Tuesday, May 9, 2017


. . . Because He [God] never lets me get smug. Never. Ever. That’s how I know. Just about the time I get to thinking I’ve got some street stuff or cool juice, God enjoys serving me up some humble pie with an extra helping of humiliation on the side. 

Here’s how it always goes. I do something pretty keen, even dazzling, and then bam, one of my shoes falls in the toilet, and I have to dive in and fish it out. True story. Don’t ask. 

I’m pretty good at saying the words that people hear with their ears. My college speech teacher remarked that “Linda is just this side of an inspirational speaker.” This side of what he never clarified.

It might be the Irish in me. It might be all the practice I get talking to myself. Either way, I can put the words together pretty okay when in front of a congregation, class, or captive audience. Recently, I spoke at a Saturday night church meeting with some excellent feedback from those that attended: I was passionate. I was sincere. I was loud. People said nice things to me afterward. I believed them.

Not going to lie, after giving my rousing speech I felt pretty pumped, stoked, and a bit up-tempo. My esteem of self enjoyed a moment of highness. 

It was nice . . . while it lasted.

But then I set the table for the following Sunday dinner, and God put me back in my place where I belong.

I covered our giant dining room table with an enormous oversized tablecloth smoothing, de-wrinkling, straightening and finally removing the gigantic lump under the cloth. It was a pair of my scanties, clinging to the back of the tablecloth like a cocklebur in a dog’s tail.

I should explain. Scanties are a genteel southern term for a girl’s under clothing or as my mother used to say, “Foundation garments.” Sort of like a cement slab holding up steel girders, I guess. Or in this case the bit of clothing that comes before the mom jeans. All right. Fine. My underwear. My underwear was balled up in the tablecloth from the dryer.

With a crackle of static, I pulled my scanties free and stuffed them out of the way in a bookcase next to the table saying in my head, “Now, Linda, don’t put those there. You know you’re going to forget them, and that will not end well.”

I was right. Sunday dinner commenced, and before the green beans had made their way to the end of the table, someone was waving my underwear over their head saying, “Hey, YaYa, what’s been going on around here?” Mad laughter boomed off the ceiling.

What could I say? It was humiliation mixed with goofy embarrassment. Great. 

“Hey! Ask me how my speech went last night. I was dazzling. Ask anybody.”

But it was too late; my triumphant Saturday evening dissolved into my humbling Sunday afternoon, and that’s how I know that God is real because just when I think I’m big stuff someone finds my underwear stuffed between Ben Hur and The Turning of the Screw.

Sigh. Now I know that there may be a few skeptics who don't believe that God throws shoes in toilets or prompts the leaving of underclothing in bookcases and to you, I say, "Just when that Samson guy thought he was pretty hot stuff he got a bad haircut and things went south--fast." 

Linda (Smug Muffin) Zern 

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