Back when I was a junior in college, I was about as clueless as they come.
Thank goodness I had a good friend, Kat, who kept me on from teetering over the edge into a complete pathetic mess.
One beautiful spring day I was feeling pretty good about life in general. I had assembled what I thought was a snappy outfit at the time and breezed into the cafeteria for lunch. She came running over to me with a look of pure shock on her face and grabbed my arm.
“Are you okay?” she asked, looking at me in concern.
“I’m great! Thanks for asking,” I said, dumping my backpack and purse on an empty table.
“Then what the heck happened to you?” she asked, waving a hand dramatically at my attire. “You look like you’ve been mauled by an Easter parade.”
Apparently, those who walked on the edge of high fashion found a pink blouse, pale blue pencil skirt, cream and pink sweater and pale green duster (remember dusters?) a little much. A little too pastel. A little too… everything.
Of course, I never wore that outfit again.
More than that, anytime I think I’m about to do, wear, say or write something particularly wonderful and clever, I stop for a minute and remind myself of the mauled by an Easter Parade episode. It’s saved me more times than I care to think about from exhibiting my tendency to be a complete dork.
There are plenty of times I still exhibit that particular trait, but thanks to Kat and her honesty, I at least take a moment to pause on random occasion before I take that final step into the land of pathetic mess.
As a writer, I appreciate having something that makes me stop and think – stop and question – if this is really what I want to say. Is it really how I want the story to read? Is it how I want the character portrayed right at that moment?
I honestly wouldn’t want my readers to ever have the experience of being mauled by an Easter parade.