© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, Big Bird jammies, bunny slippers, jinx, turtleneck, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Your LDS Radio, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)
I recently discovered a personal truth. I have my own jinx. In this age of catastrophes—hurricanes, earthquakes, and poor cell phone reception—there’s this pixie that has nothing better to do than follow me around, causing wacko things to happen.
Take this morning, for instance. Thinking it was about time to wear something other than Big Bird jammies and bunny slippers all day, I pulled out khakis and a turtleneck. For those who don’t know, a turtleneck is a shirt designed to push the flab on your neck up to your jawbone, giving you four chins instead of the traditional two. The turtleneck gets its name from the ancient Hebrew word, “turtle,” meaning “shirt that only looks good on a twenty-year-old,” and “neck,” meaning … well … “neck.”
Since the turtleneck looked wrinkled—either I didn’t get it out of the dryer in time, or Corky Porky Pie, the dog, had used it as a pillow—I carried it to the ironing board. Just then, Russ walked in and stared at the ironing board as if he’d never seen one before, which tells you how often he irons his own clothes. He knew better than to ask what it was, however, because then he’d get a lesson on clothing care. Finally, after a long minute, he said, “What ‘cha doing?”
“Standing here, waiting for a bus.” The sarcasm being lost on him, I shook the iron. “Darn, it needs water.”
“I’ll get it for you.” Russ headed to the bathroom tap, and I wondered if it was safe to leave him loose in the house in the morning—or any time of day, for that matter. But, surely, nothing could happen while filling an iron. I walked out to apply my deodorant—a ritual that I do at least once a week—and when I came back in, I found Russ standing by the iron with a chagrined look on his face.
“Oops,” he said.
“Oops? Oops what?”
He motioned toward the iron. “You said it needed water, so I added some. Okay, not some—a lot. It overflowed all over the ironing board.”
Never one to be deterred by minor circumstances, I mopped the water up with Russ’s old shirt— which conveniently had his body still in it—and sent him on his way. Then, I started ironing.
Hot, rusty water spurted from the iron onto the turtleneck. The kind of rusty that makes a beautiful, cream-colored shirt look like it has the measles. The kind of rusty that only comes out of a knit turtleneck when you dump undiluted bleach onto it. And not that I’d know from personal experience, but dumping bleach straight onto a shirt not only takes out the stains, it takes out the shirt, too.
After throwing it into the laundry basket, I stepped to the closet and got another turtleneck. One that was pristine, and as white as Donny Osmond’s teeth. I swung it over my head, pulled it down past my shoulders and—just as Russ walked in the room—grazed my chin with my thumbnail.
A drop of blood dripped onto the shirt, looking like a neon beacon against the whiteness. Russ pointed to the injury on my face. “What’d you do, cut yourself shaving?”
Russ handed me a tissue, I dabbed at the wound, and looked down at the stain. “I wonder if I can get the blood out of this shirt without having to wash the whole thing. Maybe if I take it off and splash a little cold water on the spot …”
Russ grabbed my arm. “Wait. I have a better idea. I’ve heard that if you spit on the blood, that’ll remove it. There’s an enzyme in your saliva that breaks down your own blood.”
Really? Maybe it was worth a try. I pulled the shirt up to my mouth, spit, and then looked at it in the mirror. The reflection showed a slobbery shirt with two bloodstains. Somehow, in the process of spitting—a skill that apparently does not come natural to women— I’d slid the fabric across the cut on my chin. I gave up, took off the turtleneck, went to the closet, and for the third time in fifteen minutes, pulled out another shirt.
Although I appreciated Russ’s suggestions, it seemed like I was farther ahead before he entered the scene. And that’s when it dawned on me; I had a jinx. And as much as I loved Russ, I was a lot better off without my own personal jinx following me around.
What's playing in my head: Happy Together by The Turtles
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