Monday, August 23, 2010

Hypothetically Speaking...

So yesterday - Sunday - was a day.  Yep, it was a day all right.  You know, one of those days.  The kind of day where you go to bed thinking, "OK, my first mistake was..." and the list is so long it dates back to your mother's first trimester. 

(Of course, JFK was shot during my mother's first trimester, so it's Oswald's fault I had such a headache last night.  Jerk.)

Anyway, in the name of sorting some things out, I'd like to present you with a few ... um ... hypothetical scenarios about things that never really happened at all, they're totally made up, seriously, we're just ruminating here. 

I really need some honest - I mean, hypothetical - feedback from you, though.  You know, the kind that starts with, "Oh, DeNae, you poor, poor girl..." and ends with "Who should I smack first?"

Hypothetical Scenario Number One:  Suppose a member of the bishopric
(def: church congregational leadership team member and unpaid carrier-outer of one thankless duty after another)
comes to your house and invites you to accept a responsibility in your ward
(def: church congregation defined by geographical boundaries and a shared conviction that the BYU football team is the only true and living football team on the earth today, and furthermore, that fellow congregants who happened to graduate from the University of Utah instead and / or think there is nothing more mind-numbingly dull than BYU football should be burned at the stake or at least left off the social e-mail list - either option being preferable to said fellow congregants than having to sit through a BYU football game)
that really requires a complete overhaul of your attitude, not to mention the way you'll be spending Sundays for the at least semi-foreseeable future.

Is it wrong to say, "Ah, man! That totally sucks!", and then burst into tears?

It is?


Hypothetical Scenario Number Two:  Suppose it, you know, already happened.  Hypothetically.  Is it then also wrong to say, "Fine.  I'll do it.  But I don't want to be put on any damned committees.  I mean it.  None of this 'Hey, DeNae isn't busy any more, let's make her the ward Jell-o specialist!' crap."

And you really said 'damned'.  And also, maybe, 'crap'.  And worst of all, if I'm hypothesizing correctly, 'committees'.

Still wrong, huh?

You sure?


Hypothetical Scenario Number Three:  Well, suppose you then Facebook e-mailed your new friend Gideon Burton, with whom you have at least three things in common, namely a) You love his wife, b) You now have the same calling, and c) You've spent at least a few years of your life believing you were the boss of the ward, even though only one of you was, technically, correct. 

And you asked him to cheer you up because he's been on both sides of the table on this one. 

And suppose his Facebook e-mail response included the following line:

"...none of this whining self-pity crap or I'll come snatch the diet Coke from your ungrateful paws."

Would you -

A) thank your lucky stars that even your new friends know when to kick your butt up around your ears for being such a fathead,

B) unFacebookFriend Gideon Burton because, even though he sort of validated your use of the word 'crap', he maintains an irrational hostility toward diet Coke, an innocent bystander in all of this who has done nothing but support you, not judge you, and dissolve most but not all of your esophagus, or

C) use that line as the beginning of another sonnet, which you've discovered you have an almost genius-level talent for, as was recently demonstrated on this very blog?

What? "A", you say?  But what about defending diet Coke's honor?  What about your new career as a sonnetist?

No?  Seriously?


Hypothetical Scenario Number Four:  Suppose you decided that the best way to resolve all of these hypothetical dilemmas was to put them out there to your bloggy buddies, and instead of them telling you that you handled yesterday just right and that the rest of the universe really needs to get its act together, they told you, y'know, the truth.  Would it be wrong to flip a psychic bird at everyone living inside your computer, stomp up the stairs in a huff, and spend the rest of the day in the tub reading trashy novels, eating peanut butter M&Ms, and yes, dammit, drinking gallons of diet Coke?

You could do that?  It would be ok?  Totally understandable?

Finally.  Something we all can agree on.



Kristina P. said...

I think you need to up the ante, and instead of saying mild words like dammit, start using the F word a lot. How could they possibly issue a calling then? Or allow you to remain in the church?

Garden of Egan said...

I think you'll make a fabulous Relief Society President......hypothetically.
You DRIP with compassion.
And of course, your dammits and hells would really get mileage out of visiting teaching.
Ya, I say go for it.

Baby Sister said...

Haha. Soaking in a tub and snarfing peanut butter m&m's is totally the way to go after something like that.
But I'm sure you'll do great. Good luck!!

DeNae said...

Tauna, did you not read the part that said Gideon and I have the same calling? He's gonna look dang silly in a skirt and heels.

No, dear readers, I am not the RS president. And there is no point in playing the "is it bigger than a bread box" game. All that matters is I had a tantrum but it was totally, totally justified.

It was.


Stacy said...

The big question on everyone's mind is do you do your Diet Coke with or without the lime? Because we all know that effects how truly worthy of being the scout master you are.

(And Gideon has a whole blog devoted just to sonnets? That's impressive. And a little bit sick...)

Jillybean said...

Gospel Doctrine teacher, right?

You should buy a large case of Diet Coke and hand the cans out to everyone in class the first day you teach.

Just work it into the lesson somehow.

Andrea said...

I thought he was the bishop, and was thinking that's an interesting church you go to. But then I re-read. Primary!? Awesome.
And totally justified.

Annette Lyon said...

I hear that if you wear colored shirts, facial hair, and sandals to church you'll get passed up for callings.

Too bad that might work only for men.

Brooke said...

Actually, after last General Conference, the only sure-fire way of getting passed up for the big callings is to wear flip-flops to church. I just went out and bought myself 8 pairs.

I know we're not supposed to play the "Guess the New Calling" game, but I'm putting my money down on PRIMARY CHORISTER! I cried the first time I got that calling. But by the end of my term, our Primary could rock Once There Was a Snowman in 4-part harmony.

Garden of Egan said...

Hey! Where is it written that the RS Pres HAS to be a woman? Hmmm?
I bet it isn't in any handbook.

I'm still calling Harry Reid and having him vote for you as the RS Prez.

I think the only other calling that might cause you to swear would be nursery leader.
Like I said, you DRIP with compassion.

DeNae said...

And Tauna, I think it's called "The General Handbook of Instructions".

But show me where it's written that the director of the Tabernacle Choir has to be a man.

THAT'S a question I'd like answered.

Rebecca said...

I remember bursting into tears when I got asked to fill a calling once. And I am not a crying kind of person, but it was such a shock. If I had any candy in the vacinity I would have totally pigged out. I think a few mild angry words are healthy every once in awhile. When my kids hear me say dammit they all scatter so as not to get blamed for whatever set me off. (sometimes I say it to get 5 minutes of peace and quiet.) know you are going to have to tell us the calling...

Jessica said...

I answered the request for a calling with a "Are you kidding me?!" hysterical laughing followed by crying only to have the bishop tell me that I needed to think about it and call when I can say yes.

I think that you have learned to stop picking fights with that one guy in your gospel doctrine class. Now who will take your place and keep them all in gospel line?

Kazzy said...

You, I am sure, conquer all you set out to do. You like to portray yourself as a force to be reckoned with, but I sense and really like the softy underneath.

ps you have my permission to tease doc burton about the speak easy (neighbor) who brings coke over to the house for him in a brown paper bag.

DeNae said...

Kaz, I am TOTALLY a force! You get back down here to Vegas, you'll do some reckoning, Missy!

OK, not really, so much. And lately, I've even had this bizarre interest in holding other people's babies. What the heck? I don't even LIKE babies until they're at least 40.

I swear, if all this 'soft underbelly' stuff is the change of life, I'm smacking my gynecologist.

Sharon said...

It sounds like you handled it a lot better than ... say ... someone (who shall remain nameless) throwing a pencil down on the table at a particularly asinine Consistory meeting (hypothetically speaking?) and then being branded (metaphorically?) "unprofessional" (literally?) ... FOREVER! (hyperbolically?) Just sayin' ...!

Long bubbly soaks, M&Ms, and a beverage of choice sounds like the perfect solace. I also hope you've found something good for yourself here among friends. Thank you for what you wrote!

Rebecca said...

Hypothetically, you could have been extended a calling a couple of months ago, at the back of the chapel, only to burst into tears as people walked by, giving us a wide berth. The counselor didn't know what to do, poor man.

I said yes. They said they'd wait a few months.

And no, I didn't cry on purpose. That was so embarrassing. Hypothetically.

Rebecca said...

And apparently, I can't type worth crap.

A few years ago when I was a counselor in the RS presidency, I was informed by one of the sisters that our good president had said the 'S' word when they were in the kitchen, and this sister didn't like it.

I don't know why she told me. It wasn't like I could do anything about it.

Melanie J said...

What does Gideon know? (Okay, fine. A lot.) But I'm thinking, prayer . . . whatever. Peanut M&Ms? Now THAT's inspiration.

P.S. I'm pretty sure Karen said something about Gideon leaving the primary room with a hymn book under his arm a couple of weeks ago. . . just saying.

DeNae said...

Mel.A.Nie. You stop detectoring. Go feed Eden. I don't think her legs are nearly chubby enough.

(And she's one of the babies I inexplicably decided I loved holding, back at Storymakers. Honestly, who am I??)

GHFamily said...

Whatever this new calling is Danae, I bet you didn't break out in tears like Greg did when he got his new calling...just saying....and we love you whatever you are asked to do and you have our full support!

Lara said...

So, I think I remember Kaz mentioning something about Gideon's new calling, and if it's what I think it'll be great! But tantrums are sometimes necessary first.

Gideon Burton said...

What's with all the secrecy about the calling? Some of us are not ashamed, perhaps even a tad proud, to be the PRIMARY PIANIST! ("I'm small I know, but wherever I go, the grass grows greener still.")

As for the cola comments, I refer you to (what else?) my confessional sonnet about Cherry Coke:

annie valentine said...

This is so easy. All you have to do is accept the calling, get pregnant, go on bed rest, and then conveniently ask to be released for the good of the ward.

I'm brilliant, I know. And I don't care what your calling is, all I want right now is a bag of peanut butter m&m's.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

hee hee hee hee

I can't wait to hear what it is.

I'm totally calling you tomorrow. Since you won't be in town next Thursday, GOSH DARNIT!

Gosh darnit is a more appropriate word to say to your bishop. ;)

Allyson & Jere said...

Primary pianist? Jeez man, I thought they'd called you to be something hideous like cub scout leader, or Young Womens leader, OR...NURSERY (which I just had the horror to be called to) or something like that. But pianist...CAKE! You only have to be present for like 20 minutes per hour, then you can go hang out in the hall and giggle with your friends the rest of the time. What? you don't do that? Hmmm

I'm happy to be most anywhere that doesn't include Sunday School.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed your're great!

DeNae said...

Gaaaah! Gideon, you outed me! My bishop's gonna freak! (I sorta haven't been publicly released with a Vote of Thanks or a Snort of Indifference or whatever ward members feel like doing) I know I shouldn't have blogged about it but I kept bawling and I needed someone to say, "Oh for the love, you idiot, buck up already."

And Allyson of 'Allyson Amp Jere' fame, why would you want to miss Sunday School? Gospel Doctrine is AWESOME!! (At least it is in our ward, and will continue to be, of that I have no doubt!)

How can you not want to study the Old Testament? When there are lines like, "And when they awoke, they were all dead corpses"? BEST scripture EVER!!

LKP said...

i LOVE the old testament!!!!! so this year in gospel doctrine i think is fabulous!
as for the calling, i possibly turned down my second calling ever as an adult when i was asked to work in the nursery....but i may not have turned it down until after being in the calling one week......and i might have turned down the next calling after that to be in the my defense, my first calling ever as an adult was sunbeams, where i co-taught with another gal who never showed up, 2 of our sunbeams were developmentally delayed, another was oppositionally defiant, and the other two might have well have been mute. not fun. so with that bad taste still lingering, i couldn't hack nursery, or another round of sunbeams. just couldn't. after the 2nd turn-down though i was mildly chastised by my bishop, and told "for future reference, i'd be careful turning down a calling extended by your bishop." the next calling was RS secretary, which due to still shaking in my boots i accepted quickly. after 6 months in there, afraid of more calling changes, i moved to idaho! (j/k, we moved so my husband could attend BYU-I, but the bishop's warning has haunted the back of my mind ever since....and, after we moved back in 2008, he's now in our stake presidency, so i gotta really take him seriously!)

hang in there.

the current calling we hold (mr LKP & i---well and it's not really an official calling yet, due to pending stake changes & the calling freeze going on) is the 11 year-old-scout leaders. bleck! i know ZIPPO about scouting. i have one child, she's 13 and obviously a girl. we didn't even do girl scouts with her (myself, i didn't make it past being a brownie scout as a kid). and i've never wanted to be the sister in the ward with the "SCOUTING FOR LIFE" sticker in her back car window....and the macrame key-fob in blue & gold. just not me, no offense to anyone. so part of me has my fingers crossed that when the calling freeze is lifted maybe it'll change....but then again, i see mr LKP come home from camporees all giddy...and i know they need a woman to keep track of all their book work...and then i stop holding my breath, hang my head, and shuffle back to my desk of scout crap to sort through.

dammit's okay isn't it? didn't j. golden kimball say way worse things than that?

AS Amber said...

Oh DeNae you poor, poor girl!!! Why? Why do bad things happen to good people? And by "people" I mean "your Sunday school class". Seriously!! You're a Gospel Doctorine teacher!!! Now your ward's going to go the ay of the rest of the church and have a big snooze fest during SS. Boooooo I hate this news!

Ok now that MY tantrum is finished...obviously the primary needs to be blessed by your talent. Blah, blah, blah. Those kids are in for a treat! And I think wanting to hold all the babies is just hereditary.

I already know who I'm smacking first: Kristina P. and Annie (what? Herw face isn't prego!). For not letting me go to your SS class when we were down there. They were all "we love our family and want to get home to them". GAG!

Now, who do I smack second?

AS Amber said...

Stupid phone. Lets me spell stuff wrong. You know what I meant, though.

JennyMac said...

Tub soaks cure many things. lol.

And KP is hilarious as usual.

JoeinVegas said...

Well, hypothetically, best would be to say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO at step #1, thus avoiding all the below items as well as keeping Sundays free for family and fun stuff.

Karen Peterson said...

Scenario One: I seem to recall once bursting into tears when a member of my bishopric called me--yet again!--to a certain calling that is known in most wards as "what did you do to deserve THAT?"

Scenario Two: Remember J. Golden Kimball.

Scenario Three: Sounds to me like this hypothetical Gideon fella wasn't intending harm to the Diet Coke, but, rather, plotting to steal it all for himself.

Scenario Four: If flipping a psychic bird is wrong then I don't want to be right.

Karen Peterson said...

Now who should I smack first?

InkMom said...

Well. Let me first say that since I'm at the end of the line, it's probably okay that I'm about to unleash a serious diatribe about all kinds of things . . . mostly because I'm not posting on my own blog and I need an outlet.

Disclaimer: I love my bishopric (of which my father is a member) and I support and sustain them, as, I suspect, you do your own. Generally, calls are inspired. And I do not make it a habit to question the motives of Priesthood leadership, denigrate them or their offices, or question their authority.

Unleashing now:

The ability to teach -- and do it well -- is no less common in this church than the ability to play the piano. Any literate person can muddle through a Relief Society lesson (that's the next rant), but you just can't fake music skills. I can't tell if this is an argument in favor of your new calling or against it. There are people who will never be even passable musicians -- and they should not be required to. Same goes for teaching -- some will never be effective. And they should not be forced!

So when did playing the piano in primary become the place to put one of the greatest teachers known to the western world? (I mean, you're no Confucius -- hence the western.) I say give the primary kids a tape to sing along with and let the teachers teach!

Otherwise you end up with what we had in Relief Society on Sunday: a lesson on the Power of the Priesthood in which the teacher actually taught about how sisters can lay hands . . . I can't even type it because you'll get weird Google searches. But think completely inappropriate use, and lines like, "Well, we have to give the men something so they'll feel useful."

I can only think that somewhere, in some ward in Las Vegas, some newbie Gospel Doctrine teacher is getting ready to really learn something earth shattering and important. Because, surely, this is one situation where your bishop must have gone back to the Lord in prayer two, maybe three times, thinking the first time around was just a little joke!

Motherboard said...

You are CLEARLY the more righteous of the two of us because I got asked a couple of months ago if I would be the RS pianist and I burst out laughing and promptly told them NO.

I don't regret it one. single. bit.

Especially since the chorister likes to pick obscure hymns no one has ever in the history of Mormondom sung except for that one time 125 years ago.

And that, my friend, is why I have all the seats by the A/C in Hell and Satan has promised me Diet Coke by the gallons. And I believe him.


DeNae said...

InkMom, I love you.

Molly Doe said...

I see your primary pianist and up you a primary chorister.
Except they haven't talked to the current chorister to find out when she wants me to take over yet. That's okay, it's only been a couple of weeks.
At least if you're the pianist and you need to swear, you can bang the piano really loud to cover.

That Girl said...

Is it too late to say no? said...

What?! This is SO AWESOME! You are totally gonna rock the position of Assistant Stamp Licker on the Board of Recruitment of Former Gardening Junkies.

tammy said...

Primary pianist? I love primary pianist! There's nothing to prepare, you just show up, play the piano and you're done.

And for the record, my brother was RS Prez on his mission.

Connie said...

My hippie brother in law used to play the piano for priesthood mtg. While playing prelude, he'd throw in "Hey Jude", "In a Godadavida" and "Stairway to Heaven" played hymn-like to see if anyone noticed. You could have a little fun with it. You might like it!
If not, just eat your peanutbutter M&Ms in the bathtub. That's what I'm going to do now.

Lacy said...

Alrighty Denae, I must add my own little bit of tantrum throwing here! It really is a waste to have someone like you (that can even get MY husband to sunday school for heavens sake!) not teaching Sunday School!! But from the primary president point of view, yay for your ward! There is NO better place to be than primary every week! And it makes a world of difference to have a good pianist, as compared to someone that says they can play the piano :) You are gonna love it!

Eclipsed said...

I stopped reading once diet coke was insulted!

Stopping by from SITS

Mikki said...

sonnetist? Is that a word?

You could do what my husband did when asked to serve in primary. He stopped going to church altogether. Of course, he'd JUST been baptized and didn't know what the heck he was even supposed to think let alone teach, so he got scared. He hasn't been back yet. Big sissy. (him, not you LOL)

Good luck with your new calling.
Did you really say damn to a member of the bishopric? I think I idolize you!

DeNae said...

OK, now that my bishop has read this post and e-mailed me with a surprisingly pleasant message considering my indiscretion, I need to say right here and now I do NOT have a problem with playing the piano in Primary. I love Primary. And I love my bishop. and I love, love, love the person they've called to replace me in GD. And I still get plenty of opportunities to put people to sleep when I teach or speak. so everybody wins.

Sharon said...

Just think, when kids are saying the darnedest thing there in the Primary Room, you can be hiding behind your piano cracking up, and no one will ever know. More good blog fodder. Might be able to wear your flipflops back there too.

seashmore said...

Peanut butter M&M's in the bathtub? Why didn't I think of that while eating 2 lbs of them last week? All the more reason for me to grow up and be like you.

As for the calling, I'm sure the Lord thinks you've learned enough as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and that you could stand to learn a thing or two as the Primary pianist. (But if you really want to teach, you could always get the new teacher to contract some infectious, contagious, long-lasting disease, forcing you to be called in as a substitute.)

Terresa said...

I'll share the dammit, M&Ms and trashy novel anytime. Because hey, that's what Vegas girls do. :)

PS: I'm currently Primary Prez campaigning for an early release. The way I see it, I'm 1 in year, 2 years left and already way past NuTs.

I'll take jello committee Any Day. Or nursery toy sorter. Or hymnal collector. Or door greeter. Whatev works for moi!!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Okay, DeNae. As a person who has laughed out loud at a bishop during a previous calling, I understand how you feel. You'll be fine, but you already know that. It's just hard to change gears. I totally agree with InkMom too, but sometimes, I don't think God gives a flip about talent or where people think they "belong." Sometimes it's just all about filling needs and finding willing hearts and hands. I think that's all he requires of us, and you've got that totally under control. Right now, in my own new digs, I'm wondering if I'll ever even be noticed or end up with a calling at all. My least favorite feeling is "underwhelmed in the kingdom." It will all work out.

DeNae said...

You all should know, tonight I met the woman I'll be working with in my hypothetical calling, and I'm completely in love with her in a totally non-lesbian kind of way. So you all can stand down red alert.

I know you were terribly concerned.

Juli Kilgore said...

I am so glad that you have had a change of heart concerning your "hypothetical" calling. For days I have done nothing but think about some of the aweful things posted about Heavenly Fathers children and it broke my heart! There is not a better calling then one in the Primary where you will find such sweet spirits who have unconditional love for their leaders. These children are just looking for someone to teach them about Jesus and to love them. Even the "tough ones" just need a little extra love. That is our purpose here on earth, to do the Lords work. I am still getting hugs from MY Primary kids every time they see me. You have such a great talent that our Primary is in such need of. I have never felt the spirit stronger than while in Primary singing time where those sweet spirits sing songs of our Father in Heaven and brother Jesus Christ. As you know, nothing brings the spirit into a room faster than music. It has brought tears to my eyes more times than I can count. Knowledge of the Gospel is important but as you know it alone can't save us. We must have charity, compassion, Christlike love and give service. I agree with you, you will be workng with an amazing lady (or shall I say ladies) but you will also be working with some very wonderful children. Have Fun!!!

Shantel said...

Speaking as a former Primary President. Thank you Thank you Thank you and you are an Angel. Literally. Primary songs contain the deepest and richest doctorine in the church, and how appriopriate that someone as knowlegeable as you should play them. The spirit that you will add to that music will move mountain. In your life, and in the lives of those you work with. What a blessing!!

Braden said...

Never swear at a bishopric member. THey will find ways to repay you, subtlely, of course, for many years to come. I mean heck, after the primary gig ends, there's always nursery....