One Thousand Words… Just One Thousand Words

It’s nights like this that I really regret challenging myself to write every single night. Nights where it’s not even nine o’clock but I’ve been shopping and driving all day and just want to crawl into bed and go to sleep. But I didn’t write on Thursday night so it’s too soon to not write again tonight.

Guilt has always been a big motivator for me. I’m highly susceptible to guilt and can even guilt myself into doing things. Like writing tonight when I can barely keep my eyes open.

I tried to get out of writing tonight. I said that if fewer than 20% of my posts to date were less than one thousand words, I could take the night off. The grand total was 21.21%, which not only sucks percentage-wise, but required me to write tonight after all.

If I had spent all the time that it took me to figure out that percentage actually writing instead, I’d probably be done by now. Or at least I’d have more than 163 words written.

My mother says that I put too much pressure on myself. That the world isn’t going to end if I finish this project with more than 20% of my posts being less than one thousand words. She’s right. The world would be fine, and so would I. But I get very down on myself when I set a goal and don’t achieve it.

For instance, I have always expected that I would get good grades in school. Not valedictorian grades, but magna cum laude grades. And when I say I expected it, I don’t mean that I expected teachers to give me good grades, I expected to work hard enough to earn them. And I’d get very upset if I didn’t live up to that expectation.

Once in high school I got a C on my report card in Spanish. I was devastated. I think I even cried at my locker when I saw the grade. I went to the teacher, not to whine but to ask what I could do to bring my grade up for the next semester. She looked in her grade book and said that she had made a mistake. I should have gotten an A-. To this day I wonder if she changed it because I complained (although that wouldn’t make her a very good teacher) or if she had really made a mistake.

Later I challenged myself to graduate from grad school with a 4.0 GPA. I was sailing right along towards that goal when all hell broke loose at my job. I was suddenly promoted in very dramatic and expected fashion. That semester I got one A-, so good bye 4.0. Considering all that was going on, an A- was good. I know that. But it still pisses me off that I didn’t achieve my goal.

Those last two paragraphs sounded like I was bragging about getting good grades. I didn’t mean them to and should probably rewrite them, but I don’t think I have it in me tonight. Please know that I was trying to demonstrate how hard I am on myself and that I recognize that being upset about an A- is absolutely ridiculous.

Ok, I’m at 540 words… what can I write about for another 460?

I see there’s another Republican debate on TV tonight. Being a non-Republican, I haven’t watched any of them but I have read about them a bit online and in the newspaper.

And living on the New Hampshire border and working in the state, we have the pleasure of seeing all the ads on our local television stations without getting to (or having to, depending on how you look at it) vote.

Historically, the performing arts center where I work has hosted candidates in presidential elections. President Obama made a campaign appearance and I still joke that it was the biggest show we’ve ever had. I stood in my office looking out my window which faces the street and there was a sea of people filling the road and the park on the other side. President Obama made an special appearance outside on the steps because there were so many people who couldn’t get it.

We also have had Laura Bush (I can never remember her name. I always start to call her Barbara instead) but neither of the Georges.

Howard Dean was there when he ran for president. He was a very inspiring speaker. I actually think he might have made a good president if the press hadn’t gotten all over that screeching thing.

I never thought I’d say that, though. I was in college when Dean was Lieutenant Governor and the Governor died. I called him “Oh Shit Dean” for a long time because he looked like he was thinking “Oh shit, I didn’t know I might have to be Governor when I ran for Lieutenant Governor.” He was probably in shock or something, it was pretty sudden, but he looked terrified.

We have also hosted John Edwards. The most exciting thing about that event was that Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne were with him and sang. We could never afford to have either Bonnie Raitt or Jackson Browne perform a concert in the venue, so it was cool to have them on stage, even just for one or two songs.

It’s pretty brave for celebrities to endorse a candidate, now that I think about it. They never know if something embarrassing is going to come out and they’re on record saying, “I like him. You should vote for him.” I wonder if Bonnie and Jackson regret touring with John Edwards now that he has a love child and all that.

I’m hesitant to even put a candidate bumper sticker on my car. What if they lose? I’d have to drive around with proof that I voted for a loser.

Well, I did it. One thousand words. They certainly aren’t the best words I’ve written, but there they are. Take that, lousy 21.21%! Now you’re down to 21.105%.

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