Friday, June 14, 2013

Ain't she sweet? Well...?!!

Sweetness is overrated. 

As a personality trait, I mean.   

Now, sweetness on the taste buds - in Godiva chocolates or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia or Anjou pears or birthday cupcakes - that sweetness is so completely awesome.   

But being a sweet person, well, I’m dubious of its value. 

And yes, I’m probably saying that because I’m not all that sweet.  Except evidently I’m sweet on the outside.  I seem to have a well-developed sweet persona.  I guess I must do something sugary on occasion, because people frequently tell me I’m sweet. 

Yes.  They do.   

So, I appreciate that.  But it’s unexpected.  It’s even uncomfortable.  Because if they only knew what a crank I am on the inside!  Truly.  

When someone says into my right ear, “Oh!  Carolyn!  You’re so sweet!”  In my left ear I hear the counterpoint from a little imp saying, “You?  Sweet?  I’m not so sure about that!” 

Maybe it’s an internal governor, keeping my unruly ego in check, making sure I don’t believe my own reviews.  Always room for improvement, you know.                                             

 At least I’m a happy crank.   

But how is that even possible?   

I am an extremely happy person.  I’m grateful every day for so many things:  My husband, my son (yes, we let him live), my lovely little town, birds, cats…you get it.  I love all that stuff.  It brings me joy every day. 

But, I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve it all.  How can any one person deserve so much?  

You can’t.  Or, at least, how can you?  Unless you’re really sweet.  Which I don’t think I am.  I have a bunch of cranky thoughts for such a happy, grateful person.  

When I bring this up to other women (because men are blissfully unconcerned about whether or not they’re truly sweet or only seem sweet) most of them say, “Oh, me too.  I’m crabby on the inside too.  I think lots o’ crabby thoughts.” 

What’s up with that?  

Are we the Gender of Pretenders? 

Naw.  I don’t think so.  Men are being sweet too.  For example, most of them have learned sweet responses to the questions we ask that they’d best not answer truthfully:  “No Honey!  You don’t look fat!  You look great in that leotard.”   

Sweet is safe. 

It’s polite society after all.  Maintaining civilization.  If we don’t keep the snarky stuff to ourselves as we go about our business there’d be an ugly scene in the produce aisle almost every day.  

I just have to point out that there is such a thing as being too sweet, not that I’m in danger of it.   

When you’re too sweet, your brain goes into a diabetic coma.  Really, come on!  Wake up, Sweetie!  State your preference!  Form an opinion.  Decide something.  (So says my inner crab.) 

I do get it, though.  Life without sweetness would be one big blood pressure-y freeway.  You know, cutting people off, giving them the finger, blasting horns and cursing.  For some reason, the freeway’s where we just don’t care how sourly we behave.   

Maybe it’s because the freeway’s the one place where sweetness is so blatantly punished.  Go ahead.  Test the theory.  Be sweet on the freeway.  Let the other guy in.  Twelve more guys force their way in too, laughing maniacally as they go.  “Sucker!” 

Maybe we let the crab out on the road because we keep a clamp on it at home! 

I read once that the secret to a happy marriage is leaving three or four things a day unsaid.  Isn’t that the truth!?!  If I chronicled every one of my crabby observations, well, it definitely would not be sweet.   

And you know what?  Those few things just aren’t that important, are they?  Honestly, I have quit counting the number of times I didn’t say, “Again with squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle?  Can’t you see the wisdom and symmetry of rolling it up from the end like ME!?!”  

Instead, I’ve learned to love that mangled cylinder of goo.  All because I kept my mouth shut and made nice.  It’s the difference between being mad all the time or shaking my head with a fond chuckle. 

Hey…  Maybe all those people are right about me!  You can just call me Sweetie Pie! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Just take the pill!

Fish oil.  It seemed innocent enough.  Cod.  Who knew? 

It’s a gateway supplement.

All right, I said after the cod.  Why not?  A little B12.  Some D3.  Tiny caplets.  I wash them down with my multi-vitamin, silver formula, because, you know, in your “golden years” it makes sense to go silver.

Glucosamine for my gravely knees.  And some kelp.  What’s the harm?  Seaweed for goodness’ sake! 

Then, when the guy in the nutrition store said it would save my brain, it was a no-brainer (sorry!) to add one more supplement – a tiny dash of L-Tyrosine

And suddenly, I’m in league with Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez

Hello.  My name is Carolyn, and I use performance-enhancing drugs.

It all began when I was a simple One-a-Day girl and University College London first published evidence of the declining intelligence of humankind.  Dr. James Thompson, honorary senior psychology lecturer, reported research detailing a substantial falling-off in man’s general brainpower between Victorian times and 2004.  Precisely, 1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points total since 1884.

It was distressing.  And I couldn’t leave it alone.  Oh no.  When a simple “so what?” would have sufficed, I just had to get out my rototiller. 

It wasn’t long at all before I turned up this haunting piece of information:  Our smarts haven’t only been shriveling since Victoria waved her wand.  The fact is, our human intellect has been on a downhill march for the past, oh, I don’t know, 3,000 years!

That’s right.  In an article called “Our Fragile Intellect,” Stanford biologist Gerald Crabtree says that human intellectual fitness has seen a “slow but steady decay” since before Cleopatra kissed the asp!  Decay!

Crabtree blames it on our slothful lifestyle.  According to him our wits have been waning since we were freed from a state of 'survival by thinking.'

Evidently, up until then, all that looking over our shoulders, clubbing wooly behemoths and berry gathering kept our synapses snapping.

We must have been flippin’ brilliant back in the day to lose so much gray matter continuously and still be able to lift our forks to our mouths.

And now, in the age of high-powered juicers and Slingbox, we are careening toward imbecility.  And coupled with that, I’ve been coloring my gray for a long, long time.  

So I began reviewing my recent decisions – these stretchy bicycle pants, for example.  Really dumb.  And why did I cut my own bangs?  Dumber!

OK.  I had to accept it.  I’m getting dumberer.  Thank you Mr. Crabtree.  And thank you University College.  Thanks so much for bringing up a painful subject.   

On top of the constant barrage of “helpful” admonitions from our mothers and grandmothers that “as we age” multiple and sundry disagreeable and frightening things overwhelm us, we now have the scientific community calling us stupid and backing it up with research!

I had to do something.  So I did what any desperate dim-witted American would do:  I added another pill. 

Just the one.  L-Tyrosine.  “It supports mental alertness,” the clerk said.  “Enhances cognition.”  That’s all I wanted.  Some cleats for traction on the slippery slope.

How could I have known L-Tyrosine is a nootropic?  A performance enhancing “smart pill.”  I couldn’t have, I tell you! 

You remember Barry’s sincere face!  The replays of A-Rod saying “no” while nodding “yes.” 

“I never took performance enhancing drugs,” they said.  “Or, if I took them, I didn’t know I was taking them.”

Right.  I rolled my eyes too.  “I didn’t, but if I did…?!!”  Oh brother.  My high horse led that parade.

But humbled now, I beg your understanding.  You have to believe me.  We’re all human, you know.  We’re all slipping.

Like Rodriguez and Bonds, I was the victim of unscrupulous dealers.  Slippery, slimy, snakey sales persons lurking in the health supplement aisles of our most wholesome-seeming retailers!  And remember, my IQ was falling.

Yours is too. 

Hey…That’s right.  Yours is too!  Oh…  I see how this can work.  You have a couple of choices here.  Whip that supplement-free nag until the two of you can’t remember why you focused on the new, wittier me. 

Or join me for a future of clarity.  Mental acuity can be yours for the asking. 

Come on.  Take the pill.