Remembrance of Things Daft
And a half-full martini glass
By Annie Gray Sprunt
First and foremost, I would like to thank God, Buddha and Mister Rogers that I do not have school-aged children home who I am responsible for educating . . . it would not have been pretty.
During this coronavirus pandemic, I am desperately trying to embrace my inner introvert, but it’s not going well. Gwyneth Paltrow renamed her divorce “conscious uncoupling.” Well, that’s what I need to do with the news and the refrigerator. I watch my hair color becoming more “distinguished” and listen as my faux eyelashes hit the floor, one by one, like the needles on a Christmas tree. I have arranged the canned goods alphabetically, but I might go back and rearrange them by color. I have cleaned every nook of my house, including the cleaning supplies. I’ve ironed everything except the pets. I have read so many books, it feels like the last week of summer, when I used to binge-read my summer reading list.
During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, I could sit around, sans proper foundation garments, wringing my hands, feet and earlobes, or I could turn to what helps me cope (other than sauvignon blanc and Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream): humor. As my gift of distraction to you, please turn off the news, sit back and enjoy some random nuggets of ridiculousness.
Growing up in the Episcopal Church, a young person couldn’t receive Communion until they completed confirmation class. Pre-confirmed children would remain in the pew while their parents went up to the altar to receive Communion. Years before I understood what Communion meant — the minister offers a wafer symbolizing the body of the Lord and wine symbolizing the blood of the Lord — I (loudly) whispered to my friend in the neighboring pew, “It’s not blood, it’s only ketchup!”
In the third grade I wanted to have a birthday party, and I insisted on writing my own invitations. On the invitation, I wrote, “Please bring your sleeping bag and a present.” Luckily, my mother intercepted and deleted my audacious present request.
Twenty-four years ago, when my son was about 2 years old, I actually called my pediatrician, Dr. Charles Brett, on the after-hours office emergency line. I left a message: “Dr. Brett, I think something is terribly wrong with my son (remember, he was 2 years old), he won’t do anything I tell him to do.” You know that receptionist replayed that message to the staff every day as confirmation that I qualified for the Dingbat Mother of the Year award!
In my wayward youth, I developed a love of pranks — surprising, I know! (That durn caller ID has cramped my style.) I went to a tiny school with no more than 25 students per class. It rarely snowed, but when it did, we were all thrilled because school would be canceled. The local television weatherman suggested that perhaps there might be an itty-bitty hint of a possibility for snow. So what did I do? I called the local television station and identified myself as Margaret Higgins from the school and canceled school. And they did.
And guess what? It did not snow, but we had a free snow day! (Since then, there is a security code word to ward off bored middle- school pranksters.)
And for those of you who could not get enough of my Boston adventures in last month’s issue, here are a few more grisly details. During my investment boutique interview, I was offered the job, and my boss-to-be explained the particulars. Then he said a phrase that was unfamiliar to me. He said, “After a year, you can have a week off.” Clearly, he had not seen my calendar for the upcoming year and didn’t understand. I told him that I had to go home for at least a week for Thanksgiving and at least a week for Christmas, and that my uncle always had a Fourth of July party that I just couldn’t miss. And I also told him that I was scheduled to be a bridesmaid in 12 upcoming weddings and I would probably have to take off Wednesday afternoons before each wedding weekend so I wouldn’t miss any of the festivities.
Dear Reader, I got that job because he thought that if he didn’t hire me, he had no faith that anyone else would. I was a charity hire. He didn’t understand that I wasn’t working because I wanted to be an award-winning secretary, I was working to have something to do between weddings.
Helpful hint for these trying times: Think of your martini glass as half-full!
Annie Gray Sprunt is a lifelong Wilmingtonian, award-winning mother, and self-deprecating bon vivant.