Acceptance and Praise
Everyone needs some amount of acceptance and praise. For years I have tried to convince my too kind and loving wife and her sisters that I am funny, witty, maybe even insightful and have mastered at least the basics of grammar. I suppose I didn’t get enough attention as a child and now I go about trying to win approval from them and strangers. My mom was the only one that loved me unconditionally, she even collected my articles and made me a scrap book. Although, the mere name “scrap” book doesn’t seem to dignify it much, Memoirs would have been better; but I beamed with pride when she would present me with it every few years. But as to my too kind and loving wife’s sisters, it is unlikely I will be getting any acceptance and praise from them soon.
In fact, I have given very specific direction that if I am in an accident and am on life support, they are not to be let in the hospital room.I am completely sure that the conversation will go something like this. “Can’t we unplug him already?” “Yeah, Dee, he looks like shiz…he doesn’t really look like he is going to make it.” All the while, the “cute” sister will be fumbling with the plug underneath the bed with her foot. “Oh. Look at that!” As the monitor flatlines. “Okay, well then. I guess we all did our best. I am hungry…anyone hungry? How about let’s get a Coke.”
This year, after my too kind and loving wife had signed the Christmas card, “Sisters Forever!” and handed it to me to sign, I jotted down, “I feel so miserable without you here, almost like you are here.” And quickly sealed the envelope. There was one coworker that I looked up to as a mentor and father figure and I so wanted him to recognize me as a writer. I would have settled for “I read your article.” He wouldn’t even have to say he liked it or got a chuckle out of it…anything…I would have settled for eye contact. Really, I had made sure he had the newspaper on his desk for 10 years, finally one day he saw me in the break room, “You know CaveGuy, some people I guess like your sense of humor; I’m not one of them, but I happened to read it this week. You must be good friends with the editor.” Then he walked out the door with his coffee and shaking his head mumbling. It was as satisfying as a half-eaten cookie.
Looking for acceptance and praise started in high school. I wanted to be a Rock Star and tried my hand at playing the guitar and singing. The choir director said the only place I was likely to ever sing would be at church, but that my monotone-off beat-lack of rhythm-quack might try the conversion of many parishioners. So, I decided to become a writer. Writing had a romantic appeal and I thought I looked dapper in a beret and so I launched my writing career in high school. I got a poem about my dog named “Sniffy” published in the high school newspaper and then I received some career advice from the advisor, let’s call her Jane, “Perhaps you should go down and try your skill in the wood shop.” Okay, Jane was smarter than me; but let’s be honest that bar isn’t very high. It did sting just a little after I started writing for the San Juan Record, Jane sent me a disctino#ary for my birthday with the inscription from Faulkner about Hemingway, “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” She added, “You should find this book useful; it is well organized, words starting with “A” come first in case you are unfamiliar with the organization.” Not to be deterred and hoping for a little acceptance and praise, I sent her two copies of the first book I published, “I am enclosing two books I recently published; pass the other one on to a friend, if you have one.” She responded, “Just don’t have time to read the first one, will read the second….if there is one. By the way did you get the disctino#ary I sent?”