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Mary's Picker

Over time, I’ve come to love my Mary with all my heart. I’ve also learned to become protective of her, because the lord knows she has the worst picker I’ve ever seen. It’s like she’s disabled but doesn’t know she’s qualified for a placard.

This assumes that there is such a thing as a picker, and that it’s on your person somewhere, always hiding and waiting to make a decision. People decide to go to church based on less information than the average picker I’m talking about, so let’s just put the possibility that the picker exists on that level – God, picker – maybe?

Really, who’s to say?

(I’m not talking “American Picker,” an excellent show on cable TV that plays five times a day. They seem to have a generally good picker, though some of their choices seem overpriced to me.)

I’ll point out right here and now the obvious – she picked me. But just as a tax cheat is what you need to put in charge of finding tax cheats, (or running the country), I’m exactly the kind of man to manage her picks from this point on, (I don’t do pre-existing conditions or regrets). In a way, my past supports my current claims to bonifides. I’m just here to help.

As an aside, I’ve noticed that everyone feels guilty when they are caught, and that only losers want to compromise.

Usually how this writing thing goes, when I’m the one writing it, is: I mention Mary, then write four or so pages about me. At this point, it could go either way – I’m sort of free forming things loosely, and taking lots of breaks. Mary is an angel, have I mentioned that yet?

I’ve read articles in magazines, usually women’s magazine, about women who consistently pick men who are bad for them -- both bad in general and in specific ways. I’m not taking about that kind of bad picker, though it is a part of it. Since Mary picked me, I’d like to move on quickly.

I’m talking about a woman who picks the wrong thing on menu when we go out – oatmeal instead of gravy, canned cranberry instead of fresh -- the kind of woman who picks the wrong grade of gas for her car – that kind of thing. Given the choice of two things, she picks wrong every time – it’s so predictable that her kids depend on it when dealing with her. I try to help, but sometimes she doesn’t listen. Mary very often does the exact opposite of what you tell her to do, for some reason I don’t ever seem to know.

Now, truth is, I’m kind of an always has-to-be-right kind of man, so some of this might be shaded a bit. And, to be honest, she is so nice and helpful to others that it might just be a misguided form of giving. I’m really just saying that it is, and she needs help with it.

Help is help, but it comes in many forms, or guises -- like God, or mustard. In America, we tend to go Calvinistic most of the time and diagnose moral failure for almost anything fun or danceable, and prescribe shame to sanitize everything back to a baseline. Everything not of the elect and pure is of suspicion and to be weighed and measured, and then, after all possible angles of critical review, found wanting. Wanting of less usually – less passion, less verbal and less visible. Those of the elect do not have to advertise their godliness, it’s just known, and enforced.

But again, I digress.

Or, as of late, we go Catholic lamb of god and, after stating our utter shitfulness, throw ourselves on the mercy of the unseen and unquestionable. “Yes, I’m the worst, but what did you expect and do you have candy?”

These approaches, though useful and appropriate for the average things in life, don’t work for me when dealing with someone that I actually love and care for – I want to help, not cripple her with the loving omnipresence of a punishing and vengeful god. That’s what I’m for.

I’m going the Rocky mountain way – convince her that I’m not the crazy one and then hold on to her until the thrashing stops. To paraphrase the late great Martin Luther King, ‘A bad picker is not driven out, it is crowded out through the expulsive power of good.”

Although I am also guided by Malcom X – ‘You can’t give a man a good picker; if he is a man he has to take it.’



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