Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Moan in the Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall: Who’s the fairest of them all?

Not you, oh Demon Glass of Gloom. No, you aren’t playing fair at all these days. In fact, you have some ‘splaining to do.

First off, what’s with the chins? Didn’t I used to have only one?

Though perhaps I’m lucky I can see the chins at all, what with this big honking nose in the way. Perhaps you thought I couldn’t smell adequately with the old one? I realize I may shrink some in years to come, but maybe you could take care that not every lost inch shifts to my nose?

The mushrooming nose might be tolerable if it weren’t for that bump on the end of it. And the bump on my chin. And the one on my other chin. Apparently, you’ve adopted a catchy new advertising slogan: “Pimples: Not just for teenagers anymore.”

And speaking of my teen years, remember when I used to stand before you and actually PLUCK my eyebrows? Oh great mirror, where did my eyebrows go? As you’ve been busy focusing on amplifying my pores, you seem to have misplaced my eyebrows altogether.

Ah, but fortunately, my tweezers have not been rendered useless by the mere disappearance of my eyebrows. Not with this stray hair you show sprouting from one of my chins. Thank you for that.

Not to despair. I am not saddened by the state of my eyebrows, my chins or my nose. No, I am happy as hell about it, if the crow’s feet and laugh lines you’re presenting are any indication. So, should I wear these fabulous new additions to my face like a badge of honor?

Yes, I will do so. And when these odd gray hairs, which are now promptly yanked from my head, start to multiply like loaves of bread and fish? I will wear them proudly, too. (Or perhaps I will consequently go bald.)

But don’t expect to see me smiling about it. An unlikely scenario, now that you’ve decided to do away with my lips.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shot Down

I watched, camera poised, as my then four-year-old crossed the stage in his miniature cap and gown.

The preschool teacher handed him his diploma. "And what do you want to be when you grow up?" she asked.

"A doctor," my tow-headed son replied readily into the microphone.

The audience obligingly applauded, and my little boy grinned out at the crowd, seeking his parents' approving faces. I smiled back and nodded, though I was confused by his announcement.

"A doctor?" I questioned him later. "What happened to wanting to be a policeman?"

He shrugged. "Well, I told that to the girl who was behind me in line. She said policemen get shot. So I said doctor instead."

A young boy's dream crushed, just like that, by the insight of a fellow four-year-old.

After attending a writers conference this weekend in Myrtle Beach, I witnessed more than a few dreams dashed. Many attendees were newbies, with a limited realm of writing experience, let alone any knowledge of how to get published. Others had a full portfolio of manuscripts under their belt--or in a box under their bed. And they were just waiting for that lucky break.

A few of them got that break this weekend. Business cards were exchanged. Queries and proposals were requested. A handful of hopes and dreams were fueled by positive words and uplifted eyebrows.

But others went home rejected. And dejected. Perhaps they will give up writing altogether, after the honest yet subjective words of an agent or editor. Or perhaps they will simply walk away from the experience with a glimmer of insight that will help them hone their craft, and will push them toward success on their writing journey.

The strongest dreams--whether stoked with skill or merely sparked with the kindling of hope--will linger. The strongest dreams, ultimately, will persevere.

Yes, young boys' aspirations may end when they learn policemen get shot. Writers' dreams may end, too, when their story ideas are shot down. Any lifelong goals, for would-be doctors and astronauts and actors, may encounter multiple setbacks along the way.

Dreams may appear elusive, and dreamers may lose hope.

What each needs to understand, however, is that one shot, even if seemingly aimed at the heart, doesn't always prove fatal.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I'm Going on Vacation

10) No current warrants for my arrest in South Carolina.
9) Getting nothing done at the office vs. getting nothing done at the beach is a no-brainer.
8) Word is the hotel's housekeeping staff is sadly underchallenged.
7) Alarm clocks are God's Gift only to the really anal.
6) Nothing justifies "Screw the diet" like room service.
5) So missing those airport random security checks.
4) Lifeguards probably tire of hot twentysomethings in bikinis.
3) I'm actually traveling through time, so next Sunday I'll be a year younger!
2) Four out of five doctors attribute psychosis to Ohio's bipolar weather.
1) Aiding the liquor industry is my own contribution to the troubled economy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Piecefully Sleeping

10:30 p.m.
Sheets freshly laundered. A couple slumbering cats on the end of bed. Fabulous book to be finished. Sigh of contentment uttered. Sleep mode finally achieved. Tonight, I am Rumpelstiltskin.

1:36 a.m.
Hot, hot, hot! So freaking hot! Blanket and sheets banished. Sweaty nightclothes stripped. Thermostat adjusted. Paris Hilton denounced as knowing nothing--yet--about the meaning of hot. Give her 20 years.

1:58 a.m.
Horrific realization of tomorrow's work deadline. Little's been accomplished. Thoughts of potential unemployment arise. Notes feverishly taken to finish project. More thoughts of Paris Hilton. She is being paid $250,000 just to be awake--albeit drunk--and at a party right now.

2:41 a.m.
Fetal position proves unsuccessful. Pillows are rearranged. Irritated cats rearranged. Everyone finally comfortable. Suddenly, R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) replaced by R.B.M. (Rapid Bladder Movement).

3:54 a.m.
Frightening sensation of being suffocated. Bedroom intruder is feared!!! Scream stifled by apparent hand covering mouth!!! Relief ensues. Sleeping cat is removed off of head.

3:57 a.m.
Nagging concern that front door may be unlocked. Extra security measures taken. Confused dog demands to be let out and fed. Door is relocked, again. Note to self: four cats and a dog? Worst. Idea. Ever. Pet conspiracy suspected.

4:14 a.m.
Damn is it cold! Socks donned. Blanket added. Thermostat readjusted. Much swearing involved.

4:39 a.m.
Toes now appear frost-bitten. Thoughts of menopause contemplated and quickly dismissed. Scorching bath poured. Slip and fall getting out of tub. Thigh already a charming shade of purple.

5:43 a.m.
So I am in an airport, and the entire Kennedy family is there, all lined up along the steps of a high staircase. But no, it isn't the Kennedys after all. It is the Von Trapp family from the Sound of Music. A half hour spent awake, pondering the meaning of bizarre dreams. Fifteen more minutes spent trying to rid head of the song "My Favorite Things."

6:30 a.m.
Hot! Did I mention it was hot?

7 a.m.
Up and at 'em, Sunshine! Sleep well? Alarm clock assaulted. Caffeine consumed. Paris Hilton? Probably just going to bed. Hope she sleeps piecefully.