Thursday, October 26, 2006

Retroactively Embarrassed

At church, I work with girls 12-18. It’s a lot of fun, and I love being able to do it. Naturally, some of the girls occasionally behave like toads. They’re kids, and kids behave like toads sometimes. Although, I wish I could warn the girls about retroactive embarrassment.

Retroactive embarrassment can hit at any time. You’ll be a young mother with four children at home. While making lunch for the kids during an ordinary day, Splat!!!! You will remember the time you made panty length cut-offs out of your yellow polyester pants and then rode your bicycle all over town - bending over all the way. Nice!!

Or you let your mind wander while you are doing a little innocent dusting, and before you know it you are at 9th grade cheerleading try-outs. The memory of falling flat on your rear-end during the tryouts will play on the screen of your mind in technicolor color. Or rushing back through time, you feel the embarrassment you should have felt (but didn’t have sense enough to) when you took the sacrament at church and said in a loud stage whisper, “Oh! That’s refreshing!” Clowning around that got a laugh with a group of nine-year-olds takes on a whole new meaning at 51.

I would have made a gargantuan effort keep my stupid teenage behavior to a minimum if I had known how memories tag along at a person’s heels. And some memories do NOT seem to dim with age. Memories are accompanied by feelings. If they weren’t, they would just be pictures in the mind. Feeling the public display of you imperfections - Ouch!

I never could see what use any of my retroactive embarrassment was until I started teaching the teenagers. Now, I see it has its uses. A memory of my past embarrassing behavior helps keep perspective with a kid in the midst of bratty moment. How could I not try to be understanding? Was I perfect at age 15? For that matter, am I perfect now? I want my retroactive embarrassment to increase my tolerance. People put up with the me and my lousy behavior. Bless them!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wisdom from Wilbur

Over the past 30 years, my spouse has shared bits of wisdom. Here are some of a long list:

Driving tips - "Don't holler 'whoa' in a bog hole."

Nutritional advice - "The reason grass fed beef is better for you than grain fed beef is that you use more calories chewing it."

Weather forecasting - "Clear as a bell, cold as Hell."

Public speaking pointers - "Don't chew your cabbage twice."

Fresh Tomato Soup

I had a bumper crop of tomatoes, so I used the recipe a lot:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose four
2 cups water
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually add water, stirring constantly (so flour doesn't make lumps) thickened. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf before serving, unless Lisa is eating with you. In that case, whoever gets the bay leaf in their bowl is lucky if their name is Lisa.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Phone Solicitors

Only a person with a unique mind could work as a phone solicitor. At least, I think it is unique to have a mind that is not open to logical reasoning.

Yesterday I took a call on the business phone from a solicitor. The conversation went something like this:

"Is Rumplestiltskin available?"

"No, he isn't may I take a message?"

"Can you tell me when is a better time to reach him?"

"He does not like to be solicited over the phone. This phone is listed on the National Do Not Call list."

"This phone is listed as a business. For businesses there is really no such thing as a Do Not Call list." (This is not strictly accurate.)

"O.K., you can call him. It will make him mad, but you can call him."

"Well, he isn't in business, then."

So the mind of this phone solicitor must operate under two premises:

1) Someone who has adamantly stated he does not want your calls will buy something from you if you call him anyway.

2) Every business must buy from phone solicitors because there is no other possible way to be in business if you don't.

Under premise one, around age two my powerful intellect allowed me to comprehend that when you do what someone has specifically requested you NOT do, kiss their cooperation and good will good bye. About the earliest you can ever expect us to buy as much as a thumb tack from a phone solicitor is when Hell freezes over.

Under premise two - we receive catalogues in the mail, we have local businesses, we have the internet. Somehow, in our bumbling way we will manage to run our business with out assistance from phone solicitors. Thanks anyway.