It's pretty easy to tell when I'm under stress. Instead of laughing all day long, I only smile or chuckle in snippets. Instead of a huge comedy culminating in a final chase scene involving my lunatic household, my life more closely resembles a soap opera with an occasional light-hearted moment.
My apologies for the drama.
But here are some of the more amusing moments over the last few days:
One friend tells me about a conversation she overheard at the playground. A man was loudly criticizing parents who won't get cell phones for their kids. He feels that these children will be at a technological disadvantage if they don't have them. And he, for one, would never do such an irresponsible thing to his kids.
Boy, his kids have him schnookered, eh? It's funny...I didn't have a cell phone when I was a kid, or even as an adult until recent years. In fact, I am frequently without the cell phone, or it's off, or I left it in the car. I actually have the idea that the cell phone is for my convenience, not the convenience of the world. I suppose I've been languishing with my technological disadvantage and didn't even know it. I'll try to be more aware of my own personal suffering from now on, and I'll have to think hard about getting my kids this important and difficult to figure out modern tool. After all, I'd hate for them to not get into Harvard simply because I withheld such a basic and inexpensive thing.
The friend told me about a recent movie (sorry, I can't do names of actresses or movies, I'm simply not hep enough...proof of my technological disadvantage, I guess) where two young ladies (dumb blonde types) were trying to get jobs. One is asked how fast she can type. "I don't know, but I can send five Instant Messages in one minute," she replies. That's job skills for you.
This friend also received an email from an acquaintance who ranted about why her family does not celebrate Christmas. She's not a Jehovah's Witness; I think she was an independent Bible-thumping type. Of course, the problem with rejecting the teachings of the Church (any church, I suppose, but dissent from the Church founded by Christ in particular) and leaning on a Bible-alone personal interpretation, is that every individual is free to create their own religion as they see fit. So, instead of one Church, you have billions. And nobody really has any authority to say what is right or wrong. We're all right!
Anyway, in case you're wondering, eternally damned Catholics under the helm of the evil Constantine invented Christmas. And since nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that anybody celebrated Christ's birth, she felt that they shouldn't either. Of course, the Bible doesn't command us to celebrate anybody's birth, nor does it command us to go to the beach for a week and have fun in the sun, but people seem to do it anyway without incurring the wrath of God.
As for December 25th, I don't think too many Catholic theologians are pretending that it is the actual date of Christ's birth. There are tons of political, practical and symbolic reasons why that date was chosen. And as for the gift-giving commercial hype...what's really funny is that it's all an American anti-Catholic phenomenon. In most Catholic countries in Europe or the Americas, all the gift-giving is associated either with December 6th (the feast of St. Nicholas who gave gifts to the poor from his own wealth) or with January 6th (the feast of the Epiphany where the Three Wise Men gave gifts to the infant King). But Protestant America rejected these Catholic holy days and shifted the focus (and hence, eventually, all the hype) to the 25th.
OK, I'm ranting now. Silly people make me do that. But it's not a rant of anger, it's one of amusement, I swear.
Moving right along, an acquaintance and I were discussing the formation of good habits. She reminded me that they say it takes 21 days to make a new habit...she says that for women it takes 28.
And the problem with sexual stereotyping is that much of it is true.
This same person also told me, "Michelle, what I like about you is that you're so real. All these other women I know never yell at their kids, they're so soft-spoken. But you, you're not like that."
And here, all along, I thought I had the world fooled.