Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Was Hitler's Prom Date

No, that's not a confession.  And it's not the title of my next short story, although that would be an epic concept.  Nor is it a cheap ploy to jack up my Google hits.  It was part of a conversation I had with a friend that made me laugh, but also got me thinking.

Let's call my friend Sandy.  She's a colleague who I've known for more than ten years.  During that time, we've often been there for one another, listening while the other blows off steam about work, former or current spouses, or whatever the bitch of the day might be.  The past couple of months she has gone through some truly emotional times between a family crises (her father suffers from advanced Alzheimer's), a new management dynamic at work that has dramatically increased the stress levels in her office, and a seemingly endless bout of stomach viruses and colds that tag teams through her family like Ebola through a monkey house.  Thursday was a bad day for Sandy because the oldest kid in the house, her husband, came down with the stomach bug and kept her up all night complaining about being sick.  I was telling her that everything would be all right, and she just needed to have faith and stick it out, and that the bad times pass.  Sandy replied: "I know, but it seems never to end.  Sometimes I feel like I'm being punished for sins committed in a past life.  Nothing bad, like murder.  Just something minor that I did that associated me with bad karma, like being Hitler's prom date." 

So where am I going with this?  Bear with me.

Two nights prior to that, I was on the phone with my dear friend Alison complaining about having to drive that Friday afternoon to another building to meet with some very important people to help build our working relationship with them.  I was pissing and moaning that this meeting was mostly a team building exercise and wouldn't be that productive, and then I'd have to drive home through traffic.  Alison let me finish, asked if I wanted any cheese with that whine, and then kicked me in the butt, partly out of friendship and partly out of admonishment (mostly the latter).  She asked if I had ever had to tell a mother that her baby was delivered stillborn, or would not survive the next few hours?  (Alison has because she is a maternity nurse.)  Of course, I said no.  She told me to be grateful for all that I have.

And I should be very grateful because I have a lot.  I have my health.  I have four pets who I love dearly and who are an endless source of comfort when I get lonely.  I have family and many friends who love me and would do anything for me.  I have an important job where I'm respected by my colleagues, am given a lot of responsibility, and my managers are begging me not to retire next year.  And I'm published, and I know there are a lot of aspiring authors who would line up to hit me with a hardcover Stephen King tome if they heard me complain about that.  When my two biggest complaints are I'm finding it hard to find the voice for my young adult novel and marketing is hard, I need to nut up and shut up.

So after I post this, I'm going to dive back into that novel, figure out what's bugging me about it, and fix it.  Then I'm going to give the rabbits treats and play with them for awhile. 

So the moral of this posting?  Put things into perspective.  There are things worse then being Hitler's prom date, like being his wife.  Ask Eva Braun.

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