Sunday, May 29, 2005

RX for the Star Wars Blues

Last week marked the end of an era for millions of light phaser-toting, drab garb-wearing, fake asthma-breathing Star Wars fans. As the faces of Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor passed between living walls of screaming fans at the premiere of the final Star Wars episode, I breathed an audible sigh of relief. Goodbye, Luke. May the Force be with you. And good riddance.

As a rather detached observer happily staking my claim on the sidelines of science fiction frenzies nation-wide, I watched the glut of media reports with quiet disdain. Although the whole concept of good people battling darker forces has its appeal, I find myself continually amazed at the lengths to which fans will go to declare their allegiance to the Force.

I heard a radio interview of one guy who'd been camping out in front of a California theatre for weeks so he could be twelfth in line to buy his ticket on opening night. I'm sorry, but all I could think of is, why couldn't he just wait and go the next night? I mean, he'd have to quit his job to do something like that!

Then, there was an old acquaintance of mine, grinning from the front page of a local newspaper, sporting his $500 and three-weeks-in-the-making Star Wars costume. I wish I still had his number. I have a really good use for that $500.

Obviously, I just don't get it. I'm not with the Force or on the light side or whatever it is Luke was always blathering about. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate one aspect of the Star Wars insanity. I can say I do appreciate the laughs in what would otherwise be more boring news about Iraq, the falling dollar and how business professionals can't get hired, but there are plenty of jobs in the service industry. Enough of that crap. Bring on the crazies.

But seriously, perhaps now that we have walked a mile in ol' Darth Vader's shoes, and have a sense of kinship with him despite the pure evil he became, we can happily go on about the more pressing business of American life.

So, for those die-hard fans hoping for the resurrection of Star Wars fantasies on the small screen, I thought I would indulge myself with some suggestions of how you can pass the time until the next blessed event.

*Invent a recycling process for the millions of Star Wars' Happy Meal toys that will be discarded a few weeks from now. There are people dying for want of an alternative energy source, you know.

*Create a living monument to the Star Wars tradition with the thousands of people who would rather quit their jobs than go see Star Wars the night after opening night. They could hold placards that read: "The Force will be with you if you let me work for food."

*Write a screenplay about a young man who saw the first Star Wars movie, became inspired and then grew up to fight the forces of evil in the world. Call it, "Mr. Bush Goes to Washington."

*Finally, if none of these ideas appeal to you, there is one last resort: Move out of your parent's basement, get a job, and instead of spending money on bills, save it for the special edition DVD collection likely to hit stores by Christmas. The Force knows, George Lucas' will need every dime of it to cover his special effects bills.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Procrastination - It's What's for Dinner

I think I'd like to start a new series on my blog entitled: How to find joy in everyday procrastination. Truly, I doubt life would be as innnnnnnteresting without all the last-minute panicking. Now, I know several of you are sagely wagging your heads thinking this is just another bloated, self-aggrandizing example of the way in which my life excels. Not true! I'm putting this out there to show that procrastination that doesn't actually entail procrastination brings a much needed lift to an otherwise humdrum day. Not possible, you say? An example, you ask? Your wish is my...well, it's a suggestion.

About six weeks ago I was at a client site with my sometimes boss, Loyd or Eddie. This was my first time out to this client's business, so we were doing the glad-hand and making all nice-nice...when suddenly I realized it was 4:15!!!!! I was an hour away from home!!!! And my children would have been crying and whining and scratching at my back door for the last 30 minutes since they arrived home to find.....their mother missing!!!!! I gasped! I looked around in panic! I started five exclamatory sentences and breathed in and out rapidly!!!! My eyes were round and protruding, people were dialing phones, alarm bells were going off in people's heads as they twirled their finger around their ear while I was busily exclaiming about my POOR CHILDREN!!!!!! Luckily, I had just the week before made child care arrangements, and had I just taken one quiet little moment to think about it, I would have realized that they had been picked up by the babysitter approximately four times since said arrangements had been completed. Oh, DUH-UH!!!! Furiously backpedaling, I tried to explain how the girls had been instructed to go to the Stone's house if they ever arrived home and I wasn't there, so all was not lost anyway. Which only begged the question: why would such arrangements be necessary in the first place? Judging by the nervous laughter and sidelong glances, I doubt a soul existed at that client site who had one iota of faith in my parenting - or business - skills. Well, forget that part. Just focus on the excitement of the non-procrastination procrastination panic. That's the point.

Ain't it great to have me back?

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Very Few Regrettable Things

I have received several emails from fans asking what has happened to prevent me from regaling you with my special brand of humor as of late. Completely caught up in my own life, I had downgraded you all as a non-priority. But no more! I realize I have an obligation to Keep My Promise: making life good for you through examples from me. So…finding it befitting a person of excellence to be completely open and honest, I thought I would enlighten you regarding a few of the more regrettable things about my personality. You may decide if it dims the sheen of my halo.

1. I sing the guitar solos in all my favorite rockin songs. I know, I know...shameful. A habit I acquired during my brief tenure as Dork in Residence. So far the hypnosis hasn't eradicated it, but I'm sure to strike on a cure soon.
2. I have been known to do my nails as I drive down the street. Priorities, people. If I die, I can't do it with cracked, chipped nail polish.
3. I spit my gum out my window going down the road. I like to shoot it out high and far-I can really make that thing fly, even when whipping down the road at 55 MPH. Often, I hope the people in cars around me observe my trajectory with awe and wonder.
4. While doing that, I once spit it out the passenger window from the driver's seat and missed. OK, it was last summer. Apparently it landed inside the well of the door handle. My boyfriend pointed it out to me as he was getting out of my car, and I did what any normal, intelligent woman would do in such a circumstance: I blamed it on my children.
5. Another odd car-related behavior is that I often have epiphanies behind the wheel. Whether I am overcome with regret, sadness or joy, it often results in erratic driving behavior. Look, if you see me on the street, just get away. It's really better if you do.
6. I have a deep-seeded mistrust of that guiding light known as "common sense." Whatever my instinct tells me to do, I usually do the opposite. Perhaps that sheds a little light on the interview with myself. J Thanks, James.
7. I constantly shed hair. OK, that may not be a personality quirk, but it adds to the overall package.
8. I make great first impressions, but rarely good long-lasting ones. Hmph.
9. I AM INCONSISTENT. Sort of on purpose. It adds to the genuine intrigue that surrounds my life.
10. I am not a high maintenance woman, but I do expect complete and utter devotion from my friends, family, people that love me. It's not that I think anyone owes me anything. It's just that you should give it to me. Kind of like ownership by proxy. If you have it and I need it, don't you think you should give it to me? See, it just feels good.
11. OK, that last one was meant to be facetious. Except that everyone will say it's true. C'est ca.
12. I say I'm open, but I'm not. I say I like people, but I don't. I say I'm funny, but I'm not. Don't listen to anything I say. Well, except about the whole excellence thing. I'm right about that.
13. Here's another thing. I'm one of those people that speak with absolute certainty and authority, but am often wrong. But I'm very good about admitting it.
14. I don't lose my keys, my purse or anything I'm carrying. I don't lock my keys in my car. I don't forget things. But occasionally I do one or all of these things. Part of the intrigue thing.
15. I have been known to turn the wrong way on the same street three times in a row. Return home up to three times for forgotten items in the same morning. Find three left shoes, no rights. And I've been known to bounce three checks in a row. Three is my lucky number.

Oh, I could go on like this forever. It's such fun. But you get the idea. I hope I have inspired you with a few ideas of your own. Have fun being intriguing, inconsistent and just a little bit dorky. People will love you for it, too.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Day by Day

"Day by day the sun comes up. Day by day the sun sets in it's pink home. Day by day the night falls. Day by day morning sets high amoung trees and flowers. People sleep tight in thair beds. Then wake by day. Sun light falls down on all living things. Day by day the children play. Laughing singing side by side. Vowing never to leave. Day by day. The night lay like a fat lasy person who never deos eneything. But day saves us when we think we can't make it. So I say day by day."
-Anna Grace, 9 years old

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hollow Spirituality

"Hollow, where ya been, ya old coot? We were fixin' to draw straws on who has to tell poor Lurlene her old man's done gone and lost h'self for good," Thurm shouted as Hollow rounded the corner of the garage.

"Well, don't let me distract you gentleman from doing your duty to God and man! Go on now and do what you have to do," Hollow replied with his usual savoire faire.

The men all burst out laughing, and Yellow Todd got up to give Hollow the good seat, a broken-down kitchen chair in the shade. As the chief weaver in the craft of tale spinning, Hollow was always given his due respect.

"Come on, Hollow, you promised to tell us about that cow tippin' in the prayer meetin'!" shouted Wilford.

"Now, give 'im a chance to get settled!" Thurm scolded. "Here's something cold for ya, Hollow. Water yer throat before ya dry it out keepin' us fellas entertained!"

The men cracked jokes while Hollow just smiled quietly. Waiting his turn to speak, he delicately removed the top to his home-grown wine with only his thumb and forefinger, then spun it out into the grass. Holding his drink high with his signature blessing, "Lord, I thank Thee for all Thy bounty," Hollow took a long, slow drink. The group recognized their cue and settled down expectantly.

"There are moments in the pulpit when Time seems to hold its breath and it's as if you feel the pulse of God in your head, pressing on your brain...forcing your thoughts into order. The clergy call it the Annointing. For me, it was awakening. As if the door of Heaven had creaked open a sliver and my eye alone beheld the glory of God.

"The awakening never came often enough or stayed long enough for my liking. Marching out of cadence with the Spirit seemed to be my specialty. It's not that the annointing didn't fall. No, it was there all right, like ants at a picnic or mosquitoes in the summer time. I just couldn't seem to get my fill of it. When the annointing would depart, I'd ignore the hint and carry on, grasping for another glimpse of perfection. And that's when things usually took a slide.

"On the particular evening in question, the annointing had fallen like dew from Heaven, covering the just and the unjust alike with its crystallized intensity. I don't think I'd ever experienced such a thick. As if I could reach out, envelope it, draw it close. God was there.

"And when He departed it was as if my soul had been ripped out of me, leaving a barrenness so profound as to drive every thought from my head. It was the contrast, you see. I couldn't bear it. I went into a sort of frenzy. Started screaming, 'Get in line! Get in line! The Lord is gonna heal you tonight!'

"Truth is, I didn't have an inkling of what to do next. I'd never healed anyone. I guess I was hoping that what with the flurry and rush of expectation, the annointing'd have to come back.

"Meanwhile....the people! Like lambs to the slaughter they pressed forward in the overwhelming anticipation that absolutely sparkled along the ends of our nerves. Like water flowing down a drain, the people flowed from their seats into the center aisle of the meeting tent. The line began to form so thick and long, about four people wide and stretching way out the door. God bless 'em, they didn't have any more sense of the spiritual than a tomato worm. Arms held high, eyes squirting, they couldn't even see what was coming.

"I stepped up to the crush of bodies at the head of the line and layed my hands upon two foreheads. I began to pray with all the eloquence of King Lear himself, invoking the God from on high to send a mighty wind of the Spirit to blow through our tent and tear down the strongholds of the flesh.

"In all my gusto, I must have accidentally lost my balance and leaned into those foreheads. Suddenly, those two began to sway. They grabbed for the poor dupes next to them to steady themselves. Unfortunately, having their eyes closed and all, it took 'em by surprise, upset their balance and their arms flew up. It was like poetry in motion: a thick, tight column of human dominoes began to go down in front of my unbelieving eyes.

"And do you know, they thought it was a miracle?! They thought it was that great wind from Heaven flowing from my mouth that blew them over! They congratulated me and began praising God for my gift! No one questioned it.

"That's the funny thing about spirituality. Most everyone in that line was taken by surprise and knocked over. There wasn't a soul there that didn't wonder whether it was God or man pushed 'em over. But no one questioned it out loud. Didn't want to look like a Pharisee. Doesn't take much for one Believer to turn to another and say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan!'

"As I stood struck dumb in amazement, they started praising. Why didn't anyone ask? I was waitin' to tell 'em. That day I became a fraud. I did it because I wanted to believe it was God who touched me with a gift that had blown out over the people. But it wasn't. It sure wasn't.

"All this and yet...I know that deep down they were jus' wantin' a little of what I'd experienced. They just wanted God to love on 'em a little bit."