October 7, 2020 – Don’t you love it when people say, “It could always be worse”?

I just stubbed my toe and I am trying not to scream or cry. My toe is throbbing so I rock back and forth on the floor to distract myself until the pain subsides and I can regain my composure. You heard me faintly in the distance, when I first called out. And out of curiosity, you approach. Wait! I’d rather you didn’t. I can already hear it. Don’t say it, please, don’t say it. If you do, I’m going to lose it. Ack! You said it!! YOU SAID IT!!!! “It could always be worse.” Ok, was that really necessary? How about a little compassion. Some sympathy, some empathy, something?? I know you had it much worse, I know you grew up during the Depression when life was hard for A LOT OF PEOPLE, most people, in fact. But, hey, I’m in pain and I really hate when you say that! It’s dismissive and it makes me think you really don’t care. I know it can always be worse and unless death is imminent, you don’t usually take notice. Hey! I’m talking to you. Look at me. For crying out loud, would you look at me?!

Sigh. I hope I didn’t frighten you off. This is the dialog that comes up from time to time in my mind. Can you tell I have a bit of repressed anger (towards my mom)? So, I get it. Here’s a woman that clearly has her hands full. She has married a useless lump, proceeds to pump out 9 kids, has to work (outside the home) because her husband serves to be nothing more than a nuisance, and she’s downright overwhelmed. But you know what? It still sucked when you had a legitimate gripe, and no one seemed to have the wherewithal to say, “Hey, I’m sorry you’re in pain. I really care about you. Are you ok? Could you use a hug…or a band aid?” Yes, I could use a hug! In fact, I’ll take several, thank you.

Alas, that didn’t happen. Yes, I got hurt a lot, but I learned to just ‘deal with it’. There was one time when I was around 10 or 11, that I thought it’d be clever to hop on the back of a popsicle truck. I was heading home and had at least another block or two to go when I heard the ‘siren song’ of the popsicle man. I didn’t have any money to buy anything but I couldn’t resist at least approaching and wishing and hoping. Maybe Mr. Popsicle was feeling charitable at the moment and would serve me up one of those delicious push-pops pro bono? Didn’t happen, folks. But what did happen is that I saw an opportunity to shave a minute or two off of my commute. I waited until the driver was distracted and carefully made my way around to the rear. I then placed my feet firmly atop the bumper, stretched my arms out as wide as they’d reach, and gripped both sides of the vehicle with my hands. The next thing you know, Mr. Popsicle fires up his truck, and away we went!

Long story short, it didn’t end well. I thought I had it all figured out. He’d stop out in front of my house as he usually did, wouldn’t he? There’s no way this could ever possibly go wrong, could it? The answer to both questions are yes…and yes. Had I had more faith that he would stop in front of my house (which he ultimately did), I could have safely stepped off the back once he reached it and had a perfectly wonderful day. But I didn’t. I waited until he was going around 30 miles per hour and then panicked, and jumped off. I had one heck of a case of road rash but I didn’t say anything when it happened. After I scrambled out of the road so I wouldn’t get finished off by a car, I collected myself and slowly limped back to my house. Once I saw that the coast was clear, I entered and went immediately to the bathroom in order to dress my wounds. I never said anything. What was the point of saying anything anyway? I would have either been admonished or ignored so I just kept it to myself. I limped around for several days while my wounds healed but no one seemed to notice. If they had, I would have thought hell had frozen over. As far as I know, it hadn’t at the time.

But I shouldn’t complain really and neither should you. Things aren’t so bad. There’s just a few minor incidents going on at the moment, such as the global Coronavirus pandemic, historic wildfires, locust attacks, floods and earthquakes, record unemployment and homelessness. Oh! And there’s the upcoming election (don’t get me started!). You are concerned, you say? The anxiety keeps you up at night? No amount of melatonin or Tylenol PM or Ambien seems to help? Oh, p-l-e-a-s-e, stop your whining, people! It could always be worse.

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