Thursday, August 5

goodnight moon

I’ve been wondering now for a while if my posts have been too peppy or superficial (adjectives I’ve never been accused of in my entire life); and if, maybe, in wanting to be entertaining and world-changing, I’ve forgotten that most real change comes on the heels of pain.

As you may have guessed, making people laugh is not only pure pleasure to me, it’s how I cope. I’m scared to let the laughter stop, to reveal the crying parts; worried I’m one post away from becoming the sappy OneArmGirl downer, losing all my readership.

But the real tragedy would be somehow leaving you under the impression that I popped out of the womb, thought to myself ‘Who needs two arms, anyway?’, and have been downhill skiing with lollypops since then. Those who really know me, know better. So I’ve been wondering how and when to go deeper and, unexpectedly, today happened.

I’ve been nursing a sick horse that, today, I watched get put down. Luna (‘moon’ in Spanish) was donated to the farm about a month ago. She wasn’t in great shape when she came to us, but easily won goodwill with her maternal patience and delicate grace. I decided to call her my ‘little deer’ from her disproportionately large ears, long legs and head-bobbing jaunt. It was nice to have a mare in the barn for a change. But we soon discovered a serious ulcer on her tongue, and after working with her for a month, still couldn’t get her to swallow enough food to gain weight.

I started calling Elsie, who I’d never met, but is reportedly the woman vets call when they get stumped. She sounds wise and grounded
on the phone, and I decide I want to be her friend. Because of a recent shoulder injury, she explains she can’t use one arm very much, but still wants to come see Luna. I wonder if I should mention our additional handicap, but decide not to discourage her. We’ve got two good arms between us, right?

I meet Elsie at the farm the next day. She’s shorter than I expected with gray pigtails, but I’m probably not what she expected either. She laughs later at her apologies for only having one good arm. It’s decided that Luna should go to Elsie’s place for more attentive care. This morning I went out to visit and waited at the ga
te with a sign reading, Old dogs, young dogs, and some stupid dogs: please drive slowly. Inside, we discover Luna’s taken a turn for the worse, the vet is called, and less than two hours later, a beautiful animal living for over 30 years, lies on the ground. We’ve done everything we could. I tell myself to emotionally disconnect and become the get-the-job-done farmer my relatives have been for generations, but the tears come anyway because the fight is over, and the loss is palpable. Luna’s heart stops, but the last to leave are several heaving breaths.

Weeping down the highway, I decide I need a Dr. Pepper despite recent stern words to myself about quitting. But pulling into the gas station, I discern a foundational peace, identifying my tears with the reminder of our universal shitty situation. I’m not the kind to run from death, but still I know something is wrong, and despite how much better it may be on the other side, life really is beautiful. I feel a quiet, but strong gratitude coming in...for Elsie, for my vet, for another chance to be out in the barn, and for Luna and everything she’s shared with me, even in her dying...for life. The Hebrew scriptures wisely say, ‘Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.’* Confronted with death, I've remembered, no matter what your handicap, even if it seems all quality has gone out of life, if you’re still breathing, you have reason to celebrate. If nothing else, I hear it’s International Beer Day.

Welcome to my serious side.


*From Psalm 150

Tuesday, August 3


A local news story recently reported that Thursday is the worst day of the week. This, according to statistics gathered from Twitter, was the finding deduced from a rise in negative tweets on that day.

While it’s comforting to know that Twit
ter is now the standard for sociological research, I was shocked to learn that Thursdays are getting such a bad rap. In recent conversations with friends (also for statistical research data), I decided that Thursday is actually my favorite day of the week. There may be nothing special about Thursday, but that’s just it, it’s non-intrusive and unassuming. Monday is the first work day, Tuesday is almost worse, Wednesday means you have just as much yet to do...and the weekend always has way too much going on. Thursday is quiet, but not too early to go out and celebrate the upcoming weekend without a band that makes you have to yell, “I’m just going to the restroom, but then let’s continue our discussion of ethics in the Yuan Dynasty, back in a sec,” or when that fails, even louder, “I HAVE TO PEE!”

I really shouldn’t care since I don’t work a normal work week anyway, but I only believe in watching the new
s if you can actually make a difference, take an action besides going to bed angry. And so, we here at OneArmGirl would like to announce that new posts to this blog will be published on Thursday each week (except when they aren't given my critical need for rest and play time). In so doing, we hope to raise the ratings on Thursday, and give it the place of honor it deserves. And when you get the Thursday Blues, just think, ‘Oh yeah, OneArmGirl post today!‘ I’m sure it will get you through.

Wishing you had just drawn one of those ‘skip two spaces’ cards and today was Thursday? Good. My PR campaign is already working, but alas, it is merely Tuesday.

Now, excuse me, but I have to go tweet


Note of Clarification: Lest last week’s post seem harsh or coldhearted, I very much appreciate the protection of friends and the reticence of strangers to make fun of disability. I do not enjoy the teasing of strangers, nor do I support that kind of disrespect. Contrarily, I believe having fun in the right context only builds true acknowledgement and respect for all people. Thanks, Mikey Man, for reigning me in. =]