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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Suggested Mother's Day Gifts

As a mama, I look forward to a Mother's Day breakfast in bed with children crowded in around me, watching my face intently to see how much I enjoy the peanut butter eggs.

As a second grade teacher, I have a vested interest in making sure all mothers everywhere get recognized with homemade cards, paper flowers, plaster of Paris hand prints, and heartfelt poems.

And I believe that it is essential for dads to further aid the kids in showing appreciation to mom by taking them shopping for all the extras: Chocolate, wine, diamonds, chocolate, and a good book.

For chocolate, may I recommend Ghirardelli or Godiva? For wine, I suggest something pink. For diamonds, the bigger the better. And for a good book, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she'll never forget this Mother's Day when, with one click of your mouse, you give her, If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

It's All Luck

A woman e-mailed me today asking, "Is it all just dumb luck? I mean, I see so many people in the media who are stupider than the schwa key on my computer keyboard, but for some reason there they are, famous, with the eyes of the world upon them. Meanwhile, truly talented folks like myself wait tables, re-shelve library books, or nanny children, while waiting to be discovered. I'm a really good writer. Lots of people have told me so. I've been assured that I have plenty of talent."

For a moment I paused, wondering if I had been insulted. Is she implying that I'm the equivalent of a schwa? Useless, stupid, but still hanging around because someone else hasn't been discovered, and, thus, hasn't yet replaced me? Then, I quelled my self-doubt long enough to respond to her query:

Dear Ma'am,
A couple of years ago sitting in the hair salon hot seat, otherwise known as "under the dryer," I read a magazine article about successful women and how they achieved it. One woman interviewed said that everything she accomplished in life was due to luck, all luck, that she created. She did everything she could to put herself in the right place at the right time so that luck would come her way. Yes, it is all luck, but anyone can have what you refer to as dumb luck, with enough persistence.

After I hit the SEND button, I decided that I had been insulted and I carried on a monologue with my computer screen as an audience, the e-mail question still staring me down. And I asked the lady, "Ever watch American Idol auditions? All those people traipsing through, crooning their hearts out for the judges, bragging that they each will be THE next American Idol? When those contestants come out of that room crying because Randy, Paula, and Simon said they didn't make it, what do they always insist on? Yes! They tell Ryan Seacrest, 'I can sing. Everyone tells me I can. When I sing in public, people crowd around me and they stare. I'm good. Those judges just don't know what they're talking about.' Sound familiar? Don't let your family and friends fool you."

As my hand hovered to close the e-mail, that nagging voice of self-doubt broke in. What if my friends and family have been lying to me, too? Praising me just to make me feel good? Saying something nice only because it was better than not saying anything at all?

Guess I'll have to go out and create more dumb luck for myself.