The secret to getting ahead in life is to get braces on your teeth. Not just because it will make you look good, although that is a bonus that comes with them. The reason that braces will advance you and your ambitions is that once a month you have to get them tightened.
And after you get those braces tightened, let me tell you, you are capable of anything!
Remember last spring, when I used that Internet flower service to send flowers to Leonard Pennario, and the flower people tried to rip me off, how imperious and princess-y I got? And then I was able to fight them and win? That was because the day before, I had just had my braces tightened.
This morning you would not believe what I did.
There is a group home next door to me, for mentally retarded men. They do a great job. It has been there as long as I have been here and it is usually no problem. But we do have noise concerns associated with it because these people pull in and out all the time and one car has a reverse alarm and others just blast their stereos. Why doesn't Governor Patterson, as long as he is taxing everything else, figure out a way to tax car stereos? You could pay by the decibel, or something. That is an idea.
Anyway, I always hear these stereos blasting, and generally what happens is I do a slow burn and then I work on this letter addressed to the group home management. Then the stereo stops, eventually, and I forget about the annoyance until the next day, when it starts all over again. And the letter is never mailed, of course. It is like the Cologne Cathedral. It is never finished.
This morning, though, I had just had my braces tightened. All day yesterday I could not even eat. All I ate was a few spoonfuls of soft lentils and a salad at the office party which took me four hours to eat. Plus I had to eat it in solitude. I was trying to eat it at the party but my friend Jane said, "Mary, I think you would be better off taking that back to your desk."
So that was my situation a few minutes ago listening to this stereo. And guess what I did!
I put down my coffee and leapt up and got out of my pajamas and put on jeans and a sweater and boots. No socks. You are meaner without socks. Then I ran next door.
There is this car, in the back yard, just pounding. And no one was in it!
I ran around the house and up the driveway. I was going to ring the doorbell but then I see this woman getting out of a car. "Are you the car stereo?" I said. She just shook her head.
Then at that moment this guy comes out of the house. He looked to be about 25. He looked like a frightened rabbit.
"What is with this car stereo?" I demanded. "Is it yours?"
He nodded. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm really sorry."
Then of course I just melt because they looked like nice kids and as I have said before it is easier to be friends than adversaries. And we all exchanged pleasantries and the car stereo was turned off and I do not think the situation will arise again.
I went back in the house feeling great.
With that out of the way, I can report another great thing about my braces. They are red and green now, in honor of Christmastime! The other day when I went in, they asked me, "Do you want just plain silver, or colors?"
"No one ever asked me that before," I said. "What have you got?"
They presented me with this big bouquet of colors. I mean, dozens of colors! "The kids are all going for red and green, for Christmas," they said.
"OK, I'll take that," I said.
After my experience this morning, I can see they are not only pretty, but appropriate.
Because of my Christmas braces, I will have a silent night.
At least the folks in the group home shovel their sidewalk in the winter. Some people almost never do and that is so inconsiderate of the multitude who walk the neighborhood.
Retarded? I would think that anyone past the 5th grade would not use that word. Maybe you would think differently if you had children of your own.
Note to self: Cancel order of holiday peanut brittle for Mary.
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