I have nothing to say, but I’m compelled to say something!
by Bella Rum
Sometimes I want to write something here because I miss being here, but I don’t always have a plan. I sit and begin and hope that something fills the space between my ears and makes its way to the monitor. It’s that way for me in life, too. I am one of those people who feel required to fill awkward silences. Good interviewers know this secret. They know the most interesting revelations lurk in awkward silences. My inability to wait out the silence has gotten me in trouble on occasion. I always told my son that people who talk a lot are bound to step in “it” eventually. Remember that Abraham Lincoln quote? “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” If I ever stencil a frieze around my bathroom wall, or tattoo my something-or-other, that will be the quote I choose. I’m not a tattoo sort, but if I were…So, this is what I’m thinking about. A high school memory popped into my head last night. I was on the balance beam. It was just before class. We were not supposed to get on the equipment before class, we were absolutely never to use the equipment before class, and we were absolutely, positively never to practice without a spotter. All perfectly reasonable rules. I wanted to practice. I asked a girl – a straight arrow – to spot me. She said, “No.”
She was standing right beside me. I assumed she would behave as I would under the same circumstances so I stubbornly and foolishly carried on with my routine. When I got to the somersault, I rolled right off the beam, and fell with a thud at her feet. She never lifted a hand. She stood there and watched me fall. When I could breathe again, I looked up at her and said, “I can’t believe you let me fall.” With no emotion whatsoever, she said, “I told you no.”
We all know that’s really the divine Melissa McCarthy.
But… you get my drift. My just deserts? Maybe. And there have been times when I’ve looked back on that moment and plucked lessons from it. The lesson always depends on the lens through which I’m looking. The most obvious conclusions: First, when people tell you who they are, believe them (especially if you could get hurt). Second, follow the worthy rules and you will stay safe most of the time (even if it isn’t as much fun). Third, some people believe in justice more than mercy. Fourth, never, never count on someone else to do what you would do in the same situation. We don’t always come from the same place in the human experience, and we are not always wired the same way.
I was a pretty straight arrow, too. I really was not much of a rule breaker. Consequences are the greatest teachers of all, aren’t they? But I would still find it impossible to allow someone to fall out of a tree after I told them not to climb that tree. I would still put my arms out to break their fall no matter how foolish they were. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself. She taught me a good lesson when she did what she told me she would do. Still, over the years, I’ve wondered about her.