Remember the donkey in the last post? Well, here’s the story of the donkey. The farmer bought it, but he doesn’t know very much about donkeys, except “Horses need to be ridden,” he said. About ten thousand times.

The donkey is not trained. And we don’t have any riding gear for the donkey, so I rode her bareback, without reins or anything.

Riding a donkey

At first, she did not cooperate. Maybe she saw me as an intrusion on her relationship with the farmer.

Which at first was funny.

Donkey eating dress

And then dangerous.

Donkey eating dress

And the farmer started getting angry.

Angry at the donkey

So I tried my own, less authoritative way of dealing with her. I’d sneak onto her in the pasture when the farmer was doing farmer things in the crop fields. Once we were alone, I fell in love with her.

She hangs out with the girl cattle.

Cattle and donkey

She is sort of the leader of the girls. They do whatever she tells them and she pushes them around a little if they forget to acknowledge that she is in charge. It’s fun to ride her in the middle of 50 cows. I feel like I’m a cowboy.

I found myself moving her around by strategic pets, and, when desperate, allowing little nips to my rain boots, which she loves to munch.

Then I told the farmer to stop giving me help with her. I told him I am gifted with donkeys and he is not.

Then she got splashed with water and darted and I fell off of her.

I got a sprained neck and a concussion. And I got lots of narcotics to deal with the pain.

When I got home from the hospital, the farmer was trying to stabilize things at home. The farmer always responds to my instability with more stability. He expressed frustration that I still had not dealt with the fact that our windows are painted shut.

I said, “Oh, I’ve just been hitting them on the side a little and they loosen up.” Then I kicked the side of the window where the wood part is. But I missed and put my foot through the window.

We both stood there.

Then I said, “Oh. Drat.” Because the farmer hates when I swear. Then I walked away.

The farmer said, “Hey, wait. Aren’t you going to clean it up?”

I said, “No. It’s okay. I’ll get it later.”

“There’s glass all over the floor.”

“It’s okay.”

“The kids will step on it.”

“They’ll walk around it.”

“No. This is crazy. Clean up the glass.”

“I’m leaving.” I picked up my car key.

He wrestled the car key from me. He said, “You’re on narcotics. You’re crazy. You can’t get in the car.”

So I started walking. I was walking nowhere because, there is nowhere to walk unless you’re doing Ironman distances. Everyone in a car that passed me waved to me. A stray dog followed me for about an hour. Bees followed me for a while, too, in a nice, girl-in-a-Disney-movie kind of way.

When it started to get dark, about four hours later, I was completely lost, but somehow I was in the city of Darlington (which is two blocks long) so I asked someone where the police station is, and I walked there.

I said, “Hi. I have been walking and I’m lost. Do you think you could give me directions home?”

This set off about ten thousand alarms in the police station:

1. No one walks anywhere.

2. No one gets lost in Darlington.

3. The social fabric of a small town is tight—people do not rely on the police for anything. They rely on their families and their gun collection.

“Do you live here? Are you new to town? What’s your name?”

This is the type of harmless questioning I got. But the “what’s your name” one — that was bad. Because the police have a record of me having two, completely different names. This is not normal for Darlington, except if you’re a train robber from the 1880’s.

I said, “I’m not usually like this. I have a company in Madison. I am a commentator on CNN. Google me.”

So the dispatcher called Michael, the deputy sheriff and sole-authorized-Internet-user at the station. He googled me and then sat down next to me to try to work things out.

But before he could really do anything, the dispatcher or whatever she is discovered there was a warrant out for my arrest.

So then they put me in jail. Michael apologized and offered to put me in some separate, carpeted cubicle that locks instead of the regular jail. It was sort of the like the Lafayette County white-collar crime unit.

Things did not go well in my cubicle. After the narcotics started wearing off, I lay down on the floor. The maybe-dispatcher opened the door and said, “What are you doing?”

“Lying down.”

“You can’t do that.”

“I’m on a lot of narcotics and they’re running out. I need more.”

“I’m getting Michael.”

Michael came to my cubicle and started to work things out again. For a second I thought I would marry him if I were not already married to someone who had my kids and my car keys and all the fruits of my interior decorating skills.

I learned from Michael that I forgot to do a bi-monthly financial disclosure to my ex-husband’s divorce lawyer who I have decided not to pay until I have cleaned up all our IRS troubles from when we lived in NYC and cleared out our 401K’s to pay for medical expenses without understanding the (insane) tax ramifications. I have written before that I am very bad with paper work. Sometimes, if there is a legal thing that I can’t figure out, I just don’t. I make mistakes.

I did not explain any of this to the maybe-dispatcher as I filled out more paperwork.

I disclosed a salary of $150,000. She flipped. She said she thinks I’m a liar.

I asked why. She said, “You have two names, you claim you’re a millionaire, and you’re lying on the floor taking drugs.”

Darlington is a touchy place. I am the only blogger here. Of course. And maybe everyone is friends with the maybe-dispatcher and they will say, “She didn’t say that!” So, okay, maybe she didn’t say that, but she said something like that. I’m getting the gist of it. And if you want a complete transcript of daily life in Darlington, Wisconsin, get your own blog.

I told her that $150,000 is nothing in New York City.

She didn’t care. She faxed my forms to some magical central repository of paperwork for people who have warrants out for their arrest. Then Michael drove me home.

He was so nice.

The next day he read my blog and wrote such a nice email about what he got from reading it. I told myself that people in Darlington will love my blog and I will be popular and loved and I will live happily ever after.

The next day he brought the farmer a copy of The Five People You Meet in Heaven and said maybe it will help the farmer deal with me. I told myself the farmer and I will stay married forever because we have such a good, small-town support system.

The next day Michael saw me driving. He came back to the house. He said, “You can’t drive. You don’t have a driver’s license.”

I said, “Yeah. I know. I didn’t need one when I lived in New York City because there are subways. And when I moved to Madison, I couldn’t figure out how to get a driver’s license. I mean, I’ve tried a few times and I couldn’t do it. ”

“Couldn’t do it? What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s very complicated. Did you read my post about the DMV?”

“You have to have a license.”

“Well, it’s not technically illegal to drive without a license in Wisconsin. I’ve been pulled over a lot in Madison and they just give me a $200 ticket and let me go.”

“We’re going to give you a $200 ticket every time you drive your car in Darlington.”

When he said that, my stomach tightened and I felt sick. I started wishing I were still on narcotics because that might make everything better.

So now is coming the advice part of this post. I mean, not that there isn’t a lot of advice here already, like, don’t ride a donkey near spraying water, and if you want a conversation to disappear for a little while, take narcotics.

But really, this story is about damage control. The donkey story happened at the beginning of the summer, when I had just moved to the farm, and the inability to drive put me over the edge. I locked myself in the pantry and called my friend Sharon and cried in the dark, on the floor, next to flour and sugar until my eyes were too puffy to tear anymore.

Then, here’s what I did to start fixing things. And these are actually tactics that have fixed a lot of things in my life:

1. Get help. I asked Michael to help me with the driver’s license stuff. And I asked the farmer to help me with the divorce lawyer stuff, and I hired a driver.

The driver turned out to be more than a driver. She is also a good guide for me for small-town life because she raised two kids here. For example, she can decipher the cryptic insert that appears to be from the school system offering after-school care, but that’s actually from a church.

2. Be honest. The farmer was aghast about the warrant. “This will be in the newspaper on Monday,” he said. My first instinct was that he was joking. But he wasn’t. The contractors mentioned it while they were repainting our windows. I told them the story. They did not laugh, and I thought maybe I should not have told the story.

But you know what? I just read a fun article about the New York Jets, and their owner, Woody Johnson. He used to be really press-shy and then realized that you can’t be press-shy if you own a team in the most vociferous media market in the universe. So now he says anything he wants. (Quote from him: “People say we talk too much. Fine. Whatever. Good.”) And when a reporter asked him about getting into trouble, Johnson said, “New York fans don’t care if you make mistakes, if you’re authentic. Well, they don’t want too many mistakes.”

I think that’s true for everyone, not just New York fans. So in Darlington, I have to just be myself. And not hide stuff, and I think it’s really hard to hate someone who is being their true self and trying, at the same time, to be their best self, authentically.

3. Get back on the horse. Or the donkey. Or anything where you failed. So I got back on, and next time you hear about me riding, I’m going to have my horse.

89 replies
Newer Comments »
  1. Perry Neal
    Perry Neal says:

    In the small town I grew up in (and the ones I’ve lived in since) we’d call you a “character”. You lend “color” to a community. Of course, when talking about you, behind your back, to our friends, we’d say, “Bless her heart”.

    Nice legs by the way. Yours – not the donkey’s

  2. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I’m glad you’re back on the donkey. I just recently had a huge fight with my boyfriend over the phone, and he punched a hole in the wall. It doesn’t really matter so much because we have a puppy that has chewed our walls and eaten our carpet. It kind of gives the place a lived-in feel, you know? I think when we move out (it’s a rented apartment) we’re either going to have to buy the place or knock it down. But for right now I’m just painting over everything in bold colors. And ignoring the carpet.

    That’s my version of damage control. I make a lot of mistakes, so I’m going to try to be more honest about them (that’s hard) and also to get help. And one of those kits that has all the stuff to repair holes in walls from Lowe’s.

  3. Lauralou
    Lauralou says:

    There is never a dull moment when you are around.. or opportunity for a great life lesson for the rest of us. Thanks for an enjoyable post on a Friday. What a summer!

  4. Katey Jayne
    Katey Jayne says:

    I’m so glad to see that someone else’s version of damage control with legal paperwork is to just shut down and not! That’s how I do it, too! It drives my husband crazy that I “ignore” things and I have to explain that I’m not ignoring them per se, I’m just putting them aside for a day that I can deal with them. Sometimes that day just never comes!

    • Casual Surfer
      Casual Surfer says:

      Ignoring complicated paperwork is a perfectly valid way of getting through life. I have never filed my father’s final tax return, and you know what, I may never do it. At least not while the box of all his papers still smells like his house. If the IRS ever comes after me I’ll plead olfactory-induced depression as my reason for failing to do it.

  5. Susan
    Susan says:

    Get a riding helmet! You don’t need any more concussions! A helmet will only cost you abut $50 and can save your life – whether you are riding a horse or a donkey, not to mention when you fall off amidst all those cows and one kicks you in the head.

  6. sophie
    sophie says:

    What a delightful post! I just love it. True, the farmer’s life will never be dull with you around. I hope he always loves and appreciates you for that.

    And I’m so glad you’ve found a driver to help you with small town life. And you’re being yourself. Small town generally means small mind, as in narrow. Small town people balk at anyone different simply because they’re not regularly exposed to diversity. Give ’em the color they need. They’ll eventually love you.

  7. Cal
    Cal says:

    Thanks for the thoroughly entertaining post. I have been following you for many years and this has to be one of my all time favorites.

  8. Kari
    Kari says:

    … thanks I so needed that!! I have had a really rough week, and that made me laugh. If those people don’t like you, it’s their loss – but I bet they really do, because I bet you make them laugh too (in a good way!) And You also reminded me that I need to ask for help, which I am going to do right now. Thanks!

  9. sandra Jonas
    sandra Jonas says:

    How can they not like you? You are so honest, sincere, so REAL!! Everyone struggles with issues, different ones, according to our strengths & weaknesses.
    BTW you and the Farmer look so happy together, also, great legs!!

  10. Tammy Henkel
    Tammy Henkel says:

    I apologize in advance for this is going to be a fairly long post. I found your blog the other evening and hate to say it but I spent the whole evening reading your old posts (didn’t get a thing done) I am really enjoying your blog and find myself saying “hey thats me” numerous times.

    Which brings me to the topic of your donkey. Let’s start with your farmer. I happen to have a farmer as well and have been married to him for 19 years and counting. I hate to tell you this but the suggestion of a donkey by the farmer was soley for his benefit. He probably didn’t tell you but donkeys are known for thier ability to protect to the death any herd of cattle they are living with. In the farming area where we live every other farmer has a donkey to protect thier cows and calves from the bears, wolves and cougars that continually try and kill and eat our livestock. So truly, he has gained way more from the donkey than you ever will.

    Now I move on to the part that I hope your farmer will read and take some advice on. While you (and your family) know nothing about horses or donkeys, buying an untrained donkey and expecting your family to turn it into a safe and ridable animal is absurd!!!!!!!!

    I say this because I have spent my entire life on a farm with the occasional donkey and lots of horses. You never, ever, ever put an unexperienced ride on an untrained animal and expect good think. I highly recommend you that you spend a little bit of extra money and buy a trained horse before you have a serious accident that leads to something more serious that can’t be fixed by some great drugs. I say this in all seriousness, I have experienced all kinds of injuries over the years on both well trained and not so well trained animals but your odds are better on a trained one. I also know that my wonderful daughter has a $10 000.00 mouth because of an accident on a very well trained horse (and she was wearing a helmet when this happened and it saved her life.)

    I also see a beautiful herd of cows in the behind the donkey and any good horse could move that nice little herd anywhere your farmer wanted once you know how to ride it.

    Moving on the the after effects, man drugs are great sometimes. You are lucky you didn’t break your neck. I laughed so hard at the arrest and hope your farmer finds it amusing as well. It seems that you manage to keep everything interesting in your household and you can look back on this and laugh about it.

    On a seperate note I truly think that a very quiet well trained horse would be beneficial to both you and your family. It has been proven time and again that animals of any kind are very beneficial to people that have conditions such as autism as well as many other types of illnesses and handicaps. Your farmer might be surprised and how calming a horse can be to his family. (But only if he gets you some proper equipment such as a bridle and saddle or even a bareback pad, and a proper riding helmet and a pair of cowboy boots) I see your farmer out there with the donkey in his running shoes, it won’t be good when his foot gets stepped on and he breaks a few bones in the top of his foot.

    Please take caution, especially with your untrained donkey.

  11. hlcs
    hlcs says:

    I used to just not deal with things I couldn’t make sense of or didn’t want to deal with. For instance, I hate reading mail so I put it in a stack and go through it once every month or two. Then one day I watched the movie “The House of Sand and Fog”. Now I read my mail almost every day.

  12. Matthew Nankin
    Matthew Nankin says:

    Hi Penelope–I have been following your blog for several years and really enjoy it. I was not able to access the last link in this post. This is the link “a funny article” regarding the NY Jets owner. I would really like to see that article. Your fan, Matthew Nankin

  13. Diana
    Diana says:

    Thank you Penelope. Sorry for your troubles, but this was a very funny story. Brightened my morning because, you see, I am not out having these actual adventures. You are the sort of writer one needs when life seems absurd, because you know it is absurd and you aren’t afraid to say it (thank you again).

    Be careful riding, injuries can plague you when you get older.

  14. swoonqueen
    swoonqueen says:

    Your blog inspires me more every time I read it, and nearly always in a completely different way. I had to comment because I was rolling my eyes at all the “nice legs” comments. Yeah, yeah, you do have nice legs! But… I am more impressed with your courage.

  15. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    I wish I had known about the donkey sooner, because I have a resource for you.

    http://www.farmgirlfare.com/

    They’ve got several adorable donkeys, and she knows lots about caring for them. She also got bitten repeatedly by a snake earlier this summer and so instead of tromping all over the farm as usual she’s resting inside and blogging a lot more, and might have good advice for you.

  16. Sharon Sayre
    Sharon Sayre says:

    Thanks, I needed to read this today.
    You’re living your life the way we all should, without pretense. Why is that so foreign to most of us?

  17. Irv Podolsky
    Irv Podolsky says:

    YOU’RE LIFE: a serial memoir, will NOT stop writing itself, will it? I’m sure you don’t plan these things. Who could make this stuff up? And SO entertaining! And real. Can’t wait for the next chapter!

    Irv

  18. Jake
    Jake says:

    To me, you are second in career advice only to Dr. Seuss. Remember, those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. Thanks for the increased frequency, glad to see you back!

  19. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    Yes, almost everyone agrees that your post is comedic. I do, too. But when you had your serious moment at the end, where you turned it all into advice, then I wondered: Does Penelope have advice for impulsivity? Would you call walking away, into Darlington, impulsive? I would. If you recognize it as such, do you have any advice about impulsive behavior? (Please don’t say it was the drugs talking . . . !)

  20. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I’m sorry, but you’re not going to clean up broken glass when you have children in the house? What is that about?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Not that I’m a court paperwork genius (but, it seems, neither are you :) So, I’m pretty sure that “contempt of court” is the official word for failing to fill out court ordered documents.

      Penelope

      • AW
        AW says:

        Actually, in some states, you can get a warrant issued for your arrest for failure to pay a speeding ticket.
        You can also get a warrant in family court if you refused to show up when the judge told you to come to court, which I’m guessing someone with Asberger’s might have some difficulty remembering to do.

        Kudos to you Pen, this was a great article
        and @Brad, you really need to get a law degree before you start dispensing legal advice, watching law and order isn’t good enough

  21. neko
    neko says:

    Sis, I really need to get my hands on some of those narcotics … lying down on the floor when life gets to be too much (or when people get on my nerves) sounds just like heaven.

  22. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I take exception to Sophie’s comment “small town generally means small mind.” Really??? Did everyone but me know that a person’s intelligence and openmindedness is directly related to the size of the community they live in? I think you’re the one w/the small mind.

    • deevee
      deevee says:

      Having started in a town of 250, moved to a town of 5,000, went to college in a town of 9,000 and moved as soon as possible to a major metropolitan area after graduation, I agree that small towns breed small minds. There is an insular group-think that is heavily reinforced by the inhabitants. Conforming behavior is rewarded early and often. Obsessively reading anything and everything widened my horizons early enough for me to know that I had to leave to survive. Being different in small towns can be exhausting. Do I encounter small minds now? Absolutely. The difference is that the behavior is not universally rewarded here.

  23. Margaret Goerig
    Margaret Goerig says:

    Everything I’ve learned about honesty in writing comes from you. Thank you for one of your best examples yet. I am glad things seem to be getting better down there on the farm. If all that’s from earlier this summer, though, what’s going on with the donkey now? Getting close to your horse?

  24. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    You should change the name of your blog. It isn’t about career advice anymore. It’s more an A-Z guide of how to be completely insane.

    That said, I still love the way you write. But I would hate to live with you.

  25. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Both #1 (Get help) and #2. (Be honest) are good tactics to fix things. I also think a good tactic to fix things is to not procrastinate (or at least not too much or for too long). In other words, perform the damage control before it gets ‘out of control’. Things will be easier to fix this way.
    As far as your donkey and future horse are concerned, I very much like and agree with Tammy Henkel’s comment above.

  26. Howard Stein
    Howard Stein says:

    Really one of your best posts. Well, I can’t remember enough of them to say that, but your DMV post tops my list, my eyes were streaming I was laughing so hard, and this is very close. So, yes, one of your best posts.

  27. Betty Jean
    Betty Jean says:

    Wow. This was a really great article. I feel like it was written for me… it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks for this perfect article. Your post has made my day. =)

    And the donkey is extremely cute. My family used to have a blind donkey on our farm named “Jose-Can-You-See.” Ha!

  28. D
    D says:

    Just curious: what’s the happiness ratio of living your life vs. writing about it? This episode sounds like it was a sustained period of unhappiness, like at least a couple of days. How much happiness did you get from writing about it? In addition to working out for yourself, does the way you tell the story make it funny and thus less stressful for the other family members who had to deal with it?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Don,
      Great question.
      There is actually a lot of research about resilience that addresses your question. People get over bad events much more effectively if they can create a story around them that makes sense.

      A lot of my writing about my experience at the World Trade Center addresses this problem (see the World Trade Center link on the side bar.) The way trauma counselors taught us how to create enough resilience to recover from being at the World Trade Center when it fell was for us to create a story of our lives that reframes the WTC into a positive growth experience.

      Also, I’ve written a lot about how career change goes better when you can create a story of your life that shows the upcoming change is the next logical step. (This research comes from INSEAD.)

      Penelope

      • Jonha @ Happiness
        Jonha @ Happiness says:

        “People get over bad events much more effectively if they can create a story around them that makes sense.”

        I couldn’t agree more P! I usually write about the bad events that happens in my life and usually learn to become more optimistic about them as I ponder and write about. I just feel better and fulfilling once you hit the Publish button and people start to help encourage you. Or at least with the thought that people are listening to you.

      • TwistedByKnaves
        TwistedByKnaves says:

        Who’s Don?

        I’m sure D is much too nice to point out the mistake and now carries a teeny tiny niggle at the back of their mind. Which is a shame since it was indeed a great question. And a fascinating reply.

    • TwistedByKnaves
      TwistedByKnaves says:

      That’s a great point on the importance of the story.

      There is also:

      “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”
      G. K. Chesterton

      …which never fails to fail to mollify my Beloved after I mess up again.

  29. Pam O'Hara
    Pam O'Hara says:

    Oh, Penelope, that was so great! It makes me feel more normal. I love that you wear skirts and dresses with your boots while doing things on the farm; I do too. I love that you didn’t want to clean up the glass right away; I’ve done that. I love that you just climbed right on that donkey; I would have, too. I’m glad you wear your sunhat; it’s important out there on the farm.

  30. Fernando
    Fernando says:

    Hi Penelope! Once I discovered you through your blog you’ve made my life much easier. You’re such an amazing human being that is not difficult to relate to you one way or another. Your vicissitudes, tribulations and the way you deal with them shed light on our very own problems and dealings with life and existence.

    However, I’m intrigued (envious) at the skills you have translating and putting into words/paper everything that happens in your life. I wonder if you know or if you are aware when those events that color your like are occurring (or you are experiencing) that later you are going to write about them?

  31. Lori
    Lori says:

    Wow, you have some great Bridget Jones moments. Which is still a very important and frequently-watch movie for women in NC (the one(s) I know, anyway). Thanks for sharing your life adventures with us.

  32. Cally
    Cally says:

    I smell another divorce in the works.

    Your writing is funny, to an extent, but I wouldn’t want to know you (you are way too impulsive and unstable) or your farmer (who is too rough of a person–too mean to animals, too, I sense).

    And I think: she makes $150,000? In NYC, that’s nothing, but to the rest of us, it’s not. And I cannot fathom how you do it. Besides the negative qualities already on display, you don’t understand taxes, the legal system, or basics in life like driving–or you REFUSE to understand. What a baby.

    • Jacqueline
      Jacqueline says:

      “or you REFUSE to understand. What a baby.”

      @Cally: Are you new here? She has Aspergers. Not being able to deal with stuff that normal people find trivial is pretty typical for people with Aspergers. Saying “what a baby” to someone suffering from a disability is pretty callous — do you also call people in wheelchairs “babies” for “refusing” to walk?

      Also typical of people with Aspergers is the ability to muster a monomaniacal focus on particular interests or projects, which would explain why she is so financially successful despite her disability in handling the “simple” stuff.

    • Izzie
      Izzie says:

      @Cally….agree with Jacqueline. Maybe before you shoot first and look after, you should read a little more about the person posting this stuff. My teen son has Asperger’s and it would be totally beyond him to deal with getting a driver’s licence,the paperwork, legalities of a divorce, etc that Penelope has had to as an adult. I can’t imagine what it has been like for her as a single parent. Kudos to her. And as for your callous comments, “I smell another divorce in the works” are you new to this site?

      • MJ
        MJ says:

        Hey, Cally is just responding to what PT puts out there, and she (Cally) makes some good points too. There is little worse than a passionate, defensive fan who doesn’t actually know the defended celebrity or objective facts.

  33. Sirina
    Sirina says:

    I impulsively shared this post with those dearest to me. Because it made me laugh at myself, and pat myself on the back. Thank you for the reminder!

  34. Heather
    Heather says:

    If you are in Dallas and need some riding lessons, let me know :). In the meantime, get a helmet. And if the donkey is particularly spooky, get a vest. After all these years of flying off my horse, I’m still intact thanks to my helmet and my vest. Of course, maybe I haven’t had the sense knocked into me yet since I’m still doing it at 36. Thanks for the post though, I can particularly appreciate the pain that comes with a fall, and the post-narcotic aftershock.

  35. Alex Van Tol
    Alex Van Tol says:

    God, Penelope, you are just… funny. The bit about the advice and the donkey and the spraying water.

    And yeah, I agree: being authentic is disarming. Scary, exposing and emotionally-laden at times, but it’s the only way.

  36. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    Like others said before me, this was a favorite. What you said up there about creating a story about a traumatic event to help deal, that was pretty important for me to read. Enduring any particular trial is always a little easier when I think to myself, “this will make a great story one day.” I used to be quite open in my blogs about my life, and as more and more people I know began to read them, I toned them down to such an extent that I finally stopped writing them altogether. Now that I’ve moved to a tiny town in West Virginia I often worry about who is thinking or saying what, and after reading this post and the ensuing reactions I am reminded that there are always going to be people who are bothered by me, and there will always be people who appreciate me. The ones who lack the ability to laugh at life aren’t people whose approval I want, anyway. If everybody laughed it wouldn’t be all that funny. You are strong for being able to see the humor in your difficulties, and there are loads of us out here who are grateful for it and feel a little bit stronger themselves for your doing it.

  37. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    Maybe I’m just an old fashioned stick in the mud, but I thought the best way to do damage control is to take care of things beforehand, so you didn’t need to do damage control when things got out of whack.

    Silly me.

    • Casual Surfer
      Casual Surfer says:

      Yep, you are a stick in the mud. Or perhaps you have one up your backside?

      If you take care of things ahead of the time, there is no damage. Hence, no need for damage control. Also no chance to develop coping skills and/or resilience. But hey, if your life is so fab (or mindlessly simple) that you can prepare for everything then good for you. Enjoy your stick.

      • jrandom42
        jrandom42 says:

        Fine, I’ll just keep on living my life without self-created drama, heading steadily toward my goals. Let’s see what kind of damage control Penelope can conjure up when the judge issues a bench warrant, and then sentences her to 60 days in jail for contempt of court.

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