hard as he could at a homeless lady asking for food."
"I called him a piece of sh*t and never spoke to him again."- Mundane_Tour_3215
You Don't Mess With Family...
"My best friend had just broken up with my brother—who had moved over a thousand miles and changed jobs to be with her—citing personal differences."
"My brother was devastated, but I tried to respect her decision and be a source of support for both of them, especially because they truly weren’t the best fit."
"But then she shared with me, because she knew that I loved her and would be happy for her so long as she was happy, that she’d been cheating on my brother for the past month and had found her soulmate."
"The depth of my brother’s heartbreak, already immense, was further compounded by the infidelity."
"To my bewilderment, she truly couldn’t understand why I was ending the friendship, seemed so distraught that I would end a years long relationship over something so 'small'."
"And I still can’t comprehend why she thought telling me would result in anything other than a complete door slam."
"Hannah, you still suck."
"And I’m still angry."
"I had also asked her to be the maid of 'honor' in my upcoming wedding."
Some friendships can withstand fundamental differences of opinion.
But no friendship is worth hanging onto when people (and kittens) are physically or emotionally harmed.
When you gotta go, you go.
That should be a mantra for getting rid of the toxic people in our lives.
Not every relationship is meant to last forever.
Some people don't know how to be friends.
They are awfully good at pretending though.
Be vigilant of the signs and red flags.
Toxic people are crafty.
And once you're free, never look back.
Redditor _ReDd1T_UsEr wanted to discuss the reasons why many of us decided to cut some people out of our lives, so they asked:
"What was the reason why your friendship ended with someone?"
Sometimes a person just has to go.
Planning StagesWeekend Sunday GIF by DisneyGiphy
"I stopped being the first to always initiate plans, and that was that."
"I once asked a friend to plan our next breakfast + walk outing, since I always did that. He wrote me a letter ending the friendship. Stunning!"
Pants on Fire
"Habitual lying became too annoying and disruptive to tolerate."
"When you constantly are thinking... this math ain't matching lol. People that lie all the time make me sick. I've told multiple friends that you don't have to lie to me."
"I feel so much better when someone can trust me and feel comfortable telling me a hard truth than an easy lie."
"Even if the truth made me feel some type of way, I'm still glad it was honest. I've even said thank you to people in the past that have been honest with me, good or bad! Some people just can not help lying about things. I wouldn't be able to ever keep a story straight if I did that."
"He kept having kids with different girls and bailing on them. Coming from a 'went out for a pack of smokes' Dad myself, I just couldn't watch it anymore. Bailed after the third one. Think he's up to 6 now."
"Reminds me of one of my ex-friends. She kept having kids with MULTIPLE guys (all of them were one-night stands), I don't think she even knows who the baby daddies are."
"She also kept begging me and people for money for pot, and she also bragged about having OnlyFans. She'd also make up stories about being in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend (she'd also cheat on him/tell people her and him they broke up, which they weren't)."
"I was a bad person and they ended it for perfectly sensible reasons. I would have done the same. I've changed, but I don't blame them for not reconsidering contact."
"I’ve been there. I was a bad person and lost friendships and family relationships. I tried to apologize to everyone I hurt."
"I also accepted that they don’t want me in their lives anymore. I learned that I made my mistakes, I learned from them, and I accept their choices. I don’t self-hate anymore and I try to be a better person in general. I hope you are doing well and practicing self-love and forgiveness."
Money IssuesDonald Duck Money GIFGiphy
"I lent them $20 and then they avoided me so they didn’t have to pay me back. Worth the $20."
"I don't ever expect prompt returns of small amounts of money between my friends... we all buy each other rounds or buy the food for the BBQ or whatever. It ends up evening out over time I think we'd notice though if someone was always taking and never giving and then they'd probably get cut off too."
In the immortal words of Cyndi Lauper... "Money Changes Everything."
Lack of SupportHappy Planning GIFGiphy
"She joined a pyramid scheme selling butt-ugly leggings and it took over her whole life. When I finally told her it was negatively affecting our friendship, she accused me of not supporting her 'business.'"
"I was basically a taxi for my friends so I dumped them all."
"This one I can understand but depends on the situation. Not all of my friends had cars in high school, so our group needed to have me and my sh*tty '94 Plymouth Sundance come, or they couldn't do anything. I didn't mind at all then, but I definitely would these days."
"I remember I used to drive around with my buddies all the time before they had licenses. When one of my friends got his and a car I said sweet now you can drive me around for a bit, he replied that he wasn't gonna waste his money on gas like that. See ya, haven't really spoken to him since."
"How's this for oddly specific: Friend since 1980, was hanging out at a bar in 1992 and there was a dispute of over a $15.00 bar tab. I was in the right, but whatever - he held a grudge for years."
"Ran into him in 2017 and we were both too old to care. Started to see each other now and then. 2023 and we're at this local bar for a show and got into a fight about $15.00 a ticket."
"Maybe he'll call me in 2063."
"She was a taker, constantly. When I needed something she made it about her yet again. Exhausting to be around."
"I'm going through this right now. Can't tell you how many texts I have from her in the past few days telling me that I need to get over myself, need to stop making myself the victim, have been a terrible friend, have never been there for her."
"She's the most narcissistic person I know and everyone does everything for her. She has one of the easiest lives ever and anytime anything bad happens to her she believes that everyone is against her and she's the victim here. It's pure insanity. There is no talking sense to people like this."
Life Changespoint pointing GIF by Shalita GrantGiphy
"I've lost like all but two of my 'friends' because I stopped drinking and doing hard drugs."
"Same here dude. My circle is small but hey at least it's a circle I know I can go to."
Oh, how things change when the booze dries up.
How much fun were you really having?
Do you have any stories about cutting off a friend? Let us know in the comments below.