Your best is an idiot!

Bender has a way of defining how I feel about most things. Does this mean I am a robot? Probably. I’m usually just goin’ through the motions these days, what with my being 65% grownup now. That 65% is a made up statistic, as 99% of statistics are. But I do think it’s a pretty good estimate of how my growing up is coming along.

I am a rare animal in terms of maturity. I have an overwhelming wealth of trivial knowledge about things like grammar and metaphors, irish gaelic history and wine, pasta salads and fashion designers. You know, important things. I’m an excellent listener and I am always around if someone needs comforting. On the other hand, I throw a mean tantrum, view life as an overflowing river that pushes me along without any need to get my oars that wet and, generally, I’d rather be playing a video game than doing a power point presentation. This makes me fascinating and infuriating at the same time. If asked to define one’s impression of me with only a noise, it would probably be ‘OooGRRRRRRhahaha’. Something like that. There might be the smash of something hurled in my direction at the end there as well.

At dinner with my family last night, we were talking about my sisters’ and my relative ‘humour’ as wee ones. The consensus is, up until the age of 5, I was a pretty ecstatic child. Giddy and gregarious, I sang songs to strangers in the street and inquired after opinions on pumpkins and ‘wobs’ (a made up word for green beans) because I thought they were ‘smashing’ (a word I learned from one of my grampa’s Fawlty Towers episodes). I was always smiling in pictures. Then, quietly, I became taciturn and morose. Pictures of me on that fifth year and most of my sixth hold the dour face of a grouchy girl whose freckles are the only childish thing about her.

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and I finally figured out why: Up until that point, I was an only child. The self-absorbed quality of the conclusion makes me chuckle inward a bit because my sense of humour has slowly been returning this year. I don’t know why now instead of when it would have been more prudent an appearance – in college, par example. This means that a sense of humour is apparently integral to growing up. Without it, one’s emotional health stagnates and poisons the blood. I used to look in the mirror as a girl and wonder why I was this person. Why not Jennifer next door, or Rachel down the street? Why not my dad or my dog? A constant interrogatory battle is waging within me and it is this in the end that holds me back. I can never accept that I am merely myself. I surely must be something else, or will turn into something else.

It is also this existential tug of war that causes me to test the waters of the lives around me with various stimuli, just to see what it will do. I don’t realize until after I’ve done it, of course. Because I’m not a sociopath, I do feel the weight of the stones cast into those waters – even after I’ve let them go. Anywho, here’s a poem I wrote around the time of Monty’s death a few weeks ago. I think it adequately sums up how I feel about being a creative creature who might never grow out of being a saucy and selfish sort.

the valid stamp of
‘past due’ applies to
so many aspects

of the writer’s day,
the writer’s feelings,
the necessity of the writer

herself.

that she sits down
to hammer out such
prosaic mosaics

that the tepid tiles
of attempt need no
caulk, nor sexy set

of symphonic
syllables *syntax goes here*.

they meld together
easily,
without incident

without riot;
not a picketer’s sign
among them – they
being the sets of words
set down with certain intent

(but withough feeling).

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