Monday, April 18, 2005

My Friend Mary

My friend Mary is such a comfort to me.

At least once a week I make a complete idiot of myself. I have a huge capacity for getting spaced out and flustered. I laugh too much at the wrong times and frequently wedge my foot in my mouth. I have embarrassing narrow escapes when I’m driving and for the next 15 blocks stare straight ahead so the young man in the pickup beside me can’t give me a rude gesture for cutting in front of him.

In a big store, I don’t notice the long line behind the "wait here" sign and step right up to the counter when the clerk says, "Next please" and she sends me back to the end of the line like a naughty 9-year-old and the whole line glares at me as I slink past. In the middle of a communion service, the little boy in front of me digs in his mom’s purse, finds a bottle of perfume, and aims it at his neck. I am all absorbed in the little drama as he puts his finger on the nozzle. The tension mounts--Will he or won’t he? As his mom continues to be oblivious, I break out in silent giggles. And then I look up and return to the reality of the moment, which is the passing of the Bread and the Cup, and the whole congregation but me and the child is holy and hushed and solemn. (He never actually sprays the perfume.)

When this sort of thing happens, there are certain intimidating people in my life that I don’t want around. I want them far away and I don’t want them to ever find out about this episode. I am still Amish enough that Shame is a serious issue with me. I carry around an invisible 20-pound sack of it and the counselor types would have a heyday with my Internal Motives.

And then there’s Mary.

Mary is this wonderful, humble, lovable friend of mine that I have known for years. She is different from most other people in my life in this distinct way: when I do something really stupid, I want her to know. She no longer lives in Oregon, so I can’t get in touch with her as easily as I used to, but I still have this urge to call her up and spill my guts when I’ve really dropped the ball.

Mary, you see, can always top my stories. "That’s nothing," she says, and then she goes on to relate something she did that was twice as embarrassing as what I did. She chuckles contentedly and says, as Pooh did, "I am a bear of very little brain."

Just recently, for example, Mary was in a church business meeting when she looked down and discovered that one of her shoes was suede black and the other was scuffed brown. She writes, "I immediately LOST it and was having an increasingly difficult time controlling my laughter and almost feeling slight panic, afraid it would pop right out loud! I thought the two young guys right behind me probably wonder WHAT is going on with me that I start shaking out of the blue...all by myself...:-( :-)!! So, I wrote them a quick note (mistake #1!!!) and said..."Sorry I'm losing it up here---I just discovered I wore 2 different shoes! :-(" Well "of course"....duh... they LOST it too and then I knew I had to get out of there, and FAST!!"
(The story continued on for some time but you get the idea.)

Mary’s stories assure me that I am not alone, life goes on, and I am still loved. As I said, she is a great comfort to me.

Quote of the Day:
Beth: I think he has ADD.
David: Actually, I think he has ODD.
Me: ODD??
David: He’s just odd.
(Conversation yesterday at my mother-in-law’s)


  1. We all need a friend like that. Laughter is a good medicine indeed as you said yesterday. I was feeling frustrated and all balled up inside then I read your post and I had a good case of the silent giggles (I am at work) and felt much better.

  2. Oh dear, Dorc, did I really say that I was "a bear of very little brain"? Maybe THAT is why I have always related so well with Pooh.:)Your memory certainly is sharper than mine!:) I know I tend to talk too much.:0
    Your comments were more flattering than I deserve but it is lovely knowing I am loved...and needed.:)Please do call when you do something really stupid. You see I also thrive on other's stories because they reassure me I am not too strange or getting Alzheimer's!!

  3. The greatest comfort in being a bear of very little brain is the tho't of how very sweet we surely must be! (Altho be-smeared with honey is a great way to be-stick ourselves into a great many sticky situations!) What I enjoy most when taking that daily(?) dose of medicine is the priceless look on n o r m a l peoples' faces! Has lil sis ever mentioned Macon????:)

  4. Mary, trust me, you're not getting Alzheimers even if you don't remember the 'bear of little brain' comment.
    Termil--ahHA!! In my crystal ball I see unmentionables made of tricot (pronounced TRY-cott and not TREE-coe, no?? :-))

  5. You got it! I stumbled across your shoestrings thro the ahq site, of which I am a fan. Blessings to you from another "42" model. :)

  6. Wonderful story. I like the 'here I am' kind of story that lets us all know that we are not that different.

    Your quote of the day reminded me of the story of the fellow that had the name ODD. Seems that when he died he wanted a tombstone with nothing on it.

    Folks would see the stone and say, "Now isn't that ODD". (Well it is better than a blonde joke.) {:>)Blessings and peace.

  7. dorcas,

    after interning on a locked in children's psychiatric unit for the past 6 weeks, and being with several children having Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), i can tell you it is quite odd. (and the disorder is exactly what it sounds like)!

  8. My sister forwarded me this post because it reminded her of a certain someone. So I felt compelled to confess.

    Like Mary, I recently wore shoes of two different pairs--one blue, one black. Only I chose to do so on Communion Sunday. When feet washing time came around, I hid my shoes behind the trash can in the women's bathroom, one stacked on top of the other. I made a pointed effort to make eye contact with anyone who glanced my way (up above the shadows, if you please).

    In my defense, it WAS a sunrise service--VERY early--and my fluorescent closet lights had been a little bright.

    I purposely kept my error from my sisters until the ride home because I knew there would be nothing sacred about such goings on were they to become privy to yet another chapter in the novel of my infamous Great Mistakes.