A little bit of this, a little bit of that

I wasn’t sure how to categorize this post (besides under the label “late”) because I have a lot of little bit of nothing to say about everything. I’m also simultaneously watching/listening to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” (the one with Christopher Walken sitting/dancing with his hands in his pockets/flying) because I thought the chorus went “Little bit of this, little bit of that, little bit of this, little bit of that.” Apparently, it is actually:

You can go with this
Or you can go with that
You can go with this
Or you can go with that
You can go with this
Or you can go with that
Or you can throw with us*

Who knew?

So let’s do this in order:

  1. I know, I know: Monday updates. Even better, the only person to bug me about the missing post wasn’t either of my two (related) watchers, but a third unrelated watcher. Good heavens, I’m moving up in the world.
  2. My excuse: I was packing. Whether or not the delay was also motivated by a distinct lack of motivation is up for debate.**
  3. The second proof for “The Bump Under the Bed” showed up on my font porch this morning. We are almost up and running, folks! I’ll have an advertisement video out later this week, though possibly only on Facebook depending on the amount of media file storage space I have left on this website. While you can certainly run out and buy a copy through Createspace — the company that actually prints the physical copies of the book — right this second, the approval process for Amazon will take another 3 – 5 business days.
  4. And finally, Part 2 of “December/Christmas 1995,” in as short of hand as I can manage:

My conscience ate at me. Every night after bedtime prayers I’d lay awake while the sin of both writing the note and letting Sean take the blame for it grew to nightmarish proportions, assuring myself over and over again that by the time I was in fourth grade the guilt would have faded. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone knowing I had done such an evil thing. If I could last out the guilt, surely it would stop bothering me. No one would ever have to know.

Months of this went by before I broke down. I could forget about it during the day, but every night it was there with me, filling the silence of nighttime with the awful weight of I know what I’ve done even if no one else does. I made no plans, just got out of bed one night, crept quietly up behind Mom and Dad (either sitting in the living room or watching television downstairs) and confessed all. I couldn’t live with it anymore.

I wasn’t there when they told Mrs. Anderson what I had done. Afterwards, when I asked how she responded, they simply said, “She was surprised it was you.”

And that was it. She chose not to tell either Ostrich Boy or my scapegoat, undoubtedly because it had been, you know, months since it happened. The enormous burden was not only gone, it had been long forgotten by everyone involved. The only real consequence came at the end of that month, during prize time. Mrs. Anderson had a number of prize boxes for her third graders; the more stickers you earned on your chart by the end of the month, the better quality prize you got to choose. She drew our names at random to determine who would go first, and that month my name was pulled from the box last. I’ll never know for certain whether that was purposeful, though it seems a good guess. At the very least, it was a relief to receive some sort of punishment. It felt wrong to choose a prize from the grade-A quality pile anyways, but I did so, though I couldn’t look at her when I walked past. I hid the small toy at the bottom of my backpack, ashamed for her to see me play with it.

As for me, for the next couple of years I became a confession junkie. Between Luther’s Evening Prayer and the Choosing of The Stuffed Animal (I was afraid of showing favoritism towards my stuffed animals — and thereby inadvertently making them feel bad — so I asked Mom or Dad to pick the one who got to sleep with me at night, sidestepping the emotionally scarring experience by using the arbitrary hand of a higher authority), I’d run through every sinful act I could remember from that day, unburdening my soul. I’d learned how good the sweet relief felt.

Years later I found out that, before starting the reformation, Martin Luther did much the same to his own confessor, Johann von Staupitz. He’d confess for hours, running through every sin he could think of, afraid of missing any his own mind had tried to hide from himself. From the 2003 movie “Luther:”

JOHANN VON STAUPITZ: You know, in two years I’ve never heard you confess anything remotely interesting.

Poor Mom and Dad. No wonder I’m a Lutheran.

*Or alternately “You can blow wit’ this/Or you can blow wit’ that” depending on which lyric site you’re perusing.

**It was.