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Confidence Game

by Martha Powers

Yesterday I was going through a magazine and came across an article on how to boost your self-confidence. Since it was pretty gloomy outside and I'd just ruined my diet by inhaling three Krispy Kremes, I figured I was a prime target.

The article suggested that you make a list of all the things you do well or even pretty good. The idea was that when you were finished you would be overwhelmed by the quantity of your abilities.

I had a tough time starting the list, because I never seem to have any writing paper. Stationery's no good. I buy a box, write two letters and then have eight envelopes with giant strawberries on them and no paper. Even my children get letters on lined notebook paper, but they're in strawberry envelopes. I ended up using a shirt cardboard from the last time we splurged and sent Bill's shirts to the cleaners.

There hasn't been a pencil in my desk in years. Every six months I buy some, but they just disappear. I think our grandchildren are stealing them when they visit and selling them on the black market to support their habit of buying computer software.  Bill suggested putting a string on the pencil by the phone, but just like at the check-writing desk at the grocery store, the string is never long enough. You end up signing your name with your hand contorted so that the signature looks like it was made by a four-year-old with eye trouble.

So with a used envelope dug out of the wastebasket and eyeliner in hand, I began my list. The article suggested you just put things down as they entered your mind — sort of free form, like finger painting.

First, I make a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich. My friend Lorraine showed me the secret. The trick is to use margarine so the sandwich doesn't burn before the cheese melts. Although Bill doesn’t consider this a major accomplishment, the grandkids really like them and I get rave reviews when they invite friends in for lunch.  For a proper meal, Bill prefers something you can chew, rather than gum.

Second, I never hide unwashed pots and pans in the oven.  I broke that habit when the electricity went off one winter in Chicago and Bill turned on the gas stove to heat the kitchen.  Those space age handles on my fry pans melted like butter in the tropics.  After several hours with the windows open, the clouds of black smoke cleared, while the four of us huddled in the driveway with the car heater on full blast.  Bill refused to join in on the sing-alongs.

Third, I have enthusiasm. Granted it may be short-lived, but while it's there, I'm a real tiger. Last year I wallpapered the kitchen. I don't know why I decided to paint the ceiling last. I think it was because I hoped when I finished it wouldn't look like it needed to be painted. Faint hope. I started painting in the alcove by the refrigerator. I got the alcove painted, but put the ladder away so I could get dinner ready. Once you stop, it's hard to get back in the spirit. The alcove sure looks nice though.

Fourth, I don't chew gum. I did when I quit smoking but I wasn’t good at it.  It sounded like a cow pulling its foot out of the mud.  When I found a wad of gum stuck to the side of the empty wastebasket, I decided it was time to get a new addiction.  My grandmother told me the only women who chewed gum worked in gas stations and wore dangling earrings. I suspect that psychologically ruined me for the pleasure of chewing gum. Let alone a career in the petroleum industry.

Five, I remember to defrost something for dinner four out of every seven days. I had just gotten to this item on the list when I realized that I had not taken the chicken casserole out of the freezer. Never mind. It’s been ages since I’ve made those fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Martha Powers is a former humor columnist who left behind the winters of Chicago for the sun and sand of Vero Beach, Florida.  She is the author of eleven published novels.  Martha writes fiction thrillers but finds that killing off the bad guys isn't as much fun as writing for laughs.  She can be reached at:



©2004 Martha Powers for SeniorWomenWeb
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