Let’s take one moment where we don’t fake on the front. Because, yes, a significant amount of the time I am presenting falsely. And we’re being “real” for this moment, so don’t pretend like you don’t do the same. Most of us would not retain our employment. Imagine the service you’d receive if you didn’t apply manners. The friendship-with-total-honesty scenario is too sticky to ponder at this juncture.
However, I’ve been thinking about it. Sometimes I wish I could say what I mean. Sometimes I want to just say the real deal behind the faux furrow. These are the things I don’t say, but that I wish I could at least get across…
-You’re coming on too strong.
-I’m not actually sorry—I just don’t think you’re worth all the energy it would take to express my feelings/point to you. A sham of an apology is easier, please shut up.
-Jealousy is a rare feeling for me, but you do things that make me exceedingly jealous.
-I just…don’t feel anything for you. But I really feel terrible about hurting you—you don’t deserve that…but I’m just not going to be in love with you. Can we just leave it at that?
-Your support is meaningful to me.
-You are important to me.
-I want to be important to you.
-Don’t make me feel important if I’m not.
-I love you.
-I don’t know what I want.
-I have a thousand smiles. This is my smile that means, “I would punch you in the teeth if I weren’t such a classy lady.”
That (the title above, I mean) was a, well, I suppose I’d say punchline during an episode of Home Improvement. Jill’s wedding ring is lost down a drain. I’m fairly sure my memory (and knowledge of series premise) tells me this was Tim’s fault. The hilarity of the episode is Tim’s misadverntures in recovering the ring. When he, of course, finds the ring, Tim and Jill have a tender moment—discussing thier wedding maybe? Tim reads the inscription on Jill’s ring. With a twinge of joke in his voice he reads, “I will never love an otter.” Jill laughs. The audience laughs. She corrects him, “I will never love another.” He quips, “Oh. And all this time I’ve been staying away from otters.”
I’m not sure why this moment from the series stayed with me so strongly. Sure, I’ve always had a fondness for the show. At various times in my childhood, I wished the family was a real family that I knew, and I could date one of the boys (the object of my intent did change now and again). Maybe it’s simply because it’s funny. Maybe I want someone to pledge himself to me and never to another… or an otter… or a giraffe… or a howler monkey… or any other animal, vegetable, or mineral roaming this planet.
Last week I learned this very interesting fact: otters hold hands while sleeping, so that they don’t drift away from each other and get lost. Wait for it….. Awwwwwwww!
I know: nothing about this is scientifically cute, and it is certainly not romantic when you take it into cerebral consideration. But… tell me it doesn’t just tug on your heartstrings. Doesn’t it poke at that space in your brain that makes you want to couple with another being? Here, please hold me hand so that I don’t get lost. Keep me safe when I am veunerable. Make sure nothing bad happens to me. Make me feel loved. Reassure me.
Two things about this:
1) No, I don’t necessarily like to be touched while I sleep. When appropriate, I do prefer someone next to me. And I can try to adjust to your particular spacial needs (closer or further). It doesn’t always work, I promise to try. But still… I want not to be lost while I am asleep.
2) I have, in a sense, expressed this same idea in a poem. I say something about man’s evolution—Cro-Magnon Man battling Neanderthal for supremacy. I say that they’re holding hands just as we do today, only theirs is specifically not to be lost.
Is ours? I didn’t think about it in those terms while writing that piece. I didn’t think about it until last week and the otters. Wanting to keep someone you have a connection to—a friend, a family member, a love—unlost would not be the worst trait to exhibit. People have held my hand for less. “Provider” is not solely a monetary role.
Please hold my hand while I sleep so that I do not get lost.
Have you ever seen Tom Rhodes’ Comedy Central special? I suggest it highly. He’s very funny—which is mostly what I look for from a stand-up comedian.
Among the bits my favorite, though certainly not the only one I like, is about trying to find the right person. Hee-lar-eous stuff. Also, very true and insightful. Isn’t that the trite but true phrase?: It’s funny because it’s true?
Did you know, according to Tom Rhodes and Mother Nature Network, penguins mate for life? Is this cute? Or is this depressing because I’m human, and if you look in the yellow pages for divorce attorneys (wow) or ever have a job (like I currently do) where you see just how many child custody arguments have to be worked out between people who used to love each other, it doesn’t seem we have this mate-till-we-die with one other person thing worked out ourselves.
Let me quote Tom Rhodes to you, courtesy for Jokes.com (I sincerely suggest watching it for yourself. Trust me.).
A penguin has the same little penguin for a total little penguin life. Think how many screwed up relationships you’ve had, how many times you couldn’t make it work—a penguin can do it better than you can. Think about it, man. A penguin can look out at a seafull of 8 million other penguins, all look exactly the same, and go, ‘There’s my baby!’
A penguin can do it better than us.
It’s like on Friends before Ross and Rachel get together (for the first time). Pheobe explains that lobsters mate for life and walk down the beach claw-in-claw when they’re old. “She’s your lobster,” Pheobe tells Ross.
Incidentally, lobsters do NOT mate for life. That may or may not matter.
Still: the thought makes me smile. I’d like to enjoy being old with the same person I enjoyed being young with.
Be my lobster, anyway. Let’s take a lesson from the penguins and the otters. Will you hold my hand so I won’t be lost?
In conclusion, I cannot promise not to love an otter. They are very cute—especially while sleeping and holding hands. Just look.
Yesterday got me thinking: What other animals mate for life? I tend to think of it as a unique process. I tend to think of it as an ordeal of a high functioning organism.
Turns out…not so much.
I stumbled upon this list while clicking around on the Mother Nature Network site. Turns out, it’s a very interesting site.
These are animals, besides penguins as we discussed yesterday, that do it better than us:
1) Gibbons: Maybe I didn’t realize how cute gibbons are. I knew a boy in college with the last name “Gibbon”, and he was certainly not faithful. Actually, I know many “Gibbons”, but I don’t feel comfortable making accusations about all of them.
2) Swans: Well, aww. We all knew this, yes? It’s the tragedy of Black Swan—and yes, I mean the actual ballet. The tragedy of the recent film is that there never is a graphic love scene between Vincent Cassel and Natalie Portman. Yes, yes, yes. Whatever. Leave me alone. I am attracted to him and cannot help it.
3) Black Vultures: Yikes! Good. Contain the creepy and ugly. (I’m sorry, black vultures, that was mean. You’ve done nothing to me to deserve that. However, I do not want to mate with you.)
4) French Angelfish: Have we found the only monogamous French thing? No hate: I’m a total francophile. I’m just joshin’. Also, two words: Vincent Cassel. More importantly: Olivier Martiniez AND the French National Rugby Team. Now I won’t mate with black vultures, but, well…
5) Wolves: I dig it. I already had a fanciful attachment to wolves via my beloved Jack London. Wolves, you just upped your stock value in my eyes. Maybe I can get one to mate with Brandygirl…for life, of course.
6) Albatrosses: I’m not going to lie to you; I’m kinda creeped out by albatrosses. Also, I know several jokes and riddles centered around albatrosses. I think that’s strange. That’s all I got on this one.
7) Termites: Eww. Honestly, I don’t think this one counts. All the males in the colony mate with the Queen…then die. This Queen is totally cheating the system. Even our leaders don’t do THAT. (I think?) This seems like way too much work anyway. How do you keep up with the monogrammed towels?
8) Prairie Voles: Mother Nature Network says, “Rodents have a reputation for promiscuity.” …What? Prairie voles seem to be the exception. Who knew? Good job. They’re like the Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson of the rodent world. One question: are Mikey and Minnie swingers?
9) Turtle Doves: Yes, super sweet and super trite. Is it turtle doves where one dies if you take the other away? Let’s not attempt that level of stick-togetherness. What a travesty a business trip would be! “But, babe, I gotta go to Cleveland…”
10) Schistosoma Mansoni Worms: Ugh. I wish I could go back to not knowing this. MNN says they, “May not offer the conventional image of love.” Ya friggin’ think?! Then again, I may have met more slithery creatures at bars. MNN also says these lil’ guys are, “Far more faithful than the humans they inhabit.” So lemme get this straight: we can’t keep a mate AND we got worms? A worm better at relationships? Just kick us when we’re down.
11) Bald Eagles: How noble! I suppose that makes this an ever better (albeit, ironic) National symbol than imagined. The only times a bald eagle gets a new mate is in cases of death or impotence. Well, I can’t blame ya there.
Here’s the funny part in all this for me: I have a great fear of birds. (There are reasons.) Many of those on this list are birds. Now: ask me about how I feel about commitment. (Pst, Answer: I’m good at it…though a bit afraid.)
Please tell me you are obsessed with Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live as I am. Oh, you’re not…then this is gonna be awkward. On the Sunday episode every week, Mr. Cohen gives his 3 wishes for the week. And me… Now I’m doing it too. Really, this would be a ton cooler if you knew what I was talking about.
1) I wish the NFL strike ends this week, if only for 2 reasons: 1-It’s superfluous news-grabbing distraction in a time when we need to focus on other things. (Wag the dog, baby?) 2-my cousin needs a job..
Also, I’m unsure how to live in America without Football. (The distraction of a game on Sunday or Monday…and sometimes Thursday…is different than months of squabbling on my TV and internet news pages.)
2) I wish we’d get over sensational trials for the summer already.
I wish we would find out Rupert Murdoch didn’t even do anything wrong. This might be a stretch, but I don’t care. I want to find out people are better than we jadedly assume. I feel like this could be another nail in the newspaper coffin. I’m not ready for that yet.
I hope we stop bleeding talking about Casey Anthony. It’s over. What possible thing of validity can you say anymore? I sincerely wish she continues to stay under the radar. Nobody offer her any interviews, any reality shows, etc. It’s terrible form. Why is it still all over CNN?
Also, as horrific as it sounds, I hope they find Tyler Hadley (the 17-year-old in Florida who beat his parents to death with a hammer, then hosted a house party) has serious, diagnosable physiological issues—because the idea of slaying your parents to be able to have a party is more than I can bare from humanity.
3) I wish soon everybody who wants to get married, regardless of sexual orientation, can soon do so, just like they can now in New York State.
(In addition: I sincerely wish I knew how to say meaningful enough things to offer solace to the families of the victims in Norway, and victims of horrific crimes everywhere.)
1) I wish I can be able to do what my nextdoor neighbors did. Today, I went to their renewal of wedding vows. They have been married for 50 years and have made it through great times and terrible times. They are amazing people.
2) I wish that I have a wonderful time with my friends who come to visit this week.
3) I wish I get into less arguments this week.
(Yes, I have very selfish wishes this week. It’s OK. I can wish for the bigger picture throughout the week.)
Really, it’s not all that important, but I wanted your attention.
Now, purely a hypothetical scenario (FYI—when anyone says these words to you, it means whatever they’re saying HAS happened or WILL happen. OK, now that we’re on the same page about that…):
If you wrote a non-fiction essay, and it was about to be published… and you just know someone from your past—about whom you did not write this piece, but I suppose could be mistaken as so, and he always tries to re-enter the scene at moments just like this, as though some bat light shines into his window alerting him that you’re happy and successful and not even thinking about him while you pen an essay you rather like and only realize he might get ahold of it once it’s been picked up—would it be better for him to think it’s about him or for him to be annoyed that it’s not?
This is like “is it better to burn out or fade away?” for rockstars, but the exes-of-writers version. (Also, if you can avoid it, you want to be the ex of neither scorned writer nor successful, writes-his-own-lyrics….take it from me.) My own answer to the burn-or-fade comes courtesy of Courtney Love on Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” album (duh, where I go for all my best life advice). It’s better to rise up than fade away. Dig, Court.
Except… that doesn’t really answer my particular whiny plight, Courtney. See, if I have to get into a conversation about why it’s not about him, I can already see me pounding my head on the desk, saying we were never as happy as he’s making us out to have been (oh, we might have been, briefly), telling him I could never be objective enough about him to write a non-fiction essay, and that no we should never try working anything out, and yes I will cop to being madly in love with somebody—anybody—else if he’ll just quiet up.
However, I strongly suspect this is not how the conversation will go. This is what would have happened a few years ago, undoubtedly.
But lately, anytime something of my is published, or he gets wind of social media status yadda yadda, he thinks it’s about him. Admittedly, there are lines in poems inspired by him, directed to him, but not enough to warrant swagger. Rarely is an entire piece I’ve written about a single person or a single event. Hi there, artistic license. (You can ask my rockstar ex all about that one. “Artistic license” is his favorite excuse… also, he’s not a rockstar anymore. That’s actually really unfortunate for the world, a bit of solace for me.) Anyway, this is not about any rockstar.
I don’t like the smug phone call or email about how I’m still writing into him, my writing tells him so. Number 1) I rarely can write about someone I’m currently “into”. (Is it “into” or “in to”?) I need space, I need time, I need to figure it out before it goes down on a page. It’s not just a blog after all… tee hee. 2) It’s not about you anyway! I have known other people in my life, I continue to meet other people in my life after I got you (mostly) out of my life. I have met people equally as interesting, or more interesting that maybe I will write stories, poems and/or non-fiction essays about. I’ve also met people less interesting, but well, who besides a Thanksgiving turkey wants filler?
And here’s a promise: if you direct your sister to this non-fiction essay that is clearly not about you if you read details, and tell her it IS about you, and she calls me to cry about how obviously in love you and I still are… I will punt her back to California. Get off my coast.
Nothing makes a person so full of himself as a break-up. (Wait… is this just my former flames? Is this just a defense mechanism? Are, perhaps as I fear, half of them just jackasses?)
And so I’m just going to want to yell: YO! NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU!
Except…this blog post really kinda is. And realizing that is grating and purpose ruining. So, let me ask you some other questions so not every word is about a person I’m tired of talking about and to.
Why do old men always think they have the right-of-way?
Why do old men thinking they always have the right-of-way yell at ME for things like driving straight while they’re all turning left at stops signs they haven’t even stopped at? Excuse me, sir, but I would like also to get old. Please do not crash into me unnecessarily.
Do I really, seriously have to feign polite conversation with every batty stranger on the elevator? Can’t they just shut up and face front? I will deal with a comment about the weather. I’ll probably reciprocate appropriately. Yeah, I almost forgot what the sun looked like, there’s been so much rain… Cold enough for ya?… Hot enough for ya?… That’s some wind; blew me all the way in from the parking lot. Really, I think that’s all human decency requires from me. I don’t want to hear about your lazer-off-my-bunyan appointment on the 5th floor. I’d just as well assume—if I care to wonder about your destination at all—that you’re going to the dentist on the 5th floor. Keep some mystery, girl. Where’d you go to finishing school at? (Somewhere behind that preposition, one would hope.)
If I see the Altheimersz patient that frequently roams my street in early morning hours again trying to break into the car of the neighbor I cannot stand, is there any reason besides “good karma” that I should stop him? He’s never successful anyway.
So there’s all that for you to think about. Also, have we decided on an answer to my initial question?