Monday, January 13, 2014

The Day My Mom Swore At Work

I've been toying with the idea of getting back into some part time work.  Nothing that will take me away from home for too long, but something of value that will get me out into the world again,  something that will help me develop my talents and share what little skill I have. I dunno.

So as I've been considering my options, I keep remembering this incident from my childhood about the time my mom swore at work. This may not have happened at all. Or it may have happened differently than I remember it (which is usually the case for most things in my life--ah, my lovely overactive imagination!) But anyway, it is burned in my brain exactly in this way:

My mom came home from her job at the dentist's office one day. She was pale and completely wide-eyed.  "I swore at Gene today," she said before she had even closed the door. She was completely mortified and we were shocked. We rushed to her side, asking for every detail and telling her it would probably be okay, while we all secretly wondered if she would be fired the next day. The main question on all our minds was what word she used. It was the "d" word.

Maybe my mom didn't swear at Gene. Maybe she just lost her cool for a minute, said 'dammit' under her breath and Gene happened to be near her and heard? But I pictured it going down like this: finally cracking under the pressure of the high-stakes world of dentistry, my mother (wearing a white lab coat and smart-looking glasses pushed down on her nose) throws down a pile of paperwork and says "dammit, Gene!" It was a scene from a soap opera in my mind, and I loved it. I think it sparked a little feminism in my heart. How cool that my mom could swear at a man at work! (Now, of course I realize that feminism doesn't necessarily mean swearing at men, but when I was little it was a step in the right direction).

I remember Gene as a really nice, likable man who worked in the same office as my mom. He had dark brown hair peppered with a little silver. He was buoyant and funny and paid attention to us. Was he a hygienist? Another receptionist-type? An assistant? I don't know. But we all loved Gene and thought he was great and were excited to catch a glimpse of him when we visited our mom at work or went in for our 6 month checkups. I remember thinking it was probably a good thing that Gene heard her swear because he of all people would be nice and forgiving about it. He seemed like the kind of enlightened fellow who could dig it, you know?

My mom was not a person who swore, just so you know. She used impeccable language and proper grammar at all times and she taught us to do the same. She was ladylike and dignified. So the fact that she said a bad word was a pretty huge deal (if indeed this really happened).

I remember waiting on pins and needles the next day to hear the fall-out from the great "dammit, Gene!" incident. She came home and once again we rushed to her side for details. "Oh, that," she said. "I just apologized to Gene and everything is fine." Shooh. She didn't lose her job.

Maybe if I start working I'll have an opportunity to swear at somebody. Somehow it doesn't seem as dramatic and exciting if I were to do it. The high-stakes world of dentistry just doesn't compare to the fairly low-key world of adjunct teaching. Can you see me finally losing my cool, throwing down a pile of yet-to-be-graded papers, and saying "dammit, Sister Smith!" to some poor lady in a long floral denim jumper as she walks across campus to her job as a Book of Mormon teacher?

I can't picture that, either.

My mom remains to this day the coolest lady ever.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Letter to Curious George

Dear Curious George,

May I call you "G Funk"? That's what I call you behind your back. Allow me to say that you are an insufferable little monkey, with your constant "oo oo ah ah" and your total disregard for the rules. You belong in a zoo.  I don't know how the Man in the Yellow Hat can even stand you, let alone love you. "Now be a good little monkey" will be carved on his tombstone, the poor old fool.

Now you may think that I just hate all monkeys, and that is true. I do. All monkeys and ape-like things are gross to me.  But I hate you more than all the other monkeys because you are a bad influence. My impressionable son already points to the Ipad every morning and "oo oo ah ah"s for your ridiculous show. Today he climbed onto the counter and spilled an entire pot of sea salt all over the floor, coarse sea salt, at that. I believe he was re-enacting one of your "curiosity-induced" "mistakes." So, thanks a lot, G Funk. Thanks for giving my son a show that teaches him to spill things in the name of curiosity! You float along in a consequence-free zone and my son thinks he can do the same. You are truly a terrible influence.

 You know the only redeemable quality about your show? The narrator. His occasionally dry wit, and the sense that deep down he gets it--gets how insufferable you truly are--saves your show. The gullibility of the Man in the Yellow Hat is also very endearing. We all know someone like him, in a completely one-way, somewhat manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship. He shows no signs of putting his foot down, ever (see tombstone remark) and so I am stepping up:

For the record, what goes up must come down, newspapers do not make good boats, levers should not be used to launch people's things into the muddy pig pen, and skunks are not our friends. Shall I go on? Never go into a restaurant kitchen blindfolded, don't show cows a field of wild flowers, never let rabbits out of their pen, and don't ever, EVER accept an invitation to help a kid run an errand or finish a job. You can't do it right, and you never will. Leave balloons alone. Don't bug Hundley, the lobby dog. Stay out of potted plants. Leave the compost outside. Never touch the telephone. Stay off of archeological exhibits and dinosaur bones. Walk away from all wheeled vehicles, and stay out of outer space, please. Have some respect for the Man in the Yellow Hat, and stay put when he tells you to. There, I said it.

G Funk, you appeal to the lowest common denominator. You contribute nothing to society. Even when you do someone a favor it turns out bad. At least in a zoo you could be a nice educational display for children. Go there now. Go to the zoo.

PS Could you please find out why the Man in the Yellow Hat only dresses in yellow and wears that enormous hat? Is it a nod to his cowardliness?

Monday, September 16, 2013

35 for 35

How I'd love it if this were a sale at Arbys. Alas, it's just a list of 35 things I have learned in the past 35 years.

From My Church:

It's true.

Doctrine is pure and simple. The culture we create around that doctrine can complicate things and is mainly focused on outward appearances and ways to judge each other's righteousness. (Except the jello part of that culture. Jello is pure and simple, too).  

The "mission field" is everywhere, even in Provo, Utah.

It's best to stay as far away from the line as possible, not to see how close we can get without crossing over it.

From Mike

Don't trust the smooth talker.

Try new things, even if people think you are a nutter (see above photo).

Do things the right way the first time.

Wool or poly propylene is superior in every way to cotton in terms of long johns.

From J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkein

Not all who wander are lost.

It is our choices, not our abilities, that make us who we are.

Kindness is grossly underrated.

I must access my inner Took sometimes.

From TV

There's more than one way to do a chicken dance.

Leo McGary will always do the right thing.

Keep secrets in the vault.

Cylons are people too.

Don't get attached to Matthew Crawley.

Don't wear message tees. 

Tim Gunn is a trusted friend who will never lead you astray.

From Fashion and Beauty

You shouldn't wash your hair every day.

Stop wasting time worrying about being fat. Also, stop trying to look like you are 20. You're 35, sister. Own it.

There's always someone fatter than you at the pool.

Insecurity isn't beautiful, no matter what "One Direction" says.

Spend money on things you rub in, not things you rinse off.

From Being a Mom

You are "the mom." People think of you like this mom:

Frumpy, thin hair, ruffly collars.  You can wear a lot of bling on your jeans and put skunk stripes in your hair, but this is how most people will think of you no matter what you do. This is oddly freeing.

Kids are their own people, not your lump of clay to mold.

The best thing you can do for your kids is to just love them unconditionally. Love doesn't mean coddle, though.

Just enjoy every minute! Because your babies will grow up too fast--psyche! Totally kidding. Just drink a coconut lime diet coke every day and put a TV in your bedroom and watch it while you are nursing. I don't know what else to tell ya.

Sleep train babies.

From Martha Stewart

 It's cool to be domestic.

Cornmeal pate brisee makes an excellent crust for pumpkin pie.

From My Mom

Creativity and cleverness reign supreme.

Work hard, be dependable, and give your whole self to your work (whether at home, at church, or at an office).

Bloom where you're planted.

Don't be snobby.