Hello. It’s February. How did that happen? What have I been doing? Oh, right. Slow, insidious death by fifth grade science fair. I hate science fair. I know I am only supposed to admit to hating the devil. But, I’m pretty sure when people enter hell, they’re handed a tri-fold board and told, “I’m sorry, your hypothesis was not accepted.”
On top of science fair, the girls and I have been working like little beavers to get ready for the Girlfriends Guide in March*. I have aptly named “deadlines”. With the few “type A” brain cells I posses fully occupied gluing bar graphs to cardboard, it’s been hard to give deadlines their due. In fact, I’m pretty sure my deadlines have little kitty feet so they can ninja-crouch in the dark for days before turning into giant psycho clowns with butcher knives leaping from the shadows screaming “I’m DUE tomorrow!!!”
So blogging time was taken up by “triage laundry” and midnight runs to Walmart for rubber bands and baking soda. Did I mention how much I hate science fair?
But I was thinking. Or as close as I come. And watching. And I’ve been stewing in the deep end of the pot. And here’s what I’ve deduced.
The world’s gone cray cray. The cheese is clearly off the cracker. Mad. Mad. Mad. Which of course, makes everything more interesting.
Top Five Signs that the world is distinctly more INSANE in 2013:
1) Monopoly Ditches the IRON.
My heroes. Perfect insanity. Instead of trying to return to a standard, let’s just vote it off the island! For years, my brothers would take the DOG, or the TOP HAT and stick me with the IRON or the THIMBLE, because I was “a girl.” Humph. So what if it took an extra couple decades for feminism to filter down to board games promoting total domination? Even as a kid, I always thought instead of burning bras, us gals should have been throwing out the mop and tossing frying pans. Now, it seems the world has caught up to my logic. Or maybe not. The Super Bowl halftime show was a virtual worship service to supportive undergarments. “Girl-ness” was clearly NOT associated with intellect. But, then on Monday following the Super Bowl, we tossed out the iron. Crazy, funny IRONy. Anywhoo, no longer will moms have to cringe as they listen to children trying to figure out what the tiny triangular playing piece represents.
Neighbor Kid: “What’s that?”
My kid: “I think they used it in olden times.”
Neighbor kid: “No, my mom has one. She uses it for clothes.”
My kid: “Oh. We used to have one. My mom used it to keep the screen door open, but it rusted on the porch, so she gave it to Goodwill.”
2) The MAIL stops coming on Saturday.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, except for Saturday. We don’t do Saturday anymore.”
What a great idea. Why not take Saturdays off? Why didn’t I think of that? Instead of working shifts at the hospital, carting boys to obscure junior high gyms, shivering and standing court-side because “we don’t heat gyms on weekends” or believe in bleachers at the intermediate level. Followed by racing to another gym on the other side of town, all the while forcing my kid to compile DATA for his science fair project in the car because the minivan is clearly the perfect place for science to happen. I wonder. Why don’t we just TAKE THE DAY OFF? Far be it from me to take tips from giant bureaucracy laden institutions or junior high furnace schedules, but I think they’ve stumbled onto something.
3) We LANCED the STANDARD, but good.
I don’t know what you were doing when Lance and Oprah had their heart to heart. But I was living with a ten year old boy. Thanks Mr. Armstrong. I simply had nothing else to do in the month of January but field a ka-billion questions about winning, losing, truth, drugs, world view, honor, and competition. Fairy tales sometimes come true. But mostly, they’re just fairy tales.
The interesting part is that our family got to dig a little deeper. What created Lance Armstrong? As a society we’ve sold out “competition” for “winning”. The glory is for the victor alone. Everyone and everything else is screwed, including personal integrity, moral responsibility and the love of sport. Lance was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the media buzz, if they disqualified all persons associated with some form of cheating competing in the Tour de France with Lance, the medals would have gone the person who finished around 38th! Cheating has become a way of life. Widely accepted. “We’re # 38!” just doesn’t look good on t-shirts.
The difference between “playing to win” and “winning to play” is a hard topic for simple minds and I’m sure for ten year-olds too. The facts and “the fall” were discussed again and again at our dinner table forums. “Honesty” and “victory” were pulled apart and reconstructed. Muddled and reviewed. This additional cognitive load was plopped on top of my “science fair taxed mom brain”. But it was worth it. In a bleak moment when we were struggling to complete the required amount of experiment trials, it was clear to all present that we could end our misery and just LIE.
“It’s only a fifth grade science project for crying out loud.” And Mom might have caved. She almost did cave, so deep is her loathing of manipulated variables. Besides, morality is mostly what other people mess up. But then my kid and HIS DAD rallied. “We have to do it again because that’s the only right way.” And although temporarily discouraged by science, I was amazed at the truth growing inside us all. Especially me.
4) Even the MAN AT THE TOP feels like throwing in the towel on Mondays.
Did you hear? The Pope quit. At the end of a “business as usual” meeting. On Monday. In Latin. Amen.
I’m a small and insignificant person. I’m not commenting on whether he should or should not have hung up the hat. But the facts are more awesome than fiction. The last time it happened was 600 years ago. Clearly the status quo was busted. On a MONDAY. And he quit in LATIN. The smart guys all around him had to scramble to catch up because 1) his resignation was not mentioned on the “official agenda” as Robert’s Rules clearly dictate and 2) it was in LATIN, the official language of Popeworld spoken by very few of the current movers and shakers in Popeworld. Well played, Benedict.
My mind just goes back to this scenario again and again. Regardless about how one feels about the Pope, you have to admire his incredible courage and class. How I have longed to bust free from my status quo. Especially in “churchworld”. I long for agenda free living with God and God alone deciding my course. When Monday morning demands crowd out Sunday morning promises, I tend to shut down. This week at work I pulled my Bible out and read with abandon at lunchtime. Something I haven’t done in quite some time. If the man at the top can bust free, so can we. “Is est pro licentia vos expedio.”
5) The School Roof is Leaking but Baseball is America’s Game.
Yesterday, the school bond failed. By a lot. Times are hard. Kids can make due. I mean, if you have to put 40 fifth graders in a classroom because there is just no room anywhere else, then that’s what you do. Of course, we can’t understand why no one is learning very much. Those dots are just too far to connect. But why be glum? Yesterday we also learned that Felix Hernandez will be making $175 million to throw a ball three nights a week for the next seven years. Thank you, world, for clarifying our priorities. My husband, who happens to teach 5th grade, would have to work 416 years to earn what Felix will make in 12 months. That’s 416 science fair projects. Why is this so incredibly funny? I don’t know. It’s like a really good cup of tea at the Mad Hatters table.
So there you have it. World gone mad. But so very interesting. Golden boy, Lance Armstrong, has fallen from glory and his former sponsor, the US Postal Service is trying desperately to repair some deflating tires of its own. The “iron” is out, but ogling girls in underwear is definitely in. Good thing you don’t have to iron underwear. The Pope’s stepping back inspired me to move forward. Because living free always comes at a price. And finally, I’m not sure about the science fair, but the one thing you can still learn in school is that Americans will keep playing the game. Even if it means ransoming the future.
A few days ago, Teddy asked Annalee what “irony” was. And Annalee responded, “It’s like you go to every store in town trying to buy hot dogs but no one has them. And then the next day, you go to the store and hot dogs are on sale, but you don’t want them anymore.”
Well said, little Peep. Successful living is all about knowing what you really want. I guess more than anything, I want real change. Ordinary people have no influence on the world’s stage. The only effective change I can make is within my own self. The choices I make here in the moment I’m living are all I really own. “Now” is the scope of my influence. The beautiful, transcending irony is that at any given moment one person making one choice can change the world. Just ask Lance. Or Benedict. Or Felix.
Fascinating. I’m going to free myself to live a big life by embracing the small moments. The small moment is everything. All of the power, all of the transformation, is waiting in the moment. And not just the world, but eternity hangs in the balance.
Love Hollylu 7<8
*The Girlfriends’ Guide to Getting Real with God is an out “out of the box” life application bible study for women. The study features live teaching, YouTube magic, and lots of coffee. Perfect for the overworked and under rested who desire deeper relationship with God.
Girlfriends Guide to Getting Real with God Lighthouse Christian Center, Thursday nights, 6:30 – 8:30. March 14th – June 6th. Childcare provided with advanced registration. Registration now open at lighthousehome.org More information available at Hollylucoon.com
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