Then those people show up. The ones that tell you to make lemonade out of the lemons in their life. The full of "happy, happy; joy,,joy" people that make you want to strangle them.
These are good people doing good things. Don't strangle them.
It’s first hour; Isabella is wearing a light pink jumper with a pink skirt and three or four petticoats. She vaguely resembles a Raggedy Ann doll gone mad with happiness. I walk into class....
“Hey Izzy, guess what I just heard on the radio while driving to school? President Bush launched a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. They say we have about 27 minutes until they retaliate. We are all going to die.”
“Good morning Aaron My cat had kittens last night about 8:30, right before bed. They are s-o-o-o cute! One is gray with white stripes and one is all gray. The others are...
“Izzy, don’t you understand? We are close enough to Topeka that we’ll be killed almost instantly!”
“Aaron, think of how lucky we are! We’ll die quickly. Think of all the poor people and pets that will die a slow lingering death. My, you have worn a plethora of nice clothes this week. It suits you.”
“I will say this very slowly, so that there will be no confusion. Life on Earth is about to come to a very abrupt halt. Every living thing on the planet will die. Now, do you understand why I’m a little excited?”
“I understand what you’re saying, but Aaron, you’re wrong. I read that rats and roaches will probably live through the catastrophe and evolution cart begin again with them: So what are you doing this weekend?”
“I don’t think I’ll be doing anything. I’ll be dead. And stop fluttering your hands in front of me. That really makes it hard to think.”
“Oh well, sorry. I can’t help it. I better do the journal entry now or else you won’t get credit on the paper due Monday.”
The whole time during this conversation Izzy has been spelling out her every word in sign language. It is one of her most infuriating habits. The scary thing is that when you hold her hands, so that they cannot move, she talks . . very . . slowly, as though she is spelling the words in her head. After a while I learn to ignore it. Then she’ll get upset or excited and put her hands directly in front of my face to make sure I understand. On the other hand (hah!), sometimes she’ll put them in front of her own face, maybe she is checking to make sure her fingers agree with her mouth.
Izzy is small, but like a rat terrier that thinks it is a Doberman, she exudes a feeling of fearlessness. When someone that knows her is told that she’s tiny they would first think about it for a while. Then, all of the sudden, their face would light up with surprise and they would walk away, as though it had been a revelation from God. She is so filled with energy; it seems that any person would need more body to contain so much activity.
Sometimes Izzy can make me very angry because she is so happy and I am not. She even does this on Monday mornings when no student has any right to be happy! Izzy has the gift to make me feel very good, no matter how bad I feel or want to feel. I especially like the way she sees the good side of everything, be it a bad weekend or nuclear holocaust.
This character sketch was an assignment given almost 25 years ago. Some of those people may be alive because of it. Try to make lemonade out of the lemons . . . . and make today a good day.
*Names have been changed . . because it seemed like the thing to do.
**It has been republished twice (by me) since high school and the urge to edit it has been . . . powerful. I believe in the end though, that Han shot first. Period. End of story. Because of that, I've not revised it. Thank you for understanding.