Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scissors and Heartbreak: A Story of Ultimate Triumph

It was very difficult falling asleep last night. Thanks, in part, to the last gasp of the humid and stuffy weather before the beauty of today rolled in, I tossed and turned.

Once asleep, however, I had a dream that brought me right back to a period in my life I'd hoped never to revisit and have tirelessly striven to overcome: my (alleged) inability to cut.

I have never been nimble-fingered. With my chunky little clunkers, aka fingers, if I had been a villain in a Batman movie, I would have been called "Fumbles."

Never was this more upsetting than about a thousand years ago when my friend's father was running for state senator in New York. Last night, through the hi-def clarity of an unexpected dream, I was transported back to an awful day.

We must have been no older than seven or eight but were invited to help make posters and decorations for the campaign. Clearly, our candidate was operating on a shoestring budget because we kids were there in force.

The campaign headquarters was a storefront on New Utrecht Avenue beneath the el in Brooklyn---not prime real estate under any circumstances.

I vividly remember crossing over a hole in the wooden floor, through which you could see down to the basement, to a table piled high with sheets of oak tag, glitter, colorful construction paper and scissors.

My little heart beat with excitement as it was explained what needed to be done. It involved cutting and lots of it.

I loved to cut! 

The parents were to handle the glitter (a terrible disappointment) but I was anxious to get going. Here I was--involved in politics! And cutting!

I noticed a few adults whispering in the corner and looking at me as I settled in with my scissors and before I knew it I was whisked off to another table and asked to twirl crepe paper. No cutting.

I was stunned.

My friend came over and explained that since I was a "terrible cutter" they had given me another job.


I had no idea that I had a rep as a "terrible cutter." Damn you all to hell.

I think I tried to laugh it off, having learned -- by a very early age -- to make light of horrifying inadequacies, but my little seven year old heart fell through the hole in the floor and into the basement below.

From that moment on, I have -- literally -- devoted my life to becoming an excellent cutter. I trained my chunky clunkers, through tireless practice, to be able to snip, trim and shape with the best of them.

I thought I had successfully submerged this memory under the blanket of near total memory loss years but apparently my subconscious had other ideas and returned me, last night, to that storefront and the pitying stares of the better cutters.

I"ll show you, subconscious! I am going to spend the day making beautiful doilies out of paper napkins. 

Sorry, Seth, no dinner.. But you will have several paper doilies made especially for you!

By the way, my friend's father did not win the election. Maybe if they'd let me cut things just might have been different.


  1. My Mother was having a bad day - she snarled at me that I was useless at EVERYTHING and 'Look, you can't even cut out properly.'
    YEARS later I bought myself some left-handed scissors and suddenly I could cut like a magician... and my Mum can't (sometimes you CAN blame the tools) xxx
    Adults do mean things to children, without even trying.... such is life.

  2. Poor glad you discovered lefty scissors. And yes, adults can do a number on kids....and it sometimes lasts a life time.

    Not for me, as far as cuttng was concerned. I really did move on...despite last night's dream! XO