The world seems to be changing before our very eyes. All the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts got me thinking about some of my long-held beliefs.
I intended to go about all this high-level thinking at my own pace, but my quiet introspection was shockingly interrupted when, on the walking trails, I saw a poodle roll to its back in the grass. And there it was—all his gentleman business—assaulting my baby eyes.
It shook me to my core. I thought all poodles were girls. They should be girls—you know it and I know it. Was I out of the country when boy poodles became a thing? Stunned, I stared without blinking and my heart just went out to him immediately—the cruelty of his perm, the indignity of his pom-pom legs. The duplicity of what I saw had me questioning everything.
Next you’re going tell me snakes can be girls. Please don’t insult my intelligence; I wasn’t born yesterday.
Another long-standing belief I have—that I will stick to until I’m six feet under—is what I call “The Tribe Factor.” When I worry for a child that I’m not directly responsible for (because of poor sleep habits, a dreadful diet and shoddy oral hygiene), I self-soothe by repeating this mantra in my head, “Tribes do okay, tribes do okay, tribes do okay.”
I believe most tribes have it a lot harder than the children I know, but they still manage to survive. So yeah, maybe a kid does watch too much Disney—with their haughty girls and swaggy boys—but there are tribes in Tanzania that spit on their babies and those little ones seem no worse for wear. I don’t want children to be allowed to play video games every waking moment, but if a Brazilian tribe routinely eats the crushed bones of deceased family members, then maybe it’s okay if one of my little loved ones occasionally sneaks outside to disrobe and potty.
Side Note: Conversing with a friend over The Tribe Factor yielded this gem, “Sometimes I worry about a potential problematic pregnancy or being sick and it feels so dire, but then I remember people used to give birth and get ill IN CAVES. Their survival comforts me.”
I’ve also always felt like goldfish got a bad rap just because their memory span tops out at three seconds. What we should be questioning is trees—I don’t think they’re the brightest crayon in the box. They’re lovely and I hold them close to my heart, but savvy, they are not. They strip naked in winter and bundle up in summer. Hello, beautiful oak tree, it’s 22 degrees, why did you undress for winter? How do you expect to protect yourself from the elements? On the flip-side, why would a silver leaf maple want all those extra layers when it’s 99 degrees? Maybe trees are dyslexic. Oh great, now I’m insensitive for simply asking the question.
But I have some special needs of my own. I can’t taste anything when I have sunglasses on. In fact, they dull all my senses. They hinder my ability to hear well or make good decisions. I recognized my limitations when wearing sunglasses several years ago and now only wear them when absolutely necessary—like when hearing, tasting and thinking aren’t on the docket.
I have another (admittedly morbid) assumption that I’ll hang onto until it fails me. In order to keep tragic things from happening to my loved ones, I preemptively imagine calamities, in an effort to stop them in their tracks. I have this weird theory that if I CONSIDER it, it’s less likely to happen.
I’m sure we all have loved ones who seem to be the most likely candidates for misfortune; but, how often is the player actually the one you least expect? And for me personally, I can’t think of too many things that derail me like being blindsided. So in the interest of self-preservation, I make sure to consider all potentials and not just the most reckless of the group. Now, instead of telling me how abnormal this is, how about telling me how much you appreciate my selfless efforts to keep everyone safe, huh?
Hey, I never said my assumptions were scientifically sound. I don’t even understand non-rhyming poetry, you think I’m going to understand the arc of a tragedy?
Come to think of it, I believe I’ve slighted myself in one particular area. I’ve always been really scared to pass out because I assumed I’d be terrible at it. I was sure I’d be the kind of fainter to go face-first into the asphalt, but then I thought, “Wait. I’m athletic. I’m not clumsy or spastic. I’m selling myself short.”
I now believe I’d nimbly pass out with the grace of a dancer—barely grazing each section of my body until I’m lying on my side with my face resting comfortably on my outstretched arm—dare I say—almost sexy even. After it dawned on me how good I’d be at fainting, I realized what a relief it was to have one less thing to worry about.
Reconciling long-held beliefs is hard work.
One of my favorite things to see is a bird riding on a cow.
You know those white birds that post up on a steer’s back? It brings me unmitigated joy when I happen upon this sight, not only because it’s funny, but because of the community of it all. Two seemingly disparate creatures coexisting without regard to one another’s political affiliation or athletic allegiance—it does a heart good.
But then one day it dawned on me that the likelihood of that simple-minded cow even knowing it has a passenger is next to nil. Even if he is a docile bovine, he’d probably not take too kindly to a freeloader who deceitfully positions himself in his blind spot. I had to face the facts—that wasn’t harmony they were living in—it was a den of deception.
It made me sad and cast a dark cloud over my day, so I rejected that notion and said, “Nah, that cow totally knows. They’re friends splitting rent!” It made me happy to write their story. If you tell me otherwise, I’ll out you for the lying liar you are.
All this new awareness has me re-thinking something else I’ve believed. We built a house on a beautiful golf course lot a couple of years ago. After a few months, it became very clear how I’d die.
Our house sits alongside the fairway of the course’s signature 13th hole. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but approximately 200 yards from the tee box, which means we get more than our fair share of golf balls gifted to us through the ever-popular slice.
I became convinced I’d die by a Titleist to the temple (otherwise known as T4). Honestly, it was comforting to finally know how I’d meet my Maker, so I could stop worrying about car accidents and e coli. But then the other day, while floating in the pool—wondering if Kim and Kanye have unintentionally roped themselves into directional names for all the kids—I had an epiphany. I bet a golf ball is actually just going to hit my shin.
Why is this bad? Because I’ll endure the worst tibial pain known to humankind—but with zero fanfare. Deep bone bruises don’t kill. They also don’t get you sympathy or time off work—and I’ll still have to worry about the west nile virus. It’ll be such a non-heroic injury.
Someone at work will say, “Hey Beautiful, why you limpin’?” I’ll light up, “Oh, thanks for asking! Get this! I got tagged with a golf ball Saturday—on my shin!” They’ll say, “Oh. Did you know the Xerox color printer is down today?”
Enlightenment is overrated. Some long-held beliefs should be challenged—simply so we’re not all stuck in the dark ages—but others should be clung to, remaining unfettered ’til death do us part.
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.