Alright, I’ve got my sharpest, most lethal looking imaginary tools in hand and am now prepared to pick that bone I was telling you about last week. And a big bone it is. So if you were imagining that a toothpick-like instrument would be adequate for the job, think again. This instrument, imaginary as it is, is a cross between Edward’s scissorhands and Terminator’s master-blaster. My dear friend Jeremy inspired over-the-top weaponry with his casual remark a couple weeks ago. Little did he know…
Those of you who are acquainted with Jeremy (aka Joel) may have been deceived by his “I’m so cute” exterior. You may have been taken in by his marshmallow-meets-cotton-candy demeanor. A lovely soul, a kind spirit, a cheerful disposition, and a just-plain-nice guy. Sure. That’s until he finds out this aging woman has another birthday in the offing. He comes by the front office, where I sometimes work, and casually initiates a conversation. So what’s up? Busy today? Oh, you had a birthday right? How old are you anyway?
I reply honestly, because hiding my age is about as futile as wearing a girdle. The truth eventually comes out–or, to keep the metaphor intact, bulges out. Besides, I’m proud of my age. Furthermore, I LIKE my age. So, unaware of the sheer evil lurking inside this teddy-bear-slash-serial-insulter, I smile and answer, “Thirty-eight.”
He looks at me consideringly for a moment while I answer yet another phone call with my very best receptionist voice. “Black Forest Academy–this is Michele.” I look through 90 extension buttons for the correct one and punch it, replacing the receiver as I glance back at Jeremy-the-giant-fraud-who-wants-everyone-to-think-he’s-a-nice-guy-when-really-he-is-arsenic-in-human-form.
He looks at me pleasantly and drops his bombshell: “Man, I hope I’ve made more of a life for myself by the time I’m your age.”
My body convulses, my eyes roll back, and steam comes out of my ears. That’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe only the body and the eyes–hold the steam. Or maybe I just raise an eyebrow and give him my patented you’re-in-deep-doodoo-now-buddy stare. Some of the bounce goes out of the marshmallow. Some of the air wooshes out of the cotton candy. I’m pretty sure I hear a sound akin to stale breath leaking from a balloon…and I’m pretty sure it comes from the general direction of my newest worst enemy. Jeremy seems to shrink as his earlier bravado deflates, and his eyes glaze over while his mind reels in a futile attempt to come up with some mitigating reason behind the verbal diarrhea that caused his impending doom.
Rather than leap across the reception desk and remove his eyeballs from their sockets with my handy letter opener, I decide to quell my best instincts and let time pass. We terminate our conversation in friendly terms, and I silently burn a hole in his back as he strolls away. The afore-mentioned letter opener whistles faintly as it flies from my hand and imbeds itself in the back of his left knee, but only in my imagination.
And I’ve been pondering this topic ever since, while juggling multiple Candlelight Dinner responsibilities, massive baking (12 dozen muffins for my basketball girls), and general insanity. I’ve reached conclusions–really, I have. About age. About revenge. About smart-alec students with the sensitivity of rabid pitbulls. About God’s plan for my life and for Jeremy’s demise. …about really profound things that shall have to wait until my next post.
In the meanwhile, my dearest Jeremy, watch your back. And your kneecaps. And anything else you hold dear. This 38-year old hag has had a lot more time to ponder true pain than your 17 years have allowed. It’s a good thing I really like you…
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO…