“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Sunday, July 22, 2012


My favorite book (right now) is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Seriously, how did I ever miss this book? All I know is I was in Target looking for a book to buy my boys, and I saw that title peeking out at me, and, well, it spoke to me. Best line? "I hope you sit on a tack." Yeah. We all have those moments, where wishing for some good tack-sitting-on is what gets us through.

And let's face it. I'm Alexander. I'm not a boy. I'm not even a kid! (Well, that's debatable.) But I'm the youngest in my family and I am NO stranger to Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. I mean, do YOU even appreciate how important every word is in that title? I don't think so. It's not just a terrible day, or a horrible day, and definitely not just a very bad day. It's all of the above and then some. And that counts!

My brother never gave me a pillow and then took it back, but he did once swindle me out of this wicked awesome stuffed hound dog that my Grandma bought me. How did he do it? He traded me for a piece of gum. I was only four, what did I know? Well, I learned real quick. That piece of gum lost its flavor in ten seconds, I spit it out, and there was Pauly, all cozy with my stuffed hound dog. So lame. What did he want it for, anyway? Well, I guess if you've ever met his dog Rocky, you'd start psychoanalyzing and explaining, how all he ever wanted was a dog of his own, but this is about ME so stop talking.

Everybody getting the sneakers they want except Alexander? Him getting stuck with plain old white ones? That happened unfair amounts of times to me, I'll tell you. Maybe it wasn't always sneakers. Maybe sometimes it was the lunch roll with no sesame seeds while everyone else had sesame seeds. Maybe it was that everyone else got to go swimming in the deep water with Dad and I had to stay back and build sand castles with a red Solo cup because no one would buy me a real sand bucket. (Even though we didn't call them red Solo cups back then--we just called them cups.) I tried putting seagull feathers in the tops of my castles to fancy them up, you know--add some pizzazz. My mom slapped my hand and said, "Those are DISEASED!" and I had to use a rock. Who wants a rock on top of their castle? All I wanted was to go swimming in the deep water with my dad.

How about that part where all of Alexander's friends get fancy desserts in their lunchboxes--especially that kid who gets the one with little coconut sprinkles on top! Yeah. My mom was totally a dessert forgetter. Not only that, she entirely gave up making me a lunch at all when I was, like, eleven. Why, you ask? Because my sister had graduated high school, and my mom was tired of making peanut butter sandwiches. Jane got 'em for eighteen years. I got shorted seven.

Similarly (if you're this kind of thinker), at my Confirmation (a Catholic sacrament that's kind of a big deal in high school), all the parents had to write "I'm proud of you" notes to their kids. We received them right before we went out for the big procession. Most of the parents went Hallmark with this. One guy's card farted when you opened it. I received a business-sized envelope. Inside? A ten paragraph TYPED epistle from my mother about how I'm special and beautiful and outstanding. I had to pretend not to be crying. I was all, "Hoo hoo, hee hee, my mom's card is SO ridiculous, I can't show you." Why would she do that? Write me a sentimental LETTER when it was just meant to be a WAY TO GO, KID! Post-It. At the end, instead of typing, "Love, Mom," she signed it. In black gel pen. She loves pens. Okay. Maybe this one's not so bad. Or maybe you just had to be there.

I probably relate most to the parts where Alexander does nothing more than just try to EXPLAIN to others that he's having this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and NO ONE EVEN ANSWERS. I know, Alexander, I know.

I read this book at bedtime tonight, just another go with an old favorite at this point, because Noah is also a lot like Alexander. I know what you're think, you psychoanalytical reader. No, he is NOT just like me. I never bounced up and down in my bed at bedtime. I never yanked curtains down from the windows (they're on measly tension rods and practically in his bed here at the cottage, and it was an accident, but STILL). I never said to my mother, "I am not not NOT going to SLEEP!" I never faked a poop seven times to get out of going to sleep. I never refused to sleep until I had a picture of the Incredible Hulk in my bed (because who would, except Noah). Yeah. Noah does Terrible, Horrible, No Good, and Very Bad even better than Alexander. Even better than I do.

But now that he's sleeping, I sure do love him.

No comments:

Post a Comment