We are already midway through the first month of a new year and it feels like we have a clean slate.
The calendar is wide open to fill with exciting things.
Yet, there is always that tiny feeling of fear or dread or worry.
What will 2017 bring?
Will we all make it out alive?
Will there be more good than bad?
You just never know.
I try to calm myself by using one particular yardstick from my life.
I harken back to one of the worst days of my adult life and then I compare everything to that and say, “It can’t be any worse that that!!”
Trust me when I tell you I wish I was making this up. Nope friends, it's all true!
It was a hot summer day in 2003.
I was working in radio and many times in that business, announcers are asked to go “on location” and report on a certain charity event or whatever.
On this day, it was to go to a hamburger joint and help publicize a fundraiser for the OSPCA.
I think the deal was buy a burger and a portion of proceeds went to help the shelter animals so we were just bringing attention to the cause and location.
Upon arrival, they suggested they needed someone to wear the giant cat costume and parade up and down the street to garner attention.
In my mind — I was thinking Disney mascot.
People love mascots, right? Everyone will want their picture taken. There will be lots of hugging. It sounded like a fun gig!
Out came the costume.
How can I describe it?
It consisted of a oversized cat head — yellow striped — with this screen panel over the eye holes and the body was yellow striped with a long dragging tail.
Think cat onesie!
This feline had seen better days. It was dirty and it was smelly.
I got dressed up and had to have an assistant drag me by the paw out to the street because I couldn’t see well.
I was placed on the sidewalk and I began to do a little skip down the street waving and pointing and trying to be a happy cat. "Come in — buy a burger here!"
Let me back up a bit to tell you the night before was the very night the decision had been made to end my 10-year marriage. As you might expect I was feeling a little fragile.
The mere fact I was upright was amazing.
A few minutes into my performance as a giant dancing cat — some young adults drove by in a convertible. They hung out of the car screaming at me
“Hey cat, you’re ugly!”
Then they pelted me with pop cans. It was like being on a firing line — assault by tin.
I started to cry — an ugly heaving cry — inside my giant yellow, hot, stinky cat head. I could barely breath.
Then my nose started to run but I couldn’t wipe my nose with my giant cat paws nor get my head off to blow my nose.
This was my lowest moment.
Oh, I forgot to mention my helper had abandoned me to go get a hamburger, so now I was all alone, walking up and down near a busy street, cat shoulders drooping and tail dragging when I tripped on a curb and fell down.
Does it get worse than this?
No, no it does not! If you look up "humiliation" in the dictionary — there's my photo!
So, that is the story I return to whenever life doesn’t go completely as planned.
I hope if you find yourself dealing with something sad or frustrating in 2017 that you harken back to my story.
Remember no matter how bad things are at least you are not a divorcing, ugly, yellow, smelly, blind cat mascot with a too-big head being hit with litter.
Happy New Year to us all!