Enlightenment Is Overrated

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.”

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

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?

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

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.

lostlunch blog

He has no idea.

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.

Proof of the 900 times I've narrowly escaped death.

Proof of the 900 times I’ve narrowly escaped death.

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.

Crap.

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.

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40 thoughts on “Enlightenment Is Overrated

  1. Ok, so I had a few different things I was going to laugh about – the fact that I totally agree with the imagining catastrophes for those around me as a way of warding them off (I’m not psychic, right?!), the “den of deception” that the cow and bird are embroiled in – but then, I hit the end and fell outta my chair. “Hey Beautiful, why you limpin’?” Um, WHO is saying this to you in your office?! “Why you limpin’?” LOLOL I’ve conjured up a variety of people:)

    • Hey JB, if and when it does happen that I get pegged in the shin with a golf ball and have a limp and someone says, “Hey Beautiful, why you limpin’?” … I’ll be sure to tell you who it is! 😉 Laughing for days over this question btw!

  2. “…then maybe it’s okay if one of my little loved ones occasionally sneaks outside to disrobe and potty.” I am on the FLOOR over this!!! And you are 100% correct about the cow and bird being buddies and having a deal with each other. No other explanation needs to be entertained!

  3. Sis, I am with you and Moma on this one….poodles are girls and snakes are boys. Also, you’ve seen me get completely beside myself because I can’t hear, smell or feel in my sunglasses. Moma too, that’s so interesting. I bet we get it from Grandma. 🙂 This is one of my favorites! Also, I so love seeing a bird on a cow’s back. I do think they know. I’ve always thought maybe the little bird had been bullied and the cow stepped in and was like, hop on little buddy…I got this!

    • You can’t “feel” in your sunglasses, SNORT! Me neither. I even find myself wanting others to take theirs off when they’re not absolutely necessary. “Hey Jocelyn, it’s not sunny anymore … don’t you wanna be in the moment?” … “Huh? I am!” … “Not possible in sunglasses—please remove them.” Haha 🙂 And LOL over your assessment of the bird/bully/cow situation … I LOVE IT!

  4. Very amusing! Made me Lol! My philosophy is to anticipate the worst and hope for the best. That cow totally knows btw!
    I like your golf ball collection. Cheer up, Anna Lea, one of those suckers could hit you in the cerebral cortex and do a fair bit of damage. Oh, and don’t keep us in suspense here! Did the Xerox colour printer get repaired yet, or what?
    😉

    • Oh my gosh—I thought my logic was possibly flawed but now I know it’s not. There are MANY others like us … so it must be solid, right? RIGHT??? 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

  5. I hate to call you a lying liar but – there is no such thing as a male poodle. Take your sunglasses off and look – it is just not reasonable! What you saw was probably a coyote dressed up like a poodle. They are so devious!
    The bird on the cow is so easy to understand that I’m surprised you missed it. The cow hired the bird to be a lookout while the cow has the head down eating grass. The bird gets paid with rustled-up bugs from the cow’s movements. The cow gets warned if a cowboy is coming. This ain’t rocket surgery!
    I agree with Ms. Hoffman. You need your own talk show.

    • Shake-laughing over it being a coyote. Well-played, Sir. And I bet you Taco Villa you’re right about the bird/cow duo and I’m completely giddy over them now again! They’re BFFs through and through 🙂

  6. I think I laughed at every single word of this. It might be the funniest thing I’ve ever read. And I do wholeheartedly appreciate your selflessness in keeping me safe from imagined catastrophes, since I’m a little busy over here assessing every possible scenario where my children can get seriously maimed or die. I totally recognized my own anxiety-prone self in your thoughts. I ALSO just posted a blog Kim and Kanye. Twinsies!

    • For starters, I’m THRILLED I could make you laugh 🙂 I also truly appreciate you appreciating my selflessness. I’m glad someone does. Good on you, too, for keeping your children safe. I saw your blog post pop up … off to read asap!!

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand non-rhyming poetry. If it makes you feel better, I totally respect the gravity of a shin injury. It’s like bumping your elbow – it seems petty but anyone who has been there knows what a unique and excrutiating pain that is.

    • Shin injuries are not of this Earth—thank you for uniting with me on this. I can’t make this up … I got drilled in my lower shin once a long time ago and I swear it took over a YEAR to heal. SERIOUSLY! It might still be tender today … I don’t want to check. Thank you for stopping by!!

  8. I must say that of all the things that you described and pontificated upon – the poodle is my favorite part – I honestly never thought about a poodle being male – clearly by the demand of genetics, you know they are but I automatically presume them female – especially when they are all girlified 🙂 The proximity to the golf course has me a bit worried for your safety but likely, in as much, I worry about the child about to immerse himself in some dangerous situation while at the park as Mom is busy chatting away not even glancing at this wayward acrobat … I think to myself, “Is no one watching this child?” .. and my heart skips beats until he has safely untangled himself from imminent doom! I am often told, “It is not your problem” but I think to myself, oh but it is!

    • Oh but it is indeed! And yeah, I worry on and off about the golf ball situation, but I’ve told God I’d really super-like to not get hit and I reiterate that silent prayer from time to time. So far, so good! I hear all your scientific talk about genetics and other big words, but Sasha … poodles just are girls. Let’s shut the book on this discussion, ok? 😉 (ps. thank you for being here!)

  9. Did you see the documentary “Babies”? Where 4 babies from different countries were followed for their first year of life? There was an American, Mongolian, Japanese and African baby. It was touching and comical and nerve racking (when the Mongolian baby crawls in the fields with the cows) but all 4 babies did fine and nothing bad happened. It is a GREAT documentary.

  10. Hilarious!! And sorry to say, yes there are boy poodles. Now if they were to talk, I’d imagine a bit of a lisp and alot of paw flapping, but they are still male. I also imagine the horrible things that may happen to myself or my loved ones. Not morbid at all if you ask me. I think of it as more of a preparation so if these events happen, you will know what to do since you’ve already planned out a test run in your head 🙂

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