Wise Women Friday: Mary Shelley

From the author of Frankenstein, I give you insight into guilt:

Ah!  it is well for the unfortunate to be resigned, 
but for the guilty there is no peace.

I excel at feeling guilty.  It is one of  the emotions I have really perfected.  My own special recipe consists of one part fear, two parts remorse, and two parts shame.  You let that settle in your gut for a few minutes (may five or six) and then you add a nice thick layer of anxiety and compulsive thinking about how whoever you've done wrong will likely hate you forever.  

Now, you'll feel tempted to rush this next step, but you must resist the urge to speed things up because this next part is critical.  NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, do not actually try to make contact with the aggrieved party.  The aggrieved party will probably have no idea that they've even been aggrieved.  The aggrieved party will probably not even know what you're talking about.  And then where will you be?  You'll have to explain why the aggrieved party should be aggrieved, and, believe me, nothing good can come of that.  

No.  Here's what you do: You stew on your guilt for maybe a couple of weeks.  You obsess on it.  You really get good and compulsive.  Then, just when you can feel the leathery snake scales growing on your skin, you go and eat everything in your refrigerator.  Thus fortified, you invite the aggrieved party to coffee or breakfast, but right when they get there you feign an "emergency" and flee the scene as fast as possible.  Now, the aggrieved party will feel so bad about your "emergency" that they will only feel sorry for you.  And you can just make it a point to never have to see that aggrieved party ever again for the rest of your life.  And bingo!  Everyone's happy (with the slight exception of the small tic you may develop in your right eye, but, hey, in some societies tics are considered incredibly sexy so, really, it's still all good.)

So the next time you skip out on a friend and leave them footing the bill and surrounded by a bunch of depressed strangers, just remember, Guilt!  It's what for dinner!


Cafe Observer said...

You can invite me for your coffee & breakfast party, aggrieved or not. Only your payment is required to appear. Agree?

Susan C said...

Uh oh. I'm feeling guilty now. Right after handing off the girl scout cookies this morning, you rushed out of the room, cell phone in hand, mumbling something about a family emergency.

It must have been something I said or did. Now I must follow your lead and stew for at least two weeks.

Cafe Observer said...

Did someone say it's girl scout cookie time again? Or, is that just part of SC's batch she put into frozen storage from prior years?
What's their cookie website?

altadenahiker said...

Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! (I'm trying to clean up my act.)

Personally, I respond very well to fresh oranges.

My word is capons. I like them too.

Petrea said...

If we are to be wise women, at least on Fridays, we must not go down the guilt road. That way lies years of therapy.

It sounds like you may have placed importance on an unimportant act. You're probably right, the aggrieved party probably doesn't know he or she has been aggrieved.

I like the "eat everything in your refrigerator part," as long as you don't do it often. And I hope this means there was no family emergency after all. Everyone at IWOSC was sure they'd somehow been aggrieved, and they're out for revenge.

Palm Axis said...

You need to find yourself a "Mary" to walk with. That woman can pull my head out of the mud every time.

My favorite Andy Warhol painting of a refrigerator with the door open. I keep a reproduction pinned to my studio wall


Margaret said...

Petrea: Your advice is very sound. You are truly a wise woman. As for the emergency, no sooner had I sat down with me tea at the IWOSC cookie than the school nurse called and told me that my daughter threw up and I had to go and pick her up. And after all that, apparently, she just hadn't had enough breakfast and was hungry. She changed her clothes and went straight back to school.

Margaret said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desiree said...

Very funny! If that's what's for dinner, I'm guessing there's always plenty to share. On the further downside, guilt often devolves into a self-pity party--ugh!
Prescription: Comfort movie, comfort food, a little blogging, a little computer game, and a well-thumbed copy of The Four Agreements

altadenahiker said...

No, everyone is being too easy on you, you dissembling, elf-skinned canker-blossom.

Petrea said...

Better give the Hiker her oranges.

Margaret said...

Desiree: Ok, I'm showing my ignorance here, but The four Agreements?

AH: I pity you for thou art nothing more than a spleeny, sheep-biting lout.

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