Monday, November 9, 2009

The Circumtheory of Revolution

I freaked myself out.

My last post has plagued me since I published it. It hovers overhead like a cloud filled with thunder claps. It haunts me, taunts me, threatens to overcome me, and I have given in to the fear.

In high school I learned an important lesson. Beware what you say in jest. As sure as thunder follows lightening, it will boomerang back to you.

It happened to me. Flirting with a cute guy--Pat, the brother of one of my best friends, no less--I scored an invitation to his senior prom, still three months away. I accepted, of course, flattered he asked.

But then the unthinkable happened. A week or two later, a boy to whom I'd been attracted for a year acknowledged my existence. What joy. A blazing shaft of happiness lit my world. He showed up at my school (he had graduated the year before) and we talked. We phoned. We sent notes. A couple weeks went by and the infatuation grew. He asked me out. I accepted. We set it up for the following week.

My friend reminded me of her brother. His prom was in six weeks. He'd already bought the tickets. I no longer wanted to go and in my diary that night I whined and complained, but I knew I could not disappoint my friend's brother. I had to go. "Maybe I'll break a leg," I wrote in jest, figuring that would be the only way I could get out of going. It wasn't as if I didn't like Pat. He was a sweet, nice boy, but when a sixteen-year-old is in the throes of new love, she wants to spend every waking moment with the heartthrob.

The day before my date with the heartthrob, I broke my foot.

It is more than the Circumtheory of Revolution (what goes around, comes around), it is irony at its best. And it is warning. I hobbled on crutches and cast to my date with cutie-patootti, but the cast came off a week before Pat's prom and I was in tip-top shape for it. Pat must have known about the other boy, but he was a gentleman. We contented ourselves with just being friends and having a good time. (At least that is my version. I have no idea if he has a different version.)

So this long-ago incident has weighed heavy on my mind for the last couple days. In my last entry I said I wouldn't help someone drowning in a river. It was written in jest. That means I was joking. It was a sham, a farce, not to be taken seriously. Of course I'd stop, dang it. And I'd do everything I could to help. But now I keep thinking of the "Maybe I'll break a foot," entry in my high school diary and within a week my foot broke.

I've put a blanket and a coil of rope in my trunk. If I see someone in the river I'm throwing a line. When I haul them in, I'm wrapping them up in the blanket and driving them to the nearest hospital.

Do you hear that, fates? I WILL stop. I WILL help. And I'll help the old, crippled blind woman cross the dang street too. Okay?

Now leave me alone. And get a sense of humor, will you? Sheeeez.


  1. It's not only about morality, it's about morale as well - at least sometimes. I just had an "incident" of that kind on the subway on my way home from work. There was a young girl, quite pretty, sitting opposite of me on the train. It was quite crowded, not sardines in a can-like crowded but there were quite a few people who had to stand.
    So enters an old guy in a working rig - a little smelly and probably not entirely sober. He places himself with his back against on of those rods or whatever they are called where you are supposed to take a hold for support.
    That one was exactly next to the seat where the girl was sitting. Now the guy wedges himself against that rod and the lower part of the seat where she was sitting, forcing her to sit at an angle in retreat.

    So what was I to do? I strongly felt for interferring, but then again, should I just ask him to move away and face his wrath? Or should I ask the girl if she felt bothered by him? While contemplating this I tried to give him an evil stare thinking he might just get the point. Of course he didn't - just stared back instead. So I got a little scared, he could very well have a knife, could he not? And I wasn't really the brave gunboat captain from my novel - and if I had been I would at least have had a sword...

  2. Yes, those claims that you would be able to ignore someone in need of help did not ring true. Do you have a yearning to be a shrinking violet? nah. I don't see it.
    Great post.
    It's always given me the warm fuzzies to see someone get up and offer a seat to an older rider on the subway. :)

  3. Jenku, I am afraid I am now picturing you with a small sword at your side, like a gentleman or an officer.

    Public transportation can be pretty dicey. Sort of like an exercise yard at a prison. The guy next to you might have a shank. But, on behalf of the young woman, thank you for the thoughts and for the evil stare. And for being ready to leap to her defense.

  4. Dale, I agree. There is something heroic about a man who offers his seat to an elder. It sets my heart beating faster and makes the man look like Cary Grant.

    And congratulations. You were my 2000th visitor. Thank you.

  5. Ah, there is of course a conclusion as well. That is, they all got off at the next station so my interfering wasn't necessary in the end. Thanks God. So I got out of it with my honour intact...

  6. Jenku, bravo. The point is, you were thinking of jumping in and would have if it became necessary. In this case, she could have gotten up and moved next to the lady with the five children.

    Polish up that sword, Capt'n.

  7. If you were drowning, I would save you...

    Theoretically, of course...unless you're an incredibly strong swimmer, with a waterproof cell phone, you'll need really good reception on that phone too, and then I will absolutely save you...

  8. SingleDatingMommy I don't know why, but I don't feel all that reassured. Hmmmm


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