Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's Time to Cue the Music

I read an article this evening that might have, accidentally on purpose, described my life:

Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types

Apparently, I am Kermit the Frog, an Order Muppet.  There might be legitimate arguments that I am a closet Chaos Muppet, but the first one to come to mind was Super Grover, the hapless hero whose superpower is causing trouble (but that would better describe the husband).

Years ago, my friends and I were up late one night and decided to assign Muppet identities to others in our group.  I am more than sure that my alter ego was Big Bird, which was hardly a stretch given my tall, yellow, awkward appearance.  We handed out some pretty hilarious, yet remarkably accurate Muppet identities based on personality and appearance--from Miss Piggy to the Count, Fozzie Bear, Beaker, Guy Smiley, Dr. Teeth, Oscar the Grouch, Biff and Sully, and of course, Elmo.  (Yes, I remember exactly who was who, and NO I am not telling :) 

Some twenty years later, I would have to reject the Big Bird label in favor of someone more mature.  Although I often feel like the overly fretful and neurotic Telly Monster, I would hope that I am not that depressing.  Like Kermit, I am predictable, particular and I have to have things just so.  I am a manager, director and producer; I am not the self-centered needy talent. I stay in on Friday nights to get ready for the meetings I have to attend on Saturday mornings.  I miss social events because I have work to finish.  I am always planning and plotting and strategizing for the next big move.   

It's not easy being green (and believe it or not, that was one of my favorite Muppet songs as a child).

Now that I think about it, I always preferred the Orderly Muppets to the Chaotic Muppets--Bert (individualist) to Ernie (psychopath); Scooter (needed the show to go on) to Gonzo (overrated hack); Snuffy (perennial pessimist) to Big Bird (clueless dodo bird); and the critics Statler and Waldorf (totally honest) to the Two-Headed Monster (no idea).

What does any of this mean to a Busy Black Woman?  Personally, it meant that someone understood me long before I ever thought to give my mania a name.  I am not a monster or a freak--I am just your average hard-working frog...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Leave the House with a Run in Your Pantyhose: A Belated Mother's Day Tribute

I know that Mother's Day was weeks ago and that the stores are now stocking up for Halloween, but I wrote this piece last month but never got to post it.  Of course, as you already know, that goes with the territory of being the Busy Black Woman (edited slightly):

"Don't ever leave the house with a run in your pantyhose."

Last month, I offered up this statement as an example of something my mother had taught me.  It was a lie.  My mother probably never said this to me.

But she never had to say it because as a rule, she refuses to leave the house with even a small run in her pantyhose.  One Sunday I made myself late getting her for church after I discovered a ladder traveling up the back of my leg in the expensive ‘no run’ pair I was wearing.  Thus, when asked to contribute to a group discussion about lessons learned at mother’s knee, this was the first thing that came to my mind.

Of course, I can think of plenty of things my mother did not teach me, like cooking.  She rarely let me into the kitchen when she cooked, so everything I’ve learned has been through trial and error, very good cookbook recipes, and a few panicked phone calls to my late Grandma Wheeler, whose spirit I invoke whenever I fry chicken or wash pounds of greens in preparation for family holiday gatherings.  My mother did not teach me how to do laundry, a fact that became clear when I attempted to wash my very first load in college and wasted at least two dollars in quarters despite successfully loading the washer with carefully sorted clothes but NO DETERGENT.  My other late Grandma Hawkins taught me how to iron…bed sheets.  My Mom might have tried to teach me how to keep a clean house, but clearly that is not a lesson I took to heart.

Wait, I think she taught me how to wash dishes, but if memory serves, it was my fastidious father who insisted that there was a proper way to stack them in the drying rack…so that probably qualifies as a lesson rendered by both parents.

May, I Never

The title is a pun to describe the roller coaster that was the month of May.  May I never again:

1. Fail to respond to a situation that makes me uncomfortable.
2. Walk around in high heeled shoes on the concrete floors of St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
3. Believe the Baby Niece when she insists that she does not have to use the potty.
4. Expect that members of my family will actually read the very detailed emails I send.
5. Assume that I cannot be replaced.
6. Sell myself short with respect to talent.
7. Doubt that God can do anything!
8. Forget that everything happens for a reason.
9. Allow others to define me.
10. Say never again.