Though my last post was long winded, and I’m sure only those who take the time to read my blog from their place of employment could justify the long haul to the end of my story (except for one lady I know, but she is queen of the Woodglen thus time just spills from her plate–wink, wink), I could re-use my title, from that post, again and again and again. “Unintentionally Imperfect”…I am pretty sure that is my crowning achievement as well as my pain in the ass! Now the title, mandibular trauma, is just a beautiful grouping of words which have a syncopated and rhythmic effect when placed next to each other. And because of that, I needed to investigate their connection further.
When I first read the words, mandibular trauma, they were written from a man who was describing Randy Newman. Odd, right? Well I think it an odd description, but then again, I have not been in the company of Randy Newman. The man of many talents, Van Dyke Parks, was being interviewed about his work with various artists. When it came to him describing Mr. Newman his response was less than favorable about Randy as a person, while keeping the genius of Newman’s writing intact. To paraphrase and get to the point of my title, Mr. Parks sentiment went like this, “He suffers fools not wisely. He has a tendency to mandibular trauma. He comes out slugging” (Uncut July 2010, pg. 89). I confess, I read and re-read that statement several times. The description of, tendency to mandibular trauma, hooked me. All of a sudden I found myself investing my personal ‘thought time’ (personal thought time=opportunities for following various trains of thought i.e while doing the dishes, applying makeup, folding clothes, etc.) into the contemplation of the description while trying to figure out what that means in a practical sense. Did Van Dyke intend to say that Randy literally began throwing punches toward the jaw, either that of Park’s or himself? Or, was the terminology used as a metaphor with no literal connection at all? Meaning, did Mr. Newman spew out such hurtful words that Van Dyke Parks likened the verbal regurgitation to being traumatic to the mandibles?
Am I alone in this area of word scrutinization? Am I the only ‘nut’ who reads, pretty much everything? Yes, I actually do read everything. You can find me investing good time perusing the manual of a new cell phone. Or the warning label which is adhered to an electrical appliance cord. Even the label on a mattress and/or pillow. I read, read, and read…and sometimes it is just a bunch of junk. Cereal boxes, hair care products, ingredients, fine print, etc. Then I have the audacity to evaluate the meaning of said junk. But on the flip side, I am a lover of language…its intentions, its construction, its etymology, its music. And when certain words are used which, for one reason or another, catch my interest and hang out in the contemplations of my mind, I get excited to traipse down the road of clues toward unraveling the mystery of the verbiage. Another example: Last year my daughter gave me a sample packet of a skin scrub from a company who call themselves, Skin Food.
And just this past week I spied the packet hanging out next to my face lotion (ok, ok, anti-wrinkle cream) as it has been there every day since she gave it to me. I asked myself, “What are you waiting for? Just use the damn stuff already! Then I corrected my brash tone to, “darned stuff”, and pulled it off of the shelf. Being I am who I am, I turned the packet over to make sure I understood the intention of the maker…in case theirs was a supernaturally different body scrub and scrubbing it on the skin and then rinsing it off was not the proper modus operandi. Well sure enough their instructions differ from that of my previous knowledge. Though their variation is due only to lack of proper editing and attention to detail. Here I type the instructions verbatim, “After liberally in the shower or bath, using gentle circular motion.”
Now really, what is a girl to do? At least this girl, who is a fanatic about the cohesive use of language (and to this end, I apologize for subjecting you to my past written faux pas, as they are due to my laziness. When I am tired, I turn from taking the time to properly edit a post and choose to “publish” with errors intact. Bad form, bad form–though I am not marketing my prose for money…at this point!). Well me being Bent Rivka and all, I conversed with the packet as if I were standing in front of the entire marketing team. Once finished berating them their error, I had to get my head around the erroneous directions. I played with word substitution for a bit, and then decided a complete re-write was in order. At one point (and I admit I should have begun here), I said to myself, “Oh hell, Rivka, you know how to use stupid body scrub. Now get in the shower and shut up!” And so I did. I used the product but could not bring myself to throw away the packet because the directions were haunting me. I have been looking at that packet for a solid week. I periodically pick it up and double check that the error doesn’t lie within my interpretation. And now, I am utilizing this beautiful blog forum to lay to rest the confusion of the issue. RIP, Skin Food…r.i.p.
Ok, the truth of this post is this, my son has been suffering to a significant degree this past week and a half. As he struggles with severe pain, medication withdrawal, and the emotional stress of processing his prognosis, his dad and I shoulder his reality in different ways. For me, to discuss the irrelevant and absurd, such as the word choice of the Van Dyke Parks article from 2010 and the beauty product from a year ago (though freshly opened last week), helps me release the pressure which comes from not being able to “fix” the hurts of my son. After all, a mother is the one who comforts her children and who by doing so, makes all the wrongs right again. In Cole’s case, I cannot touch that which ails him. Additionally, as I shared in my previous blog story, this week has been filled with other circumstances of stress which are burdensome in and of themselves. So skin food, Randy Newman, and Van Dyke Parks it is. And thankfully, because I have this forum in which to deflate the ‘ol brain a bit, I can now throw out the packet of gelatinous goop which holds a smidgen of salt, sugar, and coffee grounds. I can also assure you my jaw is doing just fine! Once again, thanks for listening with your eyes. 🙂