There are a bunch of phrases that we use all the time even though we really don't know what they mean. At least I do. I use the phrase "seeing the world through rose colored glasses" at least 4 times a week (5 times during October) and I have no idea how one colors glasses to look like roses and why though would be any better than looking at things through glasses colored like chrysanthemums. mums. So I have to take note when a phrase that I have been using finally makes sense. That happened this morning.
The phrase in question? "mixed emotions." How often do we say "I'm having mixed emotions"? I'm not even talking about the Rolling Stone lyric which we all probably quote daily. I know you do, and you're not the only one. HA! And do we really know what it feels like to have mixed emotions? Oh sure. You think you do. I used to think I did also so I can laugh knowlingly and in a smugly superior way at your false sense of understanding. Oh, ho ho ho. condescend condescend. Ho ho ho ho.
But really. In the past, I have used the phrase mostly to mean "I want you to think that I'm conflicted about this and though I might have a few misgivings, I actually am pretty clear on what I want. I'm just lying about it." So when the situation arises and someone says "would you like another hot fudge sundae?" I say, "I'm having mixed emotions about that. It looks yummy but I don't need the calories." What I mean is "Stupid question, jackwagon. Shovel that baby down my gullet and be quick about it. I have a nap to take." And while, somewhere on one of my shoulders, the good, dieting angel is trying valiantly to whisper "no, don't do it...you have had 3 and that's fine" in my ear, all the other angels are holding him down and shouting "Maraschino! Maraschino!"
And even if I were to have misgivings about my decision not to run that jerk in the Smart Car off the road because he cut me off without using his blinker and who does he think he is driving a Smart Car like he's trying to make me feel bad, is that really a case of mixed emotions? No -- the emotions are clear but I have mixed priorities (crushing that guy in his tuna can on wheels vs. being not in jail for my children's nuptials in 10-12 years).
So yesterday morning I posted a snide comment (I know...me? Well, sometimes I can't be all happiness and gumdrops) about a news story. Not so much a comment as a vicious pun. I felt good about it. It was quick. It was mean spirited. It was (I'd like to think) witty. And when others reacted with shock and revulsion, I felt I had been validated. The goal of a good pun is to induce groans. The goal of a great pun is to induce vomiting. L'Ipecac, c'est moi.
If you aren't familiar with Facebook, I'll explain how things work. I type something and you like it. That's a rule on Facebook. You can check. And then never come back. Otherwise, take my word for it and like me, dammit. Occasionally, swept up by the brilliance that is me (or I. Or both.) others add comments to my post, often in the pun family. And I smile and nod, acknowledging attempts to approach the level of my original statement.
And this morning, David Kardon (if you don't know him, you should introduce yourself. None of this will make any sense if you don't introduce yourself. I'll wait.) added a comment to my post. And it was brilliant. I say this as a fan of the pun -- if I had a hat, I would doff it out of repsect for Dr. Kardon's pun. Sure, it took him 24 hours to come up with it. Sure, he has extensive medical training which gave him access to concepts and vocabulary which is closed out to me (he used the word "knee" which, I assume, is Latin for something). Sure, he was standing on the shoulders of my genius (and getting his dirty shoes all over my lapels). But, as the young people say, OMG. It was fabulous.
Now, I truly have "mixed emotions." Strong, strong emotions conflicting and battling for the supremacy of my soul. I want to jump up and tell the world about how great this pun was. I want to celebrate it with a joy most deep and profound. And I want to cry. Cry that I didn't think of it and I am poorer for that void in my joke craft. I am angry -- angry at Kardon for thinking of it, and at myself for not thinking of it. And yet I am calmed by the knowledge that there is brilliance in the world and I am not alone in my work. Never before have I had such a raging conflict in my emotions. In fact, I wasn't even sure that I had emotions, let alone more than one at once, and ones which are enemies in the wild.
It has been a crazy morning in my psyche. I say with all sincerity, thank you David Kardon, and go to hell. I'm getting more ice cream.