Friday, June 3, 2016

I Can't Even Begin to Compete With Any of This, and by "This" I Mean Fruit Kebabs, Shopkins, and Life in General

Competition. What can I say? It's not for me. I'm just not that into it. 

Frankly, I have an almost allergic reaction to competing, which, in addition to being out of shape and lazy, is the main reason I refuse to participate in adult sports. I played competitive sports in high school and college, and depleted all the bandwidth I had for competition of any kind then. 

Today, I spend my life with an acute awareness of my flaws and not the slightest motivation to resolve them. This is especially true when I compare myself to people who clearly have their shit together at a whole notha' level. In this way, comparison and competition are two different things. It's not that I don't compare myself to others. I definitely do. I just do it with resignation and defeat, as opposed to envy and/or any hope of self-improvement.

Perfect example: This healthy and elaborate snack a parent brought to Isaac's tee-ball game yesterday. I was lucky to even find the mosquito pond where this boring AF game was being played, and drove myself there straight after work. Someone (I don't know who, because tee-ball is not my department) brought a banana/blueberry/grape/kiwi fruit kebab and--you can't really see it here in Isaac's mitt--little Star Wars themed Ziploc baggies of pretzels and tiny tubs of peanut butter for the after-game snack.

If and when it's my turn to bring the after-game tee-ball snack, here's what it will be: two boxes of granola bars purchased en route to the game. The end. There is no way I will peel kiwis and bananas and cut them into rounds, and then intersperse them with grapes and blueberries on a stick AND then put mini-pretzels and peanut butter into little individualized baggies. Not even if it was on Isaac's "Beg List," which I recently learned is a mental list he maintains of things to "beg" me for.

For ten seconds after I first saw the fruit kebab, I told myself it was, inevitably, the work of a stay-at-home mom (or dad). Then I immediately dismissed that conclusion, because (a) staying at home with your kids is blatantly much harder than working in an office; and (b) there are plenty of office-bound parents who take the time and effort to do shit like make a tray of fruit kebabs.

So sure. I can sit here and tell myself and the whole blogosphere that the only reason I refuse to peel a kiwi and put it on a stick for the benefit of my child's joyful memories is because I'm too busy being a lawyer, but that's a huge fucking lie. I know it, and so do you. So why bother with the charade?

Then there's "Shopkins," which are tiny plastic collectible charms, the merits and deficits of which you can read about here. I awoke this morning to a kitchen table filled with MANY more of these tiny food-shaped future land-fillers than I remembered having purchased or acquired, and I immediately identified the culprit. 

She was reheating a cup of coffee in the microwave.

"Mom," I said, trying to hide my exasperation. "You got her more of these?" Paige already has what by all objective measures is an ample collection of Shopkins, featuring characters with names like "Miss Mushy-Moo" the mushroom and "Creamy Bun-Bun" the doughnut. "What?," my mom protested. "They're small. They don't even take up any room. I used to love collecting little things like that as a kid." 

Fair enough.

I briefly recalled my own childhood, which was rife with similar junk: Garbage Pail Kids collectible cards, "oily" stickers, plastic charms to clip onto a chain, Beanie Babies, and other crap which, like diamonds and pearls, has no intrinsic value beyond that which society collectively decides to assign to it. (In case it's not obvious, I consider diamonds and pearls to be a grown-woman version of Garbage Pail Kids cards, but not nearly as cheap, fun, or funny).

"Alright. Okay," I sighed, pouring myself my own cup of coffee. Faced with a choice between resignation and competition, you can always count on me to pick the former.

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