Friday, September 29, 2006


My 13 year-old daughter relies on a comical passive-aggressive coping mechanism when slightly peeved at people (“people” meaning her 17 year-old brother). From across the room, while he is taunting her about the usual stuff (“I get the last Pop Tart because you ate yours last night!") she doesn’t say anything. She just holds up her thumb and forefinger “framing” his head between the two. She squints one eye, looks through the frame with the other, then slowly, and with some pleasure, “compresses” his head between her fingers, like she’s putting out a match. He’s kind of snuffed out. Works for her, cracks us up.

Noting how well the pinch has worked for her, the whole family now uses this silent commentary when the mood strikes. For instance, I like to compress Chevy Chase’s head because his giant ego has taken over his brain. He had a famous line on SNL’s Weekend Update as an egotistical anchor: “Good evening. I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not.” People laughed at the pompous remark, but I’ve come to believe he wakes up every morning, steps out on his porch and shouts it to the world. So when I see him spouting his political poo, he gets the squeeze. Pop, he’s gone. I’ve also tried squashing Al Franken and Rosie O’Donnell, but their heads are of mammoth proportions, so it’s not as easy.

Ok, pinching doesn’t work for every aggravation in life, but it does help keep insignificant things in perspective. In the big scheme, whatever disappointment, frustration or negative curve ball comes my way, if I compare it to other suffering, it becomes a midget of a problem, usually laughable.

I want to breathe deeply and walk lightly through life, clearing clutter from my heart so that I can focus on bigger issues. Almost more than anything else, I want peace, or freedom from mental/emotional turmoil. I think that’s what Paul was talking about in
Philippians 4:7-9:

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you.

So, I say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff; pinch it!” Life really is too short, even if you live a long one. You can swat the flies, but focus on the picnic. The summer of life will inevitably slip into autumn, when the picnic will be remembered either as the battle against the flies, or the feast of many sweet strawberries, depending on perspective.


Dick Cheney practices "The Compression Aggression" on Osama

"The Compressor" incognito

"The Compressee," who as you can see, clearly deserves every pinch he gets.


Big Mama said...

I love the image of your daughter compressing your son. Cracks me up. Don't think I won't be using this in the future.

Linda said...

Oh yes, do try the aggression compression. It even works on billboards and rude drivers, and no harm is done. (I'm just having silly fun!)

Susanne said...

I love your last paragraph! I'm going to remember that one! Your daughter is funny! I think I'll teach that on the sly to my youngest overly sensitive daughter for when her brother is doing the brother thing. It'll be our secret way of handling her emotion! Great post, Linda!

Beau said...

Loved your post Linda! I even copied part of it on my xanga. I think I will needle point it. Well, let's see...I don't needle point. Maybe a note card then.