Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

--by Juliet

Most kids start their speaking life with “da-da” or “ma-ma” (or whatever their particular linguistic equivalent may be.)

My son’s first word was “Oops.”

It wasn’t even meant seriously, it was an ironic statement. Here’s the scene: He’s sitting in his high chair. I can’t remember his exact age, but he was at that adorable moment when babies move out of the larval stage, but are still new enough to think that Cheerios are an awesome, exciting taste sensation. So he’s chasing Cheerios around on the tray, since actually grasping those critters with brand new fingers is no easy feat, and shoving them into the mouth is yet another challenge.
I was cooking dinner for grown ups, running around the kitchen and clearly not paying him enough attention (this kid, from the day he was born, has been interesting, but NEVER easy) and when I look over, he quite methodically picks up a handful of Cheerios, and while holding my gaze, holds his hand out to the side and drops them, quite purposefully, on the floor.
Then he goes: “Oops.”

“Oops,” even though it wasn’t an oops at all. At least in the sense that it wasn’t really a mistake…or maybe it was an intentional mistake.

I love that. Sometimes you just gotta let your freak flag fly. Sometimes you want to claim your oops moment, hold it close to your heart, decide you’re going to do something even though you know it’s a mistake from the start.
No, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but then often WE don't make a lot of sense. Public health officials are always stymied by the fact that no matter how much they tell us what we should do, we still insist on being foolish, eating sugar and drinking alcohol and having wild sex. I understand their frustration and, of course, we'll all pay if we become an unhealthy populace.
But there’s something wonderful about the very human desire – nay, need--to go out there and do the wrong thing. Mix things up. Incite something. On purpose and with head held high.

So what the heck, from time to time, maybe we should indulge in that crazy love affair. Quit the sensible job and become a writer. Drop the metaphorical Cheerios on the floor, and just see where they lay.

I figure if it’s good enough for the kid, it’s good enough for me.


Sophie Littlefield said...

so if i am reading this correctly you (and the boy) have just given me carte blanche to go out there and indulge all my insane impulses. Well this is fantastic news - hoist the flag high!! :)

Rachael Herron said...

I love the way you always twist our prompts into something deep and lovely (and usually funny, too). So true. Now I must go indulge in something (anything)...

Mysti said...

Thanks for being my inspiration to live large and laughing, Ms. Julie.

Yesterday, I saw a lady on BART who was behaving as if she was ENTITLED to two seats--you know the type, opening her purse on the "extra" seat, laying out her coat, and focused on her blackberry.

So I asked if I could sit next to her. She looked pointedly around the car, then at me, but I didn't cave. She made a great show of collecting her belongings, may even have huffed or puffed. We sat together all the way to Embarcadero and it was just so delicious.

That's me coloring out of the lines. I think I need some more practice :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Oh Mysti, love that story! Coloring out of the lines by babysteps...that works too!
Sophie-- yes, you MUST go out and indulge your impulses, I insist. And I have bail money at the ready.
Rachael, ditto re bail money ;-)

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