Back when I used to be much poorer than I am now (very poor as opposed to moderately poor) and I suspected my checking account wasn’t looking very good, I’d hide my bank statement under back issues of Rolling Stone and Ms. I could always convince myself that my financial woes could solve themselves if I just gave them a little breathing room.
I’ve done so many things in my life that I didn’t want to do to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. When my friend in South Carolina proudly served me an authentic Charleston meal of she-crab soup, fried okra and squash pie, I ate every bite with a smile on my face. I once choked down raw squid wrapped in seaweed on the “Jim Gerard Show” while muttering, “ummm, delicious.”
I’ve told hair stylists I loved the cut that made my head look like a pea sitting on my bowling ball-shaped body. I have seen countless movies I didn’t want to see, served on numerous committees I didn’t want to serve on and drunk endless drinks I didn’t want to drink. Now, I just say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’d dearly love to go to the movie/join the bowling league/give the keynote address/serve on the committee – but I can’t because of Mom,” and people are sympathetic, rather than offended.
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.