Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Love is Not Pork Bellies

“The pork belly futures contract became an icon of futures and commodities trading.”

I don’t even understand that sentence, but I know it’s as American as apple pie futures. Here’s my take on it. Pigs have bellies. Pig bellies are finite, and that means it’s possible to run out of pork tummies. The price goes up. The price goes down, depending. People eat bacon. Right?

The problem is that the world gets to thinking that everything is bacon and might run out.

At our house it is not uncommon to hear comments like, “If your bacon has formed a pyramid on your plate, you have too much bacon. Put seven pieces of bacon back.”

Bacon, it’s finite. 

Love is not bacon.

As the grandparent of, soon to be, fourteen grandchildren, I feel confident making that statement. 

When we had our first baby I thought my feelings for him were like pork belly futures, limited and finite, and that I couldn’t possibly love anyone else the way I loved that rosy- cheeked little boy. But then we had a quiet, graceful little girl with huge blue eyes and the love got bigger—not smaller. 

Then came another daughter, with a feisty attitude and a smart mouth that made us laugh, followed by a son with an attitude so cheerful that it dazzled, and the love got bigger yet.

A friend of mine explained it like this. “Everyone in college is pretty sure that children will suck them dry. That’s what conventional wisdom teaches. That’s what society says. But I looked around and saw that ninety percent of everyone, in the end, wanted what I already had, even Madonna.”

“I can’t imagine life without her.” (Madonna the Singer, speaking of her first daughter)

I know. Right? And unlike pork bellies, love is one of those things that the more you get the more there is, and the more there is, the more you can have and the bigger it becomes. Love, it just never runs out. 

Linda (Love it Up) Zern 

I'll Scratch You All Over

The fourth brother in the grandkid gang was snotty, crying, dirty, and done. I pointed at it and told my daughter, “Take that one home, wash it, pat it, and put it to bed.”

The third brother in the gang felt that I had dissed his littlest brother. He began to mutter. His face closed like a fist.

I tried to interpret his three-year old muttering.


“Heather,” I said to my daughter, “what’s he saying?”

She listened for a while.

With more optimism and hope than knowledge she reported, “He’s saying, ‘I’ll love you forever.’”

Zac’s face now resembled angry granite. 

“Heather, look at his face. I don’t think he’s saying, ‘I’ll love you forever.’”

She sighed and then reported, “He’s saying, ‘I’ll scratch you all over.’”

Ah ha! That was more like it.

This incident typifies what I like to call the Wishful Thinking Syndrome. It was wishful thinking that Zac was waving a fond goodbye to his old YaYa with charming declarations of undying devotion. 

There’s a lot of Wishful Thinking Syndrome going around I’ve noticed.

It’s wishful thinking that professors who are busy trying to sell their books will be available to help you sell yours.

It’s wishful thinking that low self esteem, broken hearts, damaged egos, and sociopathic behavior can be fixed with quick cash. 

It’s wishful thinking that food without butter, salt, fat, and sugar is going to be as good as food with butter, salt, fat, and sugar.

It’s wishful thinking that bread and circuses are going to work forever. (See history of the Roman Empire)

It’s wishful thinking to believe that hot flashes will make you grow taller after age fifty or before age fifty.

It’s wishful . . . well, you get the picture.

Wishful thinking is a direct result of the modern notions that human beings deserve trophies for breathing, that buying a Wraptastic will change your life, and that everything billed as ‘based on a true story’ is true.

Get real. The three-year old kid is not telling you he’s going to love you forever—this time. This time he’s threatening to claw you with grubby fingernails. Sigh. It happens.

The news isn’t all bad, however. 

It is my hopeful wishful belief that for every busted thought-wish, there are those rare and dazzling moments when our wishful thoughts actually reflect reality and the kid is saying that he’s going to love you forever and the purchase of a Wraptastic does, in fact, change your life. But those moments are both rare and dazzling, which makes reality way better than wishful thinking—sort of like having a unicorn to ride to the free puppy store.

Linda (Scratch Resistant) Zern

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