I have a function on my laptop that says: “Ask me anything.” On occasion, I use it rather than Google. It does not always provide me with an answer that is exactly what I am looking for but this morning when I asked “What should my column be about this week” I was provided with a number of options—none of which really answered my plea directly, but at least one got my brain-addled creative juices flowing.
What was it you ask? It was a column by Mimi Wuest called “Why I can’t write my column this week…” (Citing my source, it is wisnews.com—the Reedsburg Time Press). Ms. Wuest said that she could not write her column “because life is pretty chaotic right now.” Then she proceeded to write a column about the chaos. The first chaotic reason was that her husband was having knee surgery, and what she was doing in preparation for his recovery at home. The second reason she could not write a column was that she was starting a new semester teaching at College and was spending her time “composing new tortures to inflict” on her students.
I am going to take a page out of Wuest’s book, and tell you why I can’t write my column this week and it has nothing to do with major surgery or coming up with ways to torture people. But it does have to do with chaos. Right now, it seems that we are living in a world of uncertainty, which is not all that unusual, but it is. There seems to be chaos on all sides: from the tragedy in Quebec City at the mosque; the Trump presidency where we are wondering with bated breath where he will go next and what he will do when he gets there; our own Prime Minister’s seemingly innocent tweet about inclusion which may have been ill-timed; the flu epidemic (which I have fallen victim to); and the death of my heroine, Mary Tyler Moore.
There are lots of other things I am not mentioning. Chaos has no beginning and no end. One event may get resolved but another takes its place swiftly and/or simultaneously, giving us little time to recover. The word of the day, the week, the month is overwhelmed. Too much is happening—how do we harness it; how to we deal with it; how do we get past it? The simple answer is: we don’t. We have to find ways to get through it.
In this column, I try not to pass judgement. (Try being the operative word here). You do not really want to hear my political views, which if I am truthful, are rather chaotic themselves. I am at times angry, resigned, puzzled, and on my way to losing hope. Other times I grasp at the straws handed out none too judiciously, and hope is at least a glimmer. So instead of talking about world problems, of which there are plenty, I am going to regale you with my ode to Mary Tyler Moore.
Illustrating the fact that even “a blind squirrel finds a nut” once in a while, I happened upon the Comedy Channel yesterday afternoon while ensconced on my couch vegging out (which is one way to treat the flu) and came across a short marathon of my heroine’s 1970’s program. Seven shows (which may have come from each of the seven seasons the program aired) were shown—the first and last, and from what I can figure out, one for every year in between.
I lay on the couch basking in my luck—many of the programs I had not seen before, but it brought back those late teenage years and early twenties when I thought I had the world by the tail. And the program—though slightly dated by today’s standards, withstood the test of time. She was at once vulnerable and independent, smart but humble, and her comic timing was impeccable. Like Lucille Ball, she was a beautiful woman who was not afraid of humiliation. And that is one of the things I admire most about her and the program—she was not afraid to go there—and she did it with class. Comic class, but class nonetheless.
I was a girl brought up not to see inequality. My parents and my siblings never expressed the thought that I could not do something because I was a girl (except once in high school when my mom told me I could not hit a girl in my class who had pushed me into my locker—I really, really wanted to hit that girl). I came to women’s liberation (as it was called back then) as naturally as a fish to water and I have never struggled with my role in society. Besides my family, I give Mary Tyler Moore the credit for that. Thank you, Mary. That was at least one chaos you helped me avoid.