Saturday, April 21, 2012

I See the Mailbox and Ricky's Mom Blew Up, and other trying times

Many years ago, I read a little anecdote in Reader's Digest.  For lack of the original article right here in my hands, I'm going to call this story, "I See the Mailbox," and that may very well have been the original title.  Or it may have been something along the lines of, "Every Couple Needs a Mailbox."  Let me explain.  The author tells of a little tiff of sorts that she and her husband had. For the sake of brevity, we'll very creatively call the author, Wife; and her husband, we'll call simply, (yes, you guessed it, good job and give yourself a pat on the back), Husband.  In the anecdote, Husband was driving; more specifically, he was backing out of the driveway and appeared to Wife to be about to back into the mailbox.
Wife: The mailbox, Honey.
Husband: Yeah, I see it.
Wife, as they get closer to the mailbox: Watch out, you're going to hit the mailbox:
Husband: Yeah, I see the mailbox.
Wife: HUSBAND,YOU ARE GOING TO HIT THE MAILBOX!!!!
Husband:  I SEE THE MAILBOX, WIFE!!!

CRASH, no more mailbox.
We can all imagine those times.  Everyone experiences embarrassing situations like that.  We've all done stupid things, even after being warned by those around us. 

As the original article continued, the author explained that this incident, because it was so ridiculous, came to hold an iconic significance in their marriage.  Any time things were stressful, and one or another of them needed a bit of comic relief, one of them could say, "I see the mailbox," or some other turn of phrase related to the above incident.  It would bring a note of lightheartedness, or at least levity, into their current stressful situation or conversation. 

The author then tied up the article by explaining that every couple needs a Mailbox, as in some brief phrase or even a single word that will lend stressful times a touch of humor.

Do any of you remember the mid-eighties movie, Better Off Dead?  There are many one-liners from that movie that Joe and I enjoy.  One has become somewhat iconic for us in the same way a Mailbox did in the above story.  Remember when Ricky's mom drinks the concoction Lane was planning to use in one of his failed suicide attempts, and she blows herself up lighting a cigarette?  Lane says to Ricky, "Gee, I'm real sorry your Mom blew up, Ricky."

In Mary and Joe world, where Mary-the-mother-of-ten is occasionally slightly crazy, the blowing up is of course, merely metaphoric.  Any time theMom has an emotional outburst of whatever kind, ... anger, frustration, sadness, etc ... Joe or I can simply say, "Sorry your mom blew up, Ricky," and suddenly, the perspective changes.  The tension in the situation is removed and the original trigger can be more reasonably dealt with.

The last several days have been a struggle for me.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are probably aware that the last several months have been emotionally trying for me.  I recently decided to give myself a challenge in an attempt to hoist myself out of my slump.  The first week of my 28-Day Challenge did not go very well.  The diet part went mostly fine.  But my hopes of being freshly invigorated, and motivated with new zeal to get off my hinder and actually accomplish any of my scheduled goals and ever growing mountain of housework scored a big fat zero.

I have no desire to do anything.  My interest is gone.  My concentration is minimal.  My sense of responsibility has flown out the window.  So pretty much I spent yesterday feeling like a great big pile of garbage.  Plus (and perhaps this is too much information, but in the hopes that others reading this, who may attempt anything like my 28-day plan might benefit from my experience), I planned the whole 28-day thing poorly.  Really.  The first week, which is supposed to be this big get everything rolling, kind of rushing into inertia kind of week....well, let's just say I chose the wrong week to start.  Next week would a have been a much more emotionally steady, higher energy week for me.  Remember that ladies.  Consult your calendars before challenging yourself emotionally.

Last night, the metaphorical doodoo hit the metaphorical fan.  Joe came home from his office, probably tired out from his days' work, and I was a bit weepy.  I had been a bit weepy all afternoon.  (Remember, I was feeling like a big pile of garbage, right?  What pile of garbage wouldn't be weepy, I ask?)  So Joe came in and noticed that I was out of spirits.  But I'm going to tell you, he didn't know the half of it.  He kept making jokes and sharing little facebook funnies with me in the hopes I would perk up.  His efforts were so endearing.  You female readers will totally get this.  He was being so sweet and kind and loving, trying to cheer me up, that I just lost it.  I started sobbing and carrying on.  Blubbering.  Tears cascading down my face.

Well, poor Joe, He didn't know what he had done.  And of course, he hadn't really done anything.  I finally made him understand that it was just me, and all my baggage.  He wrapped his strong arms around me and just let me cry, which is probably what I've needed for a long time, but as happens in this life, I didn't know that's what I needed.  My kids came in one by one through this whole thing, probably traumatized for life becasue of the frightening experience of having to see their mom in such a wreck.

Eventually yesterday got done.  Isn't it a bit sad when we have to think of a day that way.  It got done.  I went to bed early.  Joe handled all the bedtimes stuff.  Thank you, Joe.

This morning I got up feeling fresh and new, ready to face the day.  Not in any big sort of way, but another new day and another new try.

Joe came in and visited a little bit after he got home from his Saturday church service.  We talked about yesterday's eruption, and how frustrated I am with this, ...  this, ...  this ... thing ... I have going on...this lack of energy, motivation, responsibility, even caring.  I apologized for letting things go like I have and he forgave me.  Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, isn't it.

By the time we were all talked out, all I could think to say was, "Sorry your mom blew up, Ricky."

4 comments:

M K Glass said...

Have you ever been able to find that article? I refer to it all the time, and I'd love to give that article the proper credit.

theMom said...

MK Glass, No, I've not really looked though. My mother-in-law has every readers digest ever published and periodically I pick on up when I'm there. I know it's somewhere in the decades past issues. I'm thinking maybe 90s? But that's as close as I could come.

And it used to be that one could go to the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, but that's all digitized now, and I haven't had the same level of success finding things with the new "easier" formats.

But if you ever do find it, I'd appreciate it if you add a link here for anyone else who might want to read the original.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was actually trying to find that Reader's Digest article and google linked me to your site. I've been unsuccessful at trying to find it myself too. And thank you for being so honest. I've been feeling the same slump. Haven't felt like taking a full bath, paying bills or even eating. I just feel so BLAH!

Mary Abrahamson said...

Anonymous, ... I pray for you that you will feel better soon. It is no fun to be in that spot.