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Hugs, smiles and dolls help keep self-pity at bay

November 27, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON , Messenger News

Self-pity's a sneaky fiend. It slithers up behind you and bites you right there before you have a chance to sit down and think it over.

A real pain in the, well, you know. OK, just say it. Self-pity is a pain in the butt.

I think being tired opens the psyche to listening to self-pity. For sure, being tired pushes away all coping -any kind of coping.

I'm basically retired. Basically. My mind hasn't wrapped itself around that yet, and everything I do hinges on going to work on Monday morning. I stay up late Sunday, but that inner clock I could never get to work during my working years has suddenly stepped up. No matter how late I stay up on Sunday night, on Monday morning I'm awake at 7 a.m. That's the pits.

Maybe that's where the word pity comes from.

Self-pity definitely comes from the pits.

Take last Saturday, for instance. Not yesterday Saturday, but the 19th Saturday. Along with Velma Ramos and June Zierke, I judged the Wells Fargo Dress-A-Doll program. That could have been more fun only if they'd let me play with the dolls. We've done it so many years, we've got it down to a science. A kind of science. We look under the skirts.

There's a reason for that. All the dresses are so well done, the easiest way to cut the contenders is to see the extras, and that includes underwear - I just can't say the word panties, just like I almost never use the word gig. Both are perfectly good words and mean just what they say, but I feel stupid saying them.

But that's beside the point.

Looking under the skirts also shows the sewing, the craftsmanship, and these dolls are going to spend a lifetime with young girls who likely will carry them around, sleep with them, drop them in the dirt and otherwise love them to death. Craftsmanship means a lot.

So it was, when I stopped for lunch after the judging, a happiness hugged me tight to its heart. And that's when it hit me. I started to think. Can't remember what those thoughts were, but I can remember an uneasy feeling stealing into my eyes and trying to turn on the tears. That's embarrassing.

Nobody starts to cry while eating salad and bread sticks. Well, I whine a lot if there isn't enough garlic on the bread sticks, but crying is ridiculous.

Not one thought summoned was a happy thought. Every thought brought too much work, too much regret, even antagonism. Nasty lot, those thoughts. My lunch had fast become a pity party of one.

Then Linda walked by, stopping, I suppose, because my face showed such unhappiness. Either that, or my hair still spiked - an outcome of disturbed sleep the night before. She was so nice to me, it washed away the melancholia.

Suddenly the self-pity seemed indulgent and wrong. You just can't look into smiling eyes and be unhappy. That's a good lesson learned.

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

Sandy Mickelson is the former lifestyle editor of The Messenger. She is retired. She may be reached at



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