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Frowning can become a natural look through time

June 8, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON,cMessenger staff writer
Because I didn’t want to be dumber than my stove, I put off buying a microwave until maybe 90 million other people already used one.

Then, when I did give in, I bought a convection microwave so we could bake in it, too — a perfect way to make pizza in the summer without heating up the whole house. But that contraption couldn’t have been much smaller than the Yugo I drove to work, so finding a place to stash it took some doing.

It couldn’t be done in Dodge, so I gave the micro away when we moved here. Besides, there was a built-in microwave above our range, so I let my husband talk me into offing the big one, without first considering that move completely.

With the departure of the convection microwave, we no longer were able to cook pizza anywhere but in the oven. And don’t say I could have bought a pizza oven. That idea still scares me. I don’t do well with new.

It comes down to this: I am a technological dropout. I don’t like to just play around with something until I know how to use it. By playing, I could unintentionally blow up my world. I know I’ve told you what happened the first time my husband brought a computer into our home. I got home from work at 2 a.m. and couldn’t leave it alone. Everybody always told me there was no place I could get that I couldn’t back out of, but I found one.

At 4 o’clock in the morning, I had to wake my husband and ask for his help. He was not a happy camper.

Using a computer to look up information nearly kills me. The process starts with a thump in my throat and moves on until I’m so angry I can’t speak my own name.

Anger comes naturally when I can’t figure something out. I don’t know why, I just know it does. Maybe I’m angry at being too dumb to function. Maybe I’m angry because I don’t know what I don’t know. Maybe I need something to eat. If that’s the case, I’m not putting it in the microwave.

Many times in the past few weeks people have said — in a sympathetic way, of course — “Boy, you look tired.” Sometimes they go straight to “Why are you frowning?”

I’m not frowning, that’s just the way my face works.

You’ve heard of people who can’t smile unless someone pulls the sides of their mouth toward the back of their head. It doesn’t mean they’re not smiling inside, but somewhere on the path to the outside, the smile gets locked in.

That’s what happens to my frown. I’m not frowning in my mind, but I work all day on a computer and that stupid frown just settles in. It might be a way, too, to keep light out of my eyes — my eyes are super sensitive to light. When I frown on purpose, my eyelids make little covers for my eyes, so maybe I frown without thinking about it.

A couple nights ago I was late at work, lost in writing a story, when Janet Galloway, of Stratford, called to answer some questions about her coming anniversary. She happened to mention how hard it was raining at her place, then said she could see a lot of lightning in the Fort Dodge area.

Until then, I didn’t know there was bad weather. I’m blaming her for the rain that hit us and especially for the horribly close lightning.

I must have been frowning a lot that night. When one of the women working with me dropped something into the garbage can that made a loud noise, I jerked and glanced up at her. She said: “Sandy just gave me an ugly look.”

Well, that’s just rude. That’s the face God gave me, so he must have figured it would be OK.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or


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