Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fifty Years is Golden

I love my parents. Dearly. Desperately. And have loved them, for forty-seven years and ten days.

Their names are Chuck and Jo Bessey, for those of you who don’t know that, already. And tomorrow, October 1, 2010, is their 50th wedding anniversary.


Yes, I love Mum and Dad. That’s not to say that they don’t drive me nuts, sometimes. They do. And… I return the favor. In spades.

That’s not to say they don’t have their faults. They do. But so does their middle dotter.

That middle dotter is me.

How do I adequately express all that these two people have done for me? All that they mean to me?

I don’t think I can.

They were both from poor, working class families. Families which were proud. Families that stayed together. Both Mum’s and Dad’s parents also celebrated more than fifty years of marriage. That’s a heritage of which to be proud, in my book. (Well, not in my BOOK. Mum and Dad aren’t in my book. Because my book is fiction, after all, and my folks are very, very real. Perhaps ‘by my estimation’, is what I should have said…)

Anyway… I’m proud of my heritage. I’m very, very proud of my parents. They’ve hung in there. They’ve survived. They even enjoy one another’s company.

Most days.

And isn’t that what ‘real life’ is like? Nothing is ever rosy and bright all the time. No one and nothing is perfect.

But there are people who are loyal. People who are honorable and trustworthy. People who stand beside each other no matter what, and take their promises seriously. People who put aside their own ‘wants’ and look out for the best interests of the other. Their partners. Their mates. Their spouses.

People like Chuck and Jo Bessey. My parents.

My heroes.

Happy 50th anniversary, Mum and Dad. I love you. Always and forever.

Top: Mum and Dad at the Piscatiquis County Fair in 1961. Mum was eight months pregnant with my big sister Chris.
Second: Bami and Bappa (Thelma and Arthur Bessey) on their 50th anniversary, December 5, 1975
Third: Mammy and Grankie (Ruth and Milton [Mike] Dolley), August 15, 1981
Fourth: Mum and Dad posing for me in 1980
Fifth: Mum and Dad on Eli's 13th birthday, October 13, 2009

Saturday, September 25, 2010

120 Miles, 10 Stories, and 47 Years...

Monday, September 20th, was my 47th birthday. In typical fashion, I spent the day indulging myself… I worked at the office until noon, ran around Kingfield doing errands, flew home to take care of groceries and check emails, and then drove to Portland for a five p.m. meeting.

You’d think, by now, that I would be an accomplished city driver, wouldn’t you? After all, in the past ten months I’ve made no less than two dozen trips to places such as Bangor, Augusta, Freeport, Brunswick and Portland. In addition to those cities, I’ve driven to smaller Maine burgs like Greenville, Dixfield, Carthage, Bingham, Brighton and Jackson. Dover, Togus, Shirley and Blanchard. Rockwood, Waterville and Vienna (pronounced VYE-enna for those of you ‘from away’…)

Yep, I’ve done more highway driving this year than at any time in my life, so you’d think I’d have a handle on the intricacies of maneuvering in multi-laned traffic, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t you think?

Shouldn’t I have?


My meeting was in the office of a Portland attorney. When I asked for directions, he sent me a map of his parking garage. That’s not quite what I was looking for.

I explained to him that I was a country girl, and that I couldn’t find his parking garage without more explicit directions. In typical rural fashion, I expected written directions including easily recognizable landmarks… a big oak tree with a tire swing in it, a cemetery with an iron fence—that type of thing. And each landmark with exact mileage between them. Because--as hard as this is to believe—I get lost easily.

My friend took pity on me and ‘Google-mapped’ it… an online service which I never think of using. It looked NOTHING like the map of The FARM (seen here, and google-earthed by my pal Jack...)... still, I was grateful. I printed off the map and directions and went on my way after skimming down through the fifteen commands. Being a world-class traveler, I didn’t need the first eleven individual directions, since I knew how to take highway 295 South to Portland. Number twelve said “Take exit 7 for Franklin St/U.S. 1A.” No prob.

No problem except for the road construction that began between exits nine and eight. I was funneled left through cement barriers set apart at approximately the same width as exists between the driver’s side and passenger’s side doors of my truck. With maybe twelve inches to spare. I was beginning to understand why all the tractor-trailers had been re-routed back at exit ten… The barriers changed to cones immediately before the Franklin Street exit, and I hauled on the steering wheel and got off the freeway.

On the exit ramp I pulled out my printed directions and read number thirteen. “Merge onto Franklin Art/US-1 Alt N.” It also said, “Go 144 feet” but I missed that little bit, since it was way over on the right hand side of the page, and of course, it’s established fact that I’m left-handed. Anyway, I was on Franklin Art, and all I had to do was obey the Fourteenth Directive: “Turn Right on Marginal Way”. In light gray letters below it read “Destination will be on the right. About 1 min.”

About One Minute? What the heck did THAT mean?? How far does one drive in a minute? On the interstate, I can drive one and a quarter miles in a minute. On my gravel country lane, a little over a half-mile. Downtown Portland? Who knows? Did that take into account stops at traffic lights? And I didn’t see a single speed limit sign. How fast were we going? Judging by the number of horns being beeped, tapped and rudely laid upon, everyone else wanted to drive faster than I was driving as I peered this way and that looking for a sign that said “Marginal Way”.

What kind of a name is that, anyway? Marginal Way. Marginal. Trivial. Insignificant. Minor. Well, that was just great. No wonder I couldn’t find the danged road… it was so unimportant, it must not have warranted a sign!

I knew by the time I’d reached the waterfront, I’d gone too far. (That’s because I ran out of road, there, due to the Atlantic Ocean being in the way.) I turned around and went back up Franklin Art, knowing that this time I would need to turn left onto Marginal Way. If I could find the Way, that was. At a stop light I pulled out the first map I’d received from my friend… the floor plan of the parking garage where I was to leave my truck if I ever found the blasted office building. Written on the top of that paper were the words, “The building is a brick, 10-story building…”

Oh, for crying out loud. I glanced at the tall brick building ahead and to my left. I started counting windows. Before I was finished, horns started blatting all around me. The light was green. I inched through the intersection, still counting. Thirteen windows… thirteen stories. Darn it.

No ten story brick buildings in sight. I turned left at the next intersection, five p.m. traffic surging all around me. The canyon was dark. I pulled over to the curb, rolled down my window and hailed a pedestrian. The young man came over to the truck. I asked him where Marginal Way was. He pointed me in the proper direction… one right turn, one traffic light (“not blinking, but normal” he said sagely) at which I should turn right, again. I thanked him and drove off. One right turn. The next traffic light was a blinking one. Well, for Pete’s sake. Was I supposed to ignore it and go find myself a “normal” light? And what was up with all these rude horn-honkers behind me, anyway? I turned right at the blinking light. No ten story brick buildings in view. I stopped in the middle of the street and hollered “Excuse me?” to a lady who was walking her dog. “Marginal Way?” I asked. She pointed at a great big church at the foot of the hill and told me that Marginal Way was the road directly in front of it. Whew! I could SEE the church. I thanked her and drove on.

But see…. The street directly in front of the church was Franklin Art. Gosh darn it! I’d been driving around for 20 minutes, and my appointment was in another 15. I turned right onto Franklin Art, looking for Marginal Way at every intersection. Once more, I was brought up sharp by a rather large body of water. I drove around through the ferry terminal and back to Franklin Art. While I waited for the longest red light in the state of Maine, I counted the number of stories on every building I saw, brick or not. I mean, so far the directions had stunk, big time. Chances were good that the building wasn’t brick at all, but stucco, or concrete block! And why would a set of directions include the number of stories in a building, anyway? Surely, folks can’t drive through the city every day counting how many levels of windows there are on each building! And what if some of them are like my doctor’s office in Waterville, where the ground floor is considered the second story, and the basement is the first? Did that same set of warped rules pertain to the buildings in every city in Maine? Oh, man…. I’d already passed a building with nine rows of windows…

I was almost back to the end of Franklin Art so I turned left and drove into a parking lot across from the Whole Foods store. This time, I’d get out and ask directions, and take my map with me. This time, I wouldn’t have to rush. I could listen patiently, and ask for clarification if I didn’t understand! I parked next to the low professional building and walked up to the glass door. It was locked, but it looked like a side entrance, anyway, so I didn’t give up hope. I could see that the lights were on inside… I walked around the building and spied another door. A door with no door knob, no handle, no window. What the heck? What good is a door you can’t open? I followed the concrete sidewalk and came to a third door. No door knob. No handle. No window.


Back in the truck I tried my darnedest not to cry. I had five minutes to go before I was late for my appointment. I dug out my cell phone and called the attorney’s office. His receptionist told me he couldn’t take my call because he was meeting with clients. I was pretty sure those clients were the others in my party, but I didn’t want to argue.

“Maybe you can help me… I’m sitting outside Whole Foods. How close am I to you?”

“Oh, quite close! You can see our building from Whole Foods!”

I started counting rows of windows on every building in my line of sight.

“Great! How do I get there?”

Let me simply say that we didn’t communicate very well. She said that how I got there depended on which direction I was pointed in. I told her I’d point in whatever direction she wanted me to, as long as it got me where I needed to go. She asked me the name of the street I was on. I told her I was in a parking lot and didn’t know the name of the street which ran along in front of it, but reiterated that I was directly across from the Whole Foods store, and that I’d just turned off Franklin Art. She said I should get back on Franklin Art and turn left at the next intersection. Easy Peasey.

Except that the next intersection WAS Franklin Art, and I turned left onto that, instead. And I had no choice but to go back up the ramp, merge with the traffic and travel south on Highway 295. Back into the cones. Headed towards Kittery. New Hampshire. And beyond.

It was my birthday. I didn’t want to cry on my birthday.

I made a quick plan. I would get off the next exit (I assumed it would be Exit Six, but I wasn’t betting on it.) Suddenly there loomed on my left a large office building. With the exact words blazoned across the top which were on my set of directions on how to find the parking garage! Holy guacamole… I was whizzing by my destination at 70 miles an hour! That solidified my decision… off at the next exit, and then…. back THATAWAY!

Things are never quite that easy… I made a turn onto a one way street. I’ve discovered that when one is on a one way street, one cannot simply pull into a driveway, put the truck in 'reverse', and go back the way from which one has come. No. Not in the city. In the city, one is lucky if one can even FIND a driveway, to say nothing about a road that goes in two directions! Who was in charge here, anyway!!!!!

My unerring sense of direction led me around something called a cul-de-sac, which confirmed my suspicions that an American had not mapped out the city of Portland. We’d never put 'cul' and 'sac' in the same phrase. No way, no how!

Well… once back out by the Exit 6 ramp, I turned right. I looked left. And low and behold… there was a GREAT BIG SIGN which said “Marginal Way”! I turned onto it, and several hundred feet along, I was sitting at another traffic light with the ten story brick building straight ahead and to my left. I was there. I only had to turn left through the intersection--aided by a blinking green arrow--enter the parking garage, find the designated ‘client parking’ on the third floor… and run like hell for the sixth floor, where my friends would surely be waiting in anticipation of my FIVE MINUTES LATE arrival. This--after landing in the neighborhood 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

Have you ever parked in a city parking garage? They aren’t like our country garages, where you hit the remote overhead door switch, pull in at ground-level, and park next to your work bench and your riding mower and your weed whacker. These city garages don’t have a nice side entrance door or an eight-to-twelve foot ceiling or a quietly mulling wood stove.

Oh, my God.

Row upon row of cars, arrows hanging from the ceiling and painted on the floors telling how to go UP. A car squealing around the corners in front of and behind me. I found myself crouching as I drove… claustrophobia rearing its ugly head. Following the arrows, I swung the truck to the left to go up to the next level… and there it was. A big, red banner draped across the entrance… CLEARANCE--SIX FEET.

Oh, my God.

There’s nothing quite as humiliating as having to back up in a parking garage with cars behind you. See… that means they have to back up, too. It’s a domino effect of emotion. I was deeply embarrassed. The guy in the Volvo behind me got peeved. The gent in the Saab behind him became irate. And the woman in the Fiat behind him grew enraged.

I prefer to spread the love around… It was the least I could do.

I asked two women in hospital scrubs if they could tell me if there was anywhere on the bottom levels where I could park without getting into trouble, and they pleasantly told me that since the day was over, I could park wherever I wanted to. Relieved, I turned into the first empty space I came to. Actually, I jigged back and forth several times in order to fit. There wasn’t enough room in the garage to make the wide swing which a truck with a long wheel base needs to take in order to fit square-on between two parked cars. My three friends behind me waited so quietly and patiently that I actually had the urge, for the first time in my life, to show them the longest digit on my left hand. But I didn’t. Instead, I giggled. Rather hysterically. And I swore I was never, ever, EVER going to drive to a city—or even to a big town with a traffic light—again! Never.

Never, EVER!

I grabbed my computer case-cum-carry-all. Slammed the truck door. Wiped the sweat off my face and strode to the door with the sign saying “Elevators”. I punched the “Up” button. The doors slid open and I stepped inside. All alone. No strangers to crowd me. Perfect. I pushed the button for the 6th floor and the doors closed. In the silence of my solitary conveyance, a woman’s voice said “Going up” and my heart staggered to a temporary halt.

Judas Priest on a Pony… it was a Talking Elevator! I turned my face into the corner, leaned my forehead against the wall and waited, trying to control my hysteria. I was almost at my destination, and it wouldn’t look good if I arrived in the attorney’s office all sweaty and hysterical and cackling like a lunatic.

Would it?

The elevator came to a gentle stop. The invisible, melodious and articulate woman spoke again. “Level Six”.

Jumping Jehosaphat.

I stepped into the lobby of the 6th floor suite. I’d arrived… and only ten minutes late, too! The receptionist directed me to the conference room and told me that my host was running a few minutes late, and that he would be along shortly. I’d been granted a reprieve, and I sighed in relief. I decided to take a minute to splash my face with water, calm down, get my bearings… restore the utter ‘cool’ that is Kazza BP. I pushed open the door to the ladies’ room and strode towards the marble sinks. As I did, the paper towel dispenser on the wall whined into gear and spit out a foot long piece of brown paper at me.

I hate crying on my birthday. So I laughed, instead.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Quarter Moon... You Know How it Is

My husband was sitting on the edge of the bed, eating scrambled eggs and toast and watching TV. He’d arrived home before I did, and since the kids had already eaten, he fixed himself an easy supper and took it upstairs. I kicked off my heels, peeled off my jeans, pulled on some pajama bottoms and flopped down on the bed behind him, my face tucked into his hip pocket and hidden from view.

My butt got an absent-minded pat and that was the extent of our interaction as a forkful of egg went into his mouth and his eyes returned to “House Hunters”. I’ve never been able to compete with a well-built Victorian. A ranch or a saltbox--yes. But bring on some sharp peaks and exquisite trim, and I lose, every time.

I spoke into his jeans.

“I need something funny to write about.”

“Yeah?” He turned up the volume on the television.

“Yes. I’ve got a deadline for my column. I’ve got to write it tonight, but nothing funny ever happens anymore.” My self-pitying voice was muffled by patchwork quilt and denim.

“Huh!” He was totally engaged in the topic at hand.

“We’re not as funny as we used to be!” The whine sounded pathetic, even to my own ears, and I rolled over and started giggling. Steven took a bite of toast and looked down at me.


The giggles turned to cackles and I lay there laughing all by myself while he looked on, mildly interested, but not overly so. The volume increased again. And I laughed some more.

I was tired. And… tonight is the first-quarter moon. Need I say more?

Sometimes—most times—humor finds ME. Sometimes it’s easy to see the ridiculous in the mundane or the comical in the monotonous. But at other times… it takes a lot of work to look at the bright side. Still, I’m game. I’m always willing to try to rearrange my view of the world until I can come up with a positive spin to put on the everyday occurrences of life.

So… what happened today? It was one of those days when I was right-out-straight. Up with the kids, showered, dressed, checked emails, fed pigs, ran to the office, stopped at the store, went to a quick meeting on my way back to The F.A.R.M., unloaded apple drops and rotten veggies and slop that I’d picked up on my way home for those same pigs I’d fed at seven a.m., put away a few groceries, ran upstairs to check emails, answered twelve of them, answered the phone twice, called each kids’ school to change their drop-off point, did some online banking, drove to a work appointment, took the kids to the exhibition hall so that Josie could enter five photos in the New Portland fair, drove home, fed the kids, built a fire, drove to North Anson with Eli for a required meeting, stopped for gas, drove home…

And took off my heels, peeled off my jeans, pulled on some pajama bottoms, and collapsed onto the bed.

Ho-hum! Blah.

However, as I wrote out the tasks of my humdrum, “blah” day, images flitted across my mind. The gentleman with whom I had my afternoon appointment was a virtual stranger to me. But I wasn’t a stranger to him. He’d heard me speak in public on a couple of occasions, and so he felt like we were old buddies. Before the hour-long meeting was over, we WERE, and he asked for—and got—a hug when we parted. That memory brings a smile, for it’s always nice to make a new friend. A girl can never have too many of those.

At the fairgrounds, I stood in the wings while Josie entered her photos, and I got one of those unique parental thrills as I listened to the compliments my daughter received from the attendant in the hall. And I felt pride when my daughter chose to have her pictures entered in the “adult” class rather than the “junior” category, even though she is young enough to be placed with the other entrants who are under the age of sixteen. She wanted to honestly compete with other photographers, and be judged on how professional and artistic her photos are, rather than simply get a blue ribbon for her efforts. She recognized that she might not win anything, this way… but still, she chose the tougher route.

Another smile.

And then, there was that hour and a half I spent with Eli. Did he do something to make me smile? Hmmm… Well, he aggravated the heck out of me by arguing with absolutely everything I said, tonight. Even if he agreed with me, he argued. Or ignored. Or rolled his eyes, which is worse than ignoring. No, I don’t recall doing much smiling while I went to and from school with my almost-fourteen-year-old son.

But as I think about it now, I’m grinning. He’s a teenage boy. He’s doing what he’s supposed to, and doing it well. My kids have always been good at what they do. No half-measures here. If one of them decides to be surly, they are the surliest of children. And that’s as it should be.

Maybe we aren’t very funny anymore. Maybe I have to work harder at first-quarter moon to find a laugh. Maybe I’m simply tired.

Or maybe, I just require a boost of self-confidence to make everything right in my world. Yep, I think this 1960’s hip-roofed split-level just might need to dive in and give that aging Victorian a run for her money.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Gaping Hole

“I’m proud to be an American-- where at least, I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I’ll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land. God Bless the U.S.A.”

That is the chorus of a song that I love. Lee Greenwood made it a #1 hit during the summer of 1984, and I remember getting choked up the first few times I heard it. I was fighting for my life that summer, but I never paid the ultimate sacrifice. I was in a war but I’d enlisted, and I knew what I was up against. Those 2, 977 innocent victims of terrorism who died on September 11, 2001 did not enlist, and they did not suspect. They went to work or stepped onto an airplane, thinking the world was safe. Sane. Thinking that they would return home to their loved ones that evening.

How can we come to terms with what happened? How can we forgive? Can we ever forget?

Personally, I don’t WANT to forget. And truth be told, I am glad those 19 high-jackers died that day. For if they hadn’t... what would we have done? How long would we have had to look at them, and support them, and wrestle with what to do with them? How much longer would it have taken to heal our wounds, then? They may have firmly believed they were fighting for a good cause. That they were making the ultimate sacrifice to forward their sick and twisted agenda. Their campaign of hate against the western world. They might have truly believed there would be virgins awaiting them. Is it seven virgins? Nine? Nineteen? If I cared enough, I’d look it up. But I don’t care about them. They’re dead, and I’m glad. If that makes me a terrible person, then so be it.

They were wrong. Dead wrong. Violence is never the answer. And no god worth following would advocate the killing of innocent people. No god worth his or her salt would encourage a people to raise their children to hate.

I’m proud to be an American. For all my country’s faults, Americans’ hearts are in the right place. We’ve always tried to be accepting—often to the point of absurdity. We bend over backwards to make foreigners feel welcome. To give them the freedoms we’ve enjoyed… the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom to worship whomever and however they choose. The right to speak out when they disagree with our policies. We haven’t been parsimonious… we’ve shared our privileges and our bounty with people the whole world over.

Some people don’t know a good thing when they see it.

Last year I visited the memorial at the World Trade Center. In the past, I’ve written about how that experience affected me. I’ll never forget the faces on the wall… the victims of terror’s power.

I’ll always remember the faces of the firefighters who backed the truck into the annex next door while I watched… the faces of those left behind to remember their fallen comrades. They confront that gaping hole every day. How do they do that? How do they survive?

I saw the twisted steel. The cell phone. The shoe. That steel couldn’t stand the inferno. The cell phone which was used to call for help. The shoe… just one lone shoe.

Someone’s shoe, for the love of God!

I didn’t lose a friend or family member that day, but I lost something essential, nonetheless. I’m a writer, but I can’t find the words to describe what was taken from me. What was stolen from good human beings across this country and around the world. You’ll understand though, won’t you? While I had it, I didn’t recognize it, but now that it is gone, I miss it terribly.

Nine years is a long time, and it’s naught but a heartbeat. My kids were little on that fateful day, now they’re almost grown. Life goes on, and time stands still.

I plan to stand still for a moment tomorrow morning. If you do the same, please remember those who fell and those who miss them. If you pray, pray to a god of love and not of hate, okay? And if you don’t pray, that’s all right, too. We all find our serenity in different ways, and we each have our own personal faiths. We each are free to practice those faiths in peace.

That’s just one of many things which are truly wonderful about this country. We’re allowed that.

God Bless the United States of America.

Civil but not Silent

When I began to research the topic of industrial wind on the mountaintops of Maine, it was with one purpose. Last fall, Angus King and Rob Gardiner came to Highland Plantation and told locals of their planned development for Highland’s five mountains. The largest proposal for the state at that time, I believed it warranted looking into, even though--to my uneducated mind--I supported the concept of producing electricity from something as benign as wind.

It did not take me long to realize that a grid-scale wind energy plant was not a good plan for these ridges, nor for any others in this state. The environmental consequences, the health risks, the questions surrounding decommissioning, and the ratios of benefits vs. negative impacts convinced me that the development was a disaster in the making. I, along with other concerned Mainers, formed a citizens’ group dedicated to opposing the Highland project.

We knew it was an uphill battle. We knew our opponents had power and influence and money--while we were a simple band of people who came together with nothing but a desire and a conviction to do what we believed was right. We also knew that to oppose the plan in light of the promises made to Highlanders by Mr. King and Mr. Gardiner might very well cause hard feelings in the community. The Plantation was hurting after suffering through years of incredibly high taxes. The ‘tangible benefits’ offered to tax-payers would be hard to refuse.

I’ve never been one to cause a fuss. I’ve always been a peacemaker--a woman who avoided conflict when possible and helped others do the same. In the early days of our opposition, I tried desperately to smooth the waters whipped up by industrial wind. I laid out my motives for opposing the project, and listed those reasons in a personal letter sent to Mr. King. I asked him to withdraw his permit application from LURC. Asked him to do the right thing, instead of the thing destined to earn him a plethora of hard-earned tax-payer subsidies.

In the weeks and months since that time, I have listened to Mr. King speak in public about this project. I was a guest during one of those forums, so I was compelled by a sense of propriety to remain quiet while he spoke. And one of those times, all non-Highlanders were asked at the beginning of the meeting to remain silent. I respected that request.

In both recorded meetings, Mr. King misled his audience. He knowingly or unwittingly made some grave misstatements. Either way, the choice is clear. If Highlanders put their faith in the owner of Independence Wind, they are choosing to trust a man who either knowing tells untruths, or who doesn’t know enough about his subject to speak with any degree of expertise.

It’s easy to spread misinformation when no one challenges you on it. It’s easy to spread feel-good propaganda when your listeners are easily led. But those days are over. The people of Maine are leaders, not lambs. The people of Maine are intelligent, hard-working, thrifty and proud. The facts about industrial wind are coming to light and citizens are working diligently to see that their neighbors are armed with the truth.

Wind turbine developments on the mountains of Maine? No. The negative impacts—and there are many—far outweigh the negligible benefits. It doesn’t make sense from a scientific or an economical standpoint. So, while I intend to remain respectful if possible, I won’t remain silent anymore. Bullies feed on those who appear powerless, but Mainers are arming themselves with facts. Mainers are regaining their authority to shape the destiny of this state. We won’t be lied to. We won’t be bullied.

We will try to be civil, but we won’t be silent anymore.

For factual information about mountaintop industrial wind, see or

Photos of Angus copyrighted by Kaz Pease.
Photo of sweaty, chubby Kaz hated with a passion. However, my point was that while I will try to be civil (notice the smile) I will NOT keep quiet (notice the microphone). Lordy, lordy... the things I put myself through...

Monday, September 6, 2010

All the World's a Stage and It's Curtains for Me

It’s desperation, I suppose. That’s all I can come up with for an explanation. Why else would a reasonable, somewhat intelligent woman put herself through such a thing? Again?!!

Yep. It’s gotta be Desperation, with a capital ‘D’.

Once more, I will be performing a comedy routine to benefit a good cause. Coming up in November (firm date to be announced soon) I will be standing up on a stage, microphone in hand, making a complete and total idiot of myself. A small part of me—a very small part—is looking forward to the event, for if I am successful, it will give me the best feeling in the world. If I am able to cause laughter--and lots of it--I will have eased someone’s burden for a short while. And if there is a sell-out, standing-room-only crowd, I will have also helped to fund a cause in which I believe, and which truly deserves support.

So, I feel a modicum of anticipation. After all, I’m a human being, and what living, breathing woman doesn’t like to know that she might actually be able to kill two birds with one stone? That she might be able to brighten someone’s day AND contribute to a worthwhile endeavor at the same time?


What’s the opposite of ‘modicum’? How do I convey the awesome dread and nervousness that is the lion’s share of the sentiment felt when I think about doing live stand-up again? Every time I survive one of these events, I swear I will NEVER DO IT AGAIN. Never! Not for as long as I live, and probably not for a short while afterwards, either. Each time, as I’m driving home from a show, I say, “You couldn’t pay me enough to put myself through that again!” (A quick aside. I have never been paid for standing in front of a crowd and entertaining them. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason for that. It might very well be that I suck…) (Another quick aside. I hate the word ‘suck’ and won’t allow my kids to say it. However, I can’t seem to come up with another word that is quite as apropos…)

Aw, heck. Not only do I suck as a humorist, I am a sucky mother, too.

See? See what I mean? This stuff gets me all discombobulated. Out of sorts. And in the week preceding one of these affairs, I am NOT a pleasure to live with, either. Just ask Mr. Grumbles and the Grumblettes. Actually, scratch that. There’s really no sense in hearing their side of things, is there? After all, they’re biased. They think a wife and mother ought to be sweet and pleasant, and speak in something less than a snarl. They don’t understand why a woman might lock herself in her room as she paces and practices and tries to suck in her stomach while standing in front of a mirror which she swears she never gazes into. They still harbor the fantasy of a matriarch who cooks their meals, kisses them good night, and asks after their welfare. So in reality… asking for their opinion is pointless, wouldn’t you say?

Oh, man… what have I done?

Stay tuned, won’t you? You just might have a seat in the front row of history. You may actually watch a woman not only self-destruct, but take a whole organization of good people with her as she plummets to the ground in flames.

Each member of the Friends of the Highland Mountains has become a personal friend of mine. I can only hope I make them a little bit proud.

Failing that, I hope I can make them some money.