At one point recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that I am a "half-asser". More poignantly, I've come to terms with it and have accepted it with my whole half-assed heart. I have surrendered to it. In fact, my husband and I have sat in bed and had long conversations about the things in our lives that we "half-ass". Family, friends, please don’t worry. I don’t half-ass love. I just can’t seem to purchase, write, stamp, and send the birthday cards on time. Ever.
"Half-ass!!!” Hearing my husband tiredly yell this (with a smile) from our water closet** is a weekly occurrence. It's when, in a moment of pure vulnerability, he notices that the new toilet paper roll isn't really ON the official plastic roll thingy. It's just perched on top of it, reigning free and balancing, so that when he goes to pull of a sheet the entire thing comes tumbling down onto the floor…juuuuust out of reach. We've all been there. We have a critical decision to make: attempt a quick, steady "stretch and lean" to retrieve the toilet paper and risk droppage? Or, perform the highly amusing wobble-dance, shuffling one pant leg-encircled foot in front of the other, towards the treasure trove of stored toilet paper. Then, there's always the fuhhgetaboutit option, which requires keen muscle control or a stock of clean underwear. Sadly, you'd think by now I would have learned not to half-ass the ass.
So, are we natured into half-assedness or nurtured into it? Well, at three years old I was not a half-asser. I didn't just throw fits, I went all out and held my breath until I turned blue and passed out cold. When I killed the tarantula on our front porch, I didn't just step on it. I took a honkin' stick and beat it to death. Multiple times. By age ten or so, I recall that I had hints of half-assedness. During softball practice I stood in right field and daydreamed. When the ball came flying my way, I may or may not have decided to go after it, or just let someone who was actually "good" try to catch. If fate was smiling on me and it indeed landed with a smack in my mitt, I didn't give a hoot who or where I threw it to. Wasn't the point to just act like you understood the intricacies of softball and throw it? Anywhere? Almost like the spinner in the Twister game, I felt like I was closing my eyes, spinning, and -BAM- "right arm to left field!” Nevermind that the runner was just nearing first base.
In high school, half-assedness stuck by me like a best friend before they snag a boyfriend. I wasn't just the member of the Speech team that competed in two categories at once (“double-entered) and wrote my own “original oratories”. I was the one who memorized those oratories on the bus ride to the speech meet. Even my Catholic school girl reality couldn’t stop half-assedness from angling its way into the sacred and divine and…Catholic. During our yearly (bi-yearly? Monthly? My recovering Catholic mind seems to have blocked these details out) ritual of confession, I prepared diligently and earnestly just like any good Catholic kid did. Right as I sat down on the stiff wooden chair in front of the priest, in our gymnasium. With a feigned expression of sorrow and disappointment, I told him the horror stories of how I lied to my Mother, forget to go to church once, or ate the last piece of my brother’s coveted Easter candy. I’m sure I was truly, truly, half-assedly sorry.
Forget college. Failed Latin. Twice. Missed one of my finals. Sacrificed showers for 3 more minutes of sleep. Counted my trips to the first floor to pick up Papa John’s pizza as my exercise for the day. I suppose I should have seen the “Sayonara, we’re kicking you out” coming. But I was probably sleeping anyways.
Nowadays, it seems I try really hard to mask my half-ass attempts and tendencies. When a visitor says they are dropping by (two weeks notice, that is), I “clean” my house in a fury an hour before they arrive. Ha! Now they’ll never have to know it was dirty! As long as the closet doors remain shut against the potential avalanche of laundry (hey, some of it is clean, I think) and the comforter drapes just enough to cover the underside of the bed, then I’ll never be found out. Oh wait, don’t take a whiff of the litter box, but oh wait…you can’t miss the ammonia stench. I could go on, but really, I don’t want to give away all of my secrets. Half-assing is an art. Like procrastination and Olympic napping and nail biting and rationalization.
I’ve longed to learn the ways of the masters, those who have overcome half-assing. My Mother-in-Law is simply not a half-asser. She’s an ass and a halfer! (Calm down folks, I’m not referring to any part of her body). I mean, she goes all out. Example: she dusts the items thoroughly before packing them away for a move. I’m lucky to even wrap newspaper around them or slap down a dog-hair covered piece of used packing tape around the box. She not only wipes her kitchen counters down after every use, but wipes around the faucets, over the cabinet doors, and into the corners. I thought those were the places you were allowed to casually stash the crumbs and dirt.
So, here it is. Just a half-assed attempt to show a list of my half-assedness ways, that my husband and I have collected during our conversations. And, like any great art, half-assedness continues to develop and grow and morph. I’ll be adding more. Might you share some of your own?
– My shoes end up wherever I take them off
– Oops, I missed the trash can. Oh well!
– You mean there is such thing as a hanger for clothing?
– Chocolate chips and cheese count as a meal
– I picked out most of the chewing gum that was ground into our carpet
**place in the master bath where the toilet resides or i.e. place where the toilet resides that has a door so you don't feel as obligated to have to keep it clean.