Tuesday, August 3 2021

the perfect crunch, a new corgi, and old emails



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Tuesday. Would you like to read something? What a coincidence! I feel like writing something. How about I yammer out some text for exactly forty-five minutes, then you can read it on my website later. Don't forget to bring the coffee - I don't know about yours, but mine is tasting especially good right about now.

Sip. I have a feeling this is going to be an easy Tuesday. I only have one ticket left on my cue at work, and I have the next three days off. I only have one meeting on my calendar today, and for the rest of the week my only priorities are hanging out with the family and putting food on the table. After last weekend's long road trip, the extra down time feels deserved, and I'll happily accept it.

How did your Monday go? The Mondays after long road trips always feel so brutal. Along with the usual Monday slowness, Marissa and I contended with digesting road trip junk food, stiffness from driving, and grieving the jarring return to work week responsibilities.

To add to our troubles, the boys were in an extra messy mood yesterday. They wrought a cataclysmic toy hurricane that razed everything in its path. With everything they touched, they left a destructive wake of dried play dough, shredded playing cards, and broken crayons behind them. And of course Minnie followed close behind to add he own flourishes to the chaos, like a chewed ping-pong paddle or a small unassuming piece of poop.

I shouldn't be so hard on Minnie. Emotionally, she's going through a really rough time right now, and it all started last night when I let her and her sister outside for a nighttime potty and romp. I knew something was up when, instead of racing into the yard together, they hung back by corner of the deck fixated on the same spot. From beneath the outdoor mat, I heart hissing and buzzing. I kicked the mat aside, relieved to see it was just a cicada. Minnie slipped between my legs and scooped up the helpless bug in her mouth. Its wings frantically clacked in her teeth, and then I heard a distinct crunch.

Minnie, a lover of all things that crunch, immediately knew that she had found something special. The bug had a thick crunchy head, thin crunchy wings, and little crunchy legs. Each time she made it crunch, the cicada wriggled, which just made her want to crunch it more.

"Minnie, no. Get that out of your mouth," I said. I kicked the cicada away from her paws. She scampered after it. I picked up the smashed bug and flung it over the fence. Minnie slinked back into the house with her head low. She moped and brooded. Throughout the night, I could tell she was thinking about that cicada - the most perfect crunch she's ever found, and how it was cruelly ripped out of her hands and flung out of her life forever.

It's true - Minnie loves all things that crunch, and that can get her into trouble. The other night, she tragically marred Corgi, Rodney's favorite childhood stuffed animal. Marissa audibly gasped when she found it in the corner of the living room with its plastic nose chewed off. We called Rodney down to the living room, expecting to shepherd him through a bout of grief. But Rodney was surprisingly cool about the whole debacle.

"You can put Corgi in the special box," he said.

"Can we buy a new one for you tomorrow?" asked Marissa. "They still have them at Hobby Lobby."

"Sure!" said Rodney cheerily. "OK, we'll put this Corgi in the special box, and then get a new Corgi from Hobby Lobby."

Rodney brought home the new Corgi later that day. His fur was so colorful and soft that I barely recognized him. "What's his name?" I asked.

"Still just Corgi," said Rodney smiling.

Marissa found a picture from when Rodney first brought home Corgi 1.0. I almost started crying right there in the middle of the dining room before heading back upstairs to work. Fair warning - before you look at this then-and-now picture, you had better ready your own excuse for why you were cutting onions this morning or how your August allergies are acting up.

corgi

In other news, I fell into an unexpected nostalgia trap yesterday while looking through old emails. I set up my "adult" email after graduating college, and I've never really thought of it as a place for old memories. But that was almost eight years ago, and beneath the plain gmail interface waits a trove of forgotten nuggets from my past.

For instance, I found awkward group photos from places I used to work - the kind of photos that weren't nice enough to keep, but nice enough to fire off to my family in a quick email and immediately forget about them.

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Group Photo of my team at Practice Velocity, circa 2014

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Group Photo of my team at Healthgrades, circa 2016.

My trip through memory lane took a dark turn. Among the funny emails and the awkward emails, there were angry emails too. I found myself reliving conflicts with neighbors, landlords, and former friends. There were emails lashing out at job prospects that didn't pan out, emails with immature jokes where friends needed real love and support, and emails laying into people with needlessly harsh words and haughty criticism. Seeing these old scraps correspondence in a new light, I could only focus on the shortcomings of my own words, and the experience was unexpectedly painful. I finally peeled my eyes away from the computer screen and joined Marissa downstairs where she was starting on dinner.

"I was on kind of a shame spiral reading old emails," I said wincing. "I said a lot of dumb things to people."

"Oh don't do that!" said Marissa. "Don't be so hard on yourself. We were just trying to figure things out."

"You're right," I admitted. "I think that's enough old emails for the day."

Beware of old emails. They lure you in with the fond memories, but beneath the thin veneer of comforting nostalgia, there are monsters of shame and embarrassment waiting to devour you.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Tuesday everyone.