Some people never grow up. I’m one of them, and I don’t figure I need act my age until I’ve got one foot in the grave – which won’t be until I’m deep in dementia and can’t remember this pledge anyway.
I look at older people who’ve slowed way down and wonder if they ever said these words to themselves. After all, as time has gone by I’ve reneged on a few other pledges I made – like never saying to my kids, “Because I told you so!” Oooo I used to hate that when my dad said it to me. We’d be in the middle of a meal and he’d shake out the last drop of Worchester sauce and turn to me without the least remorse and say, “Here’s a couple of bucks, run down to Kabool’s and get some more.” If I dared question, he’d say, “Because I said so. Now git!”
Kabool’s was a half a block away, and I could sprint down there faster than most people could say “Worchester” and be back by the time they got out the word “sauce,” but it was the principle of the thing. Why did I have to leave my steaming pile of mashed potatoes and collard greens which for some reason I liked and dash off in the middle of a meal?
So I vowed not to ever say it, and then just a couple of days ago those words came out when I blew up like firecrackers in a mailbox and started yelling at my kids.
Another thing I pledged I wouldn’t do was get overweight. My mom and grandmother liked to eat, and my grandmother used to sit with her elbows on the table and shovel in big bites of fried chicken and buttered white bread like she was storing up for hibernation. I have to say it was – well, let’s just say I kept my head down a lot at the table. So I promised myself I’d never lose my will-power and pack on the pounds, and I haven’t done so bad except for the last few years when my breasts went flat and I started carrying around a spare tire.
I’ve hung on to at least one of my pledges, though. I was a waitress after high school and made lots of money in tips, but I decided I’d never do it again. It was very hard work and I got fed up with some of the people. There were the requests for separate checks and impatient, cranky people, but the worst were the ones who couldn’t make up their minds, or seemed unable to until they’d asked me if everything on the menu was good.
I generally had a boss in earshot somewhere, and I wasn’t going to say something on the menu was bad and risk getting in trouble, not at that age, and yet, to a teenager, most of the stuff coming out of the kitchen didn’t necessarily appeal to me, especially when I saw how it was prepared. But I’d try to put a nice spin on things. “The pork chops look very tasty and I bet no one ever complains about them.” I would have lost that bet if anyone would have taken me up on it.
After we’d gone down twenty minutes worth of menu items, and other customers were tapping me on the shoulder wanting their check or choking in the background for lack of a water refill, the woman would say, “Oh, I’m going to go with my first choice. I’ll have the catfish.”
This is why I pledged never to waitress again. I didn’t want to be strangle someone’s mother.
This old lady pledge, though, I think I’m going to stick with it. Sure, you never know what’s going to happen, and I may not have a choice, just like I didn’t have a choice when I blew my top at my kids a couple of days ago when I asked them to pick up their dirty clothes and they said, “Why?” BECAUSE I SAID SO!
I’m not going to quit acting foolish and silly or chase my dog down the street or run out to get the mail in my pajamas. I’ve tried being grown up, and I have to say I don’t care for it much. I work hard, and I’m lugged down with responsibilities most of the time, and if I want to act like a kid and pretend the world hasn’t heaped it’s troubles on me, that’s what I’m going to do. And if people don’t like it, they can go jump in a pond. Why? Because I said so.
And you’d better not ask me again.