Saturday, March 1, 2014

Exceptional Nonsense

I am exceptional.

Are you mad yet?

Because a lot of people seem to find my exceptionalism wildly annoying, and they say stuff to me like, “Linda, you make me sick,” or “Linda, I could kill you for making all those good grades,” or “Linda, you’re such a smarty pants you make me sick. I could kill you.”

I don’t even own smarty pants. I own Diane Gilman, sexy jeans for grandma pants. They make me look exceptional. I can’t help it.

And, truthfully, I’m not sure I would help it, if I could help it because exceptional suits me fine.

It makes me a little bit sad on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I count up all the folks I’ve made sick because I’ve always made good grades in school, but then I decide to paint the barn and the sadness goes away.

Truthfully, I don’t mean to make people sick or want to kill me, I just like doing a good job. I don’t enjoy feeling panic stricken because I haven’t done my homework. Being prepared allows me to sleep. Studying steadies my nerves. Putting my heart into a project keeps life interesting. Working hard gives me a sense of satisfaction and esteem of self, which society is always harping about, by the way: build your self esteem, feel good about yourself, self esteem rocks, here’s a trophy for breathing.

But then you paint the barn all by yourself, and people who haven’t painted their barns are mad at you and want to kill you.

It’s very confusing.

My son-in-law once observed, “Well, after she gets done mowing the farm, she comes in and writes a book or something. She stays pretty busy.”

And there it is. Busy beats coma, every time. I like busy.

I have a granddaughter who likes busy too. It was hard for her to learn to read because it meant she had to sit still and not build a fort from palm fronds. But then she figured out that you could read books about making forts from palm fronds and duct tape. And now there’s no stopping her.

She draws, paints, weaves, knits, and duct tapes, or she’s reading about it. I feel bad for her. People are going to want to kill her—a lot.

Here’s my advice to her. Do you best, Babe. If you’re going to make a pillow out of duct tape, make the biggest, most yellow, most duck beak embellished duct tape pillow you can make, and then put it in the Osceola County Fair and then win a blue ribbon. And then do a dance in the sunshine of your exceptional accomplishment. Amen and amen.

My other granddaughter is a scientific memory machine. She won several blue ribbons. She is exceptional.

My grandson can hob knob with fifty year olds without pausing to take a breath. He came home with six medals from the fair. He is exceptional.

And the list goes on . . .

Let me be clear. Exceptional means out of the ordinary; it can even mean better than someone else. It doesn’t mean, “I’m better and you suck.” It means I am smart, capable, quick, and excited about life, and you can be too. Just get off that couch and patch up the holes in the Lazy-Boy with duct tape.

Linda (Look what I can do!) Zern

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