You Are a Mist

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  James 4:14 NIV

Taken out of context, this verse has a rather singular meaning. We hear variations on the theme with great frequency.

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

I used to lose my mind if the freshly laundered unmentionables were not folded and put away, until one day it dawned on me. At the end of every day, I unhook them, take them off, re-hook them, put them in the wash, take them out, unhook them, hang them on the rack, fold them, place them in a basket, carry them upstairs and put them in a drawer. Wash, rinse, repeat. A feeling of liberation ensued when I finally said, “No more!” Off, wash, dry, drawer, done.

Life is short, play hard.

I like Phyllis Diller’s game plan for housekeeping:  just leave the vacuum out. If anyone comes by unexpectedly, apologize that the house is a mess and inform them that they caught you just vacuuming.

Never go to bed angry.

For that matter, don’t spend any energy being angry unless it spurs you to act in a way that creates a better world for everyone.

Make love, not war.

Strike Syria? Excuse me, but who made the U.S. government Chief Retribution Officer of the world?

Within its context, James’ verse is much deeper. Consider Verse 13: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’”

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.

Pick an item off of your bucket list and do it today. Or make the reservations today. Or whatever it takes to chip away at the stone—now. Stop reading. Go do it. This will be here in cyberspace later.

James 4-14 tprnt bkgdHave you ever driven through the thick mist on a humid summer morning? But for as dense as the mist was in one moment, the sun peeks through, clearing it. You can hardly believe that only a minute prior you were driving along, barely able to see the lines on the sides of the road, disoriented in familiar territory. That is how quickly life can end.

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Hoping I’m Smarter Than my Smart Phone

If you have followed 50figment for a few posts or many, you might notice that my muse has recently gone missing!

At the end of this semester, I cleaned my house thoroughly, considering I use Phyllis Diller’s cleaning philosophy.  I adore a spotless home, but apparently I have wildly impossible aspirations or delusions of grandeur.  Take your pick. I thought the physical cleaning might lead to some mental clarity.

Photo Courtesy:
Photo Courtesy:

Sadly, I am still adrift.

Inspiration has been sparse, and I have all too often been plagued with blinking cursor syndrome.  I envy those who write daily and manage to achieve some semblance of humor all the while.

Perhaps its all the “fiscal cliff” talk.  Whoever coined the phrase itself should be summarily fired.  For one thing, all I can picture is the Cheers character Cliff Claven dressed in a spandexy (yeah, I made it up)  70’s era aerobics outfit complete with headband ala Olivia Newton John.

Visualize Whirled Peas
Visualize Whirled Peas

You my head “fiscal cliff” becomes “Physical Cliff.”  Yup, it works in mysterious ways. Possibly I am smarter than my smart phone after all. I’m not sure there’s an app that can make a leap like that.

This year, I’ll be the change I wish to see in the world.  In the meantime, maybe, for just one night, the world can simply Stop the Violins and Visualize Whirled Peas. Imagine the app for that.

Happy New Year 2013!

I’m a Ninja When the Blowdryer is On

When someone who has only ever heard my voice on the phone, asks me what I look like, I’ve always been compelled to tell them that I’m something of a cross between Marilyn Monroe and …after  a pregnant pause…Phyllis Diller. This is usually followed by a deafening, albeit momentary silence.

I’ll wait right here one second while those under 50 quickly Google a photo of each of them.

Go ahead…I’ll be here…

Still waiting…

Still waiting…

For all those of you age 50 and up, you may now unleash the stifled giggles.

I imagine that caller, who can easily picture both women, is momentarily stunned by the incongruous mental picture, unable to juxtapose the two. (Didn’t think I could pull off the words “incongruous” and “juxtapose” in the same sentence did you?  Well that’s just how I roll.)  Sadly, the world lost a genuine character, Phyllis Diller, 95, this week.

I’m sad because I’ll need to get a new punch line now, and sad because she inspired me.  In her memoir, Diller said she realized that she was a lousy housekeeper, so it occurred to her to always leave her vacuum out.  That way, whenever someone dropped by unexpectedly, she could answer the door and apologize that the vacuum was out, saying she was just doing some cleaning.  Brilliant!

Phyllis Diller was bawdy, didn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense, and she was unapologetic for the person she was.  It must have been liberating.  I don’t think it was her intent to offend anyone, though she often did, and she was one of few women of her generation who could keep up with the boys when it came to a roast.  I loved her sense of humor.

In some ways, I’m like her.  I’ve never been stealthy.  I wear flats to avoid tripping or doing that graceful Miss Congeniality walk…you know the one.

I’m more like a troll in heels than a runway model. So it is surprising that this week I managed to scare the daylights out of v2.0 (AKA the kid), when I chose to join her in our tiny powder/laundry room whilst she was busily blowdrying her hair.  I (thought) I tromped in, with my usual flair, balanced a 5X magnifying mirror on top of the washer and proceeded to apply mascara.

It was, at this point that v2.0 shut off the blowdryer, turned, startled and screamed, “Ohmigosh Mom, you scared me!  You’re like a ninja or something!”

Yeah, that’s me.

Well time to go clean!