...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Walking in Someone Else's Bunny Slippers- and ice cream
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (0)
Share on Facebook
It’s not uncommon to try to imagine what someone else’s life is like, right? And the wider your acquaintance, the older we get maybe, the more likely it is you’ll come across people with amazing stories, right? Good and bad. You hope.

And you hear and you wonder. We all do, right? “I can’t imagine what I’d do if…” “I couldn’t cope” “I don’t know how she manages”. And if you’re like me, you start suspecting that no one’s life is exactly easy. Or at least without challenges or at least no one’s life is like it looks. Did you think “what the hell would I have done in the stadium?” when stories about Katrina hit. Or do you do “where would I go if we lost power for a week?” or anything like that? I do. It’s a way, I guess of trying to empathize, understand what happened, just GET it.

I want all my friends to have it easy. They’re good people therefore….and yeah, happily some do. Maybe they paid back that bad karma last lifetime, when they were a head louse or maybe they just lucked out. I so hope that’s true. I need it to be true.

And I’m not , so NOT a “count your blessings” type person. Even that expression makes me twitch because it’s rather mindless to me and ignores reality. It’s “don’t worry be happy” – I love Bobby McFerrin but Boy oh BOY did he SO need to be whapped. YUCH. Don’t think, just focus on the positive. Whoop-de-DO.

Yesterday, while gong through the latest batch of Sunday New York Times (s?), I came across a piece by Barbara Ehrenreich. I like her stuff, but I can’t always read it. This essay – “Who Move My Ability to Reason?” in the 8/14 Book Review was awesome – a look at all those “how to succeed and be rich” books. There are so fraggin’ many of them out there apparently. Do you ever get the Ed Hamilton catalogue and wonder just HOW many cookbooks the world really NEEDS? And do we really NEED a whole cookbook for tarts? Or a whole kiwifruit cookbook? (ok, I admit to buying some really gorgeous small cookbooks on “olive oil” and “mustard” from them, but oh, they were like 4 bucks each. And they were so PRETTTTTYYYY.

But how many MORE diet books does the world really requires? How many “fat flush”, slow cooker, low carb, or brand name label cookbooks (quick flashback to “Kraft” ads on tv – just add Velveeta and mini marshmallows to Everything and you’ll be a hit!)

But this essay by Ehrenreich was so scary. Apparently the advice to all these Trump-wannabees is to – ready? - think positive thoughts. Never think anything negative and never play the “blame game”. (Okay pop quiz – who in Washington has read this shit.? Or er, had it read to them?) And that apparently your positive thoughts affect the universe. From the gee whiz “if I what I believe and do today is positive, I help create a better tomorrow!” (oh dear jesus) to the expressed believe that “whenever you think something, the thought immediately attracts its physical equivalent.” No wonder evolution is having such a hard time out there; these pseudo-CEO types believe that if you think it, it will come. But then, I’ve had problems with this sort of mind-set since the ‘70s when someone with “The Hunger Project” insisted to me that just thinking about world hunger would make it go away, and since my masseuse back in Boston ended her answering machine message with “and remember to visualize world peace.” And I knew I had to get a new masseuse. I just couldn’t stand it.

Ehrenreich suggests too that the books are far easier to read since they’re directed more at folks familiar with Power Point than Proust (well, I am as unfamiliar with Proust as can be, but I get her meaning.) BIG graphscs filling pages of books - like little buckets - with captions like “Everyone has an invisible bucket.” And goes from there.

Do you wonder what this sort of thinker would do with some real serious problem? Okay, blame is certainly not useful when you’re trying to figure out what the best treatment for your child is – but just have positive thoughts? He’ll be fine if we just think he will? What happens when one of these people crashes? When reality strikes them one day. When something BAD happens? Dear gods, do they just ignore it? Assume it’s a “learning experience”? or is this where they assume it’s someone else’s doing, because it can’t be their responsibility, they’ve been too busy filling their invisible buckets.

ANYway. It’s not quite right, it would seem to list the things I know about people; even if I don’t use names, it’s sort of invasive of privacy and I’d really thing that was tacky but you think about it. But it does put one’s life, shall we say, in perspective when you hear stories. Folks in New Orleans whose homes are mold factories. Or someone who knows someone who still is living in a shelter and has a seriously ill kid. OR a writer who is dealing with some severely amazing shit in her family, whether it’s an ailing parent or a child with a disability you never even heard of. All the folks we know fighting cancer. And do you, like me, wonder how do they manage? I do. I really do. And yet I’ve heard that almost all my life – people, and please, this is not trying for sympathy, you know me, I hope – who tell me how awesome I am because I get my ass out of bed. I’m not. Some of you know there are days when I barely do get out of bed and there are many many more days when I’m whiny and sniveling and cranky because life sucks. But I look at so many of the people I know and am just stunned at what they deal with and how they manage. Yikes.

And now TOTALLY off topic – go to Ben and Jerry’s webpage today and go visit the flavor graveyard ( It’s really cute today for Halloween. And some of the flavors really do deserve to be remembered fondly, while others? I mean they can’t be serious that they really tried “Lemon Peppermint Carob Chip.”

Boo! And other salutations of the season.

Read/Post Comments (0)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.