Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Joke, Lunch with the Rug Designer, and other matters

When I was little, the following was one of my least favorite jokes: An old man who loved bologna lived with a little boy who loved candy. One day the old man said to the little boy, "Here's three dollars. Walk to town and buy me some bologna. And if you spend that money on candy instead, I'll beat your ass." So, the little boy put the money in his pocket and headed into town. Of course, he intended to buy the bologna, but when he saw all the candy in the store, he bought that instead. But, oh, was he terrified of going home. He'd endured the old man's whippings before and dreaded even the thought of them. And suddenly, he was struck with an idea. He pulled out his knife and cut off part of his butt. He brought it home and, when the old man said, "Where's my bologna? You'd better not have wasted that money on candy," the little kid handed him the raw flesh. And waited. The old man chewed and chewed and then finally declared it the best bologna ever. I'm going to spare you the middle part, but suffice to say, this goes on for many days until one day, after the kid has spent all the money on candy, he realizes that he has no more butt to carve off. When he gets home, the old man asks him "Where's my bologna?" and the kid answers, "I spent the money on candy instead." And the old man says, "Well, then, I'm going to beat your ass." And the little kid just looks at him and laughs. ***** I had lunch with the Rug Designer yesterday, who really is a rug designer. Let me tell you a story she told me that, I think, kind of captures the essence of her. Before she was a rug designer, she was watching the Discovery channel and saw a show about a woman who designed rugs. The Rug Designer thought that seemed like an awesome artform. And at the end of the show, they said that this woman sometimes gave lessons in how to design runs and so the Rug Designer got on a plane and flew out west to learn from this woman. And that's exactly what having lunch with her is like: this feeling that you're sitting across from someone who is open and daring and will make sacrifices to bring herself aesthetic pleasure. Sitting across from her, I was reminded how our souls are like vast landscapes--parts are well-manicured and other parts need someone to hack away at the underbrush. Some people, like the Rug Designer, you meet them and you just feel like you're with someone who is well-acquainted with her own soul, someone who can lead you around it and point out the beautiful delicate things she's spent years cultivating and who is just as delighted by the volunteer corn coming up near the daisies. ***** If I were leading you on a tour of my soul, I would have to warn you that I appear to be caught in the brambles and that I don't see any way of extricating myself from them until after Thanksgiving, at least. I'm going down next week to see the recalcitrant brother, and as excited as I am to see him, I also have not called him to firm up any plans. I keep saying to myself that I will call him today, but I've been saying that for two weeks. I'm coming to see him; I'm not sure if he knows it. Then, after I get back, the folks show up for Thanksgiving. I was going to do another Holiday Scavenger Hunt, like last year, but I can't bear the thought of it. Instead, I'll just be sitting there wondering how many times I'm going to have to hear the original version of "Being with you will be some man's personal hell," the remix of which made a surprising return to the charts this very week. One wonders when the men I care about will stop telling me that. One wonders when I'll stop giving a shit. I'm betting on "when I'm rotting in my grave" for both. ***** Anyway, I think it's obvious why I didn't like that joke when I was little, but I appreciate it now.

3 Comments:

Blogger bridgett said...

Could be that you're caring about the wrong men. You got hit by a drive-by, but don't take it to heart. We are not who people say we are (thanks Eminen) or else we could call assholes chocolate bars and solve all the world's problems. A person who tells you something hurtful "for your own good" is justifying meanness by calling it kindness.
Anyone who engages in a pattern of knowing, humiliating, casually demeaning remarks designed to make you feel bad about who you are and what you think isn't worth the time of day.

11/10/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger rugdesigner said...

OMG, B, you've made me cry! I know that sitting across from me was a soul that I am going to thoroughly enjoy getting to know. It was a blessing to be with you.

Those that may have told you that being with you will be some man's personal hell I would guess would be men that are unsuccessful in [meaningful / long-term / positive] relationships. Perhaps it is more of a reflection of themselves manifesting in some guru-wannabe disguise. I can't say for sure. It's just a possibility... ;-)

Any person worth any salt fortunate enough to laugh with you knows better. Don't let someone else's words cause you to doubt your inner voice about what is right for you. You've got smarts, girl, and you're good-looking, too. I'd offer to punch them all hard in the stomach, but 1) you've seen me; I probably wouldn't have much effect other than to make them hurt via laughter and 2)I try not to resort to violence if it can be prevented. Seriously, water off a duck's back, B. Which I know is easier said than done, but with practice, it does get easier.

11/10/2005 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Let me at 'em! Like self-esteem is easy to come by these days to begin with, huh? I'm only a short drive with a baseball bat to the knees of anyone who hurts you.

11/10/2005 05:03:00 PM  

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