Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Theories on The Worst Possible Thing

Beignet is truly attached to his balls.  Those things are papery-white, shriveled, and yet still hanging in there! 
We thought they'd be gone by the time we got back from vacation, but there they are! Ghosts of their former selves, haunting Beignet, a bull-in-appearance-only now.

watching the green flash at sunset
Our vacation to Huck's ancestral lounging house at Mission Beach was so tremendously relaxing that when they changed our flight itinerary 375 times on the way home, we didn't care.  We went through Denver, Pheonix, Seattle and from there to Spokane on a 30 second Horizon flight which served complimentary wine which we were all obliged to chug before the tray tables were snapped up for landing: it was nice.  Through it all, our luggage hadn't been able to keep up and I was told to just come back the next day to see if it had made it.

While vacating, we talked of this phrase "wanting something bad enough."  It was used to inspire my middle school basket ball team. I took it at face value;  if I stood at the foul line and wanted to make a basket bad enough, I would.  And it never, ever worked.  I wanted, oh! Did I WANT!  I LONGED to make a basket, just one!  I ached.  I stood on that line and quivered with desire to make a basket only to discover that my coach was an effing liar.  It wasn't until maybe a few years ago that I realized that the "want" only works if you translate it into practicing, like, a LOT.  And so, in that case, I didn't even want to want it bad enough. I would have been honest about that, given half a reasonable explanation of how this "wanting " works.
Pacific Beach combing

I've had all sorts of explanations for how the world works reeking havoc up here in my brain for decades now.  It's been a slow process to unravel it all. I have to take a lot of breaks so I can laugh at myself.  Here is my old-as-I-am explanation for how the world/god/fate works:

I grew up hearing these testimonies... lots of testimonies... in fact I could write a book about all the messed up junk I learned from testimonies: the importance of alcoholism, abusive childhoods, drug use, DRAMA, promiscuity, etc. etc. and what a GREAT story those things make!!!  No one wants to hear the testimony of the good, obedient daughter finally realizing the error (where's the error?  is it that speck of a swearword over there?) of her ways and then repenting, tearfully, and making a dramatic change in her BORING.

So anyway, one of the things I'd hear again and again went something like this, "I didn't think I'd ever be a ___________ (Christian, pastor, wife, human, sober, teacher, mother, etc) or do _______________ (missionary work, funerals, teaching, good stuff, dishes, etc)  And I was sure I'd never _________________ (I'm drawing a blank on this one).  But God has a funny way of MAKING (key word emblazoned on my psyche) you do those things you swore you never would!"  Knowing laughter ripples through room.  Why were those grown-ups laughing?  What secret did they know?  I determined to figure it out in the absurd isolation chamber of my little child-brain.  Late at night.  Laying awake in bed.
forts at the beach house

I would imagine the "worst possible thing" (WTP).  And I developed a very special talent for this which persists to this day!  I would then try to figure out how God would MAKE me do this or that.... would MAKE me get to the place where that would finally make sense. 

WPT:  I'd HATE to be doctor!  Touching people's bodies, blood, bones, dead people dying right beneath your incompetent hands.  And here you'd been thinking for decades about how god-like you were, saving people from the clutches of death, only to have the crushing realization one day, as Suzie bleeds uncontrollably in your human hands, that you are, in fact, impotent against the forces of death, and you realize that your life has been just an empty shell of work and student loans, a futile resistance to the one force in the universe stronger than life itself.  And so you start taking your own pills, by the handfull, day after day after day, making horrifying medical mistakes but not caring because we all die.  We All Die.  Sooner or Later.  So what's a few years off your insignificant lives anyway?

Barry's mega-castle format
Next step:  Oh crap!  Now God's probably going to MAKE me be a doctor!  Well, there's really only ONE way he could do that!

Step three:  Basically, God would have to make my mother or sister or dad or brother or ALL OF THEM die from some previously unknown disease and then I'd have to devote my life to a crusade to discover, name (that's the hard part: what would I name it? VanBoveniphilitis?) and eradicate this disease.  I'd HAVE to become a doctor!  Which brings us to...

Step four:  THE ONLY WAY to save my family is to actually WANT to be a doctor before God has to smite them in his bid to force my hand.  But then they'd never know or thank me for all that debt, medical school and depression that I forced myself to endure just to save their lives.  Maybe I could just SAY I want to be a doctor and fake god out until it's too late for me to go to medical school or study science-y things.


I HATE Michael Dolan ( probably a nice guy - no idea what he's up to these days and I have no idea why I didn't like him... he wasn't a jerk or anything.)!  Which brings us to WPT:  GOD now has to MAKE me marry him!! YUCK!!!  Please, God, don't make me marry HIM!!!  There's NO WAY!  I'll become an atheist!  I'll hate you to the end of time if you do that! (To this day: I wonder in what sneaky ways God could have made Huck be just like Mike Dolan! ACK!)

Pisco Sours on the Roof every night!
Step Three: God will have to destroy the earth.  Mike's the last man on it.  I'm pushing 80, so there's not much time I'd have to spend with him anyway.  AND he had a brain injury that completely changed his personality.  And his acne is gone.  Then.... maybe.

Step Four: no step four.

I guess, life did turn itself strange on me.  I didn't imagine I'd be a stay at home mom. Or be married to a blond, science-y guy.  Or spend vacations in San Diego.  Or drive a Honda.  Or be Agnostic.... but then how couldn't I be? What with a god that MAKES your worst nightmares come true as a matter of course.

But as far as being a home-maker, I hadn't really imagined anything else, or actually SEEN anything else.  I kind of thought I'd only-the-good die young, so tragic, so romantic. They have the BEST funerals. And then I was 24 and maybe that wasn't going to happen after all. And, oh shit!, what if I lived to 85?  How could I afford 20 years of retirement?  God's got 50 more years to MAKE me become a doctor and 45 more to MAKE me marry Mike Dolan.  God could do that... if he WANTS to bad enough.  Let's hope he just sits around wanting and doesn't actually wake up early on Saturday mornings to practice.


  1. Dear Sarah Joy -
    Oh no, I don't want to be the first one to respond, no, please, let somebody else say, "how cute" before me ... But I am compelled, your writing Makes me, no ... I just want to say hello. I love your writing, I honestly miss the context that fuels your reaction, and I love hearing the stories about your farm and your kids and your clean-cut husband, all the paradoxes in a box that only make sense because they're true. Blessings to you, Sara. It's the Grace that's irresistable, not the testimonies.

  2. Oh Andy O! Thanks! So good to hear from you - sj



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