The Mean Reds
by Bella Rum
I felt out of sorts all morning, and that’s enough of that. I reverted to my former stressed self, someone I haven’t been for months. I didn’t feel well and became a nasty, grumpy version of me. After shaking his head, H fled to the kitchen to make his magic lower-your-cholesterol oat bran (stud) muffins. Then he found something else to do, and now he’s doing something else. I don’t ask what, and I won’t ask. The man deserves to be left in peace.
Our powder room got a fresh coat of paint this week. Why not? I do the trim and cut in (love brush work), and H does the roller (hates brush work). We are a team. If you’ve read here for a while, you know I have to paint something at least bimonthly: a bookcase, a room, an old iron bed, a milk can, a light fixture, the porch. It’s my version of practicing Zen. I don’t know what works for you or if you have a special thing that calms your spirit, but I hope you do. Writing and painting do it for me.
Our powder room really did need a little sprucing up. It’s been over ten years… so I’m not just running around willy-nilly if that’s what you think, but I admit that when I get a case of the mean reds, I do have a tendency to notice something that needs painting “this very minute.”
Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!
There you have it. My non-medical remedy for the mean reds. Um, not all of those. Only one bowl.
I finished my last book club selection, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Do you remember when I told you that one of the book club’s “suggestions” was to stick to nonviolent books? They specifically mentioned the holocaust as an example. I wasn’t at the meeting when they chose Unbroken so I don’t know how they came to choose it.
I’m not a book reviewer but just a few words. Unbroken is about an incredible man, Louis Zamperini. He was a POW in several Japanese POW camps during WWII. He endured the most inhumane treatment imaginable and survived. This is a book worth reading, and it has enjoyed favorable reviews, but be prepared. It is a laundry list of degrading, inhumane and barbaric treatment of POWs. Though there were isolated incidents of kindness from some, most of Louis Zamperini’s captors were gifted in their ability to strip every shred of dignity from a human spirit. Assuming you’re not a sociopath, you will have the mean reds for days after reading this book. Though Louis Zamperini’s survival and the way he chose to live his life after the war are inspiring, it took me a while to get there. It’s difficult to shake the knowledge of what some humans do to other humans and the satisfaction they derive from doing it. Louis Zamperiani deserved to have his story told, but Unbroken is not an easy book to read. So much for nonviolent selections for my book club.