The Bad Example

Showing You A Life Lived Through Bad Examples

Ah, the story of my life. Well, I guess it hasn’t been exactly four weddings, only two; and, that I know of,  I don’t have my funeral coming up; but it is my funeral that I want to talk about today so this title is close enough!

I read once that all one does during their lifetime is collect people to attend their funeral. That is some pressure!  Recently I attended a funeral of a very close and dear friend of our family and yes, I did find myself sitting there during the service thinking of how loved she was by so many people and how many wonderful things that everyone had to say about her. And I am sure that I wasn’t the only person in those pews thinking about how it was going to be at our own funerals. One can’t help it. Being around death causes all of us to think of our own mortality.  Now do I think that when my time comes I will have all of the tears and laughter that sweet and sassy Elaine had? Nope, not by a long shot. But is that what I really want?

I have always told my husband that I don’t want a visitation and funeral in the normal way. That is just not me. And secretly over the last few years I have been recording small snippets of video that I would love to be spliced together and played for everyone at my service. But in reality, would all of the people that I have addressed in those videos even attend? Probably not, and that is a shame. I have a lot to say to some people.

And here lies the issue with me and funerals; people do not attend funerals for the deceased, they attend for themselves. And I get it. Sitting there at Sweet Elaine’s funeral, I thought about all of the times I had with her. The laughter and joy that she brought to me and how included and loved that she made me feel even when she didn’t have a good reason to. I didn’t sit there and marvel at her employment record, or shake my head in wonder at how she had served on this or that committee at her church; it was all about me. What had she done for me while she was on this earth.

And yes, I know that visitations and funerals are also about showing the left-behind loved ones how much you support and grieve with them over their loss but there also always seem to be an element of cattiness at funerals as well.  What is she doing here? How can he show his face here?  It almost seems just another way that we humans take something that we should hold as sacred and bring it down to the lowest level of entertainment there is. In fact, I am quite surprised that there hasn’t been a reality television show just surrounding the ridiculousness that surrounds the drama of funerals.

Funny story, during my wonder years when I was about 8 or 9 years old and it was summer time and we had all of us half and step kids under one roof; my step dick’s mother passed away. Now to give a quick recap of the situation going into the funeral, my step dick and biological mother had gotten together WHILE Tom was still married with 3 kids. Magically they thought this little fact would be forgotten or forgiven because well, it’s a funeral, things are forgiven when someone dies. So here we pull up to the house to partake in the after party food and lo-and-behold things aren’t as forgiven as assumed. Well, a fight soon broke out. And I mean a literal fight. Suddenly, all of us kids, and really not one of us seven kids were over the age of 12, were shooed out the door and told to get back into the car. Oh, and this car, it was a yellow VW bug. I shit you not. So here we all are, seven of us crammed into the back seat of this suitcase of a car. Whispering and whimpering because we could hear the commotion all the way out on the street. There was screaming and the sound of breaking glass. And cussing, man was there cussing! All of a sudden here comes Tom, step dick himself, rushing out the door with my mother and all I can remember from there was the spaghetti on top of his head hanging down over his face. I lost it. I am losing it now just typing this. I couldn’t stop laughing. My older step and half sisters were crying; my younger step brother was sniffling and sucking his thumb and me? I was giggling so bad I think I peed myself a little. What makes me laugh so hard now is that all I can think of is how dramatic an exit my step dad thought he was achieving by us peeling and puttering out of there in our VW bug with all of us kids smashed against the back windows. As clear as a bell right now, I remember thinking that I wanted to go to a funeral every week AND twice on Saturdays.

And again, not one person in that house so many years ago was really thinking about the deceased. It was only about themselves.

So if you are reading this and your are part of my family or friends, hell even co-workers; remember that when I do pass, you don’t have to attend my funeral or wait in line to shake the hands of my sons and husband and tell them how wonderful I was. They know how great I am. Just think of me for a minute or two and how we shared space on this earth. Whether you smile because you remember how much of an idiot I was or you shake your head in disgust because of how much of an idiot I was; either way, you remembered me. And that’s enough.

Okay, so I think I fucked up.

Last spring I took a job as the boss lady at a place. There are over 200 employees that are my responsibility and I should be setting a professional and poised example for.  I am not saying I actually do that on a day to day basis but I do try.  I had already taken a little break from my blogging last year so I didn’t think it would be too big of a deal. I mean really, this little blog isn’t the biggest and darkest secret I got going on in my life.  Just kidding … or am I?

Anyway, I know with social media one really has to be careful. But let’s face it, my Facebook is really only used for stalking (when done correctly only a misdemeanor) and stupid animal memes. My LinkedIn page is appropriately sterile and non-threatening. and in reality I have no clue on how to tweet or twirk or whatever they call it. So besides my little therapy blog here, I am thinking I am golden on that aspect. Until two days ago.

See, one of those 200 employees that I am supposed to be a model of professionalism for, I don’t believe really likes me all that much. If I am truly being honest here there are probably quite a few of the 200 that don’t like me but eh … you can’t please everyone. But in this particular case, I can honestly tell. It seems her responses to my questions or even just to a casual conversation we are having, always has a slight undertone to it. I can’t honestly put my finger on it but it’s there.

Moving on though, as I often do, when I can tell that someone doesn’t particularly jive with me, I just try harder to get them to. Stupid, I know, but one of my worst flaws. So what did I do, I told her about my blog. What the fuck was I thinking!!!  I even told her the exact name of it! Suddenly, as I was walking back to my office I was thinking  of all of the cursing and judging and mocking and divulging and revealing … and … and ……again, HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS I THINKING!

The next day, just as I saw her, she hit me with it straight on. “Okay, I am going to tell you, I read your blog.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I just froze. And I peed just a little bit. I didn’t even know how to respond. I couldn’t read her face. She didn’t seem to want to look up at me from her computer screen.  Is that considered taking a tone? Anyway, as I stood there stuttering and trying to get a read on her, she laid it on me anyway “Yeah, you, uh, you really, uh, put it out there don’t ya?” YIKES!

Now, don’t misread me here, I am not writing this blog to win awards and fame. This is a release for me. So often, I have found that when I am trying to verbalize my frustrations or thoughts, they come puking out of my mouth in a jumbled mess and I sound stupid and ridiculous or snotty and pretentious. And who knows, I probably still sound like all of those things when you are reading this (and thank you for reading this by the way) but at least I get them out of my head.

I love to see someone comment on a post but that is only because I also love the contact with another human being from some where out there in the world that isn’t standing right next to me.  And when I get a notification that someone has liked one of my posts, yes, there is a little voice that goes off in my head that sounds like Sally Field accepting her Oscar crying “You like me, you really like me.”  But in reality, when I push the Publish button after finishing writing, and I hear that DING! that it is live,  I really truly feel better.

But back to reality (oops there goes gravity), I know there is a possibility that she will read this. And I am wondering how she will react. Will I notice a difference in her? Will she say something directly to me? Or maybe she didn’t read my bog at all and was just fucking with me.

Hmmm … either way, work just got a little bit more interesting.

Barnes and Noble loves me. Why? I am one of those people who are always searching for the perfect book or tool to help them get through those tough days. I can’t just put on jogging shoes, run a quick 5 miles and then *POOF* I am serene. I CAN eat my way through a whole bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles chips and then *POOF* I am fatter; but that doesn’t seem to help with my depression.

So recently, I found another self help book Now Is The Way by Cory Allen. Now, I have only gotten to the first page of the Forward section, but already I think it has changed my life. In this first, all important paragraph, the writer of the Foreward section is talking about Cory and he is describing him as someone who is always “present”. In fact, he states that he hasn’t ever looked into his friends eyes and asked “Where is Cory?” It was right there that it hit me; I leave conversations and moments in my everyday life ALL OF THE TIME! I go back to the past, I invent scenarios in the future, I even rewrite history many times so that it fits my mood, all while I am in a moment with someone.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever been in a conversation or situation with someone and instead of just taking the moments as they are, you think back to how they might of looked at you cross-wise before or the tone they used with you three weekends ago when you asked them if they wanted the last Heath bar in the bag? I do that all of the time. I hold on for dear life to past and future moments.

And the future moments, well, since I become the writer, director and producer of that little piece of film, the people I am talking with are so damn dramatic. And mean. And petty. When, in fact, they really aren’t. Well, some aren’t. And this isn’t fair. I can’t imagine what the rest of Cory’s book has for me but it is promising.

So next time, if you are in a conversation with me and you see my eyes glass over and I seem to be drifting in and out, ask me where I am. Make sure I am there, taking in you how you are right then and there; not back in a time when things were tense between us. Either that, or check my blood sugar and give me the last Heath bar when I ask for it!

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