Half of Humiliation is Just Showing Up

It isn’t a stretch to say that the universe is generous, but with what is it generous? Here’s something: it offers me abundant opportunities to make an ass of myself. And by God, I don’t pass them up. Seconds after I posted my last blog entry, my mother let me know I had misused a pronoun. She spent my youth correcting my pronouns and here, for all the world (that’s my 19 blog followers) to see, was the evidence of her, I mean my, failure. To top it off, I discovered I’ve been misspelling Rainier for years. How it that possible?

I went back and corrected my numbskullery before leaving for the park, to play my first game of Ultimate Frisbee. I know, you are thinking, but marycake, you are uncoordinated. Well it was one of my New Year’s resolutions to try a new game, specifically this one. It’s nearly the solstice, and since I still don’t have a career, my house is disorderly, and I haven’t given up beer, this looks like the only NYR I am likely to make good on.

I am neither speedy nor wily, and I have never played a game that requires switching from offense to defense (unless you count Sorry, by Milton Bradley). But as the league organizer said after repeatedly attempting to teach me to throw, “You’ll be fine,” gesturing vaguely toward my legs, “You’re…compact.”

And here’s the thing: I was a disaster, but I had a certain panache. First, I was determined to play defense and guard my opponent with steely resolve. I locked eyes with her; I moved when she moved (more slowly and in the wrong direction but I moved). I was on her like a cheap suit and…”Um, you are supposed to be on offense right now,” she said, politely. This young woman had, I swear, just come from her college graduation ceremony for a chance to wipe the field with my middle-aged butt. I turned away from the coed as the disc came careening toward my lips and behind it I saw the faces of my teammates, incredulous, screaming for me to just pull my head out of the aforementioned middle-aged body part and play offense ALREADY. It started to pelt rain and I thought: this is fun. My daughter took one to the nose, and was gushing blood. “Can I join the girls’ league?” she asked happily. Why not?

I won’t dive for the disc, because my neck has a way of getting stuck, and then I am walking around with my face on backwards like that poor girl in The Exorcist. Also, my C-section scar will come unsnapped, which will blow my cover, (literally) and everyone will know I didn’t have natural births at home in an inflatable burlap washtub with an Icelandic doula.

But I can try to sprint around with burning lungs (I am a runner, but I sprint like I swim. When I am in the lake, my husband says he can’t tell if I’m coming or going, so I always claim I’m treading water). I can try to catch, to toss, all while praying someone brought a cooler of beer. Do they still make Rainier? I hope so, because it’s time I learned to spell it.



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