Wise Women Friday: Carrie Fisher

Words of wisdom from Princess Leia herself:

Resentment is like drinking a poison 
and waiting for the other person to die.

You will find this hard to believe, but I know a thing or two about resentment.  Does that surprise you?  It's true, I do look so poised and serene in my spankin' new picture.  And, of course, those of you who have met me probably recall how waves of compassion and forgiveness just seem to radiate off my skin.  

But here's my dirty little secret:  I've been known to hold a grudge.  Once, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away called Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, I wrote an essay on The Lord of the Flies.  I swear, it was the best thing I had ever written.  It was smart and innovative; probably it could have been the basis for a fricking dissertation, and all I got was a stinking B+.  Now I have nothing against B+'s in general.  It's just that this essay was a masterpiece.  This was in 1981.  I'm still a little aggrieved; I still blame that teacher for perpetuating a great injustice.

These days, most of the resentments I harbor involve people (teachers mostly) who, for some strange reason (reality mostly) do not seem to recognize the innate genius and sparkling personalities of my children.  But, I am working on letting those things go.  I am working on getting those waves of compassion and forgiveness that radiate off me to actually seep inside me and fill the well.  Because, in the end, Princess Leia does have the Force on her side.  Giving into resentment really only poisons you.  It's not like my high school English teacher ever regretted that B+ he gave me.  It's not like the bourgeois teacher who is too blind to recognize the brilliant literary quality of a little story called "The Fateful Journey of Paul Revere's Horse," is crying over her inconceivable choice not to hang said story on the wall.  My resentments do nothing to these cretons.  My resentments only poison me.  So....I am breathing in, and I am breathing out.  I am not living in the past, and I am not living in the future.  I am right here.  Now.  Wondering who the hell ate my last birthday cupcake.


Lynne said...

Who was that teacher? The very pink Mr. Radcliffe who always called me Margaret? I thought he adored you! I will try to breath in and out as I continue trying to get CORRECT official transcripts so my daughter can go to college.

I always think the injustices done to your child are much harder to let go of than the stuff that happens to ourselves. I guess that just one of the things our kids are here to teach us. Because I always think the kids are here to teach us much more than we ever teach them.

Margaret said...

As a matter of fact, it was the very pink Mr. Radcliffe. I still don't understand that B+. Part of me thinks it was so good that he couldn't believe that I wrote it, and he thought maybe I was plagiarizing. But such self aggrandizement does seem a little vain. I think you are right about the chicas. They teach me a lot. Too much. Can I finish learning from them all ready?

altadenahiker said...

At least yours was a plus, mine was a minus. "The very pink," I guess that sez it all. Plus you scare me when you conjure the star wars crowd.

Margaret said...

AH: That is the other surprising thing about me; I was -- and in my heart always will be -- a girl Star Wars nerd. How sad is that?

Desiree said...

Oh my gosh, this is a hoot and a half!
Good luck on finding your last birthday cupcake--

pasadenapio said...

I admire Carrie Fisher. She's been through the triumphs and tragedies of life with no apologies.

Petrea said...

I have a few of these. I don't take them out and look at them every day but when they pop up I'm surprised I still have them. They seem so huge to me, yet really they're little nothings. But ooh, so-and-so made me so mad!

I like that you know that paper was so good the teacher couldn't believe you wrote it. What else could it be? You're more objective than Pinkie was.

I LOVED the first Star Wars. So I would say, not sad.

Mister Earl said...


You're from the Palo Alto area? I'm from San Mateo.

I don't recall ever getting a grade that was below what I deserved, but I do recall my third grade teacher deciding that there was only room at the parents' open house for one of the clay pueblos that sat sat in the back of the room. I made one of them, Sandra Hoehn made the other. Mine was of real tan-colored clay because we had a vein of clay next to our back yard. Mine looked really cool. It wasn't a scale model of a pueblo, but it captured the essence of pueblo. It had the feel of a piece of art. Sandra Hoehn's was made out of hardened dirt. It was a scale model. It looked more like a "real" pueblo, I suppose, but it had no heart. The teacher decided there was only room for one so she had the class vote on which pueblo would stay. Sandra Hoehn's won the vote. I took mine home and I smashed it to bits in the back yard. Years later I still wondered, "Why was there really only room for one pueblo?"

Mister Earl said...

"And a voice from down at the bottom of my soul
Came up to the top of my head.
And the voice from down at the bottom of my soul,
Here is what it said:

'This man is nothing!
This course is nothing!
If you want something,
Go find another class.
And when you find one
You'll be an actress.'
And I assure you that's what
Fin'lly came to pass.

Six months later I heard that Karp had died.
And I dug right down to the bottom of my soul...
And cried.
'Cause I felt... nothing."

From A Chorus Line

Lynne said...

Margaret, take it from me, I had the very pink Mr. Radcliffe for 2 years (and as you know he called me Margaret the entire second year), if he didn't bother to read your essay he gave it a B+. I got B+'s all the time from him and I didn't learn how to write a good essay until senior year with Mr. Jadwin. Your essay was too long so he slapped a B+ on it and skipped to the next.

Mister Earl said...

I was getting straight A's at UC San Diego and I got a B+ on an essay for Herb Schiller's class. Herb was a Marxist, a friend of Herbert Marcuse. Schiller would say crazy things like, "When a plane crashes the newspapers deliberately don't show photos of the plane's tail section where the logo is because they want to support big capitalist corporations." One of my friends told me that if I wanted an A, I needed to spice up my next essay with more leftist talk, nothing that hinted at anything but a radical view. I got an A one the next paper and in the class.

Margaret said...

Mister Earl: I am right with you. Why is it teacher's always like the art/literature with no soul? I think they are afraid of us. And, of course, I know that song from A Chorus Line. I am so glad you mentioned it. When I was in graduate school, I often felt a like my mooring were a little loose and I the line "who am I anyway? Am I my resume?" would keep running through my head.

Lynne: Finally, I know that answer. Now I can rest.

Margaret said...

Mr. Earl: I had a few professors like that at UCLA. It's amazing how well one does when one speaks the right language.

Petrea said...

Mr. Earl, I'm so, so sorry about your pueblo.

I read a book once about anger, and one chapter was called "Doing the Feeling Work." It was about getting mad on behalf of other people. I hold some grudges on behalf of my siblings. I was a strong kid, I got good grades, teachers liked me. But a couple of my siblings struggled, and for the wrong reasons. I held grudges for them. It makes no sense.

Mister Earl said...

Thanks, Petrea.

Lynne and Margaret:

We're fellow SF Peninsulans, no?

Cafe Pasadena said...

Is it education or indoctrination those old humanities professors want? To learn to think for yourself, or like them? To question authority, but just not theirs....

It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't cost soooo much. At least now I know what it takes to be an "A" student - better late than never.

Palm Axis said...

I'm playing Twister over at Pasadena Adjacent

What are you doing tonight? I just got a 44 roll pack of toilet paper at CostCo. Maybe we can head over to his house and tee-pee his yard. If he sleeps soundly we might have some extra time to salt the grass. I don't know ...perhaps something in the shape of a A+


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