Stupidity: A Christmas Story


Do you ever get random unusual words stuck in your head for a couple of days?
Stuck Words either bother me or delight me. I like how they feel when I say them out loud when everyone is gone and I’m doing laundry or walking to check the mail. I may not even be 100% sure what they mean.
Ipso Facto.
But I like how they sound.
The irritating ones are those that I can’t remember where I’d recently heard them, where I came across them, or why they are The Word of the Day. They have no context. They sometimes make great explicatives.

I attended a very nice function this evening. I had clean hair. I had met some of the ladies before and was looking forward to seeing them again. I wore a favorite dress that would contain my dignity should I fall down or be sabotaged by the hostess’s dog. If she had a dog. I had a tasteful hostess gift. I was going to keep my head down and enjoy my hot meal while seated throughout the entire consumption of said hot meal. I would people watch and contribute when I had something humorous to say. I had a plan.
There was just one small thing… I wasn’t entirely certain who the hostess was. This was my third foray into the world of husband’s work related social gatherings and I thought I had identified her at the last one, but I couldn’t see anyone’s name tag from where I was at the restaurant table.
So when I arrived at the lovely home and the door was opened by one of the very sweet ladies I’d met at previous meetings I was relieved. Oh good, I can ask her discreetly to point out the hostess to me since she is on welcoming duty. We went to hang up my coat and I asked a bit shyly if she would point her out to me.
She looked very confused.
Oh no.
Oh yes, Reader. She was the hostess. I was standing in her lovely home. Not knowing her name or who she was. Um, here’s your tasteful hostess gift…

I wanted a drink.
And a lobatamy.
But I didn’t want to be that woman. So I mingled.

Christina, mingling.

The ladies were all very lovely and we were having a delightful time. I was almost life-like again and then…someone asked me what Sam does.
We’d been having a nice enough time that I figured I could be totally honest with them. “I should know. I realize that. But I don’t.” Then I drained my glass. It was a bit epic.
To me.

Now that I’m home and mentally replaying the evening for the 46th time it, well, it’s just as mortifying as it was when it occurred. And as I plan to dwell on this series of totally avoidable faux pas for the next few days, I can only assume the shame and self-punishment will escalate in intensity to the point where I have no longer just insulted my husband’s boss’s wife but also ruined his career, thrown my children starving and naked out into the gutters of Dickensian London, and reduced my own self-worth to that of one of those gross pitiful worms on the sidewalk after it rains—only just barely across the full length of the sidewalk to the grass and thus out of the path of the oncoming exodus of children in their merciless stomp to school.

Context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

Embarrassment, Regret, Awkwardness, Frustration, Anxiety—‘Tis the season.
I hang these things on my person like ornaments. I try to make them amusing, less Jacob Marley-ish. I may be laughing at them sometimes but they are no less crippling if I give them enough power. This reel of humiliations I keep constantly running in the back of my mind is not beneficial in any way. But I don’t know how to let it go. And then I’m afraid of what would happen if I did let it go. Holding on to my mistakes might make me a better person…right?

uh huh

Stuck Words I can deal with. Stuck Words I can embrace. I don’t need to understand their full meaning or know where they came from. Mistakes, Pain, Hard Memories, Hurt Feelings, Fear, and all Fear’s extended family members— I am not ok with them sticking around. To “fully understand and assess” the circumstances of anything is a tall order for me and I, frankly, have no desire to fully assess the magnitude of my actions. Ever.

If I can figure out how to make myself the balance between A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story– facing the past, acknowledging the present, and looking to the future, while laughing inappropriately and uproariously throughout– then I shall consider my life well lived.


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