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Monday, May 02, 2005

Oh, the Things They Say

WARNING: The following is rated R for language not usually seen on this blog.


It is very tricky, this being a psychotherapist and a blogger at the same time. I hear such wonderful, horrible, poignant or funny stories, all the time. Yet, for the most part, they are not my stories to tell. In many other occupations, one would have no qualms about telling stories of who said what at work. Not so, with me. Being an auditory person (as I explained here), I remember much of what is said to me, verbatim. I remember the funny, the sad, the brilliant, the insane, the unkind and the profound. I'd like to share some of the things that I have heard at work, that have stuck with me for a long time, without any risk of revealing who said them.

SAY WHAT?

"My husband is totally dogmatic." I waited for the woman to elaborate, expecting her to describe a mate who is some flavor of a religious fundamentalist.

"How so?" I inquire.

"He'll chase anything in a skirt."

Translation: He is a DAWG. Dogmatic means, "just like a dog!"

***

Then there was the gentleman who complained that his wife never wanted to be alone with him, always had to be entertaining guests. When he arrived home one evening, a "shindig" was already in progress. He explained, for my edification:

"Two's company, three's a crowd, five's a fucking shindig, and two more and you got a goddamn hootenanny!"

I had often wondered what constitutes a shindig, or a hootenanny. Now I know.

***

A lovely woman in her 80s, telling me about her gentleman friend:

"It's strictly a Potomac relationship."

***

A pretty, well-educated, altruistic, spiritually-minded woman who hated her very prestigious job, when asked how work had gone for her that week:

"Motherfucker stole my lunch." *

She was describing an actual incident of someone swiping her lunchbag (containing particularly yummy leftovers from the night before) from the breakroom fridge, but this sentence perfectly captured her regard for the place.

For weeks, this became my sentiment, spoken or unspoken, whenever I encountered people or circumstances that were just generally being more unpleasant than they needed to be. Perfect description of people or events that suck the joy out of the moment.

When she finally found her dream job, I encouraged her to include that sentence in her letter of resignation.

***

Many years ago, a young man with schizophrenia told me in our first session about the voices of deceased, but very articulate, characters in his head. I was very "green," with more compassion and sincerity than knowledge or skill. I listened intently, trying to find rhyme or reason in what the tormenting voices were saying to him. He started with Moses, hit a few prophets, then moved into the New Testament, with Jesus, and then John, who said:

"All you need is love."

I was so proud of myself for having followed and "understood" what was being said to this point. Here, I wasn't certain whether it was John the Baptist or the Apostle John. So I very gently, haltingly interrupted to clarify this point, "And was that. . . John the Baptist . . . or. . . "

My client looked at me like I was stark raving mad.

"No, that was John Lennon," he said.

Well, DUH! I couldn't hold back. I howled with laughter, then quickly reassured him I was laughing at my own stupidity. Well, who doesn't know it was John Lennon who said THAT? My client smiled and forgave my being so dense.


ON LOVE, OR LONGING FOR IT

And some aren't funny at all, but profoundly true.

A single mom, doing a phenomenal job with her two boys, on when it was most difficult for her to be alone. It was Autumn, and we were talking about the beauty of a particularly colorful stretch of highway in the area:

"That's when I really wish I had someone. When I'm driving up 83 in October. . . I just wish there were someone to take the wheel for a few minutes so I could look at the leaves again."

That was maybe 17 years ago, and it still moves me. Single parents do need someone else to take the wheel sometimes so they can relax and enjoy the color.

***

A recent immigrant, who had met her husband in an Eastern European refugee camp. Shortly after they arrived in the U.S., her husband had developed paranoid schizophrenia, and become bizarre and violent. She seemed relatively unconcerned for him, which puzzled me. During the course of our first meeting, I understood her apparent apathy when she explained in very broken English:

"We did not come together out of great love, but out of great lack."

Wow. That struck me as coming from a place of true wisdom. How many couples does that describe?


AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH?

A woman who, as an adult, is not as tall as my 9-year-old. She is, by medical definition, a dwarf. But where it counts, I don't know anyone bigger. In good sense, in spirit, in heart, in humor. She is the one who holds everyone together in the midst of chaos, who makes sure that what must be done gets done. I marvelled at how, even with capable siblings, she was the one who did the decision-making, the care-taking, the hard work of dealing with her mother's impending death.

She said, very matter-of-factly, "So much is possible when you give a damn."

I want that needle-pointed on a pillow.

***


My work makes me rich in ways that never make it to the bank.


* I wanted to protect my client's right to this statement, as much as possible, should she ever wish to write a story about it; when I googled/yahooed "Motherfucker stole my," I got over 35,000 matches! Apparently this is a serious problem, these motherfuckers stealing things!


Has someone shared some words that have stuck with you, and made a difference?

file under: &Work

63 heads are better than one . . .

Anonymous Sharkey said...

Wow, Susie--I'm so honored to comment on your now-famous blog.

The words that I remember came from someone I didn't even know. She was fighting breast cancer, but managed to remain upbeat about the whole thing. In her final website update she had some words of advice, and one thing stuck with me because of its importance and because it's kind of silly:

"If the dog eats the strudel, it's not a real crisis. It's only strudel."

"It's only strudel. It's only strudel." Yeah, I've gotten some odd looks when I've said that out loud.

 
Blogger Mamaramma said...

Lovely post. Atticus Finch never said this to me in real life, although I'm sure he would have if he had met me, but I always liked how he tells Scout that you have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you can think about judging them. OK - I'm WAY paraphrasing, but you know what I mean.

 
Anonymous MrsDoF said...

My dad told me to "find a guy with something between his ears as well as between his legs." So I did.
Our 25th anniversary is coming soon.

 
Blogger Nilbo said...

I've got a couple (how unexpected!):

I was in Florida a few years ago, and went out golfing. As a single, I was matched up on the first tee with a couple of guys from Texas and an older fellow from South Carolina, with whom I shared a cart.

Halfway through the game, we passed by a foursome on an adjacent fairway. One of them, a young guy, hit a bad shot. Very bad. He slammed his club into the ground repeatedly, yelling "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" with every blow.

My cartmate looked over at me, smiled gently, and said, in his quiet, South Carolina drawl: "You know ... I'm just happy to be here."

It has become my mantra, in golf and in life, when things don't go perfectly. I AM happy to be here. Especially given the alternative.

My second came from my Dad, who, when I graduated from University and was casting about for a job, said "Don't take a job for the money. Find something you love. If you're doing something you love, the money will always be enough."

It took me 20 years to realize how wise that was.

 
Anonymous Julie said...

An entry that makes me laugh AND cry. Just what I needed on Monday morning! I thought a hootenanny was six people. I'm so glad to have that clarified.

 
Blogger Robin said...

I just found your blog - so glad I did!

When my father was dying in the hospital, I was with him on what would be the last occasion I would ever see him. He had terrible dementia, and couldn't remember a lot of details about my life, or anyone else's for that matter. As I was leaving, I leaned in to kiss him goodbye, knowing it would probably be the last time. I said, "I love you Dad." He whispered, "I love you too honey. I'm sorry I didn't know how to teach it better." I sat up, startled, looked into his eyes, and he said "never stop learning how to love." That was the last thing he ever said to me. He wasn't very good about teaching me life lessons, but came through when it counted the most. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. And, oddly, just a few weeks ago, my son (who was only 1 when my father died, and is 5 now) said to me, from out of nowhere, "Mommy, it's important to always learn loving." That took my breathe away.

 
Blogger Susie said...

sharkey, the honor is all mine, I'm sure. Good one, sharkey, it so often is "only strudel." Plus "strudel" is one of those words that's fun to say!

mamaramma, I know precisely what you mean, and try to hand onto that. Militant APs would do well to hold onto that; I think you know what I mean.

mrsdof, good advice; sounds like you landed both. Happy upcoming anniversary:)

nilbo, so glad to see that you're coming out of your shell here:0 I had a similar experience on the golf course -- Jif and I were on vacation, were put with these two other guys who were delightful until the one wasn't so much anymore, throwing clubs and cursing a blue streak. I had the same reaction as your guy, like, "Dude, it's a beautiful day, you're out with a friend, you're healthy enough and wealthy enough to be playing golf...you are not entitled to such a hissy fit!" People have written books trying to communicate what your dad said so eloquently.

julie, see, I knew this post would provide a public service. You're gonna have to get those invitations reprinted now, aren't you?;)

 
Blogger Susie said...

robin, welcome, I'm glad you found your way here, too. THANK YOU for sharing such a beautiful story. You must write that on your own blog, if you haven't already!

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Has someone shared some words that have stuck with you, and made a difference?

Susie, yes. You.

Thank you.

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Has someone shared some words that have stuck with you, and made a difference?

I just read all the comments... Thank you all, too.

 
Anonymous mrtl said...

Susie - Great post! Thank you for sharing!

For me, a couple choice phrases come to mind. My husband, when I was considering leaving teaching, was wonderful and supportive, saying, "There's a difference between living to work and working to live." A Southern friend once said, "You can say any nasty thing you want about anybody, so long as you follow it with 'Bless her heart.' What a bitch! Bless her heart."

And of course, "Of France!!!!"

 
Blogger Squirl said...

This is such a lovely post. And, yes, someone once told me something that gets me through all the troubles I've every had. That line is, "This too shall pass." The bad stuff's not going to last forever. Makes it easier to get through the daily garbage when you remember that.

 
Blogger nutty said...

What a wonderful idea. I've only just found you but I like you.

My mom is a wealth of sayings, she's had colon cancer and instead of saying, "Have a good day." at the end of conversation she says, "Take care of your vital organs, drink water, (and depending how well she knows the person) don't wear underwear to bed."

Her mother was a great cynic and would always say, "It's not what's relative, they're all relatives!"

Then for some reason I've always remembered how Elizabeth Taylor described love "It makes you heart beat potata, potata, potata"

 
Blogger Susie said...

CK, FINALLY! Someone gives the right answer;) How you doing?

mrtl, good stuff. Southerners have some great ones. "Bless his/her/your heart" is very multifunctional. My mom uses it a lot.

squirl, that's one of my favorites, too. True of both good and bad times, so we really have to savor the good ones.

undies, welcome! Love your name, you definitely belong here, with a name like that. In fact, I dare say, some of these folks here really need you. Your mom and grandmom sound like characters. I like that in a relative;)

 
Anonymous Weetzie said...

Susie you've done it again! This post is wonderful. I love them all but especially like the one about the single mom raising 2 boys and wishing for someone else to take the wheel. This is ME and after 11 years of single mommyness I am exhausted! (All weekend my son was talking ME down from the hissy fits......he is an angel sometimes...) Thanks for the uplifting messages everyone!

 
Anonymous La Pix said...

Even though it just happened yesterday, I am sure these words will stick with me.

“God loves me no matter what I do or say. God loves me every minute of every day.”

Coming from someone, who's 9 years old and by all accounts has no reason to believe in someone, God, in this case, who believes that someone is looking out for her, who knows her heart, who forgives her, loves and accepts her as she is.

Even though I am not religious, I am spiritual, and these were healing words for me. As a small kid and up until now, I didn't believe in that someone out there looking out for me, loving me, and it's taken me a lifetime to learn to share the burden and the love.

Thank you for your kind comment Susie.

 
Blogger zhoen said...

First rule of water safety; Make sure you are secure first, or there will be two stiffs in the water. I think about this a lot when I have a tendency to play martyr, or not take care of my own needs. If I want to be of service, make sure I am giving of my strength, not just making myself feel good about acting charitable.

I was caring for a woman dying (rather horribly) of esophageal cancer. I was sitting with her, obviously looking concerned and she told me very calmly,
"It's not so bad." Meaning dying. She was staring death in the face, suffering every minute and took the energy to tell me this- who am I not to believe her? I cannot be afraid of death now.

 
Blogger laurenbove said...

Susie: A lot of the things YOU say have stuck with me: (thinking "Bootyflies")

I love those creative misuse of words you posted...

Phrase I shall never forget: Nothing stays the same except the fact that nothing stays the same.

Expect nothing and you wont be disappointed.

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

There!

 
Anonymous lawbrat said...

"Single parents do need someone else to take the wheel sometimes so they can relax and enjoy the color." That is so true. So many times your living life, and so much is passing by because you have a schedule to keep, things to do, errands to run, and you lay in bed at night, feeling so alone and it would be so nice to have big shoulders and strong arms holding you close, and knowing your safe and secure.



"I'm worried that you're punishing yourself by depriving yourself of feeling God's compassion, forgiveness, healing. Think about what your friend said. You'll tell your boys that you'll love them and welcome them home no matter how badly they mess up. How much bigger is God's heart than yours?"
Someone said this to me in an email. You know who it is. When I'm feeling particularly down, I re-read those emails, and they give me hope.

 
Blogger Nic said...

Ok, so this isn't so much advice as an alternative way to say something. At my previous job, I went to the Christmas party and there were only about 60 people there. So, I'm talking with the boyfriend of one of my my male co-workers and he related this charming little joke.

Two women were sharing a room in the maternity ward of a hospital in the Deep South.

1st woman: You know, this is my 3rd child and every time I've given birth, my husband has given me something extremely expensive.

2nd woman: Ohhh, how nice.

1st woman: For my first child, he gave me a Mercedes SL class convertable that cost 150 thousand dollars.

2nd woman: Ohhh, how nice.

1st woman: For my second child, he gave me a beautiful summer house in the Hamptons.

2nd woman: Ohhh, how nice.

1st woman: And for this child, he gave me this perfectly flawless 6.5 karat diamond ring from Harry Winston. It's worth over one million dollars. If we ever divorce, I get to keep all of the gifts.

2nd woman: Ohhh, how nice.

1st woman: So, what did you husband give you?

2nd woman: He gave me lessons to finishin' school.

1st woman: Finishing school? That's a perfectly useless gift. What in the world can finishing school do for you?

2nd woman: Well, it taught me to say "Oooh, how nice" instead of "F*(k you" when someone is showing off something I'd like to have but don't.

I will always remember that joke. So if you ever need something useful to say in a situation that requires tact, say "Oooh, how nice." ...Then tell the joke a few minutes later and watch the person's face you said "Oooh, how nice" to.

 
Blogger Susie said...

Y'all make me laugh and cry. And you help and entertain each other. It's all good. No stolen lunches here.

Weetzie,as I've told others, I SO admire single parents, for a time most of my clients were in that category, and they just amazed me all the time. God bless you.

la pix, children are spiritually very wise, I believe. They cut through the crap. I think God speaks to us through them, in many ways, if we will stop to listen. You probably know that I am "a believer." One of the things that I believe is that it was no accident you heard what you heard when you heard it. But that's just me.

Anyone reading this comment, if you want to read "beautiful and uplifting and bittersweet," go to "la pix"'s post today.

zhoenw, welcome, I'm so glad you stopped in, and shared those words. "It's not so bad." You make me glad I posted this, today. I am still tentative with this blogging thing, reading each new post to my husband and saying, "Is that a post?" I guess it was.

laurenbove, hi, beautiful! Some of your favorites are some of mine, too. My versions: "Everything changes." And "Expect nothing, hope for everything." :)

lawbrat, you make me cry. You must have some brilliant bitches emailing you, grrrrl;)

nic, welcome, and THANK you, that cracked me up. I can hear my mom saying that. She usually says, in her sweet Southern way, "Is that right?" Which means something like, "You're so full of shit."

 
Blogger Vajana said...

Wow...what a great post. I have to remember that MF that stole her lunch. That's great. Now I have that and Kristine is making me write "Everything will be alright" on my palm! LOL!

my favorite is something I saw on a church marquee: "Those who anger you, control you." So true!

These are such great comments. Thank you everyone for making my day brighter!!

 
Anonymous SUB said...

In last night's movie the character Jesse (played by Richard T. Jones) made a profound statement. His mother told him to always do his best for that day. That's about all we can do.
I also think if more people actually would say to themselves before acting WWJD, maybe many of us (especially those in high places) would make better decisions.
Also slogans from 12-step programs, i.e. One Day at a Time, help me sometimes.
I saw a bumper sticker once that said What would Scooby Doo? This may explain some of my life decisions.

 
Blogger Nilbo said...

I say "What would Bucky do?"

I'm ALWAYS in trouble ...

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 23 or so, my family and I were driving around town admiring the christmas lights. Being a bit of a snob, I said oh my god look at that house. It was one of those houses decorated with lots of lights, all mismatched colours and sizes. At the time, my 10 year old sister turned to me and said "Someone thinks that looks really nice". From that point on, I don't criticize the lights people put up at Christmas, but remark that they have Christmas spirit; that they took the time to decorate their house for the holidays. It really makes a difference.

LeafGirl77

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Damn the wisdom possessed by children, huh?

LeafGirl77

 
Blogger Nic said...

You said: I think God speaks to us through them, in many ways, if we will stop to listen. You probably know that I am "a believer."

Me: I agree. My 3 1/2 yo daughter is full of little pearls of such logical, adult-like wisdom daily. And...me too. Feel free to check out my blog. I have a pretty eclectic mix of stuff I blog about from God to boogers. One of my all time favorite blogs ever is your Booty Flies. I couldn't even tell my mom about it without stoping several times to try and stop laughing. My mom used to work for an OB/GYN, so I knew she would appreciate it! Hope you don't mind but I linked you on my blog last week.

 
Blogger Greenthumb said...

Like some have said, these words too, have given me thoughts to ponder, but you reminded me of something I say to myself from time to time. It's in my post today. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

 
Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

I have something someone said to me, but its not a good something. However it had a major impact on me and my life, and I remind myself of it when things start to get to me.

When I was very very sick with my panic disorder, having attacks several times a week, major intense, I cant breathe Im going to swallow my tongue and die attacks,never eating for fear of contamination and terrified of medication, I was having a full out attack, couldnt control my musles, shaking like a leaf, and someone who I thought was my friend who was here with me, leaned over my on my bed and said to me:

You have to stop this, there is no mental illness, its not a real thing, this is demons whispering in your ear trying to make you kill yourself.

Killing myself by mistake was one of my biggest fears during an attack, and she knew this.

I was a bit out of it for about two days after that. But her statement got me to do alot of soul searching, and I realized a few things. 1, she wasnt my friend. 2, I really did have a mental illness that was not going to go away if I didnt take my medication. 3, I couldnt put myself, or my family though this anymore, 4 the medication could never be as scary as that moment in time when I felt like I was going to die and she was saying those things to me.

I started on my meds, I can leave my house again, I dont have attacks much anymore, and whenever things start getting bad I just remind myself, hey, im going to be ok, its not like I believe something as sad as that. It helps me to keep myself strong and never get back to that place in my life again.

I know this isnt a happy type of thing, but it really made a huge differance in my thinking, and I know even when I have an attack now, it will never be as bad as that, I can only get better and go forward.

And now I will stop taking up space and be quiet. heh.

 
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Ilove the words of wisdom. Especially the "..someone else take the wheel."
My dad has a ton of sayings, too many for me to pick a favorite. But one that I think he stole from someone was "Work like you don't need the money."

 
Blogger Susie said...

vajana, welcome, and I agree with that church sign. And I loved Kristine's story.

SUB, I tried to hang onto "Jesse's" motto from that movie last night, too.

nilbo, this still being primarily a PG-13 blog, I'm not even gonna go there...

LeafGirl77, I like that, what your sister said. It applies to many situations.

nic, I will come visit you, and THANK YOU for the link, I'm very flattered. Glad your mom liked the story:)

greenie, not bad for an old lady and a hair-lipped boy. (Will I EVER be able to say anything else to you?!! I will, just allow me a few more;)

jess, glad things are better. You are right, she was not your friend. She was, in fact, a lunch-stealing motherfucker, if I may. So, what she said out of evil, you ended up using for good. I believe in that. That's huge. Good for you.

william, more good advice from the guy who made you eat "poop and boogies," who'da thunk it?

 
Blogger Jomama said...

One of the things you said that stuck with me (even though it was only last week) almost made me cry was when I wrote about my ultrasound and you said "You are the home of a miracle." I thought that was such a beautiful and heartwarming thing to say. It put into words how special giving life is.

I think the piece of advice that has stayed with me the longest is when I refused to eat my dinner as a child and my parents would throw me that age old line: "There are children starving in Africa who can't eat anything and would beg for the food you think is so nasty." That has stayed with me because it is so true and it makes me so appreciative of all that I have because there are some people out there with real life or death problems. My father-in-law was saying that to my nephew the other day at dinner when he refused to try veal and sat there crying at his horrific predicament. We all laughed because we've all been there before, but I was just thinking how true it really is and how I hope he appreciates all the oppotunities and privileges he has when he is older because we all eventually did.

 
Blogger echrai said...

Thank you. :) Susie and everyone else. Poignant, funny, witty, and sweet... this particular thread made for a lovely read.

 
Blogger tinkamarink said...

When my son was diagnosed with autism, I came home and started crying in my mom's arms. Feeling totally sorry for myself, I wailed, "How in the world am I supposed to take care of him now?" Being much wiser and calmer than me, she said, "You'll do exactly what you've been doing. Hugging, kissing, and loving him. Making sure he has the best you can offer. Not every child is so lucky." What a wake-up call!

 
Blogger Jen Spedowfski-Martin said...

Heehee, I *love* the phrase, "Motherfucker stole my lunch." A perfect description of sucking the life or energy out of you or putting the kibosh on your plans.

Okay...as for me, I have had some dark financial (read: scared and poor) times in the last three years and found certain quotes really helpful.
"He who makes a paradise of his bread makes a hell of his hunger." by Antonio Porchia
"Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings naming your troubles." by Maltbie D. Babcock
"Not having money is no excuse for not enjoying life." by me.
"My barn having burned to the ground, I can see the moon," a chinese proverb.
"Be patient and gentle with people. Everybody's bruised." by Katie Lambert
And my absolute favorite:
"WHO, BEING LOVED, IS POOR?" by Oscar Wilde.

 
Blogger Danikabur said...

Mine isn't so inspirational but a saying that has helped me in dealing with life and others.

There is two sides to every story.

If I'm upset or bothered by something someone has said or done I stop and think about the reasons they may have done or said what they did.

Instead of getting upset I stay calm and let it roll off my back.

Thanks to everyone for sharing (and I'm glad you asked everyone to Susie).

 
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Susie, first off, I love your website! Your sense of humor and way of looking at life makes me smile and sometimes laugh out-loud (too loud, actually).:)

One thing I must question though, in regards to this post from the quote from the woman with dwarfism. Why is it that when we (because I have dwarfism as well, achondroplasia to be exact) do something, anything, that any average size person does, that it is considered either phenomenal or larger than life?
Can't everyone just understand that we REALLY ARE just like everyone else, just about a foot shorter. Because I swear, if I hear one more cliche about "he may have been small, but his heart was BIGGER than any giant", I'm going to vomit. :) (and I can assure you, most of the dwarfism community feels the same)

Is it possible that the reason they are shocked at our abilties is because we have always been seen as incapable individuals? Is it maybe because some people initially doubted our abilities, that then they over compensate by gushing about how fantastic we are?

If any other member would like to answer, I'd love to hear it! :)

Jennifer

 
Blogger Susie said...

Jennifer,
I just read the most recent comments, and because yours got me right here, I wanna respond to you first, and go in reverse order this time.
First, THANK YOU for your compliments, and for visiting, and especially for your thoughtful, important comment. If you knew a little more about me in my real life, my words might not have hit you in the same way, or maybe they would have, who's to say?
Part of why I chose to include the vignette about that woman, and why I chose to say that she has dwarfism, is because I am someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the dooce.com comment "room," and just last week there were some comments about little people, some demeaning, offensive (to me) comments, and I felt a need to defend. Scolding people, particularly on someone else's website, is not my style. I know that a number of the people who were present for the comment thread that distressed me, actually do visit my site (that is not to say that they were the ones making the comments; I frankly don't remember who said what), and by describing this woman, who is a better, "higher" human being than most of the people I know, of any height, I hoped to send a message to that specific group of people, without actually "calling anyone out" and scolding them. You had no way of knowing the method to my madness. I hope you have been able to follow this short explanation, here.
I don't mean to diminish the power of your comment; I accept it as valid at face value, and hope other readers do as well. I would add, though, that you'd really have to know this woman that I know very well, to know why my description of her does not fall into that "makes you vomit" category (I hope I didn't make you vomit). I am not using her as a representative of dwarfism; she really IS phenomenal, and larger than life, even if she were 5'5", like I am, she'd still be more than, greater than, I. And I would still have held onto her words, "So much is possible when you give a damn."
You clearly are someone who gives a damn; I appreciate your so respectfully expressing your point of view.
I respect and agree that calling little people "larger than life" just because they are competent, or have positive qualities, is absurd, and implies that because the top of their heads is lower, minimal expectations of them should be lowered as well. I certainly don't think that, and didn't mean to spread that sort of nonsense. I was talking about a superior individual, and trying, perhaps not very effectively, to send a message to certain specific people who may never have known someone with her particular challenges. I'm trying to convey a lot in a small space here; I hope I have not muddied the waters further. You're very welcome to email me if you'd like to talk more.

danikabur, I would go you one better than that, there are at least two sides to every story, often many, many more. Thank you for visiting and for joining in. I'm loving hearing from everyone here today. Actually, I think your comment speaks very aptly to the exchange between Jennifer and me, above:)

jen martin, I humbly bow to you for these words of wisdom, then I highlight them and print them out; they're keepers! And I think you gave me an idea for another post!

tink, may I call you Tink? Wow. I am sorry for the circumstances that led to the need for the wake-up call, and thankful that you had a wise woman in your life to give it to you. Sounds like your precious boy is in very good hands.

echrai, thank you so much; I think so, too. Energizing, provocative, inspiring, entertaining comments.

rina bee, now how good do you think that makes me feel? :) As for the second part of your comment, one of the most difficult things about parenting for me, is raising a child in an affluent country/culture, in a middle-class lifestyle, without contributing to her having a sense of entitlement; without failing in my attempt to raise her as someone who knows she is incredibly blessed to have all she has. It's tough! Working on it every day. Sounds like your folks did a good job.

 
Blogger Nicolette said...

My phrases come from the animal shelter where I used to work.

Sharkey's strudel comment reminded me of the first one. I once asked a woman if she could afford to feed her dog:

"Yeah, I can feed my dog. Sometimes I feed him noodles."

"Um, well, noodles aren't good for a dog."

"I eat noodles -- it's what I can afford. I want steak too, but sometimes you've got to eat noodles."
***
A guy comes in and says he lost his "Breenie." He fills out a lost and found card -- sure enough "Breenie." When questioned he said it was a "Breenie Spaniard," which I translated as Brittany Spaniel.

Other breeds of dog incuded Rockwilders, Pet Bulls, and Boob-yays.
***
Guy calls on the phone to say his dog is missing.

"Sir, we don't take lost and founds over the phone because only you cal ID your dog. You best chance to get him back is to make the rounds."

"But he stands out! He's a shepherd mix!"

"Sir, that's the most common mix of dogs that we see and it's even more important you come down here in that case 'cause we probably have a dozen shepherd mixes back there."

"Can't you just go look? His name is *Dog.*"

"Your dog's name is Dog?"

"Yes! And he knows his name. So if you go back there and see him, just say his name and he will respond."

"Um, if I say 'dog' to any of them, they will probably respond."

"But, No! He will respond differently because it's his name."

"And he's what? Going to turn somersaults?"

"No! He'll wag his tail!"

"You really need to come down here."
***
The first couple weeks I worked there I refused a guy for adoption. He came back a week later, and starts applying again.

"Didn't I just refuse you?"

"That was my twin."

He then continues to fill out the form, crossing out the original spelling of his first name and changes it slightly... then he puts ALL the same things on the form that got him refused before.

I ask to see his license, and of course it's the same guy... I then told him he was refused for the same reason his twin was and that they would have a lot to talk about.

Now I just blame everything on my twin.

 
Blogger Greenthumb said...

nicolette, that was priceless.

 
Blogger this.is.damon said...

Excellent stuff. Its crazy the amount of wisdom you'll find in everyday people ... wisdom is so unpretentious. Wisdom knows not to flaunt itself.

Well, I don't have any funny, clever, or wise sayings ... just enjoyed the post, once again :)

Bye Bye, BootyFly ;)

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought 7 was a train.

My family put the "fun" in dysfunctional, so I was determined to make sure my daughter remembered her childhood as a happy one.

When she became an adult, I think she got tired of me asking her if she enjoyed her childhood, because several years ago, on Mother's Day, she sent me a letter.

"I release you from any guilt you feel for things you did or did not do while raising me. I love you."

Of course I cried. Then I realized that she figured out a way to get out of buying me a gift AGAIN.

gina
http://findingmygroove.blog-city.com

 
Blogger Dee said...

my daughter suffers from schizophrenia and life is not easy for her or with her. She is also by polar. I did enjoy reading your post though.

 
Blogger Jomama said...

Susie, I'm glad I could say something that made you feel good :) You should check out my blog today because I have a suprise for you that will make you feel great.

 
Blogger snaps79 said...

Great post. I need to come read over here more often. I'm sorry that I haven't! I can't think of any words of wisdom passed onto me just yet, but now that I have the idea floating in my head, I'll ponder it for awhile.

 
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Unfortunately, I can't think of a personal experience where words made all the difference. I would, however, like to share one of my favorite quotes that always seems to bring me back to Earth.

"God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try."

-Mother Teresa

 
Blogger Candace said...

Before the birth of my first child, my brother said to me, "Choose your battles." That has been the most useful bit of child-rearing advice I ever got, asked for or not.

My pediatrician said to me once, "You know your child better than anyone else. If you think something is wrong and no one is listening, MAKE them listen." Again, priceless.

But the words that made the most difference to me, the words that stick with me every single day, are the ones my husband said to me on our wedding day. "I do." And he has. Every day.

 
Blogger Nilbo said...

Oh, I thought of more! I know, you're shocked ...

My Mom had six kids and my Dad was a pilot in the forces, so was away as much as he was home. She would not have made it without being possessed of extraordinary wisdom.

One day, as I was weeping inconsolably over a pet turtle that had died, she let me go on for a little while, then picked the thing up, dropped it in the toilet, flushed, and said "Oh, for God's sake. He wasn't going to grow up to be Prime Minister."

(That sounds meaner than it was. The wisdom, I think, is "Grieve, but at some point maintain perspective.")

When I phoned her - repeatedly - after our first child was born, obsessing over every raspy breath, every runny or oddly coloured poop, every hiccup or sniffle ... she finally said "Here's some advice from a woman who's had six: It's pretty frigging tough to kill 'em. "

When we had the inevitable stoopid battles with recalcitrant teenaged girls fueled by raging hormones, she would say "Is this the hill you pick to die on?" Almost always, viewed that way, you can dial down the anger.

Anyway, hijacking id over. But I'll leave with the words my mother has said to me every May 1st - without fail - for as long as I can remember. She calls me early in the morning and sings: "Hurray, hurray! The First of May! Outdoor screwing starts today!"

True story. And words to remember.

 
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Nilbo,

Your mom is the bee's knees.

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Nicolette -- Ha! That was terrific! I love the one about the "twin".

Gina -- What a great kid you have there... and so *clever*!

Nilbo -- Your Mom frightens me.

 
Blogger Spurious Plum said...

Wonderfully funny post. "Motherfucker stole my lunch" is the best thing ever! Consider it ripped-off, and spread about the country without your consent.

I've always found "shit or get of the pot" to be particularly poignant.

 
Blogger No_Newz said...

You have some exciting clients. Thanks for sharing some of their stories. Very funny stuff!
Lois Lane

 
Anonymous LadyBug said...

Every morning before my daughters leave for school, I tell them, "Be kind to everyone. And do your very best."

I want them to know that having the best grades or being the most popular is not what's important. Being kind and doing your very best are what make the most difference, in the end.

I hope and pray those words will stay with them, not only in school, but in their everyday lives as well.

 
Blogger Sleeping Mommy said...

I'm now one of the hoards of converts. I'm going to be back. Regularly.

 
Blogger Nilbo said...

One more lil contribution - words I say to my own daughter. Look here:
http://truthsandhalftruths.typepad.com/truths_and_half_truths/2004/06/index.html

 
Blogger Susie said...

nicolette, GREAT stories, thanks for being so generous with them

It's damon and his fly booty! Wisdom knows not to flaunt itself. I like that one. I hope you're doing well. I'll come see you in a bit:)

gina, I LOVE your spirit, so pleased to have "met" you:)

dee, thanks for your comment. Both of those illnesses are horrid; the two together, I can't imagine what your family has been through. I hope something here gives you a chuckle sometimes.

rina bee, you are a horrid person. That did not make me feel great, but I will do it, because it's you asking;)

HDL, welcome, no sorries required, just pop in anytime. BTW, I'm a close personal friend of Larry Flynt;)

(Have I ever said anything on this blog that was more unbelievable than THAT?)

robyn, that's a good one. Mother Teresa was always going around making perfect sense. I used to have one of her sayings taped to the wall above my desk in an agency: If you want the poor to see Christ in you, you must first see Christ in the poor.

misfit, both of those things are excellent parent advice. Happy to hear that he still does:) I love love stories.

nilboA different version of misfit's advice -- the hill you pick to die on. I like it. Now, how was the weather up there on the first of May, 'cause it was waaaaay too chilly for that sort of thing here...

plum, see I told you that mothertrucker was a lunch thief! If you make any money from that, we have to get it into my client's hands somehow... I like the "pot" one, too.

welcome, lois lane, glad you enjoyed. You'd have felt right at home here on celebrity comment day.

ladybug, would you believe I say EXACTLY the same thing? Plus, "I love you," which, you don't even have to tell us, I know you add that, too. Great moms think alike:)

sleeping mommy, welcome, and I'm so glad you'll be back!

 
Anonymous LadyBug said...

Of COURSE I say "I love you."

And wow, that's really cool that we say the same thing to our daughters each morning.

Kindred spirits we are.

(I don't know why I'm talking like Yoda all of a sudden. A nap I need.)

 
Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

What a great post. Thank you, Susie!

The only words of wisdom I can think of right now is something a co-worker told me that I have paraphrased. "Fear is a given." I used to do film work which meant many different jobs on many different projects. Sometimes I would have to decide between a few options. It means that fear shouldn't be part of the decision making process because it is part of life. Don't let fear get in the way.

 
Blogger little sister said...

The only thing I can think of nwo is what the partner I work for said when I asked him if he was going to a meeting and what did he need for it: "You are assuming as fact that which has not yet been submitted as evidence."

I got him back. I put up a sign that says, "Eradicate sesquipedalianism and eschew fatuous, obfuscatory redundancy."

He had to look up all but two of the words.

 
Blogger kimmyk said...

Someone once told me "f**k 'em and feed 'em fish". I don't know what that means, but I say it in my head alot when people piss me off. Do you know?

 
Blogger Maja said...

I was talking to my parents one night, back when I was a teenager, I forget what about, and the image of my parents sitting on the couch together and the expression on my mum's face as she said "we love you more than we love ourselves," will always be with me.

That was when I truly realised what my brother and I meant to my parents, and really started to appreciate everything my parents do for me. I feel so lucky to have them as parents.

 
Blogger Susie said...

ladybug, I told you, I KNEW it! A loving mommy you are.

kranki, that is so true. Someone said, "Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is doing the right thing, afraid." I needed that; for a long time, I had a post-it note on my sunvisor in my car, that said, "Do it afraid," meaning, so what if you're afraid, you have to do "it" anyway. That is still a motto; thanks for the reminder:)

little sister, Cheez whiz! Your job would give me Griefs!

kimmyk, I have consulted with my panel of experts (my husband), and we have no earthly idea what that means. Perhaps someone else here can tell us....Anyone?

maja, thank you for visiting. Am happy for you that you have parents like that; I hope my daughter realizes someday what you have realized:)

 
Blogger spoonleg said...

Your client must work with me, because motherfuckers steal MY lunch ALL the time.

Great post Susie, as usual!

 


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