| Musings |

Join the Club

No, you’re not the only one who thought that a tablespoon of coffee meant the ground coffee and not the liquid stuff.

There are mistakes that few people make. Those are the ones that cause you to bang your fist on your head, sink to the floor, and mumble, “What was I thinking?”

Then there are those mistakes that have you assuming you’re the only one who would be so careless, but then you find out that two of your friends and three of your acquaintances made the exact same mistake. Ahh… now it’s easier to shrug your shoulders, (which suddenly feel so light) and wink and say, “Yeah, I messed up, along with plenty of other folks who made the exact same mistake. I guess I just joined the club!”

I prefer the second scenario, of course, and I’m sure you do, too. Which is why, as a writer, I enjoy getting feedback. Like this mini soliloquy recited to me in the paper goods aisle of my local grocery store last week, as I was studying my parchment paper choices.

“You’re Peshie Needleman, right? Thought so. I loooooved your article about leaving your chicken out to cool off and then going to bed and totally forgetting about it. Then in the morning, you had to dump the whole thing!

“It reminded me of when I cooked 29 Cornish Hens for a sheva brachos, and I left them to cool, but thought I’d set a reminder timer, but really I hadn’t, so I slept the whole night through and woke up to see them all lined up, soldier-like in their tins, stuffed and basted and cooked, and I had to throw them all out and start again!”

I was about to respond to her when a stranger in a flowered tichel and white maxi skirt pushed her cart over to us. Clearly, she had something to add.

“Hi. You don’t know me, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. Your stories are pretty sad, true, but not nearly as sad as when I cooked 211 sweet-and-sour meatballs for Yom Tov and left them out to cool, and the 12  members of my family who always stay up past midnight all somehow missed seeing my note which I’d written with glow-in-the-dark highlighter on a tri-board that said, ‘Put meatballs in fridge plz any time after 11 pm!’ They all had to be dumped. It still makes me upset, and it’s three years, two months, and sixteen days later.”

We commiserated, shared a quick unity hug, and moved on. But we all felt somewhat better. It’s the “not just me, we all do it” feeling.

No, you’re not the only one who threw in the white shirt with the paisley trim in the bleach load and wrecked the shirt forever more. Been there, done that.

No, you’re not the only one who thought that a tablespoon of coffee meant the ground coffee and not the liquid stuff. Been there, done that.

No, you’re not the only one who sent your kid out to the bus stop at 8:15 a.m. when he told you there was a delayed start because of Selichos. Been there, done that.

No, you’re not the only one who got busted for sending in a one-and-a-half-inch binder when the list specifically asked for a two-inch binder but you felt that searching three stores was enough already and what’s an extra half inch here or there?

No, you’re not the only one who posted a picture of your kid’s blistered toe on the local Neshei chat when you meant to send it to your neighbor the podiatrist. (No been there, done that with this one, but it’s the type of thing I might do if my son had a blister on his toe.)

As a treat for you, I have one more scenario that came up at my local Tehillim group this week. (Stop the eye rolling. Yes, we say Tehillim, but we also chat. And we like it that way.)

This one is quite the doozy. Every single lady at the group was nodding so vehemently that we looked like a bunch of bobbleheads clutching light blue books.

Raise your hand if you ever stored some dirty dishes in the oven over Shabbos because you wanted your counters to look nice and then forgot all about it until 5:30 p.m. Sunday night when you preheated your oven to make some French fries and then went upstairs to throw in a load of laundry and then got distracted by the pile of dress-up clothes in the hallway, only to be met by a very strange odor as you raced down the steps, threw open the oven door, and was met by a sorry sight.

Even if you didn’t do it just the way I described it, even if some of the details were different, surely you can relate to that frustrated feeling of “I didn’t… I didn’t… no one could be such a space cadet… oh no… I did!”

Left with a mess of melted Tupperware and baked on moussaka mingled with glazed carrots and encrusted rice on your very best platters, you can either let the tears come or you can pull out this article to reread and imagine me patting you on the back.

Welcome to the club.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 768)

Oops! We could not locate your form.