This will, I imagine, be the first in a series of musings about my church calling. You see, I have learned a lot over the past 9 months serving as the Young Women’s president in our newly split ward. I learned early on that I am a dork and that my past is going to haunt me forever. Not my sordid past. That I don’t mention or I gloss over with an air of mystique: “Weh-hell, ladies—see back in my day we didn’t have no Strength of Youth pamphlet.” I’m talking about something else. Like when I was sitting with the gals as they chatted about ballroom dancing, being in plays, track, concurrent enrollment in college classes, etc. etc. "So what did you do in High School?" What did I do in High School? Could I really answer that question? Could I really say “I watched MTV, mostly.” So I told them I was on the cross country team, which is totally true. I played down the fact that I never actually ran in a race or a meet or whatever they call it. I played down the fact that I dropped a big rock on my friend Becky's foot (at her request) so her dad wouldn’t make her participate in a meet. I played down the fact that I joined the team only to pal around with Becky who was forced to join by her dad and I didn’t even mention that her dad told my mom I gave him “a slimy feeling—as though [I] were a devil worshipper.” I’m not, by the way. I did drop a big rock on his daughter’s foot, but that was after he said I was slimy. Our reasoning at the time reminds me of Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Book 5) when they just HAVE to talk to Sirius through the fireplace. They are so desperate; it is so unreasonable.
Anyway, one of the children asked me this question AGAIN. I can’t believe it. I never asked grown ups questions like that. This time it was Robbie. Christian was out of town. Sam’s birthday was the next day and I had called him to come over and help me assemble the hot wheels race car track. (That I am no engineer has been clear even before my church calling, so I won’t dwell on it here.) So he’s all “What did you do in High School?” and I, remembering the cross-country exaggeration with pangs of guilt, just said, “Ya know what Robbie? I did nothing.” But it’s ok because he said he doesn’t do much either. He does think about Spiderman a lot which is not a bad way to spend your time and he does make a compelling argument (he’s convinced me) that Spiderman is the best/most interesting superhero for the following reasons: most interesting back story; organic powers (anyone with money can buy equipment a la Batman); vulnerability (that is, the Everyman of superheroes made very clear in Spiderman 2) which makes him more compelling and funner to cheer for (in contrast to Superman who is like totally impervious to everything except a little kryptonite? How interesting is that? I hope Jerry Seinfeld reads this and is provoked to respond.)
I thought I had learned one other unalterable truth from my calling and it is this: It is better to have ENOUGH soda, even if it’s Shasta, than NOT enough good, name-brand soda. This had born itself out many times and I finally felt a little confident, a little seasoned in a know-it-all young women’s president sort of way about this one. Last night this was shattered. I had a mixer at my house for the priests and laurels with enough of those 3 liter Shasta bottles to baptize the lot of them. “They’ll love this!” thought I. What happened? They drained a gallon of milk. My own personal milk, I might add. And to top it all off, as I was trying to send the Shasta home with people Andy said he didn’t want Shasta in his house. I looked that kid straight in the eye and said, “You bastard.” So all I know is that I know nothing. Which I learned in Philosophy 110 about 8 years ago so I haven’t come too far except in my assurance—weekly—that I am a dork.
If it seems like I mention the Maglebys a lot, it’s because they are the only people in the ward who know me. Everyone else is like, “Who is that lady who keeps offering us Shasta?”