Category Archives: karma

Check-Writing Angels & Growing Up

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So a few days ago, I shared with you the amazing and transformative experience I had when I shared the gift of yoga and mindful meditation with Survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

What has happened to me in the four short days since that experience has resulted in only the most amazing gift, and thus explains my absence and lack of posts since. I’ve been a little overwhelmed.

. . . . . . . . . .

One of the participants asked me why I wasn’t certified yet. I hemmed and hawed and moaned about the expenses and how it all seems like a racket, that all the classes (there must’ve been some Steve Jobsian-edict from the Yoga Alliance) cost a minimum $3,000 for Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200-hour certification. I felt like there was a “system” in place; a mafia, so to speak and I considered the whole thing rather unyogic.

Truth be told, because yoga has become so “hot” lately, some people believe the practice has become diluted; that the essence of the discipline has been taken over, and focused more on “yoga bodies” and “long, lean muscles.” Gone are the covers on Yoga Journal of regular people sitting in meditation or in a traditional pose; now everyone is doing King of the Dancers (a very advanced pose) and has 14% body fat. I tend to agree with the concept that yoga has been somewhat corrupted by commerce. The whole point of yoga is not $135 transparent yoga pant recalls but rather: to build balance and flow in poses to prepare for sitting for long periods in meditation and to build a lasting relationship with equanimity.

So much for equanimity:

I teach sixth graders for 8 weeks every spring, free, at the school. When I first started 6 years ago, the focus from the kids, and it was a good ratio of boys to girls then, was all about relaxation, stress relief and becoming quiet. The kids knew this. They were into it. They were scared and nervous about the transition to middle school and they welcomed the opportunity to stretch their muscles, touch their toes and fall asleep for 10 minutes in the dark before dismissal.

The number one question then: “Can I do yoga anywhere?” The answer: Yes.

This year, the NUMBER ONE question was “will I get abs from this?” and “how do I get a six-pack?” My answers, respectively and invariably, have been: “If you didn’t have abs, you wouldn’t be able to walk,” and “You get a six-pack when you turn 21.”

They hate those answers. They want, at 12 years of age, “perfect” bodies. They’re so stressed out about getting “perfect” bodies, that they are completely obsessed with it.

I digress. Be it known, however, that I am working on changing those kids’ attitudes.

Where was I? Oh, yes: complaining about the price-fixing -esque nature of the yoga certification industry. I complained about that to my friend when she asked about my training.

She was not impressed with that answer. She has known me for quite some time. She and I have talked about this before. Apparently, whatever I did with her that day rocked her world because she took it upon herself to blow my mind the next day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, she dropped off a check. A check for $3,500. $3,500 which will cover my registration, lessons, travel and testing for becoming a “Registered Children & Family Yoga” instructor by my 46th birthday, this year.

I am floored.

My husband accepted the check, he thought it was for $35 for a Pampered Chef order. He thought it was for a pan, or spices or the crank ‘n’ maul (my brand) manual food processor. When she dropped it off, she said, “This is for Molly’s yoga certification,” and practically skipped away toward her car. He was in a haze; it was likely the cooking and cleaning and dealing with the children that he had to do for the previous few hours in preparation for my awesome breakfast in bed:

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Upon further examination of the check, when he confirmed that it wasn’t for $35.00, he sort of lost it. He looked out the window and she was >poof!< goneski.

He came up to me and said, “Bipsy McFarlandberger just dropped this off, it’s for your ‘certification‘?”

My heart sank. It also swelled.

Then it sank again.

Then it leapt. Then it sat.

I squinched my face. “She did? Hrmmmm… I was afraid of that,” I took a sip from my Wonder Woman mug.

“You were ‘afraid of that‘? What’s up?”

“I forgot to tell you. She gave me a loving, but firm hard time yesterday for not being certified to teach yoga yet.”

“She did?”

“Yeah. And Helga VonFranklesmith, told me that Bipsy is a force of nature and that just because I said no earlier to her first proposal, it doesn’t mean I can really mean it.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because Bipsy is a force of nature. She’s tenacious. C’mon…. you know, she’s… BIPSY…”

And he nodded and said, “Yeah, I know Bipsy. So, what’re you gonna do?”

“I can’t TAKE it…”

“Right. You don’t have to. But it’s Bipsy we’re talking about.”

“Yeah, and she kindly said that she’s tired of hearing my story and she knows this is a dream of mine and that she has this money and she wants to give it to me and I told her not to and well… you see how far that got me,” I said, as I began to chew on my inner lip. On one hand, it’s freakin’ awesome: I’ve NEVER had anyone I’m not related to or had exchanged a marriage vow with (that’s only one guy so far) believe in me that much; you know: just hand me cash. In fact, NO ONE has done that. On the other hand, would I be morally beholden, obligated, is this a transaction? I didn’t want to be “owned.”

Well, no one more than Bipsy knows that no one is ever “owned.”

So I called her Monday. We talked; she’s so funny. She said this, “I’m taking a very safe bet on you. You’re so good for this… ” she doesn’t want repayment. Of course she will get repayment. “This is a gift,” she said. She… who thinks she has the last word on this. But there is an air of yogic responsibility and universal (woo-woo alert) flow to this. She expertly argued that if I don’t take the gift, that I am stopping the chi, the prana, the flow of good energy back into the universe.

She had me there.

She told me that instead of repaying her, I will pay for someone else; pay it forward. Ok. It’s hard to argue with that logic.

I talked to my husband about it.

“A lot of men would feel emasculated by this,” he said. “I don’t. Here’s why: she’s right. I could give you $10,000 cash RIGHT now, and you wouldn’t do it. Why? Because you think I don’t mean it; that I support you because I’m supposed to; in sickness and in health, and all that. But she’s right: you’ve been giving yourself away for so long, it’s time you were certified so you can become ‘legit’, y’know, earn income and give back, which you always and already do, on so many fronts, so why not take this gift, as you’ve tirelessly and selflessly given to others, to this community and to the school, in return?”

So I shrugged my shoulders. I had no answer, no good point. She didn’t need the money. He wasn’t threatened by it. I had no reason to say no. No good reason. The bad reasons: I’m not worthy of it; I can never repay her; I think she’s a good kind of crazy; I’m not ready for the certification; I’m unable to do it; it’s logistically impossible I’m … I’m … I’m … all of it, every single reason was prohibitive or critical. That’s not good.

I’ve stopped people from giving me gifts. For our 10th anniversary I made my husband take back a pair of diamond stud earrings. They were princess cut, like my engagement ring; they were fantastic and happy and gorgeous. They were not prudent, so I made him take them back. I feel a pit in my stomach now at that memory and how I must’ve shot him down. When he presented them to me, he said the kindest things. That I make him smile. That he loves me like no one else ever; that I have given him miraculous children, that I am the reason he lives. Shit Stuff like that. I rejected them. It was an imprudent gift; we were in no position financially to do it; we’d just renovated our kitchen, literally, on our 10th anniversary; I was happy with that. But I shot it down angrily nonetheless; I had the temerity to blame him.

Another time, when Bruce Springsteen came to town, he wanted to surprise me. So he bought tickets. They were financially out of sight, in an outdoor stadium, in the middle, excellent seats. I made him sell them on Stub Hub. We made a nice profit, actually, but the point is that I rejected them again.

The other point is, that I have a problem, a serious problem, with accepting sincere and loving kindness and gifts. I am afraid to open my heart. I am shielding it.

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s the true practice of peace.” – Pema Chodron

I have to grow up. I have to accept the fact that not all gifts are “loaded” that people like to give for the pleasure of giving and accepting the gift is not a sign of weakness. That graciously accepting the gift means that I see value in myself and that the giver is not an idiot for giving it. I also have to grow up and realize that “hand-outs” are nothing compared to a hand-up. My upcoming yogi, who apparently knows a lot more about energy exchanges than I thought I did, said that my continual hand-outs of my own talents and gifts for nothing in exchange sends two messages: 1) that I believe I have no value (which has been established) and 2) that my giving my talent away makes the recipient feel like charity.

“What if your current yoga teacher or offered you classes free but charged everyone else? What would you do? What what you think?” she asked.

“I would insist on paying her. I would feel that she didn’t value herself,” I answered, as I kicked a rock and shoved my hands into my pockets. “I would feel like she felt sorry for me.”

The fact that Bipsy is a friend, but not a super-lifetime, known-me-since-I-was-in-diapers friend helps. There is that level of detachment, that level of our knowing each other only as adults, and that she knows me as an active community member and trusted friend and as a healer (or attempting healer) and so it was with great gratitude and cheer that I accepted her gift. Monday I inquired. Tuesday, I applied. Yesterday I was interviewed and accepted into the program and today I registered for the program.

So, for 16 days, I will be on an intensive, yoga certification retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia to learn how to teach Kundalini yoga to children, children with autism, anxiety, differing abilities and all the other kaleidoscopic ways that makes them unique and also to men and women and seniors. Meditations will start at 6am and lessons will go until 6pm ever day. I will learn how to cook vegan-ally (is that a word?) and I am so excited. It will be the first time I’ve ever been away from my team for more than five days. I’m ready.

Mind officially blown.

Thank you, Bipsy. I don’t know if I will have ability to send dispatches from retreat, I hope not… I’ll just bring a pen and paper. Remember those?

xoxoxoxoxo

Update UnGifting.

This is How I Roll: Some Parents Need to Grow Up

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Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this: I’m grossed out by people who think it’s funny to have kids and then bitch about them, or habitually talk about needing booze, or a line, or a joint or a valium or whatever to get through the day.

It’s all over the Internet. Apparently it’s what sells. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”- Henry Mencken. I prefer to not engage with the “foolish consistencies [which] are the hobgoblins of little minds.” -Emerson. I guess I will never hit it big. That’s OK, drunk people can’t read very well.

What those people need is a few moments alone and several deep breaths. That’s all. Oh, and likely therapy, which they are probably avoiding.

Ask anyone who knows me or who has interacted with me, and they will tell you, I’ve got a sense of humor, I am resilient, I can roll with punches. But just not this one. Not about parents who get their drink/joint/whatever on to cope with their holes, fears, inadequacy issues, mommy issues, daddy issues, shitty childhoods or whatever that are being activated by triggers that parenthood presents. I’m not talking anxiety, we all have that. I’m talking deep, real, soul-wrenching stuff. Oh, and regarding those who habitually make jokes about it? Grow up.

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So, here’s the deal: I grew up with crap like that happening to me. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “You drive me to drink” as a kid. It’s sick as hell. Those days, and my decisions to talk about them are prickly. It’s partly my story to tell, in terms of how it affected me, but I can tell you this: if you need a drink, or think it’s funny to crack wise about being a mom or a dad who needs *needs* NEEDS something to “get through your day” I have a proposal for you: get fixed.

No, not with a shrink, that’s later, but tie your tubes, clip the lines, get your act together before you victimize your kids with your so-called, “I was just kidding” banter and jokes and Facebook groups and blog titles, and all that stuff. Because what you do to your kids, in the end, when they’re like me: 45 and wondering where the hell you were all their life, it’s not gonna be so funny then. You will be “Granny needs a drink” then. And that’s even sicker.

This is real. Kids are not saints, they are micro versions of me and you, and they have memories, and they have feelings and they have access to the Internet. If you find yourself turned off by their behavior, I have a suggestion: look around and look in the mirror. They learn from us, peers, teachers, siblings, but mostly from us, their parents, who appear godlike in their eyes. They believe everything we say, they don’t understand sarcasm until they’re about 15, despite our insistence that they get it beforehand. We are their go-to resource, unless we are half in the bag, spending the night at the office, on a little yellow pill, or pulling a toke.

But I’m just joking. Right? Because we all are. We’re all just trying to loosen up, have a little fun, don’t be such a stiff, Mol…

This isn’t our second shot at being in the cool group in high school or being popular with the pretty people. If you (like just about everyone) have some weird torch you’re holding for the glory days of your youth and you’re pinning your hopes on your kid to Make It this time… Wake up and smell the music. It’s pathetic. Get your act together and behave.

Maybe if you’re lucky, when you’re old and decrepit they will just feel sorry for you. Maybe if when they’re in a state where you will need them, when they have to take care of you, they will do the right, honorable and human thing: respect you and help you age and eventually die well. Or maybe they’ll get drunk and make jokes about it. You know, because it’s all in good fun, right?, crapping on the concept of being there for people who need our help. Or maybe they won’t resent the hell out of you for putting yourself first all. the. time. Or maybe they will do their best, numbly go through the motions, but be unable to give back what wasn’t given to them.

As a parent, I’m all for cutting loose and having fun, but not as a brand, not as an identity, and certainly not as a thematic function for who I am. Life’s hard enough sober and single. Marriage adds a whole new dimension. And then kids?! Innocent people who are legitimately needy and completely dependent on us for everything until they aren’t anymore?! Holy cow… I can’t imagine life drunk and with kids. And I certainly can’t imagine it being clever or glib or witty to make jokes about needing a mind-numbing substance to get through the day.

I can’t stand that stuff, it makes my blood boil. I have moments, trust me, of when I wish I could run away, or of when I wish I could be more resilient, more aloof, but no… This is life. When you get it on and make a baby, it’s not only all about you anymore. It’s about doing your best, everyday showing up mentally and physically and doing two very simple things on paper, but hard as hell to practice at times: love them with all your might and protect them. Love and protect. That’s all.

Therapy is cheap compared to how our glibness affects our children.

I’m dealing with my own set of challenges: I’m the PB&J in my family sandwich. My parents are getting reeeeally old and my kids are almost all teenagers. I will need every ounce of presence and sanity to navigate these waters. I could do the easy thing, do what my parents did: get drunk and avoid my responsibilities, but that’s not who I am.

If I’ve pissed you off, it’s okay. We aren’t right for each other. Just being real.

Thank you.

Baaaah. Baaaah. Karma is Not a Bitch; it’s a Sheep.

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Oh my gawd! 


I mean, I just! RRRarrrarRarrrrgh! Ugh! Someone give me a … a … a STICK to break! And then throw at … at … something!

I hate it when the life lesson fairy whacks me with her wand.
she looks so innocent and all “who, me?”-stupid, but
she’s bloody brilliant. 

Thanks to her (really, me) I have a throbby, rheumy lump the size of a Starbucks Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte (no whip) on the back of my head.


I deserved it. I deserved to get the life lesson fairy smackdown. 


I deserved to have her open her can of “what you said?!” on my smug neediness. 


Uhhhhgh. I think I’m gonna barf. I used “smug” and “neediness” and “my” in the same sentence when referring to myself. (Uhhh… upon reading that on review, I activated my gag reflex; I could go into a huge introspection about why I clearly have issues with vulnerability but I’m not in the mood — one flaw at a time, please.)


Can’t say I didn’t see it coming. 


Can’t say I didn’t make it happen. 


Nope, definitely not Little Bo Peep or Little Miss Muffet on this one. 


I know who I am: I’m the wolf who ate the granny and now I’m wearing her lace bonnet and reading glasses, waiting in her bed under the covers for Little Red Riding Hood. But Red is very smart. And patient. And she won, because the wolf was an ass.


Ok, I’ll get to the point: I have a thing about boundaries. Boundaries have literally saved my sanity; I construct them (almost typed “constrict” – no Freudian comeuppance there, huh?) for myself. I like doors. I like fences. I like knocking. I like appointments. I like zones. I like phones. I like boundaries of behavior; I like understandings between people. As for social visits, I don’t always do well “Hey, we were in the ‘hood and thought we’d swing by!” Mostly because my house is a combo newsstand, cafeteria, study hall, music conservatory, library in the midst of a Dewey Decimal inventory, toy emporium, snack bar, art studio, petting zoo, laundry station and soccer gear depot. And apparently, I only like boundaries for myself because other people aren’t allowed to have them. 


Well, that’s not entirely true. I mean, I do allow for them and I actually prefer them for other people, regardless of the relationship. In fact, even in this particular situation, I encourage them. It’s just that, well, in this particular situation, I apparently like to pretend they are biodegradable; that the ravages of time and emotional bonds will render them null.  


They aren’t biodegradable. I don’t have a backstage pass. They are real. I see them. I have near-sightedness (clearly!) and I can see the boundaries; I have intuition and I even feel them too.


HOWEVER … In this particular situation, I did a mental, “Hey look! There’s Elvis!” on myself and I turned into a sheep. I knocked over the fence, lightly stepped over its remains (which is in reality already a violation and clearly not a “light” step) and I start nibbling on the nice green ivy and grass humming “mares eat oat and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy…” in my friend’s yard.  


Baaaah. 


Mmmunch…. >tasty! get a little closer< mmmmmunchmmmbaaaah…. >sweet! move in a little closer< mmmmunchmmm baaaaahh >there’s some excellent clover over there, right under her feet…< mmmmmmbaaaaah…. and ruh-roh. I bit her toe; right through her butt-kicking boots. 


Don’t look up. Don’t look up. Avert your eyes and definitely keep chewing. Oh look! A four-leaf clover! I’m gonna need that.


I titled this post “Baaaah. Baaaah. Karma is not a bitch; it’s a sheep.” Because Karma is not a bitch (in fact, I try not to swear in what I write because while imprecations -look it up!- are colorful, they don’t always work in my posts… I digress). Karma is an adult 44-y.o.  sheep with #4A natural brown wool wearing a white t-shirt, a flowered skort, and running shoes. I am the bully sheep today. (I am biting on my upper lip as I type this. Man…. Irony stinks.)

baaaah. don’t i look innocent? baaaah. 





Bully sheep are insidious. They are real pains in the backside. They are immature. They are what Freud called the “Id” – that child part of us; the one who Wants What I Want and I Want It Right Now and If You Don’t Give Me What I Want I’m Going To Make Your Life Uncomfortable and Push You to Be Assertive and Send Me To My Room And Then I’ll Be Real Mad At You! I Will! . . . .


Unnnntil the superego comes in and I Figure Out What I Did Wrong. 


The Id. It’s insIDious. That was clever! You like that, eh? Come back any time, I’m full of ’em.  


The Ids want their own way. They don’t want to hear anything you have to say unless it’s: “You’re right, I’m wrong. Here’s $500.” 


Fat chance. 


I have often referred to “bully sheep” as manipulators who act weak and sound weak and use phrases like “you’re hurting my feelings” and “but I just wanna…” and “please don’t tell me how I hurt you; I can’t bear to hear it…” to get their way and crowd out the other person’s needs with their bleating so that not only is the other person unheard, but the other person can’t BE heard. It’s all Charlie Brown adultspeak to the bully sheep. 


Hear me! Baaaah! Baaaaah! 


I mawkishly bleated and bleated and bleated the other day. Baaaah! BAAAAAAAH! CLOVER! BAAAAAAH! So much so, that I genetically transmogrified from sheep to another farm animal: Ass. I’m taller so the view is better, but The Work is hard.  Heehaw. “Eye-ore” of Winnie-the-Pooh lore is an ass. He annoys the bejeesus out of me. I used to work with an Eye-ore. He would walk around with his bow on his tail that was pinned on to his fanny and mope around and “Wull, I gu-ess… I mean … we cooo-ullld do thaaayut…”and I’d want to put on my harlequin glasses for better aim, pull a hairpin out of my chignon, poke it through the fingers of my leather gloves that I would whisk out of my basket purse and slap him across the back of his head.     

not me, but well, it fits the mood. 





It’s only fair. Karma bleats. I was in the other position (I will *not* say “victim”; that word’s not in my vocabulary, truly) a while ago with another person who was the bully sheep and I opened the can of kick-butt. It’s the correct order of things. I get what I deserve. Heehaw. But I’m moving on. I’ve accepted my position in this and I’ve learned. Boundaries need to be respected; sheep are not allowed in conversations between human beings and that is that. 


The greatest part of this post, for me, is that I’ve been wanting to write about bully sheep for a while, but the karmic energy (yeah, I believe in that stuff) was all wrong. I was all finger-pointy at the other people, the other bully sheep, and well, that serves no purpose other than being well, annoying and sorta hypocritical. 


But the life lesson fairy took care of that tout de suite!   


Thank you. (Have a wonnnnnderful Memorial Day weekend!) 

Snark: Revenge and Mary Janes

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Usually I try to be calm and conscientious and conscious.

I try not to react.

Sometimes it’s just not worth it.

Sometimes, you just wanna say to the guy who drives too close to you while you’re minding your own business, “PUT DOWN YOUR FREAKING PHONE, A$$HOLE.”

Or, say when you’re heading to a soccer game, “MOVE YOUR PIECE OF CRAP OUT OF MY WHEEL WELL.”

Sometimes you want to kick a cat. Flick a beetle. Squash a bug. Slap something. Flip the bird.

Sometimes you want to hurl a bag of steaming dog poo at grown men who wear their pants too low, WITH a belt, and show the world their “pretty” underwear and scream, “YOU KNOW, IF YOU WERE IN PRISON, YOU’D BE VERY POPULAR WITH YOUR PANTS LIKE THAT!” (I only just recently learned that fashion statement was a sign of availability for dating in the penitentiary system.)

Sometimes, if you’re like me, because you know you can’t legally hurl a bag of steaming dog poo, you pretend to do it. You imagine it happening.

The monks on the mountains in Tibet would tell you that’s your false self living out a fantasy because There Is No Such Thing As Revenge.

Well, my inner snark disagrees.

Sometimes, I feel like I just have to let an epithet stream unfurl. That doesn’t mean I do it; it just means I’d like to do it.

I was a mobile executive.

Tell my five-year-old self that there’s no such thing as revenge. My father tells this story best, but I’m going to do it instead:

When I was very young, my older brother was asleep on the couch.

He was lying there, I can remember it, on our parents’ avocado-green, wool-upholstered davenport. It smelled of the long-lost manhattans, old fashioneds and cherry tobacco pipes enjoyed by relatives I would never know because they were probably dead at the time. It was about eight feet long and its armrests were paltry and mostly wooden; you could feel the ribs and spine of the structure beneath the armrests that must’ve been padded with band-aids (maybe that’s where they all went, for we didn’t have any in the house when I was a kid unless my brother bought them).

While this isn’t it, it is in spirit. Ours had flat itchy cushions and only five or six “buttons” along its backside to add dimension to an otherwise hideously flat and hairshirt-ish experience.

I will always heartily reject my mother’s opinion that the sofa was comfortable because it was covered in freakin’ wool boasting texture so irritating and painful that only burlap could exceed it. I remember seeing the outlines of its springs testing the tensile strength of the fabric that shrouded them. Its belly would yawn beneath the frame directly below the two main, ill-sized main seat cushions. That couch was not fluffy or endearing. That couch was a piece my parents inherited from someone with incredibly bad sense of the aesthetic. That couch inspired my very costly love affair with down cushions. You endured that couch, but it was the only one on the main level of the house, so that’s where my brother decided to plop himself down. He was brave.

Apparently my “revenge is best served cold” self had a message to deliver to him.

To conduct recon, I walked up to him and examined his vulnerabilities, his bodily position: face in toward the back of the couch. Good, he was inhaling old furniture smell, known amongst children everywhere to be amongst the most caustic in the world. His backside was exposed to the world. Better. Definitely asleep because his eyes were twitching. Excellent.

I crouched down, looked around the room and considered my options. I bent over, and grabbed the heel of my right foot’s mary jane with my vengeful, sweaty and dextrous hands (my mother was convinced I’d be a surgeon). I imagine that I reached back with one hand, held down the back of the heel, lost my balance and landed on my fanny on the outside left armrest of the couch, where his head was nearest. (I never heard her say I’d be a gymnast.)

From my sitting position, which was clearly better so I couldn’t be seen even if he did wake up, I imagine that I pulled in my right heel, closer to my fanny and forced off the shoe. I grabbed the armrest of the couch with my left hand and pulled myself back up to make sure he was still asleep.

With the side of the couch about six inches below my chin, I turned to my left, bent over at the hips and picked up my shoe. I turned toward my brother, zeroed in, arched over with my left arm and smacked him on the head with the heel.

They’re not as innocent as they look.

I stood there. Shoe in hand. Apparently I didn’t know enough to discard the weapon. Or to run away.

He woke up and rubbed his nine-year-old head. His hair was short and straight and he was a long child (as is he quite tall now). Running his hands through his sweaty and still sleepy hair, he said, “Owwuh. Wh-? Wh’dja do? I . . . ”

This is what I do know, no more imagining:

He didn’t smack me back, he was good to me that way. I mean, he was (and is) a really decent guy, (even though he is part of the 1%). Instead, my brother walked up to our dad who was probably screaming at a football game on TV (we were Buffalo Bills fans), and moaned, “Owwwh. Molly just hit me in the head. She just woke me up while I was sleeping and hit me on the head. With her shooooe.”

Our dad apparently eyed me, still holding my weapon. I was looking fierce, so he said.

“Well, why do you think she did that? Did you do anything to her? Upset her?” Dad asked.

“No! I was just sleeping. I couldna done anything, I was lying down,” answered my brother.

“Nothing?” my dad asked. “Are you sure?”

I was standing about 10′ away, all squinchy-faced, arms crossed against my chest in my smocked butterfly dress and supposedly fuming. A size-three black and shiny mary jane dangling from my hand was cocked and ready for more.

My brother looked at me and insisted he’d done nothing.

My dad said to him, “Not before your nap? Maybe yesterday or last night? . . . . . . . Think. She wouldn’t have done that for no reason. Maybe you,”

After a moment, my brother righted himself and then shrunk again, rubbing his head, “Oh. . . yeah.”

And that was that.

Sometimes snark wins. These days, even though I aspire for more centered behavior, I’m not above being snarky when people go below it and I am sure to have a size three mary jane around just in case.

Thank you.