Monthly Archives: March 2019

That Dangerous Word

We teach our children to avoid bullying words. Bad words.

However, we forget to warn them of the most dangerous word of all:

“Never” has not appeared on the official Mothers’ Wash-out-your-mouth-with-soap List. It does not throw around the weight of “antidisestablishmentarianism” or preen itself as “zygodactylus” does. “Never” is pronounceable and SCRABBLE-friendly, accommodating and safe.

Don’t believe it.

Definitely don’t say it.

Otherwise, you will join thousands who never speed — those who find themselves listening to troopers’ lectures and writing big checks.

If you diss someone’s double chin — “That will never happen to me” — you soon will trip over yours.

We exercise the least caution when referring to marriage and children — especially if single and/or childless.

I recall my early resolve never to marry a pastor like my father. Instead, I married a doctor. Soon, I realized I had not appreciated Dad’s job. No parishioner ever approached him at KFC to discuss Aunt Pearlie Mae’s hemorrhoids while I was eating mashed potatoes and gravy. Or trying to.

Likewise, if you determine your future husband will never appear in public looking like that, you will marry one who wears a sports coat to dress up sweat pants.

If you declare your wife will never buy Longaberger baskets or Gucci handbags, prepare to attend ribbon cuttings when the aforesaid companies name new plants after you.

Even used by others, “never” exerts surprising power. Sixty-plus years ago, my mother’s doctor decreed she never would have children. My four siblings and I like to think of ourselves as miracles.

“Never” takes child-rearing to brutal levels, e.g., when an expectant parent decrees, “I will never allow bedtime manipulation.” Such naïveté guarantees nursery conditions rivaling those of a POW camp. Sleepless parents make marks on the wall, hoping Baby sleeps before graduation.

Some will “never” use the TV as a babysitter — only to park kids before Barney marathons with Cheeto Pizza when desperate for romance. Or a shower.

The madness continues. Our children never will throw tantrums in restaurants, flush our phones, or cherry-bomb school restrooms.

I declared I never would be a soccer mom. At least, I wouldn’t be ejected for hassling referees.

Um. …

Enough of me. Back to you. Your children never acquire Amish beards, cleavage or tattoos, right? They never choose colleges that would bankrupt Donald Trump, bring home Chewbacca’s twin as a prospective mate, or lose your credit card in Leningrad.

Interestingly, as years accumulate, “never” diminishes. Hubby and I eat in front of the TV, our feet on the furniture. We tell fun stories, but we never repeat ourselves. Conscientious grandparents, we never spoil our grandchildren.

Above all, we never say …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What happened the last time you said “never”?

March: The Dream Month?

Few Midwesterners regard March as the dream month.

Though Halloween’s goblins haunt October, March often qualifies as the year’s worst nightmare.

First, the time change disrupts biological clocks. “Spring forward?” Time saved?

That Sunday ranks as the crankiest of the church calendar. If I were a pastor, I’d refuse to preach until everyone had consumed two cups of coffee, plus three doughnuts apiece to sweeten tempers.

By March, we who have braved winters have had it with gloating snowbird social media — especially if Mother Nature goes off her meds, delivering a final winter blow.

Before attempting to consider March a “dream month,” let’s visualize it as a combination of pluses and minuses — a wintry mix, as weather gurus term it.

First, March weather in the Midwest presents a huge opportunity to complain. We love to complain!

Also, most snowbirds return by March’s end, when Indiana typically suffers its wickedest weather. Watching beach babies shiver in sandals makes it all worthwhile.

“This is nothing,” we stalwart Hoosiers brag. “Wait till you hear The Weather Channel’s predictions for April!”

Another March mixed blessing: my birthday — far more welcome during my childhood.

Now, though, my birthday presents a legal opportunity to abandon my wretched diet and silence my exercise video’s cheery nagger.

A new mixed blessing arrived with this year’s birthday: Social Security. I look forward to its benefits — but, Uncle Sam, haven’t you made a big mistake? I’m still in college.

Given my “young” mindset, I hardly plan to retire, as I’ve grown inordinately fond of shooting off my mouth via print. Good behavior doesn’t sound nearly as fun.

Plus, around my birthday, I dream of next year’s writing adventure. What stories will tease me? What new imaginary friends will visit while I write their novels? March brings the best writing weather of the year, when I rarely venture from my cozy writing cave.

March also presents a lo-o-ong transition time in which we can contemplate spring cleaning for a whole month without actually doing it. Ditto for yard work.

Winter days remain for camouflaging flab with baggy sweaters. Yet, during thaws, we can raid spare room closets for (baggy) spring clothes.

During March Madness, basketball fans dream of their teams winning it all. Yet, spring training baseball scores awaken cravings for the sound of bat on ball, hot dog fragrances, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” wafting on spring breezes.

Daffodils, the ultimate dreamers, urge us to leave winter behind, as does the calendar that naively celebrates spring on March 20.

So what if they’re out of touch with reality? March is indeed the dream month, and I’m ready to celebrate. Who’s with me?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate/survive March?