Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Let's say the universe is a giant pharmacy, distributing doses of this and that.  This is wrong, probably, and a bad analogy, but let's just say.

Let's say that yesterday the universe decided, let's give that JJ some of this drug here called "Humility."  In fact, let's give her a triple dose, just to wipe that nasty hubris virus clear out of her system for a day or two.

So, here's how the pills were administered.  First, an article I submitted to a journal got what's called in my biz an "R&R," or revise and resubmit.  This isn't terrible news, actually.  A real bummer is to get the flat out rejection.  An R&R means you either have a lot or a little work to do and there's a good chance you'll eventually get the piece published.  And two of the three reviews of my submission were quite positive.  But it does take some humility to go through three academic dissections of your work, especially when they seem to disagree with each other, and to try to make sense of them and THEN dive back into revising a paper you were just happy to get off your desk three months ago.  I'm getting used to the process, but I wouldn't say it's really joyful or anything.  A bit like a vaccination.  You know you need it but that doesn't mean you like getting the shot.

All in all, not so bad, so far.  That first pill went down okay.  Didn't even need a spoonful of sugar.

Second pill:  a friend and colleague stopped by my office yesterday.  In addition to being a friend and colleague, he also is a supremely  nice, funny guy, and a great parent--funny, patient, firm when necessary.  I doubt he has a "mean voice" to use with his kids (mine, on the other hand, is quite polished).  He and his family had come over for dinner Sunday night and, when they were getting ready to leave, Addie had her typical meltdown:  whenever anyone leaves our house (and I mean anyone) she dissolves into big-time tears, near hysterics, can't say goodbye, wails and wails.

We've really been working with her on this, which is to say trying to get her to say goodbye in a semi-normal fashion.  This involves a lot of me holding her while she's weeping and trying to talk her down as people are attempting to graciously leave.  Uncomfortable.

Anyway, this friend came to my office and recommended a parenting book so that Eric and I could try a new approach with Addie.  Totally nice, non-judgmental thing to do.  I don't think I reacted defensively.  I like reading parenting books, will be happy to read this book.  I'll probably learn a lot from it.

But after this kind colleague and friend left, I felt deeply defensive.  Crouchingly, bitingly defensive.  Doesn't he know what I'm going through right now?  Doesn't he know I'm terrified that I will be a bad parent because of what's happening with my parent?  And Addie's fine, goddamit!  Just because our kids aren't all happy-go-lucky...

Well, you get the picture.  Could have used a spoonful of sugar on that one.

Third pill.  A nasty, bitter one, but only because of the two that came before it. 

Every year, Eric and I fight over what to get his family for Christmas.  Every year he stews and stews and in the end can't make up his mind and ends up not getting them anything at all.  Except for the fact that I step in and buy something, usually totally wrong and that he hates.  Or I come up with some cockamamie scheme to just "not to do presents" at all.  My cockamamie scheme this year was to "make presents for people."

Eric is clearly not down with this.  In fact, he practically forbid me to make any of my crappy craft projects for his family this year.  It appears, therefore, that only my family (rapidly dwindling in size) will be receiving my crappy craft projects for the holidays.  He didn't put it this way, of course.  He was more, well, a man of few words, like usual.  But those words said what they needed to say, if you get my drift.

Which made me very, very defensive.  And sad.

And that's it.  Humility in three acts.  All probably deserved, run-of-the-mill dealing with life stuff.  But coming together at once, and making you wonder what the fuck.  Can't I do anything right?

Today I know that sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't.  You can't always choose your doses.  Just how you swallow them.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Wish I could tell you there's a time when one doesn't continue to get the H doses, but they continue, even at 69.