April 27, 2005


If you were appointed dictionary Czar for the day, and you could remove one word -- and one word only -- from the language, strike it from the dictionary, and wipe it clean away, which word would you choose?

I was thinking about this, after finishing some Ramen Pride horrible, salterific, substitute-for-real-food dinner. And I decided on "always."

Always is frequently (not always) misleading. Cloaked in connotations of security and timelessness, of the endless forever of time, always is basically a crock.

There is no forever, no until the end of time, no fairness in things, no lasting.

When I was growing up, I believed with all my heart -- and had it reinforced by my family -- that when I grew bigger and older, my mother in turn would grow littler and younger. I thought, in essense, we would trade places.

How well I understood my enmeshment. Not.

I should have seen through the facade. If not me, then who? I watched my father die, I watched him shrink and disappear before my eyes. And yet, I grabbed onto the the "when you get little and I get big" myth with all I had.

"When you get little and I get big," I'm going to wear as much makeup as I want.

"When you get little and I get big," I'll stay up as late as I want and put you to bed at 7:00.

Like that.

And it's sort of true--as we grow, our parents shrink, the ones who aren't larger than life that is.

So, it wasn't really a lie. Not really denial. Misconception maybe. Not stupid though. Resourceful actually. The realities we construct to make sense of things, or perish.

Except that I believed it literally.

I believed in always and forever.

I believed in the justice of the ebb and the flow, the fairness of life, -- the smallness, not the disappearance. The leaving and the coming back.

The losing without the loss.

I really thought when I grew up, life would flip. Would turn upside down. Would reverse what had taken place.

There would be some grand scale of justice.

Some just desert.

Sense would be made of the unfairness and I would make it.

And the world made right would last.

No more surprises.

No more bad news.

I thought that there would always be always.