Sunday, March 23, 2014

Literally Taking Things Literally

I am a well educated person.  Let's just get that clear.

Seriously.  I went to college, I have a master's degree and many, many courses beyond.

But, I take pretty much everything literally and only in recent years have I learned to stop and ask myself if I'm supposed to take it as I hear it or figure out something different.

I still don't always succeed.

Combine that with my super active imagination, and I'll share a few of the whoppers I've carried around in my brain for way too long:

When my mother told me that "blind driveway" signs were for blind drivers, I believed her.  I was probably 9.  I immediately wondered (only to myself because asking it out loud would make me look stupid, right?) if blind drivers had to look behind them to back up or if they just hit it and hoped for the best. 

Every time we'd drive by the sign that prompted my question, I'd imagine a blind man (always a man) throwing his arm over the back of the bench seat (always a bench seat), turning his head and then remembering it would make no difference, turning his head back forward and flooring it down the driveway.

I've mentioned this one before, but until about 3 years ago, I truly believed Girl  Scout cookies were made by girl scouts.  Of course I don't mean groups of 12 year old girls making those Thin Mints we so covet.  I meant that I  imagined girls could rise in the ranks of girls scoutness and become workers in the holy factories of girl scout cookie making.

I figured someone rose to the ranks of the Mother Superior of girl scouts and she hired only girls who had been girl scouts and had risen through the ranks.  That way, the factories would run efficiently the way girl scouts had been trained, because girl scouts always follow the rules.

And they'd park their butts on their sit upons during their breaks where they only smoked homegrown tobacco and ate wholesome, homemade lunches while darning socks.

Clearly, I never was a girl scout or I would know better, right?

It was a very sad day, when in my 30s, I discovered there is no rising in the ranks, there is no Mother Superior and no one cares if the employees were once girl scouts.

There are many more tales of misunderstanding I could regale you with, but you might leave thinking I am the dumbest person on earth.

So, I'll share one more.

In today's paper, there was a page of book reviews and I came upon this one.

It's called "Distinctive Presentations in Needle Arts: A  Complete Guide to Professional Finishing For Your Needlework"

A long time ago, my mother and I drove by this woman's business and she told me that her business is finishing people's needlework.

Can you see where this is going?

For years, I imagined that when people get halfway through a needlepoint project and get tired of it, get frustrated with it or just don't have the time, they bring it to her and she finishes it for them.  In the description of the book, you can see that it says she is an "expert in the field of finishing projects on linen and canvas".

I would imagine that people would bring her ziploc bags with half finished candlewicking or counted cross stitch projects that were out of control.

I couldn't imagine that people would pay for this service.  Or that she would enjoy it.  How much fun can it be to try to pick up where someone else left off and make sense of what they did?  Especially if they had made a mess of it.

And can you imagine the amount of time it would take to finish all of these projects.

YEARS went by before I discovered that she frames or makes pillows out of finished pieces of needlework in a professional manner.

I  must have been absent the day we learned out to "read between the lines" in school.

It's weird because I loved the Amelia Bedelia series when I was little and I totally understood that she was taking things too literally. My favorite scene was when she was told to file some letters and she got out a nail file and actually started filing them.

I'd never do that.   Of course not.

Probably not.

Linking here:


  1. Well now you have an idea for a business. YOU can take people's half worked on projects and finish them. Literally.

    1. OMG that would be the dullest job ever. All I can picture is being hunched over someone's miscounted cross stitch for hours on end. No thank you!!

  2. This is too funny! I'm guessing that finishing people's half-ass projects would require a lot of alcohol during working hours.

  3. I'm glad mom never told me about that store cause that would be my dream job and then I would now be sorely disappointed. And I totally remember your Girl Scout revelation and I laughed so hard just now thinking about how much you were certain the cookies were Girl Scout made.


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