May 1, 2012

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Everyone's good at something, right? Some people are great tennis players, some can negotiate a truce between warring factions, and some can perform brain surgery.  Me?  I'm good at making pronouncements.

I have perfected the art of declaring things.  I do not like to muddy the waters with facts, however.  That just slows down the process and dilutes the enthusiasm of the pronouncement.  If you start to aim for accuracy you end up with a very long and hedgy sort of pronouncement, like "I am never going to get angry with anyone, ever, ever again, except for those stupid drivers who cut me off, and probably ATT and, oh, most likely politicians, airline reps, cell-phone yakkers, and possibly even people I love now and then, but otherwise, just Buddha-like peacefulness for me from here on in, yessiree Bob."  You see how that loses some punch, don't you?

So, in the interests of style and effect, I just blurt out unequivocal statements whenever I am so moved and figure I can always reverse course later, sometimes even later in the same conversation.  Actually, let me correct that; it's not that I even consider the possibility of reversing course, it's that in the moment, I am absolutely, one-hundred-percent certain I am speaking the truth.  See what I mean?

Last year I decided at two different times to attend my MFA program's residency abroad program.  First option was Puerto Rico in the winter.  "I am definitely going to Puerto Rico this winter," I told all my fellow grad students. "There is no way in hell I am coming back to Vermont for another cold, icy winter of walking up that steep hill to campus in my inadequate California coat and gloves.  No way, no how, nuh uh."  Then I started to think about how much I would miss all my friends and the lectures (yes, the lectures) and decided to return to Vermont after all.

Same thing happened with the summer residency in Slovenia.  I attended the information session and at the end of the presentation I announced to everyone in earshot, "Oh, this sounds so exciting. Look at those pictures!  Castles, Eastern Europe.  This is going to be grand. I am absolutely, definitely, you betcha, going on this trip!" When the sign-up sheet came around, I put my name in the 'Very Interested' column. Then I decided not to go.  The reversal took about two days.

Recently I declared that per my personal trainer's dictates I am no longer eating grains, only to be caught soon after stuffing a cookie in my mouth.  Ditto with the occasional oatmeal for breakfast. Oh, and we're going out for pasta on Friday night. Otherwise, absolutely no grains. So don't go asking me out for sandwiches because I cannot eat bread. Weren't you listening? No grains! No wheat, no rye, no bulgar, no rice. I told you last week. Man, sometimes I wonder why I bother talking to you people. 


  1. you make me laugh, laugh, laugh!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you!