Meeting the Wanderer…

I’ve been reading about archetypes for more than a year now.  Thus it didn’t surprise me when I bumped up against the topic again in Women’s Spirituality: Power and Grace, by Mary Faulkner.  Not only is this a brilliant primer on issues that snuggle close to the heart of what it means to be woman and a spiritual being (feminism is not the opposite of patriarchy?!? give me a sec’ to digest that one Mary), but in the chapter on archetypes she advocates talking to yourself.  You don’t know how long I’ve waited for official permission to do something I already do!  Granted she calls it meditation, and something else I can’t remember without the book in front of me right now, but it’s talking to yourself.  Within a circle, you map the archetypes that are present in your own life, and then look to see what each has to say to you.  What do they want?  What do they offer?  How do they balance the other stories that run right alongside them?

This seemingly simple process quickly fascinated me.  It became more and more my own as I worked on it, and then I reached a final blank space that I wanted to fill.  “Wait, what goes here?”  I didn’t know the answer, but I felt something more than OCD asking me to pause with the uncertainty.  Around and within the circle already were child, lover, creatress, Miss Delaney, mother, philosopher, pleaser, and hermit.  Some of these stories I know quite well, and some are just unfolding.  But still the empty space wouldn’t be filled.  I felt a familiar sense of panic in my chest as the word finally kicked its way out: wanderer.

“NO!”  was my automatic and unequivocal response.  “How about rebel?” I bargained.  “The author uses rebel, that’s a good word.”  I couldn’t commit to the anger that word implies for me.  “How about daydreamer?”  Well, the lover and the child in you really do most of the daydreaming.  “Shit, I guess wanderer is the word.”  But why the strong reaction?  I couldn’t figure out if I was still worried about becoming my hippy dad, living in his car at 70 and protecting his boo boo’s like a wounded Brontosaurus.  Or maybe it was my fear of flying?  Doesn’t a wanderer have to get on a plane fairly frequently?  Again, the answer came in simplicity.

You don’t like her because you don’t know her.

Ahhhhhh…oh man.  Of course.  And not only that, but she is probably going to want to be more in charge next year in the land of unteacher.  So I’m asking myself to travel with a relative stranger.  No wonder I didn’t like the word.  You never know when traveling with strangers if they’re going to pull out pictures of their grandkids or their pets, and if their grandkids look like their pets are you going to have lie and say they’re adorable?  Are they going to have foul breath?  Radiate an inordinate amount of heat if you’re seatmates?  Want to get up early if you’re sharing a room?  It’s a definite problem.

So I took it to my therapist, as the perseveration prone do, and once again basked in the brilliance of someone who can look in my head without actually being in my head.  “Could it be okay that you don’t know the wanderer yet?  You should at least give her an interview.  You wouldn’t turn down a candidate for a job because you didn’t know them before the interview, would you?”  No, no in fact I wouldn’t, and the prospect of writing an interview between myself and this archetype seemed like a spiritlicious way to spend the evening!  Funny thing is, when I got home and set to writing, the wanderer flat out wasn’t having it.  She didn’t want to be interviewed, but she did want to leave me a resume of sorts.  Her comments below do nothing and everything to ease the tumult around next year’s uncertainity…

The wanderer longs for a boundary crossing language.  “Velvet crunch cherries in clean white bowls,” instead of, “My day was fine, thanks.”  Or, “Shriek toned spotlights at the base of my skull,” instead of, “I am afraid, and no, I can’t tell you why right now.”  The wanderer crosses boundaries, not to get somewhere, but to gift lovers back to one another.  The wanderer wants to invent for them new ways of kissing, counting, and silence–and each time she swivels to the shelf to grab for them, she’s curiously disappointed that they aren’t there yet.  Her thoughts drip like hot wax on an untended table–you’ll never again be able to scrape that rebellion off of it.  The wanderer looks so long that her eyes become tongues–much longer than is proper–to lick spring dirt and ice cream and…other things.  She makes men blushing, virgin kings and cracks the Crone-room door for queens.  The wanderer asks us to bring another way, mixed with good earth greens, in a casserole dish to her table.  Don’t expect her to tell you her stories for free.  Don’t expect her to beg to be in charge, but expect her to be ready to play when you give her the keys to dreaming.



I don’t think this is the same as commitment phobia, but they’re definitely some shade of cousins.  I have found myself thinking more about intentions–setting, holding, and changing them–in the last two years than ever before in my life.  This is partly because of their relationship to boundaries, another neat new trick I’ve picked up recently.  If boundaries dictate how far in something can come, intentions hold a similar function for outward motion and direction.  However, the other reason I’ve been thinking about them is because they seem like the healthy halfway point between agenda and chaos.

“Wait, wait,” I can hear you thinking, “aren’t intentions and agendas the same thing?”  All things are subject to interpretation of course, but my answer is no, I really don’t think they are.  And in fact, the more I think about the two side-by-side, the more I’m convinced they are not the same thing.  An analogy perhaps?  Imagine a lovely weekend morning–warm, blue sky peeking in from the blinds, no alarm to slam you out of whatever sleep you were in, and a slightly less than half full bladder.  You know you could get up and take care of it, but that would require surrendering perfect pillow and blanket formation.  You decide to roll back over for half an hour.  That’s intention.  It doesn’t require you to ignore where you are now and take immediate action.  It helps shape your purpose without cementing your purpose.  Now imagine that your half hour turned into ninety minutes, your bladder is now 90% full, and your cat does a WWF style dive from the couch to your belly.  “Godfuckingdamnit cat!!”  You are up, seriously up, right then, no questions asked. Doesn’t matter if your lover wants a good morning kiss or your kid wants to know why peanut butter doesn’t come in more colors than brown, you bypass them all for the potty.  That, to me, is agenda.  A checklist that requires the application of force to be finished to your satisfaction.  Checklists aren’t a problem if you’re going grocery shopping, but they become very unsatisfactory as a way of life.

It took me a LONG time to figure this out.  I missed a lot of moments because I was busily figuring out in the back of my head how to advance an agenda–date me, be my friend, comprehend standard 8.2a!  Only when I admitted that part of me liked agendas, nay, LOVED them, was I able to start to unravel the knot.  Agendas allowed me to pretend I was in charge, confident, efficient.  Agendas allowed me to start on actions quickly, quantifiable actions that no one could label as passive.  Whereas, if I start the day with an intention to listen or an intention to be curious, I can do either of those things whether I’m doing the dishes or applying for jobs.  Thus, it can take a little longer to get things started, but they are ultimately not coming from fear.  Intentions give me the pace and the ability to welcome surprise that I desire, but are not as easily recognizable as good adulting to the outside world.

However, here’s where the problem shows up for me.  It’s not the fear that the adult world won’t recognize me as one of their own–I’m getting less and less worried about that.  Rather, it’s the fact that so many people seem to think that agenda and chaos are the only options.  While  I understand either/or thinking all too well, it’s frustrating as fuck to see in others, now that I’m moving away from it.  I have the annoying earnestness of a new convert that can’t quite understand why people don’t yet “get it.”  Why set out to win a race or bob around like a buoy in harbor when you can glide along the shore in your own time?

I see this more and more in students, to where sadly I can say it’s become a trend in the last five years.  They’ll do what they’re asked or not, depending on their conditioning, but little to nothing more.  And then, if that bob-along method of academics doesn’t get them what they want, there is genuine surprise.  An intention to learn is becoming a foreign concept for many, while an intention to get a grade or get to the end of the day is alive and well.  But it doesn’t stop there, or else maybe I could just write it off as teenage laziness.  Although it could be said that it’s “just the way it is” with online communication, I marvel as man after man approaches me through online dating platforms with absolutely no intention of any kind–not to get to know me, not to try and date me, I don’t know, maybe it could be said their intention is to pass the time??  I am currently on the third month of an ongoing dialogue with a man who seems perfectly happy to trade a line or two every three to five days.  Usually I would have deleted/blocked this person by now, but it has gained the fascination of a bloody car wreck on the side of the road.  If you read the transcript, at first I start out in my usual way, trying to get to know this person who has said hello, asking questions of genuine interest, and not just, ‘so what do you do for a living’?  But I’m now at the point where I’m genuinely curious about how lame and disconnected I can be before he gives up.  I have answered ‘cool’ in 8 of my last 15 replies.  Not ‘cool’ with a winky face or ‘cool’ and then a follow up question, just ‘cool’.  One word.  It occurred to me a few days ago that maybe he’s in prison and doesn’t get a lot of computer time.  So this conversation is somewhere between an experiment and a public service.  Cool.

Maybe we fear that an intention will look like an agenda?  We will be perceived as pushy?  Is the responsibility of engaging gently more complex than we can handle?  Is the ‘whatever happens happens’ mentality really the more enlightened stance and I just haven’t gotten there yet?  I still have my agenda-dominant days or moments, but increasingly they give me less and less pleasure.  Can we have agenda and intention in the same moment?  I don’t know, but I do know now that there are more than two ways to face outward.  I suspect there are many more than two.  I intend to discover them.

Kids are smarter than grownups

Kids play more than adults.  Kids sleep more robustly and often than adults.  Kids tell the truth more.  Kids ask more questions.  Kids do all the things we’ve told ourselves we’re not allowed to do anymore because we’ve absorbed external rules.

In short, kids are smarter than adults.  This is a commonly held belief among most teachers, and probably even a few parents.  I have often told my students in thirteen years that they should be teaching me, and just recently they did once again.

My after school creative writing club is one of the many small, nerdy corners of campus, aglow with the brilliance of unfettered brains at play.  If we’re not talking about how it might be possible for one character to kick another character’s eye out, we’re counting the teeth on the tape dispenser, or arguing about what would happen if age were non-linear.

Our writing prompt on this day had challenged everyone: describe a piece of clothing you keep around just for sentimental value.  I heard pages being sheared from the spine of notebooks on either side of me.  As is my way, I started in with poetic intentions, but quickly grew frustrated to the point that I wrote the word ‘stupid’ over and over again in my notebook.  Eventually I found my way into some writing that really stirred me, but when I later started to share I broke the cardinal rule.  “So, I like this piece towards the end, but the beginning is funky I…”

“Disclaimer!” a red headed eighth grader bellowed.

“Yeah, you said no disclaimers, don’t abandon your children,” my moon eyed sixth grader jumped in (I always love it when they quote me to myself…no, no I don’t).

“You’re right folks, you’re right.  No more disclaimers, here ya go.”

“And you’re going to read the whole thing?”

Sigh.  “Yes, I’m going to read the whole thing.”


Wore my surprise lightly,

bare limbs that don’t apologize.

Slid into my surprise sweetly,

like moon milk,

no investments or connections.

Took a hold of my surprise and danced it

across warm wooden planks

(Then comes a large section of scribbling)

This poem is stupid.  This poem is stupid.  Why is this stupid poem so stupid that I want to punch it’s stupid face in.  Has anyone ever written a stupider poem??????  Stupid, stupid, STUPID!@#$%^&*

But I do want to write about surprise…how it shows up and all of a sudden you are open to everything and it all glows.  I feel humbled by the growth, the passage I’ve taken to end up here.  And now I’m cheering surprise on, still the underdog in the race of my life, but not the furthest behind anymore, and I’m screaming and jumping at the finish line saying, “GO SURPRISE!!  YOU CAN DO IT CRAZY BASTARD!!”  And I spill my Gatorade on the guy next to me in the crowd and the sun is hot and the gravel on the ground smells like freshly painted walls and I know that it’s happening.  I’m going to be surprised–not by a student, or by walking the streets of San Francisco, I’m going to be surprised by me.

And I never expected it.


“Miss Delaney, you shouldn’t get rid of the middle part, it’s really funny.”

“Yeah, and it’s like it’s doing what you’re talking about with surprise, the writing surprised you.”

“Totally, and it’s really easy to relate to.  My brother spilled Gatorade on me once.”

“Why would you want to hide the realest part from anyone?”
Why would I want to hide the realest part from anyone?  I wouldn’t my precious geek squad.  I definitely wouldn’t, and yet, with all the work I’ve done to come to that conclusion in the last handful of years, I still hide the rawness more than I’d like.  I still walk around with Nin, Whitman, Oates, Lamb, Robbins, and a host of other aireyed communication icons in my head, when in fact those would be the exact people who would shout to me, “Blow it all the fuck up and shower the world in gorgeous, awkward, liberating, bloodyglittered confetti.  You know you wanna!”  (And then in the X-rated version Tom Robbins would lay a big ol’ kiss on me and I wouldn’t even care that he cops a feel.)

They’re right, I shouldn’t get rid of the middle–not in writing, not in life.  It took me three years going to middle school and thirteen years teaching it to finally start to grasp that truth.  I told you kids are smarter than adults.




Renthics: The Ethics of Rent in the Bay Area

My current studio apartment is significantly smaller than my classroom.  Granted, I’m not trying to educate thirty 8th graders in my apartment, but I do have a queen size bed and a crap ton of cat toys to contend with.

When I moved from San Francisco to the South Bay almost four years ago I was paying 1050$ for a studio near downtown.  At the time that price took my breath away, but I didn’t have to turn sideways to fit down my hallway like other places I’d seen, I was not technically in the Tenderloin, and as friends continued to assure me, “Wow, you’re lucky.”  So, I felt lucky.  Little did I know how lucky and how much I would miss rent control when I moved.

Starting April 1st I will be paying 1400$ for the aforementioned bebbe studio, and doing so with begrudging gratitude because it is absolutely the cheapest place in Mountain View (I know, I looked/keep looking).  I’ve joined in rent control protests and rallies, full well knowing that it probably won’t change the prevailing trend, and I am writing the following letter to my landlord in the same spirit of being active and not passive about my life.  Feel free to send it to your own landlord with your next rent increase.

To whom it may concern:

I have lived at Park Lane for almost four years now.  In that time I have enjoyed the beautiful trees, an attentive manager, and well maintained grounds.  I have tried to be a responsible neighbor and tenant.  I recycle, pay my rent on time, help an elderly Indian lady up the stairs with her groceries, return lost keys to the office, and try to conserve resources.  As a responsible neighbor and tenant, I have a concern I’d like to bring to your attention today.

While I understand that property ownership is a business that takes money to run and not a charity, and that you want to remain competitive with the rents in the surrounding area, my rent has risen 310$ in less than four years.  As a teacher in the Mountain View Whisman School District, this means I now pay more than a third, and very close to half of my monthly income on rent.  I do not hold you responsible for the poor treatment of teachers everywhere, that would be ridiculous.  However, if I can barely make ends meet, I wonder what my neighbors who have young families are to do?  Leave is the “easy” answer, but is it the best long term answer?  Is it one that supports everyone’s interests?

As a property owner, you have the unique privilege of helping determine the make-up of a city.  So what happens to your city when I can no longer stay after school to help students or come to weekend events because of my forced commute?  Do they continue to stay out of trouble?  What happens when workers feel no connection to the local economy because they are all coming from elsewhere?  Do they keep spending at local businesses?  Community culture, sustainable expansion and building, and many other things depend on a diverse population that takes care of this place because it is ‘ours.’  This leads me to the question: Just because you have the right to keep raising rents, should you?

I know there are maintenance costs in running a property that are quite significant.  However, I humbly ask that you take a moment today to consider some of the other costs I have mentioned, the human costs.  Do you want a city or a world even where we do things just because we can get away with them?  What would it look and feel like if you stood heroically against that tide?

I appreciate your time immensely, I know you must be a busy individual.  I will continue to responsibly enjoy your property for as long as I am able, attempting to live in community and awareness of those around me.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to speak in more detail about any of these matters.


Chelsea Delaney





Hoberman’s Sphere

I’m pretty sure the kid in this picture is a lying bastard.  Or perhaps he’s an idiot who has just realized he’s stuck in this stupid ball, and because he’s an idiot all he can do is grin  (kids can be idiots too–I know this from experience).  If he’s not intentionally deceiving us or unfortunately dimwitted, maybe he’s just a tragic victim of the advertising agency.  He was originally posing with his super hero cape, but they photoshopped that out and stuck him for all time in this nerve tweaking, truth telling device.

No, I was not molested inside a Hoberman’s sphere as a child.  If one were molestationally minded, that would be a sloppy choice of venue.  However, a few weeks ago during a dance workshop, our instructors started taking them out of  boxes and bags like the feral, multiplying bunnies they are.  The movement principle we were working on was expand and contract.  We had started with our breathing; inhaling as arms raised across the meeting hall, exhaling as they lowered.  My attention was immediately drawn to the bottom of my rib cage, but then I thought, “Wait, when have I ever noticed my rib cage before?  Does everyone know about this?  IS THIS NORMAL OR A SIGN OF IMPENDING BURST APPENDIX??” (Okay, I didn’t worry about my appendix, but I was shocked.)  Then came the spheres, explained to us outward symbols of how our nervous system works both in optimal and less than optimal conditions.  We were supposed to stay tuned in to our bodily experience as our instructor started to manipulate the first sphere.

As she expanded and contracted the brightly colored toy, I started to cry.

First reaction?  Why the fuck am I crying about a stupid toy?  Second reaction?  God damn it, the normal (and at this point totally silent) circle is going to be all fucked up by me crying.  This of course lead to clenching and horse nostril breathing, which if I would’ve been able to pay better attention, was exactly what this exercise was trying to help us avoid.  As spheres continued to be brought out of hiding, my reaction intensified.  By the time we were broken up into groups of three to work with them together, my hands were shaking so badly I could barely get mine open.

I felt like my secrets had been exposed.  Clearly the whole nervous system was random, chaotic, and no matter how hard I tried, I would never learn to be one of those people who modulates gently.  “IT’S NOT FAIR,” I screamed internally-not giving myself any credit in the moment for how far I have come in this domain.

I stepped off the dance floor soon after the exercise was over to go sit with this great tree I’d met out in the courtyard.  It was a rainy weekend, and this naked beauty was covered with eye-flayingly green moss.  I repeated my complaint to the tree: “It’s not fair gramma.”  The tree was having none of my mopey self-indulgence.  “You know it’s not really chaotic,” she said.  “Look at my branches for a moment.”  “But…” I started to protest.  “LOOK!”  And since you don’t argue with the ancients if you know what’s good for you, I looked, and as I looked, the images of expanding and contracting multiplied across the folds of my defensive brain.  Branches, lungs, irises, flowers, tides, and last week I actually found myself quite involved in reading about sphincters.  It was rational and it was regulated.  Sigh.  I calmed down enough to go back inside.  I was worried my exposed nerves would betray me again, but I was committed to trying my best.

Fast forward a week and it wasn’t surprising when I circled back to this topic in my therapists’ office.  After expressing my frustration with how shifting back and forth is hard for me, she got THE look on her face.  This is the look I have come to know as preceding a great moment of intuitive questioning, the kind that makes my brain shiver in delight.  “You’ve described this quality that you’re calling rigidity, and for some reason I’m picturing it as a rock.  I’m wondering what would happen if you spent some time with it, dressed it up even like a pet for a while.  What does this rigidity want from you?”

Dang.  Rigidity as a teacher?  It’s definitely been around in me longer, but I didn’t know if I could wrap my mind around it.  I’ve just barely gotten to the point where flow and integration seems possible.  I started thinking about what I might want if I was a rock.  I submit to you my attempt at either a list-like poem, or a poetic list–you be the judge.

Maybe it wants

to be rigid without apology

(to be right without apology?),

to make noise like a rock in a a can–

it’s not functional,

but it’s a lot of fun to shake

a rock in a can.


Maybe it wants

to not be forgotten,

to not be considered boring now–

just because it’s a rock

and not the ocean.

I understand that,

but I don’t usually keep rocks around

for decoration.


Maybe it wants

an explanation of why you’re

saying goodbye,

or for you to learn to drive stick shift.

Or to sit closer to the


where the waves change without force.


This is a good start of course, but I suspect that it’s only the very beginning of a very long conversation to be held between me, myself, and I.  I’m now looking at a second list in my journal entitled: “Benefits of Rigidity??”  It’s pretty blank so far, but the three things on there are not to be sneezed at.  1.  Keeps me stubbornly clinging to the belief that there is goodness in people.  2.  Kept me working with “lost” students and “lost” schools when others had abandoned giving their best and only showed up to survive.  3.  Whatever rigidity is left might be a great illuminator to all the new and delicious flow and integration.  This thought feels juicy because despite my desire to progress more quickly,  I have truly come a long way.  I changed plans at least five times this week–which I know is not a lot for those of you with kids or other chaotic things, but for me it’s a crap ton.

As I terminated my plans last night by pulling off the traffic fucked 280,  I had no idea where I’d end up.   But as I drifted down a hill I had never been on before, hugging the curves of an unknown street in the Zipcar that doesn’t belong to me, I said out loud–“What now?”  I realized that statement as good, and I grinned.






A letter to Dr. King

Dear Dr. King,

I imagine that on a day like today, you are closer than usual, watching with all the other ancestors.  Sometimes I’m sure you’re cheering us on, gratified that we’re actually using the positive and negative lessons you left behind.  Sometimes I’m sure we make you tired and angry, even while you hold us in the gentle compassion that spirit has for the meatbound.  I wanted to say a few things to you today in the most honest way I can.

First off, I am just confused.  I don’t understand how we continue to take loving children and young adults and turn them into defensive assholes that will kill or maim in the name of differences that are mostly made up.  Not all of them end up that way of course, you being a great case in point, but we don’t set out to do it.  No teacher I know says, “I hope I will help create people today that will root for division and strife in their adult lives….yay strife!!”  There are hidden biases and prejudices, yes, but most people I know want a kinder world.  So how are we still where we are?  I’m not ready to believe that people are evil at heart, so I don’t get it!  And I don’t know how the rules work where you are now, but if there’s a way to let us in on the answer, it would be much appreciated.  We’d probably even be cool with half an answer at this point–yes, even half an answer might save a life.

Secondly, I want to do more to fight injustice, but I also don’t want to promise things I might not be able to deliver.  I’m pretty selfish.  Sometimes that bums me out, sometimes I don’t think about it, and I celebrate the times I step out of my self interest for the greater good.  But the fact remains, I’m my first priority.  I am knocked breathless by you and all the other fighters that gave your lives to move a cause one inch forward in a scale of miles.  Maybe your faith made it possible?  Maybe you were just crazy and it worked to the benefit of the world?  It’s not me.  I’ve spent much of my 13 years in teaching ignoring a variety of injustices in order to preserve my sanity and spend my energy loving those who were in front of me.  No, I can’t promise renewed commitment to freedom fighting on your day today, but I can promise to keep moving forward on the things I can do that I think might help:

1.)  I will keep becoming me, the most authentic, visible version of me that I know at the moment.  I will not rest on my laurels and sleep at the river.  I will find work that allows and encourages this.  I will build my friends and family from people that call me on my shit when I won’t do it myself and celebrate the demolition of hiding places when I can do it myself.  The people I know that are the most like this already, love the differences in others, find in them a magical intrigue instead of a sign that you’ve betrayed the dominant paradigm.

2.) I will keep creating art and asking questions.  I have seen both acts pull people from opposite corners of the room to share stunned silence.  We may have different names or theories about transcendence, but I think most people agree that something big exists.  With continued effort I hope that my art will be ever better in helping us see ourselves and vent our demons, and that my questions will be ever more interesting and un-checklist like.

3.)  I will keep reminding myself to be here.  Not in last week or six hours from now, but right here, wherever right here is.  My hope in this is that when an injustice happens, I will actually see it if I’m present in the moment.  And if I see it, love will lead me to act.

This may not be enough, or it may be revolutionary, but either way it is my promise to you and all the ancestors today.  Thank you for giving us a different lens with which to view passion, courage, and hell, even crazy.





Maybe we like weird?

I’ve never considered myself funny.  That’s not an ‘oh-poor-me’ statement, just a boring reference card in a long, skinny library drawer of yore, or maybe yesteryear (personally I prefer yore–don’t really know what it means exactly, but I always picture myself with a horned Viking hat on when I say it).  I think I’m observant, definitely weird, in love with minutiae, both interested and terrified in the place where “boundaries” blur, but not funny.  Other people seem to think so; my students when I pull out a word like “fugly” to describe progress report grades, my friends when commenting on my Facebook posts, but I figure they’re usually humoring me because they love me.

But I picked up a book this week called Furiously Happy by the Bloggess, Jenny Lawson.  She talks about naming a cat The President, her thoughts on granny panties, and her therapist’s plot to unseat her with “invisible” squirrels (which I totally believe by the way Ms. Lawson, if you ever happen to be seeing my teensy star in the blogosphere).    She also talks with balls-to-the-wall honesty and grace about what it is like to live followed by mental illness.   And while I don’t know that my style would make snot bubbles come out of someone’s nose, I re-read some of my old Facebook stuff last night and thought, “Huh, maybe I am funny.”  This of course lead me to wonder about my definition of funny.

I know there a multiple types of humor and I could take a class or read a book to study up, but the thought of that makes me want to stick my tongue out at my own brain.  As much as I love to geek out and read my way into a subject, this is not the subject for that.  So then I just let my mind wander.  Funny: the watermelon smashy guy–Gulliver, or was that Gallagher? maybe Gilligan, who knows, Lucille Ball, Chris Rock, my students when they talk about things like how you might kick one’s eye out, the board game Moods sitting on the floor with my college roommates while drinking Zima or Peppermint Patties, animals with clothes on, people who give animals voices, all things tiny (corn, carrots, silverware, salt and pepper shakers), my teacher friend Molly, and Chelsea Handler (but part of that is because we have the same name and I appreciate someone who is better at putting outfits together than I am).

I didn’t see a common thread in my list so I went back to reading.  When I got to the chapter “Pretend You’re Good at it”–sterling advice from her friend Neil Gaiman–it clicked.  Maybe my kind of humor is the mixture of relief and surprise when someone is honest, regardless of the subject they’re expressing honesty on.  Christmas Eve I was at a collage party, and we sat around snacking after creating when our hostess brought out warm pound cake from the oven.  No, you’re not listening, WARM POUND CAKE FROM THE OVEN!!  I started walking my fingers across the top of my third slice when I realized everyone was looking at me.  I looked around sheepishly,”I was just wishing I could be really tiny and walk around this pound cake.”  Everyone blarted out laughing.  “Yeah,” I continued, “that’s the kind of shit I used to not say out loud.”  But even in saying it, it felt good to say.

This of course leads me to the next rung of my monkey bars, and don’t laugh, because my mind is really blown by this thought: maybe we like “weird”, like it more than we’re willing to admit to ourselves or others.  We spend time and money on whatever will connect us to the largest group of accessible people, people that will benefit our emotional and physical health and survival.  That forms our definition of what is normal, and if we’re lucky, that group is full of the most awesome kind of weirdos so that weird is our normal.  But if we’re not that lucky from the get-go, maybe our eyes wander beyond our safety, looking for a way to make the insides and the outsides more closely match each other.  The longer I live, and the more preteens I see right before we squeeze them in the box forever, the more convinced I am that we’re all quite the collage internally.  If we didn’t have a certain secret fascination with weirdness, Ms. Lawson would’ve flopped on her face I’m afraid.  But she hasn’t…I know because I’ve been internet stalking her today.  She has 150,000 followers on Facebook alone.  I’ve been on for five years and have 132.  This is a rate of 26 a year, approximately.  That means, if I’m doing the math correctly, it would take me 5,769 years for me to have as many follower.  I’m pretty sure, although not positive, I’ll be dead before then.

What if we liked things that are weird, despite all efforts to the contrary?  If so, I am definitely, definitely funny.  Maybe I should buy a watermelon smashy hammer or a Viking hat.  Not sure yet.  Will have to let this new thought sink in a little, stir the Kool-Aid.  Stay tuned readers, all three of you, things keep getting interesting.