Weebles

Sometimes I wish I were a Weeble. That toy that can never completely fall over.

Yesterday, I had some setbacks, nothing I’ll bore you with here, but let’s just say I had some expectations and they were completely obliterated.

I don’t always bounce back easily from deflating events. But I’m doing okay today despite the occasional flicker of poor-poor-pitiful-me.

Tomorrow’s guest blogger will be a breath of fresh air and a reminder to me and hopefully to all of you, why we get out of bed every day. So I’m looking forward to introducing you to him. Many of you may know him already but I couldn’t be more excited that he’s actually taking a few minutes to stop by my little blog.

So that’s something to be happy about.

When the Weeble thought came to mind today, I remembered that about a year ago, I wrote an essay sharing my joy and love for the Weeble, and you’re likely to see that essay as part of a bigger collection in a book someday. That’s the plan anyway. But why the hell don’t I just run that essay right here, right now? Seems appropriate enough. Occasion almost calls for it.

And here’s an even more bizarre offering. You can also hear me read this essay by clicking here and listening to it read aloud on AudioBoo. (If you have any difficulty listening in Internet Explorer, you should find it works well in Mozilla Firefox.)

So pick your format. Either way, I hope you enjoy it, get a chuckle, think a bit and go on merrily with your day. And if you, too, are bouncing back, well, good luck, channeling your inner Weeble, too.

Happy reading!
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Weebles

Remember Weebles? They were these little two-inch high encased pear-shaped figures with no appendages whatsoever covered in a shiny plastic encasement and when you thumped them, they would bob to the side but never completely fall over. As I’ve gotten older, my shape has gotten progressively more and more WEEBLE-like. But best of all, WEEBLES were so tough and indestructible that they had their own little jingle. (Doesn’t everything that really matters?)

 

“WEEBLES wobble, but they don’t fall down…”

 

I remember singing along to it as a kid and thinking to myself, how cool would that be. No matter how powerful a gust of wind, how torrential a downpour, how mighty a wallop to the jaw, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have that ability to simply POP back up again with resilience, confidence and buoyancy?

 

We’re all a bit Weeble, aren’t we? Some of us may carry an extra long strand of the chromosome. Bouncing back: it’s an art form. Remember Nancy Kerrigan? Clearly the American Olympic Silver Medalist ice skater was equipped with her own WEEBLE DNA. She recovered and even prevailed following the wrath of Tonya Harding’s slugfest in Harding’s own bizarre and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to bridge the World Wresting Federation and professional figure skating by taking a hard whack at Kerrigan’s leg (you youngsters can look it up on Wikipedia).

 

While I have no bone-crunching personal attacks in my own history, I can point to plenty of occasions where it would have been really easy to channel my inner Fisher Price Little Person, succumb to the emptiness running through my core and topple over with one swift swat. But nope, I embraced my WEEBLE and the pain and lessons that tango with bad decisions about men, money, jobs and apartments, and prepared for that sideways dip, knowing that someday, the horizon would be a stationary, solid straight line again, once this annoying, gag-inducing sway back and forth finally came to an end.

 

I miss WEEBLES. Playing with them, I mean, which occasionally involved positioning them in death-defying, dangerous scenarios to see just how far I could go with testing that wobbling tenacity. Sure, WEEBLES are still around but how often have you seen a 42-year-old woman pull out her water bottle, laptop, Bluetooth and WEEBLES village at the table at Panera? Besides, they don’t really look and feel like the ones I remembered as a kid when Playskool first launched them in the early ‘70s. If you sneak off on your lunch break to the nearest Toys R Us, you’re bound to find them. That’s more than I can say for most of the things I loved and adored as a kid. Like so many things from my childhood, I have watched old playtime friends become extinct as children of later generations find other ways – often much more expensive ways – to entertain themselves. My play didn’t require a web domain, wireless network, password or credit card to initiate; just a little free time (another somewhat extinct commodity for 21st century tikes), some imagination and freedom to roam and play independently.

 

I remember as a child wondering: when will I finally “feel” like an adult, when would I just know the answer to…everything, whatever question that came up? So many topics seemed too complex to understand, so many processes looked too complicated to carry out. Surely, someday it will all make sense, I thought to myself as I pretend-drove from the backseat while my dad manned the real steering wheel. Everything was so much simpler in my pretend world where I drove everywhere (and quite well, I might add), bought and possessed anything I could possibly want (I just had to plant the picture in my brain and voila – instant ownership!) And best of all, I lived in a world where I could be a songwriter-rock star Monday, a famous actress or TV reporter on Wednesday, and by Friday afternoon, a teacher presenting my elaborately planned lessons on general psychology, English composition, basic math, or whatever other subjects I could expound on from the vast intellectual universe that was my bedroom bookcase – maybe letters F-G-H in Funk & Wagnall’s? And who was fortunate enough to fill my classroom? Why, a lumpy pile of corralled stuffed animals who astutely watched from the bed with fascination, reverence and silence, that’s who.

 

When could I just stop all of this pretending and embark on the real adventures, I frequently wondered. And you know what happened? I found out, but without any warning whatsoever.

 

Somewhere along the way, life stumbled into the picture and I went from playing housekeeper to actually becoming housekeeper (on those rare occasions when I actually keep house).

 

Somewhere along the way, my imaginary boyfriend who always sat beside me while I pretend-drove went from becoming my pretend fiancé and pretend husband to a real husband, and a really bad one at that. (The first one, that is. The second one thankfully turned out to be a keeper.)

 

Somewhere along the way, I went from a child to a student to an employee to a spouse and ohmigod, to a grown up. Too bad I didn’t reach the grown-up stage before first becoming an employee and spouse. I could have saved myself a tremendous amount of heartache and disappointment during those early years.

 

But much like information (and some fast food), life doesn’t always arrive in the most convenient order. Some unexpectedly become parents before graduates; others, soldiers before skilled career professionals; and still others, believers before inquirers or learned students. Sometimes the landscape looks an awful lot like one of those big Jumbo Pad Search-A-Word puzzles. There may be a word straight across here, and up and down over there, but to find the other word, you’ve got to look diagonally and this one is so tucked away in the corner, you probably won’t even find it. And that other one? Forget it. It’s going backward instead of forward. Much of the time, you might not even know what you’re looking for until after it’s been here and gone.

 

So when does that moment arrive when truth shines so brightly it makes your eyes water, and decisions no longer seem like obstacle courses to navigate while your ankles are tied up for a three-legged race?

 

I’m still waiting, but I won’t sit quietly.

 

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