Because Nothing is Always Something
|Attribution: Graham Horn|
Nothing is a word that covers a lot of area, especially for something that’s supposed to be, you know, nothing. As proof that nothing is, indeed, something, I offer the following scenarios:
George and Madge are driving. Madge stares out the window. Look at that field of cows. So content. I wonder if mama cows worry about their babies? Lord knows I fret over mine. Mine. Mine better remember to bring the dog in so he doesn’t bark and bother the neighbors—oh! The neighbor’s mail. I promised to bring it in while she’s in Aruba. Mmm. Aruba. I’d like to go back to Aruba. Haven’t been there in years. (She smiles, recalling a particular night at a beach party during spring break when—)“Well that’s quite a smile,” George says. “What are you thinking about?”“Oh,” Madge pats his leg and flutters her lashes. “Nothing.”
Alone in the master bathroom, 8-year-old Chauncey bribes the family Golden Retriever, T-Bone, with a tablespoon of peanut butter to keep him occupied while 9-year-old Maurice uses Dad’s razor to shave the dog’s tail end.
Mother calls from down the hall, “Boys? What are you doing?”
Chancey grins at Maurice, and both boys call out, “Nothing!”
Herbert stares at the hockey-puck pork chop on his plate while his mother-in-law Edith complains about his unappreciative response to a home-cooked meal. Herbert remains silent while Edith grumbles about his lack of appetite and, while she’s on a roll, his inability to support her daughter in the manner to which she is accustomed. Herbert eyes Edith. He stares at the pork chop and imagines it transformed into a live pig. But not just any pig. A killer pig. A killer pig out for revenge that wants to go for the throat of the woman who cooked him to death and then buried him in apple compote. Yeah. A killer pig could do some real damage. And where, Herbert wonders with a sly grin, will I bury her body?
“Herbert, did you hear me? Did you? Do you think this is funny? What in heaven’s name are you dreaming about?”“Oh,” Herbert says, stabbing his fork into the charred pork. “Nothing.”
See what I mean? Nothing is often something. In fact, it is always something, even if the something is really . . . uh, nothing. Like last night at dinner when my husband said, “What are you thinking about?” I could have said: . . . the bird feeder is almost empty, the trees needs trimming, the deck furniture should be pressure washed—will we have time for that this weekend?—the phlox and day-lilies have to be watered or they’ll die in the pots before we ever plant them, but it’s getting dark and I still have laundry to fold and my blog post to write. Oh, geez. My blog. What am I going to write?
“Honey?” He prodded. “I asked what you’re thinking about.”
“Oh,” I gave him a smile and spoke the absolute truth. “Nothing.”
See you next time!