Things we can't control: PUT A BIRD ON IT

I started this blog because I was furiously angry and decided people didn't want to hear me complain anymore. So, I decided to write about my grievances which some people found more interesting, and even amusing. Probably because I'm not one to whine in print. Well, I do whine but I whine in a way that has a little style.

There's a very funny web series called PORTLANDIA which makes fun of Portland which is, of course, easy. One of the episodes features two manaical artists who keep saying "Put a bird on it" in a gift store. My writing is a bit like this. I put a bird on my resentments which doesn't always make for great writing but usually helps me feel better and usually becomes a story as opposed to a rant because no one enjoys a rant except the ranter. Usually. However, there are situations that resist birding, that seem hopelessly unpleasant, situations that make me want to bite something. And rant. To alternate ranting with biting.

I was a biter as a child, a youngest child in a pretty wacked-out family. I bit other children and my mother's belly. I chewed on bones and actually ate the handle off the glove compartment of my parent's VW Beetle. I sunk my baby teeth into other children and probably innocent strangers. In most families a therapist would be consulted. In my family they saved me the bones and put a bird on it. "Oh, Molly's a biter! Isn't that fun!" In high school there was a crazy girl that bit people. Secretly, I thought she was doing the right thing.

However, there are certain situations that can't be "birded". Where leaning over and biting something doesn't help. For instance, our condominium building needs 4.5 milion dollars worth of repairs. It's 5 years old and everything is backwards, upside down, wrong or missing. We're hoping to go to mediation but they could easily offer far less money and then we might go to trial and get nothing. Another situation is the fact that due to a series of really, really bad decisions my husband has invited a close relative to live in our upstairs guest room apparently indefinitely.  In the best of times I have limited tolerance for people. I am someone who spent all her time in her attic room while my sister was downstairs trying to get someone to pay attention to her. We are in couples counseling and so far all that has been discussed is my husband's childhood. I want to put a really fierce and savage eagle on the entire thing and get on with my own life but there it is.

My father has been depressed for so long I can't remember him differently. Except he was once so funny, so literate, so insightful, frequently slightly bitter but I would so welcome some bitterness from him rather then the sense that he's drifting further and further away, lost in his sad anger, missing us but unable to find his way back. I can't put a bird on this. I miss my Dad, my writer genius father who I was able to tell I was an alcoholic, who helped save my life, who finally listened to me when I said I want to die and I can't stop drinking. Who read my most successful novel and told me it was very good, incredible praise from a writer/critic like my father. And I can't put a bird on my mother's impatience, her pain, her exhaustion and her co-dependency. However, they are coming to visit and I hope to find some wacky moments, some ruffled feathers and stunning plumage because I love them so much.

Maybe that's the key. If you refuse to give up and you find a way to laugh and you try and locate the light in even the darkest situations you will find that bird and somehow endure and maybe even be happy again.


  1. You complain with a lot of style, Molly. And you express what many feel of us at times but gloss over. I agree that there are lessons and light in all our experiences, even the dark ones. :-)
    Mary Osborne


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