How did I become a pompous ass? I am not into pomp and glitter; I am not a show-off; I was raised differently.
Money was tight when I was a child. We had everything we needed and made things work, but there wasn’t room for any luxury. I think we were poor, but I was never hungry, so I don’t really know.
Money was even tighter when I was a young adult -it was pretty much nonexisting. I was a poor student, and I married a man who didn’t have much more than I did. We made it work, like so many around us.
Then, almost overnight our studies were over, and we started our careers. I made good money right from the start, especially when I traveled. I even had an expense account -who would have thought that was possible. All of a sudden I could afford things; could spend money on items I didn’t need, and it felt good.
25 years ago, right before my birthday, I decided to throw a big party for people I worked with. I was working on the Eastcoast for a couple of weeks, far away from home and I couldn’t fly back before the job was finished. I missed my husband, missed my friends and didn’t want to sit alone in a hotel room on my birthday. Surely I could celebrate somehow?
I made a reservation for ten people at a Sheraton Hotel downtown. I had called around, and they offered a fabulous buffet for JUST $50 per person. 500 bucks without tip, that was a lot of money back then -still is.
“What the Heck,” I thought, “It’s my Birthday, and I will celebrate -even if I celebrate it with people I hardly know.” It was set in stone.
I felt so special that night when I entered the hotel. Everybody had shown up, all of them were dressed nicely for the special occasion. Of course, they were there, who would miss an invitation, when a pompous ass like me pays for everything.
They even brought me presents, things that I didn’t need. A silk scarf with a scary design, a book that I had read before, and wine I didn’t drink. We were coworkers for just a few weeks, they didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them.
Everybody was eating and laughing, they all had a good time -just inside of me it didn’t feel right. “Who were all these people and why was I there?”
I felt disconnected and alone inside. My smile and my laughter were just a facade, and I continued to play my part in the story that I had written.
Then another co-worker arrived, a lady that I liked a lot. She apologized for being late; her babysitter hadn’t shown up, and she had her boy with her. He was 10 or 11 years old, a cute kid, very well behaved. I didn’t mind.
The kid sat down beside me after a while, congratulated me and handed me a bag full of gummy bears. An assortment he had chosen, because he had heard that I always have gummy bears hidden in my desk.
He was right. I love gummy bears, and they are wherever I am. Swedish Fishes, gummy worms, sour bears, I love them all.
Of all the people there, he was the one who knew a little bit about me.
I always joke that it took 500 bucks and a bag of gummy bears for me to see who I am. I will always be the girl who was raised on a farm. I don’t need pomp and glitter around me, and I certainly don’t need to be a pompous arse.
What I need are gummy bears in every form known to man – and lots of them.