What’s the Opposite of Vitriol?

Write a little blog post about being nice, and people get all ugly on your ass and ornery atcha.  This goes to support the position that unpleasant on the inside doesn’t shower off and clean up nice and pretty with a new outfit, and sadly came as little surprise.  Pity.  Because I still always want to believe the good in people, despite at times being presented with an Everest-caliber mountain of evidence to the contrary, I’m going to hold out hope.  Being nice is free, relatively painless for the masses, and it does carry forward.  So because I’m a grown-up, and you can save your own “all evidence to the contrary” here, I will lead by example and I will use more than 140 characters.

Here’s a random collection of stuff that doesn’t suck, in no particular order:

  1. The whitest belly in the Midwest is now the pinkest belly.  My sons and I spent the afternoon at the beach yesterday, took off completely on a whim, and had a wonderful time together. Remember when you were a kid, and you’d bond with random kids kinda your same age at the beach or your dad’s softball game?  You became instant BFFs, bonding over nothing more than temporal-spatial kismet. It still happens. Your new BFFs?  They got your back until the end of time, or until someone’s mom packs up the car.  I was immediately thrown back in time watching my boys’ bonding experience today.
  2. My big kid is reading a book. And not because I’m making him.  Because he WANTS to. I’m not sure which species of alien life form has abducted my child and replaced him with this amazingly lifelike body-double. My relationship with these extra-terrestrials is strictly don’t ask-don’t tell.
  3. The book Wonder. It’s one of my all-time faves, and still climbing the charts. If you haven’t, READ THIS BOOK.  It’s written by RJ Palacio, and its target audience is intermediate grades, 4-5 graders. Don’t let that dissuade you.  You’ll finish it in a day, and wish you hadn’t. I felt certain this book would break my heart, so much so that I was fearful of continuing while at the very same time consuming every page.  It won’t. Break your heart, that is, and you’ll never forget to “be kinder than is necessary.”
  4. I’m guest lecturing at a nearby university Wednesday. I’ve done an iteration of this talk for a few years now.  It’s fun but meaningful, and the grad students like it because they don’t have to take a ton of notes–they are actually learning while being entertained.  The first time I did it and was a bit nervous, my big kid said to me as I left him at day camp, “Be brilliant, Mom.”  Recalling that makes me grin every single time.  I’m not. Brilliant, that is, but I don’t suck at guest lectures.
  5. We were hammered by severe weather, and I was NOT at an outdoor concert for a welcome change.  I love, love, love, love, love (nod to the Violent Femmes here) being inside while the skies get split by lightning, and thunder rolls so deeply that my insides quake.
  6. At least three times a day, my younger son without provocation or promise of reward tells me he loves me.
  7. I will never have to worry that I’ll need to know the shit that people who go on Naked and Afraid do. WTF, people?  I have an inexplicable compulsion to watch this show, and I’ve not gone more than 3 minutes of any episode not shrieking at my television in horror.  Who would do this 1) naked, and 2) afraid?  You’re going up against starvation, crazy people AND anacondas.  Naked.  You are going to lose.  You actually don’t win either.  You just finish.  Your prize is going back to your life, where presumably you get to wear shoes.  You gotta hand it to the producers ’cause there is no more aptly-named show on the air.  I’m never gonna need to know that some tree’s inner ring of red bark is an analgesic so when my eyes swell shut because some insect is eating my eyelids from the inside out, I’ll find an herbaceous cure like they did in ancient times.  I’ll probably never even fly over Equatorial Guinea, so don’t have to worry about having to survive my plane crashing there. Is my DVR set for next Sunday?  Oh yes it is.
  8. I don’t expect to see my dog bounding to the door to greet me each time I enter my home anymore.  I miss her less acutely than I did a month ago. It’s been one month since she died.  Progress, friends.

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