No, I’m not like “Elaine”? Am I? You remember “Elaine” from the Seinfeld show? She had the, not so great dance moves and always seemed to find her way into a pickle of a situation. I recall an episode where she invented an imaginary friend at work so she wouldn’t be bothered as much. When this imaginary “friend” was preferred by her coworkers, she told them she died. She even planned an actual funeral of a woman who she created in her head. She was asked to say a few words of comfort during the funeral… and she does. Awkward!
Subsequently, this situation reminded me of a woman with whom I worked, who had a very dry sense of humor. I made it a mission when I worked with her, to make her smile and giggle. Because she stood behind a counter, I would walk by the counter and do something silly like pretending to walk down the stairs past her Customer Service counter. It made her laugh every time. And because I did a lot of projects displaying my calligraphy, I made a sign for her that displayed the words, “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” I have never heard anyone laugh as hard or for as long as Joyce did that day.
Joyce loved the sign so much that she asked me to get frames and make inserts with the saying so she could share them with her three daughters. I was honored that she loved my calligraphy and she was excited to give them as a motto for she and her daughters.
Several weeks had passed and I asked why Joyce wasn’t at work. I found that she had fallen ill and had been hospitalized. They expected her to return home so I asked for her address. Obviously, I wanted to make and send her a card with “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it”, as large as possible! Because of the new laws, the corporate office wouldn’t divulge her home address, nor would they discuss her health status.
Finally, one of the ladies at work was able to secure her address. I sealed it with a kiss and placed it in the mail. I just knew she was going to love it. This is what she needed! Unfortunately, the following day I learned Joyce had died. Visibly I was shaken and tearful, I realized that I wouldn’t get to see her, talk to her again nor would I hear her infectious laughter, which is when she actually smiled or laughed. Then the panic hit me. Oh no. No. No. I just sent the card saying, “put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” Oh no. How? Why? What would her husband think of this card? I had never met him. What…what is he going to feel about….this card or of me?
Maybe this is why people have called me “Elaine”? I’ve got to explain to her family. Corporate wouldn’t give me the phone number to call and even when I explained it to them. Especially, when I explained it to them, they wouldn’t give up the digits for Joyce’s family. Imagine that! Stupid HIPPA laws. Hands in the air, I contemplated going to her house, but then that would have been even more than awkward, or that’s what Bill said. (I’ve learned to listen to my ever so smart domestic associate on occasions like this. Um….yeah, there’s been other situations like this, and he’s usually right. I hope he’s not reading my blog!)
Running late for Joyce’s funeral, Bill reports that the room is full. The escort took us to the second row. It was marked with a sash for “family”. Already uncomfortable, Bill looks at me with “that” look. The family came in and looked over and here we were…not family, but sitting with family. The flowers are lovely. The music was inspiring. Now, the minister shared words of love and encouragement to Joyce’s family. “And Joyce received hundreds of cards and letters and I’d just like to read you one.” Bill stuck his thumb in my side and we both looked like deer in headlights. No, it wasn’t my letter, but afterwards, Bill said, “Let’s go Elaine.”
As we exited the building I explained to Joyce’s husband about my note. He smiled. He hollered for his girls to come over to him. He told them, “This is the girl who sent THE card!” They all laughed. Bill walked away and no one was harmed during the process.
I wasted valuable time worrying and for what purpose? I realize that I may be a bit like “Elaine”, but my heart and my intentions are good. With a thankful heart, I had to laugh because in the end, Joyce got the last laugh at me!