Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

August 29, 2013

Four things I suck at, illuminated by the only thing I don’t suck at

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m pathetic. Really. When I was 25, I remember flopping face down on the couch, mumbling, “I’m not good at anything. I suck at everything.

And here I am again, lo, these many years later, doing the same damned thing. Except now there’s too much cat hair to flop face down on anything, so I’m sprawled in the chair in my office, whining that I’m not good at anything.  It’s not self-deprecation. It’s fact. Lest you doubt me, here is a brief list of things at which I suck.

  • Dancing. Oh, I know. You should dance like nobody’s watching. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. Please. What is the point of dancing if nobody’s looking? How bad am I? Remember Elaine on Seinfeld, how she danced like she was having a seizure, only not as gracefully? Well, I make her look like Maria Tallchief. I am not kidding. I reaffirm that fact every time I hear a song I like and dance around my office.  It’s the reason I have curtains.

I mean, who can’t two-step? It’s two steps, people. And line dancing. You just do what the person in front of you does. Except I forget which way to turn so I’m always back-asswards and somebody has to turn me around.

  • Painting. About five years ago I decided to take a watercolor class. I didn’t even know why it was called “water” color. Turns out you mix water with it. And I didn’t know that if you mixed a bunch of colors together willy-nilly you would get something the color of cat poop. Only uglier. The other women in the class didn’t know what to make of me. One said, “Well, she dresses all right,” meaning I didn’t wear things the color of cat poop.

I had the best teacher in the world, and the most patient. If I showed her something I almost didn’t screw up, we agreed that to make sure I didn’t mess with it when no one was looking she would keep it till the next week.

I’m still in the class. I don’t think there’s hope for me, but the consensus of the group is that I’m a hair’s breadth away from painting something that doesn’t suck. I’m not holding my breath.

Sewing. I had a friend who was an excellent seamstress but suffered from a misapprehension of epic proportions. She thought she could teach me to sew. Clothes. Given that my lack of spatial ability is common knowledge, I probably don’t need to tell you how that turned out. Suffice to say that in the furthest reaches of my least used closet is a box of almost-clothes—dresses, skirts, pants, blouses—whose various pattern pieces have been laboriously pinned, cut, marked, and sewn wrong sides together, sideways, upside down, and any other way you can imagine.

Not one thing in that box could be worn by a human of any shape or size. I keep them to remind me to never, ever, ever, try again.

  • Singing. I wanted to sing in the worst way. And, old joke here, I do. It’s been proven time and again. I once thought if I just quit smoking I could do it. Talk about your epic misapprehensions. The sewing and the painting and the dancing—nobody really had to tell me how bad I was. Actually, nobody had to tell me how bad I sing. And yet, someone did.

I was at the hospital with my former mother-in-law, and she was literally on her deathbed. She died the day after this happened. Also there were her sisters, Glenda, Phyllis Ann, and Dottie. Wilma was peaceful and had no fear of death, but evidently was bored. She asked someone to sing something, a hymn, I think. No one offered right off, so I said, “I will.” I don’t even know what it was, but about a verse into it, Wilma patted my hand and said, “Honey, let Glenda do it.” So I did. Needless to say, she was way better at it than I was.

When I think about that, I’m always reminded of an old man at church who once said of another choir member, “I’d rather hear every coon dog I’ve got howl than list to one more song out of her mouth.” I guess I’m lucky Wilma only said, “Let Glenda do it.”

I might also tell you about my lack of skill at bowling, tennis, dollhouse building, needlepoint, rug hooking, hair-cutting, equation-solving—well, I could go on and on. Which I have. I guess, though, if you’ve read this far I must be good at one thing. Unless you’ve only finished this to verify that I’m a bad writer.


If that’s the case, keep it to yourself. Please.








  1. Funny! Your singing story reminds me of mine although the old person in mine was not dying but my grandmother-in-law celebrating her 80th or 200th birthday or something like that. I was singing and she asked if there was a cat fight in the room.


    Comment by averageinsuburbia — August 29, 2013 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  2. I can vouch for your hair-cutting abilities. I have pics to prove it. The unfunny thing is that when I was a young hippie, after my various step-fathers beat me into semi-consciousness, drug me to some very reluctant, fearful barber, & ordered them to “cut it all off,” which they proceeded to do, it took me years to de-tramatize myself & actually let someone come close to my head with scissors. Then, obviously because of a high degree of brain damage, probably due to my step-fathers’ fists (aided by your influential persuasions) I let you . . .

    You have many other endearing qualities, mostly being able to realize your shortcomings & not be hung up over them. Announce them. Have fun with them. Put ’em on a billboard! If we’re only as sick as our secrets, then . . . you’re in good shape.

    But keep your scissors to yourself.


    Comment by Bongo Silly — August 30, 2013 @ 1:50 am | Reply

  3. So who says you have to be good at everything you touch? You are not Midas after all. They make pretty good mufflers. Anyway, how are you supposed to find at what you ARE good at if you don’t try to do everything? So if you are only good at writing funny stories – you WIN! I bet Erma Bombeck looked like a drunk turkey dancing.
    I can dance, sew,and write some. I do them all, but not at the same time. Imagine if you were a fabulous dancer,sewer,artist – when would you write?
    Chin up, Carol – you make people laugh! I wish I could do that.


    Comment by ponytail girl — August 30, 2013 @ 8:34 am | Reply

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