Young@Heart: If I Only Had the Nerve

If I Only Had the Nerve


I wish I had more nerve! I remember when those classes called Assertiveness Training were popular; I wanted to sign up, but I didn’t have the nerve. I could have been an extra character in the Wizard of Oz, right next to the cowardly lion; a big yellow, fluffy chicken skipping off down the Yellow Brick Road to see the wizard to get nerve.

I secretly would like to be outspoken. I’d love not to care about the consequences of going up to some loud-mouthed cell phone user in the airport and saying, “Sir, please lower your voice, I’m sitting in the next gate and I don’t care what kind of bowel movement you had this morning and I’m really wondering if the guy on the other end of your conversation wants to know either!”

I’d like to not care if I got fat. Recently, I roomed with a wonderful woman in my chorus and she told me she is totally fine with her fat! Her suitcase proved her point. It was filled with an assortment of chips, dips, chocolates and other candy which she happily munched on freely through the weekend. It was stuff I’ve been limiting to a semi-annual indulgence. It made me want a suitcase packed with junk food to take on my next vacation. It made me think, ‘someday I’m going to eat just the center of the watermelon and throw out the rest.’ Just that thought made me nervous.

I love wild animals and living out in the woods as I do, is a great place to be with them. However there is this one family of deer that routinely plan and scheme their raids on my gardens. If I had the nerve, I would advertise in Guns R Us, “Hunter’s Paradise! Get your kill in minutes. Food and lodging included.” I’d guarantee a kill because I know just how to get right up to those fuzzy, adorable flower murderers.

See, my dad was an avid hunter and fisherman. When duck season came, he’d go with his hunting buddies to Bachelor’s Island where there were these crazy looking huts out in the water called duck blinds. They’d take a boat out to one and sit in there hiding from the ducks and geese as they flew in to rest and eat. Well I would build a deer blind. I’d grow about ten roses in ten different pots and keep them on the deck (where the deer can only see and smell them) until hunting season when I’d put them out in my yard in a circle and instruct the hunters to wear hats I’d made covered in roses (like Aunt Bea’s church hat) and go sit in the circle.

I probably won’t get up the nerve to build the deer blind, but this summer I am going to go skinny dipping in the Lewis River. (I said I was going to do that last year but I lost my nerve.) I know a place that unless some guy comes by in a boat no one will see me. I’m also going to eat just the center of a watermelon and although I won’t throw out the seed part I won’t deal with it until the next day. And I think I’m going to make up some business cards that say, “Please use your quiet voice while you’re in public. Thank you!” Oh, and since it’s April, I’ll just bet I lose my nerve by next hunting season, so I think I’ll start making a chicken costume in case I get a chance to take a hike on that Yellow Brick Road.

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