Better than us in every way.
I NEVER LEAVE MY FINGERPRINTS on any surface other than pants and shirts, not necessarily my own. Call it obsessive compulsive disorder (because that’s what it is), expediency is key to me cleaning my hands. If something foreign gets on one, anyone standing near me can expect a spontaneous pat on the back.
A compulsion to keep my hands clean has been with me since kindergarten when I refused to finger-paint without a brush. Chaos erupted when all the kids wanted one. It christened ‘fastidious’ as my Star of David to bear (personally and professionally) ever since.
As an art and antiques columnist for a string of east coast trade papers during the late 70’s and early 80’s, I was commissioned to do an article on 19th century Commonplace Books. These oversize tomes were maintained by women in lieu of journals, decorated with pressed flowers, calling cards, idioms, autographs, photographs, news clippings, and exquisite chromolithographed die-cuts of animals, birds, bouquets, angels, hands, hearts and holiday images — no doubt the forerunner to modern day scrapbooking.
In hopes of gaining a personal perspective, I tried keeping a Commonplace Book, but failed miserably. At the time I claimed it was because I feared damaging the vintage die-cuts I’d collected. But truth be told? Elmer’s Glue-All did me in.
After several frustrating attempts, an editor suggested I settle for substituting one daily commonplace occurrence of joy, instead. I never actually completed the assignment, but I am still keeping the book.
These are randomly selected happy-dance (commonplace) occurrences.
September 22, 1996
It’s Sunday and still pouring sheets of rain, as it was when we went to pick up the papers and I spotted a poor old dog lying hurt in the gutter at the edge of the Methodist church parking lot. It enraged me! The mere thought that, even though the parking lot was packed with worshiper’s cars, there wasn’t an indication anyone had stopped to help that poor dog. I loudly denounced the depraved indifference of people in general (and this group in particular) as I jumped out into the deluge, only to discover the dog was dead and drown to boot. I make no apologies for the blubbering that overcame me as I dialed 911. They promised to send an officer immediately. In the interim, we dashed home (4 blocks) to get a clean, dry burial blanket to wrap the dog in, and returned just as animal control pulled up. After conversing briefly with the officer — a kind and sympathetic man who recognized (even through the blinding rain) how distraught I was. I gave him the blanket before I kneeled down into wastewater and petted the mongrel, apologizing for the cruelty of mankind, and blessing it’s soul and spirit, asking that I might be the best of it. Between sobbing and the downpour I was pretty much waterlogged by then, making it a struggle to get up before motioning to the officer that it was time. As he leaned over to drape the blanket, the mutt jumped up and ran away.
June 19, 2000
Before heading back to Michigan today, my mom hung a pair of her underwear on the pink room’s doorknob to dry, along with specific instructions. “Leave them there because I have plenty of panties at home and I’ll know right where to find them on my next visit.”
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Happy-Dance Occurrences © 6.3.18
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From the moment she was born, everything was wrong and everything was right about Buzzbee Buzzcut.
Her mother, Yoko Oh-NO-O-O, was a Corgi chained to a stump in a neighbors backyard, left out in all kinds of weather, inclement and otherwise. On the sly, we freed Yoko of incarceration weekdays (while the owners were at work from 7 until 7) so she could accompany us in walks around the neighborhood and romps with our Schnauzer mix, Oliver, a one-time forager for Yoko that the neighbors chased out of their garbage can. Oliver led us to Yoko after we rescued him.
But on the night of January 11, 2000, the lights were bright in the neighbor’s house and the family was home, ignoring the howls of Yoko, trembling in the dark, bitter cold — pleading for mercy.
Naturally, we stole her.
We made her a bed in our garage out of a threadbare, king size, goose down comforter, arranged on an egg crate mattress near a 1500 watt, forced heat, Franklin stove heater sporting fake logs burning behind a glass window. Before retiring, we promised her we’d keep her at any cost. We left her food, water, dog biscuits, access to the outside dog run attached to the house, and a feral cat to keep her company.
The next morning she rewarded us with eight puppies.
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