I have on my desk at work a Chicken Soup for the Soul calendar. Me and a million other girls, right? What sets mine apart is it’s currently on August 21st. Of 2006. Yes, I know, and that’s really nothing. The Michael Sowa wall calendar I insist on reusing every year is even older than that. …but I digress.
Why is there a seven-year-old Chicken Soup calendar on my desk? Simple. Because I stopped reading it.
You see, Chicken Soup calendars come with built-in issues. First of all, days are supposed to go by one at a time. I’ve checked around and I’m not alone in this opinion. CSftS forces me to read ahead to Thursday on Monday. But you can’t tear off the pages without seeing Friday so then it’s Monday until Thursday. It’s very disorienting and sort of defeats the purpose of a calendar. Actually, desk calendars in general do that, but I’m told they help kill off those pesky trees.
The editors also think it’s clever to start stories on Friday and then print part of them on the weekend pages when I’m not at work. Of course it doesn’t really matter, since I can’t possibly overcome my compulsion to read ahead. A month once. Still, it’s not clever.
But the real issue with CSftS is that the stories make me cry. Actually, pretty much everything makes me cry, but the anecdotes about the sweetest thing Mom said right before she died, or the little boy who runs to third base, really don’t help. At any rate, a box of Kleenex on my desk (one of these days my party favor joke is going to catch on) is an absolute necessity. Except for silly me, I don’t have one. It was for this last reason that I stopped reading. On Friday, March 3rd. Of 2006.
Now you may have noticed that there are some missing days between March 3rd and August 21st. Or maybe you didn’t and you’re overwhelmed by how observant I am. The fact is, August 21st is right in the middle of a story and there’s a reason for that and for all those missing days. That’s right. I use them as Post-Its now. Not the traditional use mind you. I can’t stand little pieces of paper stuck all over the place. It’s like your office cut itself shaving or something. I’ve been caught taking them down in other people’s offices. I can’t help it. Anyway, I started using them for notes.
It was bound to happen and it did. A couple of months later, I jotted down a phone number for Sheri-down-the-hall. I couldn’t understand why she kept coming back to my office to ask me for the same phone number. Then it dawned on me that Sheri-down-the-hall’s not the sharpest tack in the carpet. There’s no gum on the calendar pages and I figured she must be trying to stick them on her computer and losing them. So I wrote the number on a real Post-It and tried to give it to her. That’s when she confessed she just wanted to know how the story turned out.
Guess what Sheri-down-the-hall gets for Christmas every year? That’s right! Party favors! She hates me now, but she stopped asking me for phone numbers. And I have someplace I can go to blow my nose now whenever I’m dumb enough to read one of those pages before I peel it off.
© 2013 Anne Schilde