Category Archives: Death
The True Test of a Person’s Character is What She Does When No One is Watching But She Thinks They Are
I can be a considerate person when pressed, but most of the time, I just do nice things because I’m afraid I’m on a reality show.
I’m sitting here at Starbucks trying to figure out a fabulous topic for today’s post. I had one, but it involved Dimples. She always gets final say-so on any stories featuring her, and she put the big kibosh on this one.
So, instead, I’m staring forlornly at my iPad screen, and a man gets up from one of the tables, inadvertently hitting some kind of brochure holder full of pamphlets, sending them flying all over the floor.
“Oh, darn,” he says. And, no, I did not censor that. I. KNOW! I didn’t know people still say that, either.
Then he walks to the employee door in the back of the store and disappears.
I look at the mess on the floor. I look at the employees working behind the bar. I look back at the mess on the floor. Not one person seems inclined to pick it up.
I just know I’m being featured on some hidden camera show. They’re trying to bust people who ignore pamphlets strewn all over the floor – to reveal the callous behavior of people who drink skinny, decaf mochas as they try to pass the time while their daughters who have editorial control over their blogs practice synchronized swimming.
This is my chance to show my heroic side. I casually get up and walk over to the mess. I collect all of the brochures, straighten them out, and put them back into the holder, placing it carefully in its spot behind the basket of creamer or sugar or whatever it is that I don’t use.
I walk back to my seat. No one claps. No one jumps out of the back room saying, “You’re the first person today to actually pick that up! You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve done this skit and people completely ignored the mess! It just proves what a sad world we live in that no one cares about brochures scattered all over the floor.”
I know what you’re thinking. “This lady is a saint. Some day, they are going to write on her tombstone, ‘Here lies Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, the Mother Teresa of the 21st century. She saved spiders and snakes and credit card advertisements. And just because she did it out of fear of being featured on What Would You Do? with John Quinones doesn’t make her any less of role model. May the Force be With You.'”
or, I guess it could say,
“Here lies a woman who kept picking up random things and we couldn’t raise enough money on Kickstarter to buy more than this brick to mark her grave. Please take a Mastercard application before you leave.”
Who cares? At least I won’t have to worry about hidden cameras when I’m dead.
I think that someone who is following me is following me.
Okay, I don’t really think that – mostly – but I thought of that sentence, and it sounded kind of fun and confusingly ironic. So, there it is.
I mostly don’t think the follower is following me, but there is a tiny bit of me that wonders. And I usually like to display those tiny bits on this blog for the entertainment of others – and just in case something happens to me and I end up missing and you need some clues to find my body.
So, what happened was that the whole family made a trip to Half Price Books on Sunday. We brought a trainload of books to sell on THE EXACT SAME DAY THE REST OF SAN ANTONIO DECIDED TO SELL THEIR BOOKS. And, of course we were not first in line. And, of course, Half Price Books has this silly little policy that you need to remain in the store until they call you with a quote.
So, we spent twelve hours in the store.
Okay, it might have been just 63 minutes. But it was just long enough for us to find enough books so that the quote that we got was for exactly $1 less than the price of the books we were going to buy.
And long enough for a perfect stranger, dressed in a suit, to address me as I walked down an aisle to find my daughter, with, “Well, hello.”
Now I’ve been out of the game for awhile, but I seem to remember that when a person who is completely unknown to me finds a reason to say, “Well, hello,” putting an accent on the “lo” part, and there is no one else around but me, that they are trying to start a conversation with me. And the only reason to start a conversation with me is to: sell me something, preach to me about salvation, or pick me up.
I didn’t wait around to find out which of those three actions Mr. Suit had in mind. I mumbled something, and made a beeline for my daughter.
“Why would someone try to sell me something in the middle of Half Price Books?” I thought. And then I realized I had been standing in the Religion section – completely by accident, I swear – and I thought, “Oh, he is probably on a mission to save me from becoming a Jedi Knight.” And then I remembered I’d forgotten to wear my wedding ring.
“Oh my God. He was hitting on me!” I thought. Because, let’s face it – how would he know of my intentions to be a Jedi Knight? It’s not like I carry a light saber around with me.
So then I spent the rest of our interminable time trying to avoid Mr. Suit, who eyed me knowingly every time I rounded a corner.
Now here is where the follower following me part comes in.
I went home, and that night my professional blog had a new follower. And, I swear to Yoda, his little mini-profile picture looks like Mr. Suit.
Now, admittedly, I am a very paranoid, yet strangely unobservant person. And, it’s possible that I just think they look alike because they are both male and wearing suits. It’s unlikely they are the same person because Blog Follower dude lives in New York according to my extensive Google detective work.
But I’ve definitely learned my lesson.
From now on, I must always wear my wedding ring when I go to Half Price Books.
And start carrying my light saber.
I blame it all on Jon Stewart. I mean, the man leaves for a 3 month vacation, and of course my newish anti-depressant, which was working just fine for three weeks, abandons me at the same exact time. This can not be a coincidence.
I’m sure my abysmal attitude has nothing to do with my Groundhog Day week of chauffeuring my daughter back and forth from synchronized swimming practice as she prepares to compete at Nationals.
Or with the fact that my hair stylist, who told me in no uncertain terms 5 years ago that he would not give me bangs, inexplicably and with no warning, suddenly gave me a Frankenstein cut yesterday.
My less-than-positive reaction to both of those incidents is a symptom of the problem – not the cause.
No, it’s definitely Jon Stewart’s absence. And even though John Oliver is a worthy replacement, he is not Jon. I mean, for crying out loud, he has an “h” in his first name.
And I’m not the only one effected. The Bloggess is also missing him. Though she didn’t say it in so many words. Actually she didn’t say it in any words. But she’s depressed, too, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason.
I saw this video on an education blog today, of all places, and because the world revolves around me, I realized the song writer was actually speaking to me when he wrote it, although it appears it was written at least 4 years ago so that would be an amazing example of prescience that should probably be investigated by scientists, or at least by Anderson Cooper.
As I am a generous person, I thought I would share it with those of you who might also be dealing with the gaping hole that Jon Stewart’s dereliction of duty may have left in your life.
So Many Ways To Die
so many ways to die
so many ways to stay alive
but if you wouldn’t mind to wait a while
you could give another day a try
you tell me all that you cherished is through
well that’s not true it isn’t true
it isn’t true
i read it in the news it is but really isn’t you
you are exactly who you choose
you’re only lying to you
so many ways to think
how differently we interpret the brink
between the side of life worth living
and the point at which you’re better off to sink
so many ways to laugh
chortle chuckle giggle cachinnate guffaw like william howard taft
science has proven it’s correlated
with the number of days your life will pass
so many ways to die
so many different ways to lie
should a community allow
or should society continue to deny
what could i say where do you go
what could i do what could i know
so many different lives
so many different ways to hide
but if you open your shutters
you might find the joy that only lives outside
so many ways to dance
so many different meanings for glance
but you only get a few if you keep staring at your shoes
you will miss every single chance
three thousand different ways
they could’ve rearranged your dna
but I believe just for today that
you can conquer your affliction of the brain
I pretty much have the same two main goals every day: don’t embarrass myself, and try to keep breathing.
You might think that, since I’m not suffering from a fatal illness (that I know of – but I still have thousands of internet diagnoses to comb through), that the latter one would not be that hard.
But I have three strikes against me – my depression, my forgetfulness, and my clumsiness.
I usually get up every morning, and my first thought is, “On a scale of 1-10, how much do I NOT want to be alive today?” If it’s over a 5 for more than a couple of days, I call the doctor. Usually, though,it hovers around a 3, in which case I resolve to make a concentrated effort for the next 24 hours not to kill myself. On “Three” Days, it’s easy to avoid killing myself on purpose, but an accidental death is always a distinct possibility.
Last week, for example, I was walking out the back door of our school one morning, on my way to my portable classroom. For absolutely no reason at all, other than a little mist in the air, I suddenly skied down the handicap ramp, did about a 5 minute dance that included a twirl and the splits, and fell. (It was truly a John- Travolta-Stayin’ Alive-Performance.) Hard. On my knee.
All in all, the experience was somewhat of a success. As you can tell, I did not kill myself. I didn’t even break any bones or, more importantly, the iPad that was in my purse. In addition, it was so early in the morning that only one person witnessed this amazing feat – and she was a substitute. (Notice that I am not including the school security cameras as a witness because I am holding out the hope that people have better things to do than to watch them every minute.)
For the next 4 days, I wore pants so my husband would not see my gravel-encrusted knee. He already knows I’m a klutz, but I keep thinking if he goes more than a couple of months without being directly reminded of this, he might replace my “Klutz” label with that of “Stunningly Efficient Wife.”
No matter. On the 4th day following my stunning performance, my husband was holding our golden retriever while I was kneeling (on my traitorous left knee) behind her, trying not to cry out in pain. My intention was to cut off a particularly nasty mat of hair conveniently located on her rear end. As I pushed the tip of the scissors through the mat, trying to find the other side so I would not slice off her skin, I managed to plunge the blade deep into one of my fingers.
Bloody, but not exactly deadly. Yay me. I missed stabbing myself in the jugular.
Since I’d already reverted to the “O Days Without an Incident” billboard in my husband’s eyes, I went ahead and confessed to my knee injury while I was at it.
It’s going to be pretty ironic if I conquer this whole depression thing, and I end up killing myself anyway…
It all began with a death threat…
Upon receiving this demand, I promptly threw it in the pile with my other death threats. After all, I am a pirate’s wife. I do not take death threats seriously unless they are repeated a couple of times. Plus, I don’t deal with terrorists.
Then I got the e-mail.
Okay. Fine. I needed to replace my hard drive. This, of course, necessitated backing it up, which I hadn’t done in over a year. So, I plugged in my backer upper thing, fired up my Time Machine, and let it do its thing over night.
The next morning, all was good. Backer upper filled. Time Machine back from the future.
One of my friends had advised me to keep backer uppering once a day, and only the new things would be added. Sounded good.
Next morning, error message on my computer. Time Machine seriously messing with my computer, making me feel like I was traveling at light speed and about to throw up. Absolutely no data on my backer upper. Time Machine apparently ate everything in the backer upper and spit it out in a parallel universe.
Further research made me conclude that my backer upper needed more space. This meant I needed a new backer upper.
It was Christmas time. I was busy setting up my Harry Potter nativity, and consoling my daughter over the inadvertent beheading of her Harry Potter ornament. I did not have time or money to purchase a new backer upper. Besides, no new ransom notes had arrived. So things were probably not that serious.
I think you know where this is going.
I will skip the death scene, which occurred a couple of days after Christmas. Suffice it to say, that it’s good that I take anti-depressants and that I hadn’t, at that point, seen Les Miserables yet.
I got a new hard drive. For free. I suspect that the kidnappers, upon meeting me in person, rightly concluded that I was not a person with whom they should trifle about ransom. I doubt the hysterics had anything to do with it.
But a new hard drive could never replace the old one, the one that knew all of my secrets and –
I decided that I needed a Miracle Max.
It turned out that, like The Princess Bride’s Man in Black, my hard drive was only mostly dead, and Miracle Max was able to resurrect it, for a small fee equivalent to the cost of a year at Harvard.
Heartened by this turn events I brought the new body of my old hard drive home, and plugged it into the old body of my new hard drive so they could become one.
And now, it seems, that I apparently pimped my computer to a rabbit. Instead of years of photographs, or the complete absence of photographs, my pictures exponentially reproduced, so that I now have 4 times as many photos as before the hard drive died. And, ironically, I once again have too much data to fit on my backer upper.
I know that, if you have suffered the death of a hard drive, you have no sympathy for me, at this point. I mean, why should I complain that I now have 100,000 pictures of Wonderbutt hogging space on my hard drive when, a week ago, I was sobbing because I had none?
When my Toyota falls apart because I procrastinated responding to their ransom note (which they cleverly disguised as a “recall notice”), then you will regret your hard heart regarding my hard drive. I only hope you can cope with the guilt.
P.S. This one is for you, Guap:
Beth died last night. She was supposed to die tonight, but my hard-hearted husband hastened her departure by going to bed early. Of course, he did not know that he was killing Beth by doing this. And the alternative would have just prolonged the inevitable. But still.
I had put off preparing for the death because I thought I would have more time. But Cap’n Firepants threw the zinger at me at our daughter’s bed time that he was pretty exhausted, and could I please read tonight? He stepped back from me a bit when I acted like he had just asked me to climb the roof at midnight and clean up squirrel poop. Generally, I jump at the chance for an extra night to read to our daughter. But I dreaded the chapter that I knew was next.
Cap’n Firepants reads a different book with Dimples, so he can be forgiven for not knowing that he had just asked me to walk into the Valley of Death. And, I am sure that he would point out that I was the one who picked the book in the first place.
It’s just that I did not realize that Beth’s death in Little Women would occur while I am still in mourning over the approximately one hundred and thirteen people who perished in Les Miserables. I am still reeling from that massacre, and the repercussions of its soundtrack, and now I had to add one more body to the pile.
Plus, Dimples and I had just recently had our class picture argument, and I was pretty sure that reading an entire chapter to her about the death of a beloved character was not going to endear me any more to her. She makes it a point to avoid sappy death scenes in books, and I had kind of tricked her into this one.
Of course, Dimples handled it much better than I did. She is not a middle-aged mother fighting depression and haunted by visions of Anne Hathaway dreaming a dream as she is dying in a filthy street in Paris. And, I think that it is entirely possible that she would be happy with all of the characters being killed off as I have probably referred to these paragons of virtue a little too often. (“Do you think Beth would complain if her mother asked her to clean the toilet? Do you think Beth even had a toilet?”)
Fortunately, she has not compared me to Marmee, yet. Because we all know how that Battle of the Moms would shake out.
So, at the end of the day I cried more than she did. And that night, I dreamed my dear daughter was in the hospital dying from the flu.
I try not to censor my daughter’s reading, but I’m beginning to think someone should probably censor mine.
My husband was sorting through his 83-year-old mother’s bills yesterday, and suddenly said, “Hmm. This is sad.”
“Well, this is a bill from Southern Living Magazine, and it lists all of the gift subscriptions Mom has given to other people. A lot of people. Everyone on the list is dead.”
“Wow, that is sad.”
He started reading the list out loud, and then paused.
“Oh, except you of course.”
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Southern Living is plotting to kill me.
It could mean that his mom is out to get me, instead.