Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

By Shannon Penrod

Oh, Oprah, Oprah, Oprah….What are you doing to me now?  This has become my new mantra.  I love Oprah…I just don’t like her very much right now.  This is not at all fair because the reason I am so fetutzed with her is that she opened my eyes to something I really didn’t want to see, and now it has upended my whole life.

You may have heard that last week Oprah did a show about cell phone use when driving and she asked everyone to take a pledge to stop using their phones will trying to navigate thousands of pounds of metal around a world of obstacles.  I did not want to watch the show; I did not want to hear the message.  I like my phone.  I drive sensibly while talking on speaker phone.  I stood in my living room and said, “Don’t go there Oprah.”  She did go there.

I found myself watching the first few minutes of the show through clenched teeth, was she really going to try to talk me out of my phone?  I was so relieved when she started talking about the dangers of texting.  WoooooHoooooo! I was saying to myself,  I don’t text, don’t get it, don’t know how to do it, can’t read it and I’m just not interested in learning.  No problem, where’s the pledge, I’ll sign.  Then… Uh-oh!

Just when I’m feeling all smug and comfortable Oprah starts trotting out parent after parent with soul wrenching stories of how their children died because someone thought there phone was more important than keeping everyone safe. Ugggggghhhhhh!  Direct hit! Sound the alarms!  Then she said it.  “Everyone thinks they can handle it, the truth is none of us can.”  What!!!!  That sounded suspiciously like she was talking to me! “If you are driving and talking on the phone, even hands free, you are four times more likely to be in an accident.  If you are a parent, why would you risk that?”  Full bowel impalement.  Oh, Oprah!

So that was it.  How could I use my cell phone after that?  I couldn’t.  My husband came home from work and was greeted with “We have to talk….I was watching Oprah…”  We all know how thrilled men are to hear that!  We talked and agreed that not only would we stop using our phones while driving (even hands free) we would also stop talking to anyone who was driving while on the phone as well.  All week I have been calling people and starting my conversations with, “Are you driving?”  When I get a “Yes” I then say “Okay, I love you, so I’m not going to talk to you while you are driving. Call me when you aren’t driving.”  You can imagine how well that has gone over; like a three tiered cheesecake at a meeting for the lactose intolerant!  But I have stuck to my guns.

The worst has been realizing how addicted I had become to my phone.  I am like a junky freshly booted out of a methadone clinic.  I’ve been jumpy, a little itchy and definitely crabby.  I actually found myself shopping for gum because my jaw needed something to do while I’m driving now that it’s not flapping on the phone.  I’ve dug out CDs I haven’t listened to in years.  Is this what we used to do before we had cell phones stapled to our ears? 
Last night I drove home and literally broke out into a sweat when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to talk on the phone and then something amazing happened.  My right brain took over and I spent a lovely half hour in a creative space I like to call the “blue place”; it is the place where all good ideas seem to come from.  I realized it had been a while since I had been in the “blue place”.  I used to always come up with my best ideas in the car, when had that stopped?  Oh yeah, right about the same time a cell phone started growing out of my ear.  Hmmm.  Something to think about.

I took the pledge, because it was the right thing to do.  If you look at the statistics there is no way that a sane, responsible person could do otherwise. (Yes, I’m talking to you.) I took the pledge because I am a parent and there is no phone call that I have to make that is more important than any child’s life. I took the pledge because the world has already lost too many wonderful souls because someone thought they could talk on the phone and they turned out to be wrong. I took the pledge and I hope you will too.  And then we can both be mad at Oprah.

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By Shannon Penrod

I love it when Oprah asks people, “What do you know for sure?”   Here is what I know for sure today : There is help if you are willing to ask for it, and willing to embrace it.  I agreed to be on the A&E show Obsessed  because I wanted and needed help. I got it! 

Today I am overwhelmed (in a really good way) with people offering me their well wishes, their love, their support and their congratulations.  I want to thank everyone for their messages and encouragement, they have meant so much to me and my family.  I also want to let everyone know that I am doing wonderfully and so are my husband and my son.  Life has returned to normal.  It is amazing and miraculous to have had this “return to myself” in what seems like such a quick period of time.

For those of you have written to me to let me know that you are suffering, as I was – I want you to know that there is hope and there is help.  I won’t tell you that it is easy, but it is easier than not living fully.   I know what it’s like to be in that dark place.  I am no longer there.  I hope you will find your help and join me on the other side.  I don’t know if Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works for everyone but it certainly worked for me.  Thank you A&E!

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