Ever had one of those knee-jerk, immediate gut reactions to something without knowing where it came from, and made some emotionally charged unthinking response?
Shut up, you have so. It’s an involuntary impulse we all have. The words are out of our mouths before we consider their basis or their impact. It’s what gets politicians and celebrities in big trouble. When we don’t think before we speak we usually end up saying something we actually truly mean. And possibly immediately regret. Usually no amount of embarrassed revising, fumbling with different words, or flustered back-tracking can save us.
So that’s why, once I’ve said some asinine thing out loud without thinking, I like to walk away and pretend it didn’t happen. That way when someone confronts me with it later I can act all innocent and artless about it. What? I don’t think I said that. Come on. I’m sorry you got the wrong impression. Poor me, so blameless and misunderstood. I’m not saying this is the best course of action to take. Maybe it’s the worst. Maybe a preventative smacking of myself in the head before I speak would be helpful.
I started thinking about this because of a rather innocent little thing that happened yesterday. I was being advised by someone (who, by the way, gives out unwanted and unsolicited advice to everyone, twenty-four/seven) that I should tape an Amsler Grid to my bathroom mirror and look at it every day. My mother had macular degeneration, and this grid is a test for it. The CNIB website can tell you everything you ever, or never, wanted to know about it, or you can check out the information on Wikipedia here. My immediate reaction was a sudden strong desire to tell her to piss off and leave me the hell alone. Yes, you may well ask, where in the world did that feeling come from with such a vengeance? I stomped off to the lunch room to wonder about it myself, before I could make some angry idiotic comment.
Normally I don’t try to analyze these things too much, but this time the reasons kept popping randomly into my head, so here they are:
1. I don’t want to live in fear of something that might never happen. It’s not proven that this condition is hereditary. If it happens, it happens, and then I’ll deal with it.
2. I don’t want to tape ANY damned thing to my mirror. That’s so tacky I can’t even think about it.
3. Her mother had Alzheimer’s disease. Have I suggested to her that she should put post it notes asking ‘what is this?’ on every object in her house, so that if one day she can’t remember the name of something she’ll know she’s got the disease? No, I have not.
4. I don’t want to be reminded every day of my mother’s struggle with something for which there was no cure.
5. Anyone who dares to tell me what to do deserves to rot in hell.
Okay, that last one was a bit over the top. Anyway, it’s done, I didn’t say anything incredibly stupid, and it’s time to get over it. Don’t give me any advice about all this unless you’d like me to bite your head off for even trying to make me see sense. Oh God, did I say that out loud? I’m pretty sure I didn’t mean it.
I’m still slogging through a revsion process and came across the following effort which seemed worth another look and a re-do. Please feel free to copy the headings and fill in your own answers! I have no idea where it came from in the first place – probably one of those annoying chain type e-mails.
THREE THINGS YOU DON’T EVER WANT TO BE CALLED:
1. Anything with a swear word in it
2. Lazy and selfish (the truth hurts)
3. Bellatrix Lestrange
THREE THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. My razor sharp wit
2. My incredible beauty
3. My blatant sarcasm
THREE THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. My inability to function as a human being without the aid of coffee
2. How much I enjoy doing nothing
3. The shape of my right foot – is that a BUNION for the love of God??
THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE:
3. German, English, Russian, who really knows
THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
1. The Ocean
2. Wild Animals
3. Severe Weather
THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
2. My computer
3. More coffee
THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE COLORS
1. Dark Red
2. Medium Red
3. Light red
THREE THINGS YOU VALUE IN A RELATIONSHIP:
3. Separate vacations
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1. I would like to go back to Scotland some day
2. I love African decor
3. I’d like to drown at sea
THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES:
3. Reading something else
THREE THINGS YOU HAVE WISHED FOR
2. World peace
3. To win the lottery
THREE CAREERS YOU HAVE CONSIDERED
1. Brain Surgeon
2. Rocket Scientist
THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO:
2. To sleep
3. To heaven
THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
2. Make the world a better safer happier place
3. Make W.’s life hell. (oh – I thought we were still doing the truth/truth/lie thing 😉
Aren’t they beautiful? Do they not have the most delightful mushroom name ever?? Much easier to say inky caps than coprinopsis atramentaria. They’re also known as tippler’s bane because if they’re consumed with alcohol they’re poisonous. They probably won’t kill you, but symptoms include facial reddening, nausea, vomiting, malaise, agitation, palpitations and tingling in the limbs; or, in other words, wishing you were dead.
Rimbey, Alberta, June 12, 1936
I received your letter on Tuesday and was certainly glad to get it. Its the first one for over a month and it does me good. We only get mail delivery twice a week here. If I’d stayed in Nanton I would have got it some time sooner. It was a dandy too – everything in it was interesting. Well I’ll try to go on from where I left off last time.
We finished our job on the Thursday at noon the day you got my letter and we just bummed around town for the rest of the day and part of Friday, then we decided to come up here. We got to Calgary as you’ll know by the card I expect you received. We fooled around there looking at the city until about eleven o’clock, then pulled out to the top of a hill to sleep. We didn’t get up till the sun was high up in the sky next morning, and then got going again. We arrived here Saturday evening about five o’clock.
On the way we saw a good many fields of stooked grain that had never been thrashed. The hail had shelled it so badly it wasn’t worth thrashing. That’s the kind of country this is, very undependable. I’ve been driving six and eight horses at a time – it’s quite nice for a change. I feel as if I’m doing something.
As I said before, we arrived here on a Saturday. Well I sowed grain on the following Sunday and ploughed with six horses on Monday and several days hence. Oh! I mustn’t forget to tell you I was given a government job shortly after I reached Alberta. I was on the road surveying and cutting brush for a few days. Isn’t that getting up in the world, working for the government?
I was ploughing about two and a half miles from here today and a thunderstorm came up without much warning. I turned toward the old barn and just got there in time for the hail and rain started to come and did it come! The hail was no ordinary size either. I couldn’t get the horses to go around to the side of the barn where the door was because the storm was blowing so hard. They just stayed in shelter beside the barn. Of course I had to stay and watch them, and got sort of damp.
There was supposed to be a dance in Bluffton tonight and I suppose we would have gone only the rain made the roads so muddy. You see they don’t gravel the roads in the pioneer district and they certainly get greasy with very little rain. The soil is mostly clay.
I guess by the time this reaches Ontario you’ll be home so I’ll address it to Turners. How was our Blanche when you last saw her? I guess I’d better write to her, I do so enjoy her letters and I guess that’s the only way of getting one. That certainly is interesting about the colt and the calves, that’s what I’d call real news. It’s much better than a lot of idle gossip.
I hope you’ll forgive me kid, something tragic happened to that letter you sent and I only had a chance to read it once. The boss’s wife says she noticed an envelope in the sweeping but thought it one of her old letters, so it went into the stove. I guess that’s what happened. I remember you saying you didn’t want to go out and not enjoy yourself. That’s swell of you because I feel the same way myself. I’ve also met a lot of people, of course some very nice girls too, but they’ll have to go some distance yet to come up near the mark of a little girl I know in the east.
We’ve almost decided to go to the coast in July for the jubilee there. What do you think of that? Then when harvest is over we can go back home if we don’t land a job here or something. I think it will be much nicer travelling in July than late in November. There ought to be more to see while the jubilee is on. I’ll try to take a swim in the Pacific Ocean. Won’t that be something. Of course I’ll send you some cards from Victoria and Vancouver.
I asked Harold if he could think of any news. He said King George died and King Eddie is now on the throne. He says to threaten you that he might write to you sometime. Well kid, my brain is beginning to go hooey again. I know you’ll be thinking I’ve neglected to write but I couldn’t get it away any sooner anyway, so I guess you’ll just have to wait. You can keep sending my mail to Nanton because I’ll likely be going back there before long. I’ll be looking for a letter before long kid, so I’ll be signing off. I wish I could think of more to write to the best girl in the world, but seeing it’s impossible –
I’ll be thinking of my darling until I hear from her,
For the last couple of days I’ve had a hard time getting to my quiet, calm and peaceful place. Shit happens. Sometimes it hits you from two different directions at once. What else can you do but stay calm and carry on.
My collection of written work begs to be organized and I’ve been working on that, in an attempt to sort out the little gems from the great pile of crap. Here’s one that was perhaps a little more inspired than normal.
Do You Think Aliens Have Ever Visited Earth?
Of course they have. I’ve seen the movies. They live among us. But only because their space ships have malfunctioned and can’t be repaired and they’re stuck here indefinitely. Otherwise they’d be long gone. Originally aliens landed here with the intent of taking control and colonizing this planet but now that they’ve seen what a complete bloody mess it’s in that idea has been shelved. There are other worlds where the inhabitants aren’t so dead set on destroying everything around them and making themselves extinct and they’ve chosen to settle in those galaxies of less insanity instead.
Although aliens have cleverly disguised themselves as ordinary human beings (and let’s face it, the choices are infinite because no one is sure what a normal human being actually is), you can recognize one by observing how they shake their heads and roll their eyes and mutter things like ‘what the hell were we thinking’ when no one is paying any attention to them. Plus their skin is a weird blue/green color and they glow in the dark.
I could also tell you all about time travel and parallel dimensions and black holes and alien abduction if you want, but maybe we shouldn’t get ourselves into a state of information overload and blow up our craniums with short circuits and an overdose of b.s. Save those brain cells for thinking up new ways to obliterate the planet. That’ll show those aliens who’s in control.