I’ve decided I want some sympathy. Oh, nothing dramatic; I’m modest that way, and besides, I don’t have the budget for a really spectacular fundraiser. No lawsuits, no Dateline stories, no theme weeks at the UN.

No, all I’m looking for is some simple assurance that it isn’t my fault, I’ve been so badly done by. A few pats on the back, tsk noises optional but most welcome. Favourable relisations/comparisons re: how good you have it. Maybe a touch of awe over how well I cope, considering…
Considering what, now, that’s the problem. Been cracking my brain for the better part of a week now – long commutes through freezing winter mornings being naturally conducive to this sort of musing – and nothing
nearly publishable so far. (Although while bouncing ideas off my target demographic I did inspire a couple new pieces for Imaginary Teeny-Tiny Violin. Sarcastic mothers, anybody applied for that funding yet?)

There’s the female angle, of course, but that’s really so fragmented by now. It’d take weeks to decide what aspect of the Dominant Male Hierarchy I’m being oppressed by, even. And I suspect I’d anyway have too much fun doing the research to properly get into the swing of victimization. (“Hmmmm…maybe I should analyse the Pickwick Papers just once more. And this time, I’ll take lots of notes!”)

See, that’s the problem…OK, wrong word, but you know what I mean: I’m a very white female. A middle-class citizen of a democratic country. The family stock includes no-one who was forced to toil that others might
eat, Uncle Shoe’s therapy bills notwithstanding. Sturdy Swedish peasants – as opposed, alas for my gene pool, to Swedish members of the Bikini Team – and steady Scots-English yeomen, that’s us.

I can’t even play the pity-the-poor-vanished-family-farm angle. Grampa Shoe sold the orchards in Niagara before I was born (although I retain the right to a certain wistfulness when driving past the monuments to
modern Yuppiedom that replaced them).

And on the paternal side…well, along with the oats peas beans and barley-oh! Great-Grandpa Shoe raised foxes. Silver foxes, to be precise. Yep…cute l’il proto-coats. If PETA ever comes around demanding reparations, bang there goes Grandpa’s pension, let’s put it that way.

And on it goes. I’m not disabled, at least not formally, there currently being no telethon for myopia let alone the Heartbreak of Klutziness. No major mental illnesses barring that nasty spat clinical depression and I had back in ’95. Of course the entire extended family has dysfunctions up the wherever, but they’re none of ‘em picturesque enough to rate Oprah appearances or whatever the current national Measure of Meaningfulness is. Or, OK, maybe they are, but who wants to look that closely anyway?

No learning disabilities, in fact the reverse: a drawerful of report cards scribbled over with variants on ‘[Shoe] does not live up to her full potential’. (In my defense, I’d like to see those authors try living up to a potential on a steady diet of ‘This is Heavy Industry in Ontario’ filmstrips and see how far they get…)

Never indulged in post-secondary education, but I’m not qualified as a noble (or even sitcom-worthy)
blue-collar hero. This was well prior to the IT boom, and I just couldn’t see the point of racking up debt getting impractical degrees in English or History when I could be out in the big city having independence, and stuff. Subsequently finding myself in debt anyway was a bit of a shock, of course, but by then it was too late. You ever try to wring catharsis out of Bell Canada?

Then again, I’ve never been particularly inspired to greatness, either. In fact, outside of earning enough to keep me in chocolate, books and cats – oh, and a word-processor – I suppose I’m pretty lazy. Can’t honestly say that I’ve ever done much that I didn’t want to; even the stint at the hardwood-flooring manufactury only lasted six months. The yeoman Shoes of bygone years would be sadly disappointed.

But…but…damnit, I wake up at 6:30 every morning and I schlep out into the cold to a grimy subway station to a seriously grimy bus and I gnaw a cold granola bar while frantically trying to remember who I forgot to
call yesterday and how many units of stock it’ll hold up today…

…No, huh?

That’s OK. I think I feel better, anyhow.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tinderblast
    Mar 03, 2005 @ 08:50:55

    O Shoebox, my Shoebox!

    *flings arms around you*

    *madly holds on*

    I know that I can’t speak for the rest of the compartments in your life, but from my tiny perspective I KNOW that you have achieved greatness in the Kalanverse, and that many, many people have read and loffed your gentle snarkery. So there’s sympathy galore to be had, and if you don’t take it, well, we just might have to send Brandon after you …

  2. lilyfields
    Mar 04, 2005 @ 10:31:29

    Oh Poor Shoe! Here…a bucket load of sympathy from me to you. **pats you gently on the back**
    You deserve it for just getting up in the morning & making it to that bloody bus everyday…I too am not a hero type, but damnit! we poor ordinary souls deserve to have recognition and glory!!
    Of course you do have the added distinction of being one of the best snarks I know…please don’t ever stop… to organize a parade for Shoe..

  3. ariadnie
    Mar 04, 2005 @ 19:20:38

    I don’t do tsk noises, but here, have a cuppa your hot beverage of choice….and some sympathy (better late than never, I hope). Where would we be without our Mistress of Snark?

  4. anonymous
    Mar 05, 2005 @ 08:38:58

    One doesn’t have to aspire to greatness to produce it.
    I very much enjoy your writing. Thanks.

  5. Trackback: In which Shoe gets personal, and we see where that leads… « butterfly mind: universe in a shoebox

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