I have a confession. I love memes. I read them all the time and send them to friends. I saw one once that really tickled me. It said: Bear Attack Tip. If attacked, play dead. It will be good practice for when you die a couple of minutes later. I probably laughed a little too hard at that one!!
In daily life we hear stories of hikers getting mauled or killed by bears they encounter, people falling into the zoo cages of lions or tigers, alligators in Florida taking someone under, or sharks attacking swimmers and surfers. The stories are usually gruesome, and we read or watch them with a morbid curiosity because they are so out of the realm of our daily existence.
A fate we are much more likely to fall prey to in our daily lives is being “nibbled to death by ducks”. Having never heard this phrase before, the first time I heard my mother-in-law use it, I was excited that I finally had proof that she was crazy. Turns out she was spot on. And for the record, in one etymology I read, it said this phrase has been around for nearly three centuries. Maybe I should get out more often.
Unlike the bears, lions, and sharks, being nibbled to death by ducks would be a long, tedious demise. It’s a metaphor for people pecking at us consistently, taking small amounts of our time and energy. And it can certainly be the death of any productivity we hope to have.
I’m sure from what I’ve said thus far, you can guess it’s been a grueling week. Paul had an improv show last night. Weeks with shows always need time built in to hash out ideas for improv games and the line-ups, skits, gathering props, selecting music, etc. In addition to that, my teaching schedule literally doubled in size, Paul gave several speeches, and a host other obligations and people demanded attention.
It reminded me of when Madi was a toddler. All day long I would hear, “Momma, momma” Then Paul would call “Kelly, Kelly” “Momma, Kelly, Momma, Kelly.” There were days when all I dreamed of was being able to hold a train of thought in my head until it reached the end. This past week felt much the same.
To put it mildly, I was not my best self. I was cranky, snappish, and short-tempered. While I did manage to stifle an all-out tirade, it did not go unnoticed that I was less than cheerful. On Wednesday of this week, I wrote a blog post about being an INCURABLE Optimist. Referencing that, one day Paul proclaimed that I had indeed been CURED.
In the past I would have said it was all my fault for not having better control of my emotions. Now I think part of the blame lies with those making constant demands on my time without considering what it was doing to my day, plans, and mental state.
Ultimately though, the blame does reside with me. Not because I couldn’t control my emotions, but because I didn't step up and communicate that I was on the verge of committing homicide. For not saying I need an hour or two without interruptions, for not turning the phone off. After all, people are not mind-readers.
Therein lies the problem. Why do we expect those around us to know what we want or need? I actually said this very week to Paul, “What am I, a mind-reader?” And yet, I expected him to read my mind and to gather all the information from my response of “Whaaaaaat?”. I was allowing myself to be nibbled to death by ducks.
Hopefully I've learned my lesson. Don’t let PETA know, but I might start smacking some ducks on the head from now on if they come quacking.