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 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…
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.
First of all, let me state for the record that I love funerals. I mean, what’s not to like? People dressed in black, talking in whispers, singing gushy sentimental songs out of key.
My sister, Crash, claims that she hates them. Which worked out in her favor because she recently just managed to get herself uninvited to one. She finds this upsetting, so I just want to remind her that she is totally invited to mine when I have one. In fact, I expect her to attend. And, just to please her, I already have a smash-bang good one planned, with a flash mob and everything. It’s going to put the “fun” back in funeral, I promise.
So, we’ll both sit this one out, Crash. It’s okay.
I want a flash mob at my funeral.
I attended a funeral the other day, which often gets me to thinking about what my own ceremony will look like. As some of the other attendees spoke at the podium, I mentally checked off each of the admirable qualities possessed by the deceased:
Great cook. Check.
Great homemaker. Check.
Nice to everyone. Check.
Never spoke an unkind word. Check.
Opened her house to everyone. Check.
Pretty much all of the things no one will say about me at my funeral.
I’m afraid it’s going to be a very short ceremony. Unless I throw a Catholic mass in, but I think we established yesterday that would not be a good idea for various reasons.
Let’s see, notable things about me – well, I guess we could drape the poster of my Awards Shelf over my coffin – except there isn’t going to be a coffin. Cremation, of course. So, we could drape the Awards Shelf poster over my urn. That will make my achievements look bigger, at least. After all, not everyone can claim that he or she was the Adult Spelling Bee Champion of San Antonio for 2011 AND won the Lifesaver Award from Dimples for saving the entire household from a very confused snake.
Still, I’m thinking, to distract everyone from the fact that there is little of note to list from my life other than being the mother of Wonderbutt, Mrs. P.I.B., and Dimples, that some entertainment is in order.
Ever since I saw the flash mob the Black Eyed Peas did for Oprah of “I’ve Gotta Feeling, I’ve thought that it would be fun to be involved in one of those. Of course, if I’m dead, I won’t be too involved, I guess.
The other disadvantage of this plan is that I am pretty sure Cap’n Firepants would not oversee the completion of it. Not because of his grief. But because he hates public displays of anything and he hates to dance. Even supervising it would probably be too onerous for him.
And, as I start going through my list of family and friends, I am discouraged by the number of people that would probably refuse to participate. The Dictator is the only person that comes to mind who might actually be interested in the project. Coincidentally, as if you couldn’t tell by her nickname, The Dictator would probably be a great organizer, as well. But I think she would have a very short list of volunteers. Despite her nickname, there is only so much you can do to force people into participating in a flash mob.
And, since I plan to live for a very long time, most of my attendants, including The Dictator, will probably be too feeble for doing intricate dance moves. I can just picture a bunch of elderly people in wheelchairs and on crutches suddenly breaking out into a performance of “I’ve Gotta Feeling” to the great chagrin of whoever has been conned into presiding over my good-bye ceremony.
Of course, not all flash mobs require dancing.
Perhaps I need to rethink this whole plan. Or, maybe, the multitude of people who will be following my blog by then will come together in an act of solidarity and perform an amazing Around the Globe Flash Mob in my honor.
Fine. I’m rethinking the plan.
“Dead Rubber”, according to one of my marathon googling sessions, means “boring”. My “Dead Rubber Posts” are my monthly blog cop outs. I give myself permission once a month to publish a post that isn’t up to my usual stellar standards. Some of you might not recognize any difference between these and my other posts (which is a sad commentary on the hours I usually take to polish them before hitting the “Publish” button); nevertheless, I feel I should be up front when I’ve spent less time composing a post than I did addressing an envelope to my mortgage company.
I was trying to postpone my Dead Rubber post until later in the month, but I went to see David Sedaris tonight and it’s a “school night”. He did recommend to an aspiring writer in the audience to “write every day”, neglecting to say how much. I am pretty sure he meant more than the “Great job!” I scribed on my student’s papers this afternoon.
I have decided to start gathering unusual obituary statements. I did not set out to collect these. But they keep appearing to me. It’s not that I even usually read the obituaries. Every once in awhile, I run out of Sunday paper to read during the week. And, as I gulp down my breakfast at 5:30 a.m. I must read something. So I skim the obituaries.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the prominently displayed obituary headline, “She was skilled at Bunco.” I’m not sure about you, but to me that seemed an odd way to immortalize someone. But certainly not the oddest.
Today, I chanced upon an even stranger sentence buried deep within an obituary of a woman who “supported live music, the arts community, and hula-hooping.” In addition to these worthy pursuits, this woman “held a great appreciation for port-a-potties.”
Please don’t let someone put that in my obituary. Because I don’t. And never will. Ever. Appreciate. Port-a-Potties. I don’t care if I just drank two gallons of Diet Coke and I’m in the middle of a treeless, building-less prairie being filmed on a reality show and it rains for two days straight.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, does anyone else but me wonder what her coffin looked like?
I am obsessed about death. Well, not about death, itself. More about what happens afterwards. No, this is not going to be a religious rant.
I am worried about dying and people subsequently discovering what a horrible slob I am.
I have an anxiety that I will die one day, and people will go through my house and declare, and rightly so, that I was a very mess person. Why I would care after I’m dead, I don’t know, but it’s a fear. Apparently not a well-documented fear, as I discovered when I Googled it in a failed attempt to find an actual name for this fear. (Ataxophobia, the fear of clutter doesn’t quite describe it. People who suffer from that condition apparently actually clean on a regular basis.)
For those of you who know me, let me assure you that I don’t plan on this happening any time soon (the dying part).
Anyone who has seen the very untidy state of my house would probably doubt that I have ever given cleanliness a second thought. However, I think about it quite a bit. I just don’t actually act upon it as often as I should.
I think it started with C.S.I. When they showed graphic pictures of people who had been horribly murdered on the street, I didn’t blink an eye. But when they showed dead bodies in houses full of clutter, that kind of made me think about the uninvited people who get to wander around your house after you die – particularly if it is a not-so-normal expiration.
The onslaught of reality shows like Hoarders did not help to alleviate my phobia. Most people that watch that show are thankful that their homes are not that bad. Conversely, I watch that show and begin to hyperventilate. Sure, you can walk through my house now without towers of old computers falling on top of you, but I bet the people on T.V. had a time before the piles overtook them, too. Could that junk drawer in the kitchen where I keep old birthday candles signal the beginning of my descent into Hoardership?
Some weekends I will frantically empty out entire closets and fill up bags of things for Goodwill, energized by the fear of dying with mismatched Tupperware strewn around my pantry. I clean out drawers, organize shelves, and dump out boxes. Only to find that they magically disorganize and clutterize themselves again within a matter of weeks.
The good news is that I will never commit suicide because I’ll never think my house is clean enough.
There has seriously got to be a name for this. I can’t be the only person that suffers from this syndrome/phobia/virus thing. I am trying to sensibly confront my fear, but it would help if it had some kind of clever moniker like Triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13 – God I love that word!). Your job is to identify this disease and, more importantly, let me know if you, too, suffer from it!