Be Happy or I'll Scream

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I was having a bit of a computer problem while trying to write this blog entry - which resulted in this entry going up later than I had planned, and in me yelling at the computer, "Come on you stupid piece of crap, I've got a blog entry to write." Well actually, in the interest of keeping this blog honest I must confess, that was actually the clean version of what I said.

Today's book: "Sherri Lynch works while her husband stays at home with their two children, but that doesn't squelch her desire to create a family like those on TV, with their touching moments and meaningful lessons. Thus she gives herself a year to transform her family."

The book begins with the author discussing how warped her views on family are after growing up watching so many sitcoms. She's got a point. Sitcoms do provide quite a few false ideas about family life - that there's no problem so big that it can't solved with a heart-to-heart and some soft music playing in the background, that babies spend 90% of their time sleeping quietly in their playpens, that your parents will always let your wacky friend spend the night if you ask them politely enough (even on a weeknight), and that the school bus will always honk when it pulls up and then politely wait for you to finish eating your eggs. That last one bugged my mother almost as much as seeing sitcom children eat their breakfast and head off to school without even stopping to brush their teeth first. Every time a scene like that would happen she would say, "How disgusting - I bet those kids had bad breath all day," to which I would reply, "Mom, it's a show. Those people aren't actually real."

Later in the book Lynch discusses her childhood beverage of choice, Tang. I was never a fan of Tang myself - I was a Kool-aid kid, especially after I discovered that my mother had been secretely only putting in half the amount of sugar, and I then got to experience the sheer joy of Kool-aid that's so sugary it made my teeth hurt. The only time I ever drank Tang was when I was sleeping over at my Grandmother's house. She would shake her head when we asked for orange juice and say, "I can't believe your Mom gives you orange juice to drink. Tang is so much healthier." I tried dear readers, really I did, because I didn't want to hurt her feelings - but, after the second sip I would start to choke and gag and I was forced into being honest. I would tell her, "Grandma, my throat feels like it's burning," and she would always reply with, "That'll get better in a few minutes. Just keep drinking."

Towards the end of the book Lynch describes a family RV trip. I was having trouble focusing during that part of the book because every time I hear the words "RV trip" it makes me want to watch The Long, Long Trailer. I love that movie. For those of you who don't watch old movies, The Long, Long Trailer is a movie starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It's about newlyweds who buy a travel trailer and spend a year traveling across the United States in it. It was made in the 1950's, during a hiatus from I Love Lucy. Here are a few youtube videos of scenes from the movie:

Favorite line of the book: "I, on the other hand, suffered from a deranged and overactive imagination coupled with a complete inability to follow directions." - I'm directions-impaired as well, so that line really spoke to me. I can't seem to make it anywhere the first time without getting lost. The times when I have managed it have been so infrequent that when I tell people who know me well about it they either say, "That's great" in the same tone of voice they would use to applaud a toddler's art project, or they clap like I'm in an AA meeting and I've just announced I've been sober for the last six months. When I first learned how to drive I made about 5 desperate phone calls a week to my dad that went a little something like this, "I'm in Michigan, and I don't know how I got here or how to get back. Help." I even got lost once while using a GPS system. I didn't even think that was possible up to that point - and yet, I can assure you dear readers that it is. My direction-impairment problem extends to other things as well; following recipes (I always end up thinking, "I bet the author of this cookbook meant 1 tbsp of mustard and not two), playing board games, and of course those annoying worksheets in elementary school that have 20 directions on the front and then one direction on the back that says "Ignore all of the previous directions. Leave this paper blank." I have a long and sad history of being unable to follow directions of any kind.