May 30, 2012

How to Prosper from Your Inadequacy. ~ Wendy Aron

Photo: Alton

Will My Thumbs Ever Evolve?

I agreed to meet “Dr. K” at the diner because I desperately needed freelance work, but when I got there, I realized that all she had to offer me was her burdens. She had read that I had written a comic memoir about depression and thought I could lend a compassionate ear.

Before I could even clear my throat, she started rambling about a bad business decision that had cost her millions and an ongoing argument with her investor husband over how to raise their beautiful and sweet teenage daughter.

Her whole body slumped as she spoke, as though her burdens were so immense she could barely shoulder them.

Photo: manfrommanila

Sitting there like a deflated airbag, you would never know that Dr. K had a CV with four pages worth of accomplishments, including a veterinary degree from an Ivy League school, the establishment of the first 24-7 emergency animal clinic in our area, and myriad television, radio and print appearances.

But she did.

I tried to comfort her, but was ill at ease because I generally play the role of comfortee, not comforter. After Dr. K was through with her master cleanse, I watched in somber amazement as she sped off in her Mercedes SUV.

I always thought if I had all the things Dr. K had, I couldn’t possibly be depressed. But after meeting her, and reading the biographies of countless public figures, I realized I was wrong.

It doesn’t matter what a depressive has, he or she will always find some reason to feel inadequate.

So, I have decided to turn the tables on my insufficiency (as can you) by turning the negatives into positives. Towards this end, I have composed the following news story about myself:

Archeologists Make Amazing Find at Abandoned Web Site

I’m sure that when archeologists dig up my bones 100 million years from now, they will make an amazing discovery: a female Homo sapien from the Communicationolithic Era (early 21st Century) who had thumbs that were useless for texting.

They will write with great verve in all the scientific journals that my pollex bones are evidence of a once flourishing species that became extinct sometime in the early 23rd Century because Darwinism dictated it.

Photo: Qz10

But as you can imagine, it’s not that exciting to actually live in a time when you are unfit to survive.

Insensitive younger friends and family members are always asking me how come I took up texting so late and why I am not particularly good at it. I invariably sigh and try to make a joke of the whole issue. “Like Vincent Van Gogh,” I say, “by cutting off my ear, I delayed the growth in dexterity of my first digit.”

They do not laugh.

In actuality, I don’t know why my thumbs are so clumsy, but it probably has something to do with genes and the narcissistic goldfish and an emotionally withholding dog I was raised by—at least, my therapist thinks so, and I am paying her to allow me to wallow in my thumb dysfunction.

The sad part is that I think my lack of skilled thumbs has also hurt me in the job market.

My husband thinks there is an employer out there who will hire me without a specific background in texting, and train me to use my thumbs for this purpose. He says that as soon as that happens, I will probably get caught drunk texting and get fired, but the extra income will be nice while we have it.

In the meantime, I’ll have to make due with texting by taking a stab at my touchscreen smartphone with my index finger at the rate of one letter every two minutes. Hopefully, my loved ones will some day be able to accept my incapable thumbs for what they are and not render judgment. And if not, who needs their phony Facebook birthday greetings, anyway?

Besides, my thumbs work great when it comes to sticking them in places I’d rather not comment upon.


I can only hope that Dr. K is somewhere out there reading this, and turning her own perceived shortcomings into strengths.


Wendy Aron has written for publications nationwide, including The New York Times and Newsweek. She is an award winning humorist (Society of Professional Journalists) and comic memoir author. You can see her home improvement humor blog at http://theantijane.com and more of her work at www.wendyaron.com.


Editor: Elysha Anderson

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