Pay attention. I am not kidding. Really.

Tag: revenge

THE Lamps, Part 7

No. It isn’t your imagination. Yes, you DID read in THE Lamps, Part 6 that it was the final installment of the Ugly Lamp Revenge Game that my husband’s family has played since the eighties. And, yes, you DID read that I had exited the game.

Things have changed. The wretched game isn’t over, and I’m still very much at the table – which just proves how supremely naive I can be without even trying very hard.

Almost a year ago, a knock at our front door signaled a package had arrived. Imagine our surprise as we read the address label’s note: “Thank you for your blog on ‘THE Lamps!’ It made our day!”

Since neither of us recognized the sender’s name and it came from Shreveport – where we know absolutely no one – I jumped to the obvious conclusion that my PayAttention! Blog had gone viral. Who knew how many millions were reading it with bated breath?

None, as it turns out. (Here’s an early-in-the-post, pay-attention point: pride usually helps us on our way to very inaccurate conclusions.)

Sneaky Little Sister and her conniving husband had been at it again – reviving The Ugly Lamp Revenge Game they started in 1984. Because the Pistachio Orientals have mysteriously disappeared, they had ferreted out a new ugly lamp to replace them and asked a friend to mail it from Shreveport while he was attending a conference. That friend had asked a coworker, at the same conference, to take it to UPS. (Note: two innocents drawn into this dreadful game.)

You’re just itching to see the monster, aren’t you? Not so fast. This lamp, unlike its five predecessors, bore a tiny, oval, gold-foil label on its underside, proudly proclaiming “Made in China.”




All of Lamp #6’s predecessors were made in the good ole US of A, where all the players in this silly game reside. Now – NOW – we’ve stooped to involving another country filled with 1.379 billion innocent victims??

Wait a minute: not all of them could be correctly labeled innocent.

There’s China’s Tier 3 ranking in human trafficking issues. So maybe that heinous trade accounts for a very guilty couple million.

And then there’s their longstanding penchant for stealing our copyrighted technology, claiming it as their own, and manufacturing bazillions of whatever they’ve stolen. I’d guess that non-innocent bunch is at least another two million, wouldn’t you?

And let’s not forget the ever-so-lame “instruction” sheets they pack with their crummy digital watches to drive us all nuts. The writers well know they’re omitting two or three critical steps. There’s another couple million decidedly guilty Chinese, in my book. (I’ve lost track of how many of those tissue-paper instruction sheets I’ve torn to bits.)

So we can subtract six million less-than-innocent Chinese, leaving way over a billion (give or take a few million) garden-variety Chinese persons who are completely innocent. So why drag ALL of them into this messy revenge game?? Beats me. Go ask Little Sister and The Conniver.

You’ve been patient, so here you go: Ugly Lamp #6:

lamp base of three black monkeys stacked on top of each other

Three uglier monkeys, you’ll never find = the ugliest monkey lamp in the world.

Yes, some desperate manufacturer in China (with questionable taste) was convinced by some misguided designer (with equally questionable taste) to mass produce this sucker. Can you imagine?

And so now, the game’s afoot – AGAIN. A couple of months later, with equally bald-faced sneakiness, we asked some friends to “help us out” since they’d been planning a visit to Little Sister’s hometown anyway. Good Christian folk that they are, they jumped at the chance to participate in this interminable game of revenge. (They’ll regret that someday.)

I dolled up those three ugly monkeys in a fabulous gift bag with plenty of pastel tissue paper sticking out and an elegant gift tag bearing Little Sister’s and Conniving Brother-in-Law’s names. It looked like a legitimate gift and very, very come-hither. Our friends did the deed, leaving it in The Conniver’s office. (Two more innocents drawn into this dreadful game.)

You may remember from THE Lamps, Part 2 that Little Sister and Conniving Brother-in-Law are really NOT very good sports. They don’t give any of us the satisfaction of admitting that we GOT them. Oh no. They just act as if nothing has happened. Drives me crazy. We’ve been waiting for nine months. Do you think they could even acknowledge receipt of said “gift”? Absolutely not.

By now, I’ve trained you to expect a really, really profound pay-attention point in my rant somewhere. Here you go.

People’s bad habits can affect bunches of other people.

Between the four of us – Hubby, moi, Little Sister, and The Conniver – we have recently embroiled FOUR innocent American bystanders (and who knows how many before Lamp #6?) and about a BILLION innocent Chinese in this fine mess.

Pay attention. When someone like us asks if you’d like to participate in _______ (whatever), you may be joining a rather large crowd, should you decide to participate. Think about it: do you want to join that sort of crowd? Remember the annoying questions your mother used to ask? “Just because ‘everyone else’ is doing it, do you have to, too?” “If Johnny jumps off the Empire State Building, does that mean you must, as well?””

Here’s my next-to-the-last pay-attention tip. When receiving an invitation “to join in the fun” from the likes of us, the wiser option would be to RUN AWAY. Don’t join that kind of crowd, since you’ve usually been amply warned of what will happen if you do.

Should we ask one of you, dear friends, to join in the fun, you, at least, have the option of running away. None of us in Hubby’s family have that luxury. We all have enormous targets painted on our backs. We are all now in the same tenuous position we were in while uneasily awaiting the resurfacing of the Pistachio Orientals a few years ago.

After visiting one another, we check our backseats and trunks as carefully as border patrol agents check for drugs. You can imagine how that bit of paranoid drama delays the start of our hours-long trips home. It slows us down some more when we stop mid-trip, in another fit of paranoia, to check the undercarriage “just to be sure.” We also cast an uneasy and suspicious eye upon unexpected UPS and USPS deliveries, which sort of takes the fun out of package arrivals.

Here’s my final pay attention tip. Listen up. Bad behavior not only corrupts good character, it also takes a good deal of fun out of life, as you’ve seen from this Ugly Lamp saga.

red box with white text: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – I Cor. 15:33

See? I really DON’T  make this stuff up. It’s right there in the New Testament.

© 2018, Teresa Bennett

THE Lamps, Part 6

photo of table full of beautifully wrapped wedding gifts

Oh, such lovely, lovely delights! Or maybe not.

The next generation
enters the game.

As luck would have it, we Baby Boomers didn’t have to wait long to bring the next generation into the Revenge Game. That spring, a niece announced her engagement – the first of her generation to do so – setting the blessed event for the first of June.

(If you’re lost already, that means you haven’t read the preceding five parts of this sad saga about THE Lamps. And as I’ll just keep saying, none of these Lamp blog posts will make much sense unless they’re read in order. Go back and start with Part 1 or wherever you left off!)

Let’s get on with this story
and try to end
this revenge melodrama,
shall we?

I set about shopping for a nice wedding gift for this niece and her beloved and found what I thought was perfect. It was a tiny drop-leaf pine table for the newlyweds’ tiny breakfast nook. Hubby was not impressed. He wanted to give something more infused with family history. You know where this is going.

For that momentous June wedding, he insisted on giving two gifts to the exceedingly lucky couple. Technically, they didn’t merely receive two gifts. They received three: one legitimate gift (the table) and a gift-wrapped box with two gifts inside (the cursed Pistachio Orientals). Hubby never stopped to ask himself just how much luck one newlywed couple could stand.

Meanwhile, down in west Texas, as the wedding date approached, Hubby’s niece had a come-to-Jesus meetin’ with her Mamma, known to you as Middle Child. Mamma, do NOT let them put those horrid, ugly lamps with our wedding gifts!” (How did she know we’d decided to include her generation in our game of Revenge?)

Right,” agreed Mamma. Shame on Mamma because she lied.

Yessiree: we were considerably less encumbered on our trip from west Texas back home to Colorado. We returned to a house blessedly devoid of Pistachio Orientals, their having been safely passed on to the next generation. Life was sweet. It got even sweeter the next June as the first-married niece gathered up the Pistachio Orientals to spice up the wedding-gift loot of her cousin, the second-to-marry niece.

Interestingly enough, this niece had the same conversation with her Mamma, known to you as Little Sister. Little Sister lied, too.

Unfortunately, for that second-niece-to-marry, the next of her cousins took his sweet time finding his beloved. She, poor thing, had to store the Pistachio Orientals for three long years. This next-to-marry cousin, our nephew, didn’t think to try to ward off revenge (which wouldn’t have done much good anyway, as we’ve just seen, since we Boomers appeared to be allergic to truth).

It doesn’t require a terrific amount of imagination to guess the conversation that ensued when his unwarned and uninitiated bride discovered the Pistachio Orientals neatly wrapped amongst their authentic wedding gifts. 

What are these?”

They’re the ugly lamps.”

I can SEE that. Why do we have them?”

We pass them around in our family. It’s our own Revenge Game we made up.”

Well, I’m throwing them out. They’re disgusting!”

You can’t do that. We have to keep them.”


Only till someone else in the fam gets married – or Christmas, whichever comes first.”

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. But she was a good sport, especially for having not an ounce of warning. She parked them in the top of her childhood bedroom closet. Then the entire conversation replayed itself when her mother found the Pistachio Orientals while converting her daughter’s old bedroom into a sewing room. After hearing the explanation, she plopped them into the lap of her newly married daughter and told her to take the tacky things to her own home.

Now right about here in the saga is where you just have to pity people who are novices at the game of Revenge. This unsuspecting bride had to store a pair of the ugliest lamps you’d ever want to see alongside all the bright new, classy baubles that couples get when they wed. Wouldn’t you think she’d be itching to pass them along? Wouldn’t you think she’d have a plan for doing so?

Yet, pay attention, when her new husband’s next cousin’s nuptials occurred and the next cousin’s as well, she was asleep at the wheel. SHE DIDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT FOISTING THE LAMPS INTO THE PILE OF WEDDING GIFTS AT EITHER OF THESE WEDDINGS!! Can you imagine such a stupendous lack of tactical planning?

And as far as we all know, those nasty Pistachio Orientals are still stored somewhere in their house. Of course, our nephew and his bride may have pitched those grotesque lamps in one of their moves. Or not. As you can imagine, all this maybe-maybe-not business has turned family reunions into tense events as we all wait for the proverbial shoe to drop. Nervous and edgy, we all check our vehicle trunks and back seats with the utmost care before driving off. You just never know. They may show up again – or not.

It gets worse. Since all the nieces and the nephew have married, the lamps can’t be surreptitiously added to another pile of wedding-gift loot. That means we Baby Boomers, the ones who started this whole miserable mess, will most likely be drawn back into the game of Lamp Revenge. Those suckers could turn up in any of our homes for any reason at any time – Christmas, Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries – or for no particular reason at all. Let me tell you, it’s annoyingly worrisome.

And the pay-attention point
would be…?

You’ve been such a good sport, sticking with me all the way through SIX blog posts illustrating one family’s obsession with getting even, that you deserve a stellar pay-attention lesson. You’ll remember I’ve said previously that Semantics is also a fun game. As you can tell, Hubby’s family has decided to play the game of Semantics simultaneously with the game of Revenge, and so they categorize all this vengeful getting even via ugly lamps as “good, clean fun.” To prove it, they all (present company excluded, of course) exhibit good-natured sportsmanship while playing it.

And that leads me
to an uncharacteristically serious
pay-attention point.

A harmless game of Revenge (like my in-laws’ game of Lamp Revenge) is okay. A REAL game of Revenge is never okay. Don’t confuse the two.

I don’t think I personally know anyone who does this, and I very much doubt that you do, dear reader. But should you ever find yourself caught up in a harmless game of Revenge that slowly and insidiously morphs from good, clean fun into bad, mean fun, recognize it for what it is: REAL revenge. STEP OUT OF THE GAME – sooner rather than later. That’s especially true if you’re the excessively optimistic sort who thinks you can single-handedly turn around others’ bad behavior.

Here’s an extra pay-attention tip I’ll throw in for free as my parting shot in this way-too-long Lamps saga. One of the hallmarks of pay-attention wisdom is the ability to recognize when you’re out of your depth and step out.

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

2018 Addendum: I was exceedingly mistaken. This Ugly Lamp Revenge Game is not over. It was begun again in 2017 by Little Sister and The Conniver, as you’ll read in THE Lamps, Part 7.



red box with white text: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.” – Rom. 12:19, NIV Bible

REAL revenge is none of our biz: it’s God-work.

THE Lamps, Part 3

(If you haven’t read Parts 1 and 2, you really should.)

The next Christmas, (see – you’re already lost if you haven’t read the first two episodes) my other sister-in-law, decided to jump in. Known to you as Middle Child, she decided The Ugly Lamp Gift Exchange looked like such jolly fun she’d like to participate, too. (A sad example that when we’re not truly paying attention, the grass does look greener on the other side of the fence.)

That Christmas at my in-laws, Middle Child lovingly offered me a small, beautiful gift bag. Since I’d successfully murdered The Conquistadors and sent their remains on to a better place (and the bag was smallish), I opened it with excited anticipation – the kind we reserve for real gifts. Here’s an early-in-the-story pay-attention point: when involved in the game of Revenge, it seldom pays to let down your guard. Talk about being blind-sided! That promising gift bag held the most unpromising “gift” – the MOTHER of all nursing home craft projects – run amok.

Glommed up with clumsily cut paper flowers from gaudy greeting cards and decoupaged indiscriminately on all four sides, it was a breathtaking, seven-inch-tall, bubbly-surfaced whiskey-bottle-turned lamp. The shade was a miniature, ridiculous upside-down version of the one in the photo below. And I might add that the one below is elegance personified compared to my decoupage disaster of a whiskey-bottle lamp.

photo of whiskey bottle made into a lamp

Unlike mine, sheer elegance!

If you’re younger than 50, you have no idea what decoupage fun you missed in the 1970s! While it was fun for women with absolutely no artistic ability who happily spent hours cutting out little cuties from greeting cards, there’s no denying it was a dark time in our nation’s history. These same wannabe-artists then pasted those cuties, in their non-art version of artsy, to anything not moving. Slapping a coat of shellac on the whole mess, they gave it to a dear one.

Wooden box purses were the preferred medium. But unfortunate whiskey bottles like mine, old milk cans, lunch boxes, furniture, and recipe boxes all gave their lives to this ill-advised, but thankfully, passing fad. Yes, you guessed right: there were awkward pauses and grim times around Christmas trees during the 1970s.

But I digress.

I wish I had a photo of my poor whisky-bottle lamp because I cannot begin to describe it adequately so that you fully appreciate its supremely TACKY ugliness. Up till this point, I had assumed that nothing could top The Conquistadors’ ugliness. Now, I realized they possessed a sizable amount of ugliness only because of their sizable real estate.

This petite gem made The Conquistadors look like amateurs in the Ugly Contest possessing, as it did, maximum ugliness per square inch. As I held that questionable beauty, I tried to laugh along with the rest of the fam; but honestly, I joined in the frivolity through clenched teeth. All this “fun” was wearing very, very, very thin. 

Gearing Up
for the Next Revenge Christmas

As Christmas became a distant memory, I recuperated from all that enforced “fun,” and the months marched on. Along about October, Hubby, gearing up for another blessed Revenge Christmas, asked excitedly, “Where’s that whiskey-bottle lamp Sis gave you?”

Lamp? What lamp?”

My feigned innocence didn’t work. “You threw it out, DIDN’T YOU???”

Um, well, I might’ve done. Can’t really remember….”

Oh great. Now we’ll have to find another ugly lamp to replace the one you threw out!”

WHY? Can’t we just stick a fork in this mess and call it ‘done’?”

Absolutely not! Where would the fun be in that? This is FUN!” (I would just like to point out right here that “fun” is most definitely a relative term.)

Grudgingly, I promised to see what I could find, but I was very nearly DONE with this silly game of Revenge. I never liked Monopoly either, for the same reason: it went on and on and on and on. Furthermore, I like to WIN a game and be done with it. This was a game that not only wouldn’t end, I couldn’t win it either. Confronted with a game like that, I typically gather up my marbles, cards, poker chips, whatever – and stomp off.

So is there
a usable pay-attention point
to my sour-grapes grumpiness?

Of course. Once embroiled in a non-productive “game,” WISE people fold and exit the game.

That’s not to say, you understand, that’s what we did. While I occasionally exhibit brief flashes of wisdom, I am not married to someone regularly displaying wisdom. I had to keep on playing this self-flagellating game of Revenge simply because my spouse wanted to, as you’ll see in Part 4 of THE Lamps

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” – Confucius

Talk about revenge not working out so well!!

THE Lamps, Part 2

photo of old, used hatchet, much like the kind Lizzie Borden might have used

Have you heard of the infamous Lizzie Borden?

(If you haven’t read Part 1, best read it. Otherwise, you won’t get the full force of humor in this Part 2, and you don’t want to miss that, do you?)

Having just found The Conquistadors behind my van seat, I grilled our two sons who had watched Brother-in-Law loading those monstrosities. “WHY didn’t you tell me these were behind my seat?!” They responded “Mom, we thought you wanted them; you do bring home some weird stuff,” which was true. I did. Still do.

At this point, I was too vexed by my in-laws’ deviousness to take time to lecture our sons on the subtle difference between the words weird and ugly. I quickly calmed down, though, when Hubby reminded me that Little Sister and her family were planning to visit her parents a few days after our visit with them. How VERY convenient. That gave us a full six hours to plot our cunning revenge.

At my in-laws, we added more Ugly to The Conquistadors – as if they weren’t ugly enough – by gluing out-of-style, yellow ball fringe to their shades. We boxed them into a whopper of a box (culled from Safeway’s bin in the middle of the night), wrapped it with deceptively nice wrapping paper, placed a cluster of lovely bows on it, said (what we sincerely hoped would be) our final good-byes to The Conquistadors, and lovingly placed our “present” near my in-laws’ Christmas tree. It looked like a real gift which, of course, was the whole point of all this vindictive busyness. Here’s an uncharacteristically early pay-attention tip: for maximum effectiveness, revenge needs to be gussied up to look like something else, something nice.

We traveled back to our home in Colorado. Days passed. Weeks passed. With no response to our clever retaliation, we forgot all about The Conquistadors, thinking they would no longer play a relevant role in our lives.

Wrong. Oh, SO wrong.

The sad saga

One balmy summer evening (EIGHT MONTHS from our retaliation), there was a knock at our front screen door while the boys and I were in the living room. I answered the door, fully expecting a friendly face. Instead, I found The Conquistadors, sitting quietly and expectantly on the porch, with not a human in sight in the black night. As they were beginning to take on an eerily human personality, my first thought was, “Did they walk the 800 miles to get here ?” Nah, the more obvious and painful explanation was that my in-laws had found a fellow conspirator right in our own city, no doubt someone we naively called “friend.”

Really! You have to wonder at the lengths to which SOME people are willing to go just for a little short-lived revenge. Whoops, that sounds a little hypocritical, doesn’t it? When Hubby returned home, he thought it was hysterical. But then he didn’t have to find a place to store the four-foot-tall Conquistadors.

As it turned out, neither did I. The next morning, I invited the widely traveled Conquistadors out to our sandstone patio where I ambushed them (à la Lizzie Borden). Using my trusty hatchet, I hacked those cursed Conquistadors to gold plaster dust and chunky smithereens. I ripped off the ball fringe. I cut the shades into strips. I yanked out the sockets. I yanked out the harps. I pulled out the cords. 

It was immensely satisfying.

But not quite satisfying enough. I meticulously swept up their shattered gold plaster bits, wanting NO reminders of their unwelcome visit. I neatly coiled the fringe and lampshade strips, tied the harps together, and wrapped the cords neatly around each other. I pulled out a huge piece of paper and, in a blaze of literary genius, wrote that short but unforgettable ditty about Lizzie Borden, written by Michael Brown and released in 1961 by the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Shut the door,
and lock and latch it.
Here comes Lizzie
with a brand new hatchet.

Kinda warms your heart, in a grizzly sort of way, doesn’t it?

I cut that little paper ditty into a primitive, six-piece, jig-saw puzzle and packed one piece in each package of:

plaster smithereens,
gold ball fringe,
lampshade strips,
sockets, and

Whipping out my calendar, I carefully timed their mailings to be received one week apart for the next six weeks. The Conquistadors had miraculously morphed into the gift that keeps on giving.

It turns out that their non-response to our Christmas “present” was a precursor to my in-laws’ habit of being sore losers. They would not concede that I had trumped their long-distance delivery of Conquistador Ugly. No, they wouldn’t even give us the satisfaction of an acknowledgement of having received any of my SIX “presents.” These people were experts at delivering revenge because – another pay-attention tip – the most effective response to revenge is, of course, NO response.

After waiting patiently for weeks and weeks, I decided, Oh well. I’m done with all that nonsense. I forgot all about The Conquistadors and that sorry lot of sore losers I’d apparently married into.

So what’s
the pay-attention point
to this revenge-filled part
of THE Lamps saga?

I’ve already given you two, but here’s the main pay-attention point: revenge seldom works out the way we’d hoped. I thought I could get even with Brother-in-Law and Little Sister, knowing full well getting even is a nasty habit. This time, with no gratifying response, I made my peace with it and decided to call it something else, taking my cue from (as you’ll see below).

The second time? Apparently, I wasn’t paying much attention to how poorly revenge had worked out for me the first time. Learn from my mistake and pay attention! In Part 3 of THE Lamps, I demonstrate incontrovertibly that the game of Revenge is like the game of Monopoly; it can go on forever.

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “I don't like to call it revenge. Returning the favor sounds much nicer. “ –

Don’t you just love the game of Semantics?

THE Lamps, Part 1

artwork of three version of a Spanish conquistador

It’s true: sometimes, these guys escape history.

Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation, which dictated that you say something tactfully uplifting, yet the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face truth was that there was just no good way to put credible lipstick on that pig?

This blog post and the next five are a sad saga of my trying to do just that and the unintended consequences that followed. What thanks did I get for gamely trying to put the best face on an awkward situation? NONE. What I received instead was years’ worth of harassment for my good deed – harassment that slowly spread through my husband’s family, eventually engulfing the lot of us.

The Story Begins:
Christmas, 1984

(Pay attention: just so you know, this saga starts out serious but – good news – ends not so serious.)

Husband’s Little Sister and her family suffered a house fire December 6, 1984, that burned their home to its foundation and everything in it – in one short hour. A wicked combination of a furnace problem combined with a wicked Nor’wester wind, it was devastating, as you can imagine.

They were well-insured, so the long-term prognosis was as good as it could be in situations like that. In the short term, though, they needed everything – pronto. On Christmas break, we visited them to do what we could to encourage them. By our arrival, they’d been thoroughly encouraged by their friends and the entire community in one of those quintessentially American, feel-good stories. They’d been quickly settled into an empty rent house, and their little community had poured out its wallets and donated home furnishings, household supplies, clothes, even Christmas-gift replacements.

Now, pay attention, because right about here is where it gets messy. It’s something you already know: some people’s idea of what is beneficial to people in this situation can be slightly out of kilter. One might be tempted to say they were looking for a way to offload their junk, but we won’t go so far as to say with certainty that’s what happened to Little Sister and her family. We’ll let you be the judge.

While we there, Brother-in-Law showed me an enclosed porch, stuffed with donated household furnishings. Some items were in good shape and could be useful. Others? Not so much. The pièce de résistance in the “others” category was a pair of the absolutely ugliest lamps I had ever seen or I ever expected to see. (With hindsight, that was most assuredly misguided optimism.)

A good four feet tall, they were banged-up gaudy-gold, Spanish conquistadors who had escaped their era, much like Time Bandits, and come to live right on the edge of The Deep South, of all places. Complete with crested shields and swords, they were even wearing the pointy helmets those fellas liked to wear. It was hard to imagine sane people saying to each other forty or fifty years prior, “Oh dearest, won’t these just make our new Colonial Spanish decorating scheme?” – and sincerely meaning it.

But there they sat, conspicuously adrift in time, amongst the other donated detritus. My brother-in-law, with what I now know to be his perverted sense of humor, pointed them out and said ever so gratefully and seriously, “What do you think of our new lamps?”

Ooo. Land mine ahead. Remember, they’d just lost everything and had been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity. Losing everything is very, very serious business. Being flooded with good will is humbling. Lots of emotions flying around that little rent house. He did seem truly grateful, and it didn’t seem the moment for raucous humor about how U-G-L-Y Ugly those lamps truly were.

So I took the high road. Skirting the entire Ugly Issue, I allowed they were a trifle large, and perhaps he could salvage the sockets, harps, and electrical cords. Having rewired a few lamps myself, I secretly gave myself an A- for a vague, yet helpful, answer to such a loaded question at such an emotionally charged time. In an uncharacteristic fit of tactfulness, I was desperately trying to be NICE.

The next morning, we packed our van and took off on the next leg of our journey, a six-hour drive to my in-laws. Barely half a mile down the road, we stopped so I could rearrange items making annoying squeaks. As I climbed past my captain’s chair to the open area in the middle of our converted van, there sat The Conquistadors right behind my seat, all settled in and excitedly looking forward to their new home.

So much for the high road.

What’s the pay-attention tip in this saga, at this point?

No good deed
goes unpunished

as nearly as I can figure. (I stole that, BTW; see below.) I really was trying SO hard to be upbeat and positive and tactful, and look what it got me: a PAIR of U-G-L-Y Ugly! I decided I was done with nice and would henceforth become all about revenge. In Part 2, you’ll see how well that turned out.

red box with white text: “No good deed goes unpunished.” – Clare Booth Luce

A famous US Ambassador, author, & politician

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

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