Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Mysterious Death of a Turkey, Vampires and Thoughts on the Randomness of Life.

Many people swear that all things happen for a reason. They believe there is a driving force behind everything good or bad. They send inspirational messages. They start hate groups. Sure the hate group thing is harsh but look at those truly evil fiends from the Westboro Baptist Church. Anyway, most people just send lovely little inspirational messages and try to make lemonade out of lemons, dirt clods, illness, rocks, roadkill. Hey you can make lemonade out of anything if you squeeze it hard enough and add toxic amounts of sugar.

That said, I do believe in love at first sight, the goodness in the world and that some people are destined for greatness (but most aren’t and greatness happens just randomly, which in my eyes makes it even greater.)

So, back to real life…

I believe that most things are random. My life, even the organized portions, are full of random events.

Sure, somethings may happen for a reason, but most don’t. Most things are just random. We can then we can take whatever we want or whatever we need from the experience.

Part 1: The Turkey

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Tuesday night I arrived home to discover a dead turkey in my front yard. Let me go back a minute or two. When I pulled into the driveway with the kids in the car we noticed a skinny female turkey picking at the grass. How cute – a giant bird is in our yard.

Then we noticed two turkeys. It was one of those WTF moments when we saw that the second turkey was a very large male and it was very dead. There were no signs of injury or trauma. It was just dead on it’s back, in my front yard.

We have no idea how it died. We’ve seen turkeys fall out of trees so I figure it must have hit it’s head on the fence or a tree branch and died.

The kids proceeded to take photos with their smart phones and post it all over their 20 thousand social media outlets.

Turkeys aren’t native to our area. I believe the Fish and Game department introduced them to California in the early 1960’s. Our turkeys have ancestors in either North or South Carolina from what I remember reading a while back (correct me if I’m wrong on that.) Turkeys were going to be the next big sport bird. They’re sport for some but for most of us they are just huge prehistoric looking backyard birds. The big birds have thrived and now are all over the place including crossing main streets holding up morning traffic, hanging out around office complexes, in parks and in my yard. One day last spring I counted 28 of them in a parade walking up the narrow lane I live on.

This (Northern California) is not their native habitat. It is like their native habitat, but turkeys, like a lot of wild animals don’t always mesh with suburbia, and that includes my front yard. We love our turkeys but the still seems sort of alien and out of place.

Actually I take that back. They DO get along despite our expectations. They thrive. THRIVE around humans. Nobody eats them. Nobody dares harm them. Coyotes and bobcats can only eat so many of them. My calico cat stalks them but she can’t catch one. Dogs ignore them. So they thrive. So much in fact that every child and grown man and woman around here can do a turkey call. If you gobble the turkeys will gobble back at you. Now THAT is fun stuff.

Teddy (the husband) arrived home and helped me get the turkey in the garbage can. I declined the offer to keep some of the beautiful feathers. As soon as we dumped it in the can the entire tail opened up like a giant fan. Yikes. It was big – at least 25 pounds if not more. It had to go in the garbage can because of coyotes and raccoons and other critters that might have come by for a fresh feast. Not on my daffodils.

Now it is time to ponder the meaning of this all…

Humans have transported animals, plants and other humans all over the world for centuries – leaving their living cargo in places foreign and hostile. But soon the newcomers thrive and nobody (except maybe Vampires) can remember a time when they were newcomers. They’re now as native as natives. That is why most wars and a lot of political nonsense makes no sense to children. Children see everything in their world as belonging – that is as if it works. And until last night the turkey thing seemed to be working just fine.

There is no reason to believe I’ll find another dead turkey in my yard anytime soon. I hope not. I’m not holding out for any expired politicians or dictators (but that is an interesting if not both repulsive and exciting thought.)

It is out in my side yard in the garbage can. I know it is there, feet sticking up with claws waiting in death to grip me and drag me inside the can. It is sad and weird. I know, that sounds weird coming from me – that I think a dead turkey is weird. But it is. It really is.

The dead turkey in my front yard was just another random event in my life.

Part 2: Vampires

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Unlike Turkeys, Vampires are nocturnal creatures. OK we’re nocturnal for the most part. Anyway…

After ridding my yard of a dead turkey I got a call asking for my help. It wasn’t the school asking for bake sale items. It was for work. Part of my job is to help new Vampires and old shadow creeping Vampires adjust to their new status in life. Yes, I train Vampires and hold their hands when needed.

I was glad to go as my husband was on one of his self-righteous cleaning kicks. You know the kind where they bang stuff around in the kitchen so you’ll hear them because YOU, the woman, didn’t do your job and clean things like you said you were going to. It isn’t like I don’t already do enough… so….

I called Cody, my young Vampire friend, a thirty-something guy who’d adjusted well after his surprise conversion two years ago. See the previous post for his Quiche recipe. He is quite the enlightened young Vampire.

He mentions that he hopes someone is recording Justified. Of course, and Ink Masters. Hey, we have to get in our culture. One cannot live on Opera and Magical Realism alone can they?

Our project this evening was Willow, a young woman who had recently found herself charmed by an unscrupulous man who just happened to be a Vampire and had turned her into one as well. Then he left her alone without the tools or the friends she needed to become successful in her new existence.

When we arrived at her house she was in a panic. The dark Celtic designs that had once been tattooed on her arm had vanished. Cody could relate to that. He had once had a large elaborate tiger on his arm (for reasons I can’t fathom.) Tattoos don’t stay on Vampires. Our bodies reject the ink turning it to dust.

Next she showed me a letter of acceptance for graduate school. Of course she could go. Why not? There were no rules in the student handbook forbidding Vampires to any public university that I knew of.

“Nobody knows you’re different Willow,” I explained to her. “You’re normal. More than normal. This is still your world, your place, no matter what happened to you. It is all just the start of your new life as well as a continuation of everything you’ve already experienced.”

Half of that was bull shit but I’m good at inspirational talk. It’s what I do.

A celebration was in order, as well as a quick bite, so we walked about 3/4 of a mile to a local Irish brew pub. It is always busy – full of locals of all ages, but most popular with the young high tech professionals and state workers. It also just happens to be a popular hang out for hip young Vampires. It was one of those places that Willow would have never found on her own.

Alex and Rob were there. They’ve been friends for years – since WW1. Alex had been around for a while (his father signed the Declaration of Independence). Rob had just become a Vampire. He was alone in Europe. Part of the US Army but now considered missing in action. And now, they were here, like all the other young men, talking about work and flirting with the women.

I introduced them to Willow. Later I told them in private to do me a favor and watch out for her, introduce her to friends and help me guide her along.

Then Angela, a lovely thing with copper colored hair who’d been a Vampire since 1985 showed up. She lived in the neighborhood and had a lot to talk about with Willow.

Cody and I watched as the evening unfolded and Willow made new friends. It was a good thing.

Feeling different and alone with no future or hope is a horrible thing. That is why we need to always be aware of others who need help. We also need to be aware of ourselves so we don’t become isolated. It isn’t always easy for some of us. Friendship and fellowship with like minds and like kinds can be random, but it also takes some work. It is one of those random things that we all need to seek out and nurture.

I left Cody with our friends and arrived home just in time to get the kids in bed and watch Justified with my husband. Even Vampires need to just chill sometimes.

Part 3: This Morning

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This morning, just as the sun came up over the oak trees the garbage truck came and took away the turkey.

While getting ready for school my kids and I talked about what is going on in the Flight 370, the building in New York that exploded and the tragedy at SXSW.  It was all so random and tragic. None of those events were near us but we could connect to them in our own experiences (that six degrees sort of thing.) We talked of what is going on in the Ukrane, which isn’t so random in many ways, but in a way it is – and tragic as well.

But good things will happen too. A lot of good things. For absolutely no reason, which sort of makes it even better.

Life is random. We can work for things and make things happen, but we can’t predict everything. But sooner or later it all connects and you end up where you are, right now. And right now, in my life, that is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman