Friday, November 17, 2006
Secure Your Own Mask First
When I was three years old, I served as a flower girl for a couple who were my parents' friends. My dad had serious reservations -- She's only three! What if she messes up? My mother thought it would be fine, though, a very big role reversal for my parents -- my dad never worried, my mother worried about everything. I did great at the rehearsal, but when it came time to walk down the aisle, I didn't scatter one petal in front of me. I swung the basket with my grubby little hand in it, but that was all until I made it to the altar where I dumped all the rose petals out, much like someone emptying the garbage. Then I sat down in the petals. Everyone tried to get me to stand up, but I wouldn't. I would later repeat this trick in my pre-school Christmas pageant. My teacher, mortified that things weren't going as planned, kept whispering furiously to me, but I sat there while everyone laughed and talked about how cute I was, refusing to do what everyone else did. Being mostly a very good girl (not much less was tolerated at home), I came to know the joys and pleasures of being bad.
I suppose this was a portent of things to come -- I almost never stand as I teach, instead prefering to sit on the desk like a gnarled vine. According to my high school typing teacher, I had the worst posture of any student she'd ever taught (and we're talking forty years into her career). By that time, I had clothes that looked one way at school, a completely different way when I got out. I learned to be one thing and then another. One of my favorite Christmas cards has three snowmen on it, one with a head that has fallen off. The thought bubble over the decapitated head reads -- "Just smile . . . like you meant for that to happen . . ." There's something sad and true about this that sums things up for me, much more so than the usual holiday cheer that insists this year will be merry and/or bright.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I sleep on one beach/ wake up on another." Raymond Carver
Drinking music suggestion: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Benedictions and Maledictions