You can please 2/3 of the people most of the time…

When I was pregnant with Baby V, I worked full-time as a high school English teacher.  I worked until exactly one week before her birth.  It was a tough year for me.  After morning sickness wore off around week 12 (it was then sporadic for about 10 more weeks), the fuzzy-headedness often called “pregnancy brain” set in.  Several times during my pregnancy, I told students we were having a test, and then I completely forgot to either write it or photocopy it.  I postponed quizzes so often that whenever I announced a test, they became skeptical.

When I would come in and announce the delay, there was a predictable response.  One third of the students had studied their hearts out and were angry and disappointed that I’d flaked on them.  One third of them had forgotten about the quiz and were thrilled for a deferral that would give them time to study.  One third hadn’t studied and wasn’t going to, no matter how many times I put off the test.  So I was always satisfying the majority, but knew I would never please everyone.

As a writer, I have a varied audience.  There are my friends and family, who are generally supportive of whatever I write.  There is a small but vocal group who come from the camp of a popular blogger who frolics with Lilliputians to see what malediction I’ve spewed forth about their goddess (and, lately, to pray for my hellbound soul), a faction who comes to delight in any such defamation, and finally, a group who doesn’t take any sides and somehow found my blog and likes it.  Like my students, some part of my audience is always going to be let down by what I choose to write.

A commenter told me that The lovers of Lilliputians have never heard of me, don’t know who I am, and never will.  That they all dwell so far above me that they would never have occasion to muck around in the swill I call my existence.  Well, good for them.  Then I suppose, by that logic, I can write whatever calumny I want about that insufferable blog, that work of fiction, that novel in the making, and have no fear of hurting anyone’s tender feelings.  As the kids would say, “Win!”

The thing is, I really have nothing to say.  I visited the offending site today after a long week of working, battling a cold, going to couples therapy, living through my husband’s terrible cold, and all of the life stuff that makes weekends so precious.  Instead of web-surfing, I’ve been writing.  I thought I’d look at it though, since one of my regular readers asked me in an e-mail if I’d checked it out lately, so I did.  Frankly, I found it boring.  All those happy people with their little stick legs and their perfect hair and make-up and their Etsy junk giveaways and inspirational quotations failed to even inspire feelings of contempt in me.  I have to admit, though, the marketing is clever.  The whole, “I lost my voice for a while, and felt like maybe just giving the whole thing up.”  Sniff, sniff, wave hands at eyes to ebb the flow of tears, pause for effect, deep cleansing breath, hair toss ANNNNNND fade up the inspirational music soundtrack (that is conveniently actually already playing).  Then the heroine goes running (picture Meg Ryan in “City of Angels” riding her bike rapturously with her arms spread, eyes closed, and head tilted toward heaven after she tangoes in the sheets with the fallen angel — without the fatal bike crash).  And by the way, it has NOTHING to do with any sort of perfectionist, A-type, people-pleasing neurosis, it’s because it makes her feel alive and reminds her that she INSPIRES PEOPLE!  Then hundreds of people will write “You MUST continue!  Where would we go?  What would we do?”  That they cannot imagine a world without this photo-blog full of pictures of a stranger’s children that they weep over on a daily basis.  Tears fill their eyes!  It’s genius.  A perfect “Act Two” conclusion to the screenplay, and her PR person deserves a raise.

Okay, so I guess I didn’t have “nothing” to say about it.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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11 Responses to You can please 2/3 of the people most of the time…

  1. Shellie says:

    Your writing cracks me up!! This is your blog, say what you like, whoever is not amused need not read it! I am amused and will continue to read! 🙂
    I like the teaching stuff, the baby and hubby stuff and the snarky. You seem like an interesting gal and it is fun to go along on your ride! Write away…..

  2. SlippidyDippidy says:

    I’m of the third that takes no sides but thoroughly enjoys. As I said last time, Bravo, and keep up the amusing commentary!

  3. ASDmomNC says:

    I just finished reading the “Hunger Games” series, and that’s all I could think about this entire post. All the fabricated scenes, etc., etc.. I haven’t read this latest installment of the blog you love to hate. Must go read.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I just researched “The Hunger Games” series. Bizarre. I read they’re making a film. I cannot imagine watching a film where 12 to 18 year old children fight each other to the death. Hard to stomach as a film. Some things need to just stay as books and are way too unpleasant and haunting as images on a screen (HELLO, “The Prince of Tides”)

  4. Mrs Odie 2 says:

    What strikes me every time is how someone is really savvy about her image on the internet and the blog addresses all of these concerns, but not in an upfront way. For example, if you Google “hate Kelle Hampton,” you’ll get a thread on a forum where some woman says she wants to slap her sometimes because of the over the top “life is so beautiful” stuff. So KH makes some joke in the blog about how you should want to slap her. And it’s so funny, hahahahaha! So self-deprecating. And it rings false to me, as usual. This person also commented on the size of Hampton’s engagement ring (which is HUUUUGGE) and said her husband must be a billionaire or something. Of course, everyone on the forum thread rushes to KH’s defense. She inspires some seriously intense loyalty and is perceived as very emotionally fragile by her fans. They defend her vociferously. So the latest blog entry has to explicitly mention the messy house and the dirty laundry (maybe the maid doesn’t come on Sundays?) and takes pains to point out that the bicycle cart was bought SECOND HAND on Craig’s List, and it’s rickety. And they went to Chili’s. That’s a nice middle class place to go. The person who Googles her for her and then advises her on what to write about also is quite conscious of the criticism of her “rainbows and unicorns” persona and has clearly told her to OWN IT and make it fun! And it’s all bolstering my main criticism from the beginning which is that it’s all so carefully constructed and phony, but people think it’s SO REAL. The photos are retouched, and so is the reality. Smart people have noticed that in this economy, if she wants to sell that book, she better not come across as too affluent (even though she clearly is). She needs to endear the middle class and lower class masses to her, so she consciously emphasizes the bargain stuff. She and others point out how she shops at consignment stores and Target for the girls’ clothes. That she has discussed on her blog things she wanted but couldn’t afford. As if wealthy people don’t bargain hunt. Shoppers shop EVERYWHERE and the really dedicated shoppers love nothing more than bragging about what a deal they got. Why does it bother me? Because I think she should just ADMIT IT! Stop trying to play off the “aw, shucks, I’m just a regular mom from Michigan and I struggle like the rest of you in this economy.” Because it so clearly isn’t true. It’s fine to be wealthy. Good for them.

  5. alexandria says:

    I want to be able to continue to read here. But, I may not be able to. It just really is annoying for me to hear about this K-Hizzle and how you loathe her. Take care. I’ll check back and see if it’s safe to keep reading here. If not, no big deal. Do whatever you feel makes you bloom, Mrs. Odie.

  6. Mrs Odie 2 says:

    Who watches the kids when she’s out running with her stupid shoes? She’s never actually denied having a nanny, but she won’t admit to it either. I know hubby has a job, and a good one, because her diamond ring is like three carats. Surely her stepsons (why don’t they live with their mother? What’s the story there?) are at school themselves. I suspect that she has help, and lots of it. Webmasters taking care of the blog, a housekeeper scrubbing the toilets, a gardener, a nanny (at least part-time), and from the looks of it, a make-up artist and hairstylist on call.

  7. hjsmichel says:

    Do you get that from her blog? I don’t. I’m not a fierce defender of it or anything. But it doesn’t look all that posh. I’m not sure (I’d have to look it up) but I think she mentioned that she puts the kid’s in the jog stroller for the runs. Or they do have a very close neighbor across the street so maybe she watches the kids. As for the hair and make-up, it just looks like mascara and lipstick. Not hard to slap that on in the morning. I do. Hair looks blow dried, no product. Again, not a very time-consuming morning routine.
    Geez, I guess I do sound a little defensive, huh? But honestly, I’m intrigued that when you read her blog you see something COMPLETELY different than I do. That is interesting to me.
    In any case, I enjoy your blog and think you’re a talented and clever writer. Cheers!

  8. Mrs. Odie2 says:

    Maybe it means nothing, but the Peg-Perego high chair her youngest daughter is sitting in costs over $200. I’m just saying.

  9. hjsmichel says:

    Yeah, I have the Peg highchair too, but have jettisoned it in favor of a $25 Ikea number that I picked up on impulse. Like you, I have a little girl (18 months) and she can make a terrific mess while eating her meals. The Ikea highchair is completely plastic and I love the idea of taking it outside and hosing it off after a particularly messy dinner. I haven’t done it yet, but the idea does have merit, don’t you think?
    Oh, I almost forgot – we picked up the Peg-Perego on craigslist (along with a super cool Keltie carrier) for $50.

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