Friday, January 09, 2009

Waiting for my Meaty Bone

When my kids were little, I read an article about creating a ritual for little hurts, specific comforts not related to food. The writer suggested anything would do, even a drink of water, that the undivided attention is what actually comforts the child. So I held and rocked the kids...sang to them...counted to three and yelled OWIEEE! with them. And always, when they got past the worst of the crying, I offered them a drink of water. Eventually, they equated a drink of water with love and concern. Katie once got hurt at her dad's house and came home indignant at her step mother. "She didn't care at all, Mom. I even had to get my own drink of water!"

My little doggie was very easy to house train. When she went outside as a puppy, I praised her and petted her and made a fuss when she did her business. As soon as we got back in the house, I gave her a small treat. She's 7 years old now, but that's still our routine. Once in a while I forget, and she sits in front of the treat jar, waiting patiently for her Meaty Bone.

A couple weeks ago, I landed a big writing assignment, one that meant I wouldn't have to worry about money for the rest of the year. I danced and sang when I got the email; had two glasses of pinot grigio that night. The first official document arrived: a non-disclosure agreement. Several more documents arrived, each from a different location and with a different corporate name. Some of those names were registered outside the country. The company did not have a corporate web site. Google turned up some pretty unsavory accusations.

I decided to take a wait-and-see approach. I need the money. All marketing is a shading of the truth. Who made me the arbiter of truth and goodness? I told myself lots of things as I waited for the actual assignments to arrive.

When the details showed up, it was as bad as I feared: possibly illegal, certainly unethical. I dithered. I argued with myself. I imagined being called to give a deposition. I imagined the people who might be misled by what I wrote. I imagined living with my conscience.

Bright and early the next morning, I emailed the managing editor to explain that I could not accept the assignment. Judging from his terse but polite response, I'm not the first writer to walk away after the details were revealed.

Throughout that morning and afternoon, I obsessively checked my email as I worked on a series of short projects. Write a paragraph, check email. Write another paragraph, back to email.

After a couple hours, it hit me that I was waiting for my Meaty Bone. I was a very good girl. I did the right thing and now expected wonderful news to arrive or a great assignment to turn up in my treat jar/inbox. When I realized what was going on, I laughed myself silly.

The Universe did not deliver a treat for my trick. Hell, I even had to get my own damn drink of water.


George said...

Your treat is coming, believe it. And you made you the arbiter of truth and goodness! FYI: coming to your pond almost every day delivers up a nice drink of water for me.

mamatulip said...

Sorry to hear that the assignment turned out to be a bust, but what a great little post you turned it in to. I love how you made it come full circle.

You'll get your treat, I agree. When you least expect it.

Doubting Thomas said...

Yep. You was waiting for your treat.

We're not all that far from trained pets, when you get right down to it.

By the way, I'm strongly considering building my own biogas toilet in the back yard. Think my neighbors would mind if I cooked with natural methane?

Nancy said...

Love this post. Your treat will come and perhaps, in this case, you should move from water to wine.

Michelle O'Neil said...

You ARE a treat Jerri.

Deb Shucka said...

Your spirit and your words are clean fresh water to all of us who have the honor of knowing you.

Amber said...

LOL! I wish it had worked out for you, but I know your "meatybone" will be coming in the form of karma, down the line.


luckyzmom said...

plus what Deb Shucka said...