Thursday, October 28, 2010

what have you got to lose?

He had me at chocolate. Twenty-seven years ago, at the beginning of summer break, I sent a letter to one of my college friends. It had a sticker on it that said something to the effect of "In case of emergency, please send chocolate." Less than two weeks later, a box of homemade fudge arrived in the mail. I can bake, but fudge has always eluded me. I have tried it about three times, and three times I have created a lovely fudge sauce for ice cream, but that is it. The only kind I can make is microwave. So, I was impressed. Impressed enough to decide this guy should probably be more than a friend, and I married him three years later.

Today is National Chocolates Day. Today. Believe in the power of fudge. What great thing might you do today with it? Reconcile a relationship? Console a child? Make a first date? I'm not saying it works miracles. I'm just saying, it could be much more powerful than you believe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

if you had one question

We had an interesting question come up at a group meeting the other night. "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" Hmmm. When will we have world peace? Why suffering? What is my place in the world? What will be going on in ten years I have to prepare for? Why on earth mosquitoes?

All good questions, I suppose. But I found myself realizing something pretty quickly. I don't want the answers to them. (Except, perhaps, the last one.) Would it do me any good to know the answers to questions that have plagued humankind forever? It would not make anyone listen to me about them. Just because we know the right answers does not mean we will do the right thing. I mean, we all know the answers to what happens when we smoke, or eat to excess, or drive too fast, or tell our spouses, "Of course that doesn't make you look fat." But people are human, and we do these things anyway. And they are pretty insignificant things compared to world peace. Can you imagine how frustrated and depressed a person would be if he or she knew the answers to the tough questions and could not change anything? Plus, I'm pretty sure that, despite an honors degree in theology, I would not really understand the answers.

The future? Do I really want to know? If I had known the future of the past several years, would it have made them any easier? It might have caused me to take my family to a deserted island and hibernate for a decade, but I don't think that would have worked so well. I'm pretty sure that at least the people in our community theater would still find me and still be calling. One day at a time is all you can manage to do sometimes, and to know how long it might last or how bad it might get would be far too overwhelming for the average human being. That's why these things are left to God. And most certainly I do not want to know if my career never takes off and I end up my days in a little hut in Key West lamenting what could have been with no friends but the manatees. I'd just rather not know.

So, I finally came up with an answer. It's not something I want to know but something I want to see. God, if I could ask one question, it would be, "Can I see my sister, please, who is with you?" I would like to see her running around and dancing. I never saw that in the fourteen years I knew her. I want to see my sister who, I am certain, will never get tired in all of eternity of using her legs and never forget the wonder of it. I do believe that might be something that would make me more grateful for each day rather than worried, like the other kinds of answers would. In any case, I'm looking forward to it.

So what would you ask? I'd really like to know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

my get rich quick scheme

My daughter is getting paid to scare people. Four nights a week, she is getting to run around yelling at people with total impunity, make horrible faces at them, create a screeching, howling racket, and generally terrify the public. And they pay her. I am sensing a serious business opportunity here.

Because, great as this is for her, I am thinking it could offer an even greater adventure in entrepreneurship for me. Every day, between the various committees on which I serve, customer service reps with whom I deal, teenagers with whom I live, drivers with whom I share the road, and other miscellaneous people with whom I share the planet, I want to scream at at least a dozen or so of them. But, being a mild-mannered nice person, I don't. I know I am not alone in this.

I know, because I know I am not the only woman on the planet of the age when hormones start clouding our better judgment of whether or not homicide is still a poor call at all times and situations. I know because of the email I received asking how many perimenopausal women it took to change a light bulb that made me laugh for an hour. (And still does.)

So here is my thought. What if I opened a haunted house like the one in which my daughter currently works and, instead of paying young actors to work there, I charged mid-life women to work there? Would I not be making double the money as well as benefiting society by giving ladies everywhere a healthy chance to vent?

Let's be honest, how many of you would lay down good money to be the one who got to chase around someone with an ax, howling like a banshee, just pretending it was that annoying person at the grocery store who had parked her cart smack in the center of the aisle, ignored your pointed hints to move it over, stared dazedly at the cereal racks as if the sugar-coated O's were going to levitate into her cart, and then gotten in front of you in the express lane with 46 items?

Who would not give cold cash to scare the daylights out of anyone you could pretend was the DMV customer service rep who told you, “Yes, I know we have your social security number wrong in our system and it's our fault. But I still can't renew your license or fix it, because it's in our records permanently that way and we're the government.”

What do you think, ladies? I think I'm on to something.