Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Jane

Dear Jane McGonigal:

Thank you so much! Because of you, the coolest thing happened. See, I was going through a horrible, harried season in my life where chores, activities, and expectations, as they whirled around me like I was their bazillion-degree sun, pressed burlap bags of poky asteroid shards against every part of me. 
          Each morning I’d pencil an 80-item to-do list (because everyone knows making a list is 75% of the work). After jotting my items to accomplish on butterfly-adorned paper, I’d brew a pot of Italian-roast coffee (crack in a bag, don’t you know) to expedite the task process. At the kitchen table I'd focus on the racing of my heart as I waited for motivation to arrive. After a bit I'd consider my cuticles, drum my fingers, and perhaps pray “teach me to number my days aright that I may have a heart of wisdom." 
           Before I hit the hay each night, I’d inspect my butterfly list, squint through tears at the 74 things that remained undone, and sigh.


One morning I was chatting on the phone with my friend Jill. Yes, I had a timer set to ensure I was a good steward of my time. Yes, I reset the timer twice.
            “Megan is in a tizzy with her wedding plans,” Jill said.
            I grimaced as I pictured a 170 page to-do list. “I can only imagine.”
            “I asked her what I could do to help and she delegated Invitation Duty to me. I googled wedding invites and an hour later it was done.”
            “You’re such a good step-mom,” I said. “So organized. She’s lucky to have you.”
            After I hung up, I experienced a brain blast. “I need a Jill,” I told my creamed and sugared crack in a cup.


That’s where you come in, Jane. As you can probably tell, I am not a great multi-tasker. Why, I can’t even listen to Pandora and type an email at the same time. However, there is an exception to this rule. I am able to enjoy Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air while I fix supper, Francis Chan messages as I sort laundry, TED Talks on YouTube as I make my bed. That’s how I found you, Jane. I adored your TED talk, not the part about you feeling suicidal, that was super sad. I admired your resilience in the face of life yuck; it buoyed me. I cheered as you recognized what you needed to do in order to heal then did it. That video game you invented—Super Better? It inspired me, indeed it did.
            As soon as you said, “Super Better,” I paused in the middle of fluffing my pillows and dashed over to my desk, jiggled the mouse so I could see and hear you. I spoke to you even though you were in the middle of your speech, on the TED stage, inside the computer.
            “I don’t need a Jill, per se,” I told you. “I need a Super Betty, someone to handle all my mundane tasks from here on out. A gal who is organized and motivated, even when though I’m not.”
            Suddenly Super Betty was there! Beside me in my boudoir. She hipped me away from my sleigh bed. “Let me show you how to do a nurse’s corner,” she said as she lifted the bottom right side of the mattress.
            I stepped backward toward the dresser, glanced at my reflection. I wore the silliest grin. “A super hero’s in my house,” I told my reflection. “Yay me!”
            I named her Super Betty, a nod to you, Jane. She wears a sparkly fuchsia and turquoise get-up (With a cape of course. Its pompom fringe is so snazzy!). Her hair is a wild jumble like yours but copper-colored instead of blonde. At one point she told me how she thought about sporting dreadlocks but decided against it since they wouldn’t look as cool as curls when she flies. Her eyes are spring grass green and they throw off golden sparks when she’s really cranking out chores. A couple times each hour, she finds me in the house, wherever I'm reading or writing, and lets me know it’s time to mark something off the 80-item to-do list. I do so with alacrity, with aqua ink. Know what Betty's favorite saying is? “Pass the butter, I’m on a roll.”
            But wait, Jane, there's more. The first week Super Betty showed up, my husband was so impressed, he procured a Super Dave. Dave's first day in the house he brushed a new coat of whitewash on the kitchen table and KAPOW! It looks brand new. Not long after, he disassembled the dog run that our 16-year-old deaf dog refuses to go in now that her sister is dead. Around that same time, my gal pal, Daleen (always quick to catch on to trends) got herself a Terrific Tawanda and she is going gangbusters. I tell you what, Jane, I think I’m on to something, something big. Hold on a second, Super Betty needs me . . .      
           Actually she just handed me my aqua fountain pen and to-do list to mark through thank you note to Jane M. Now she’s tapping her glow-in-the-dark pink wrist watch. Gotta go!

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