The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Career Day at the Knitingales

Mr. K and I were chatting the other night, considering rationally what sorts of options I might wish to explore, should I be one of the 80% or so of nursing school applicants who isn’t accepted. (Or, I was having a moderate to large meltdown of the “I’ll never get in whatamIgonnado?” sort that involves sudden panic and running around in frantic circles until the cats become nervous. You know, whatever you want to call it.) The upshot was Mr. K’s gentle suggestion that perhaps I would feel better if I took a moment to think about other interests I might want to pursue, should the need arise. (Or he watched me spinning wildly and imagining all sorts of doomsday scenarios and considered turning the hose on me but didn’t want to pay for new carpets. Again, whatever you want to call it.) The point is (and I believe I might actually have one) that I started thinking about other directions in which I might take my career. For instance:

As a child, I wanted to be a surgeon. Now, the obvious issue here is that I am 41 years old and by the time I finished that much schooling I would have about 3 productive work years left in which to pay back approximately 12 hundred gerjillion dollars in student loans. A further concern, however, is that while I am absolutely stellar at identifying body parts on a neatly drawn diagram, when I dissect real body parts I can’t find a damned thing. My A&P teacher was kind enough to pretend to believe me when I told him that the heart I was cutting up must have come from a deformed cow because it didn’t seem to have any specific parts other than “this slimy thing” and “this other slimy thing.” Sadly, I think this does not bode well for any potential career in surgery. “Mr. Jones, I’m afraid I wasn’t able to remove your appendix because once I cut you open, well, it all just looked like slimy stuff. I did take out this thing…whatever it is. I’m sure you won’t need it. Good luck with your recovery.” Yeah…not so much.

I also thought I might want to be a ballerina (I was nothing if not diverse in my goals). But here is where we are forced to recall that I needed the letters L and R crayoned on my dance shoes for the entire time I took dance….which, again, seems not to suggest a strong career in the field. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a directionally confused dance company out there. Besides, I grew boobs. Ballerinas aren’t allowed to have boobs.

At some point, I considered firefighter (probably just to annoy the neighborhood boys who insisted that only boys could be firemen, but I think it still counts). The only problem there is that I suffer from a fairly debilitating fear of heights, which would seem to pose a problem for someone who frequently works on ladders. I knew a firefighter once and he said “Oh, don’t worry. Most people are afraid of heights to some extent. But you get into a rescue and you don’t think about it!” To which I am forced to reply that his fear of heights and my fear of heights are so completely unrelated that they have never even spoken via e-mail. I think it is not comforting to a victim being rescued to have the rescuer saying over and over “Please don’t let go of me! Oh, man—it’s so HIGH up here!!” Also, I’m not too nuts about this notion of going into a building that’s on fire. I generally try to avoid things that are on fire.

I think I did want to be a rock star at some point….but I think that Mick Jagger and David Bowie are the only ones who can pull that off while within spitting distance of qualifying for Medicare. I also think that leather pants and I should never, ever have a close relationship. Ever.

I remember wanting to be an actress and I even acted in some plays. It seems, though, that the movie and broadway-going audiences are somewhat more demanding than the bunch of mothers and fathers we used to play to in high school. I guess they want actual acting talent. Or huge breasts wedged recklessly into tiny shreds of clothing. And maybe a little toy-sized dog.

I love the outdoors but, alas, it does not love me. I have a black thumb and a homing device for any and all insects and other venom-bearing creatures. Apparently, I taste phenomenal which, while flattering, does not seem to be much upon which to build a meaningful career. Forest Service is right out.

I could always wash elephants at the zoo…but you know, if you deal with one end of an elephant you’re going to have to deal with the other one. I’m pretty certain that scooping out the elephant box is a bit nastier than scooping out the catbox. Besides, I’m also fairly certain that if the zoo let me wash elephants, they’d make me wash other animals, too, including ones not nearly so civilized as elephants. Giant Snake Wash Technician is not so appealing, somehow.

Ice cream taster. Okay, now we’re talking. I have highly attuned taste buds and at least some degree of common sense. For instance, that guy who invented mushroom ice cream? Yeah, he wouldn’t have gotten that far if he’d asked me. I could have told him that few people really want fungus in their soft serve. And don’t get me started on the guy who made the onion ice cream. (Seriously—people really have made both of those flavors…and worse.)

Thoughts, suggestions? Anyone have an in with Haagen-Dazs?

To respond to a couple of comments (because as we know, I’m a serious comment whore): Monica, have no fear regarding the Lorna’s Laces Mt. Creek. It hates me, yes. But I probably did accidentally say something bad about its mama, or perhaps the sheep it grew on. I believe it will like you significantly more than it does me.

I can’t remember now who asked what sock pattern I was using (and blogger is down or I would check…I’m typing this in Word so I can copy and paste it later. Ain’t technology grand?), but it’s the Ridged Feather Design from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks. It’s a great pattern—four rows and three of them are knit. Ya gotta like it.

Ed woke me up repeatedly all night wanting affection. I think he’s asleep on the back of the couch now, so I’m going to go down now and rub my head against him until he wakes up. Then I’m going to let him go back to sleep and do it again. Think there could be a career in that?


  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger beckie said…

    Oh, Flo, just be like Dorie and chant this to yourself "Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming..."

    That keeps me going no matter where I'm going! I will be praying for you!

  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    I have an orange tabby that would hire you in a minute! Unfortunately, he is gainfully unemployed, so the pay would suck.

  • At 4:11 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    ROFL - Well, let's see... Donut taster. Professional mugger avoider. (To run off all those donuts.) Joggernaut. (Teaching classes to joggers on how to avoid being run over by bicyclists.) Hey, personal yarn shopper! That's a good one! And take your fees in yarn. You could visit all the shops in the Greater SeaTac area, or even up to BC, for those people who hate buying yarn online when they can't see, fondle and smell it. Cow collectible appraiser. You're already a humor writer, but currently the pay sucks, maybe get an agent. Although, y'know, I've heard the pay sucks there, too. Still, it's a thought. See? Tons of possibilities, just waiting.

    I like the cat-waking option, myself. Or even better, if you could develop a cat transporter device, when Ed wakes you up for affection you could zap him down to me, 'cause I tend to be awake nights and would be available for cuddling. Of course, this would probably evolve into the frequent scnario where much to his alarm, he suddenly finds himself in my lap, whereupon I shriek, jump and spill the poor beastie on the floor... After which I spend the next 5 hours apologizing to him (and keeping the Band-Aid company in business) while he acts extremely offended and turns his back upon me. This might cause a certain grumpiness on his return, because he'd most certainly know that it was your fault, and hours of me apologizing sure wouldn't help you get out of the doghouse. Hmm. We need a warning buzzer at my end, and probably a passel of quantum physicists. You know any? I'm fresh out of physicists. Deli turkey might help, too. For Ed, not the physicists.

    Glad to hear about the Lorna's Laces, 'cause I was getting worried. I've only used awed tones around it and petted it in an adoring way. Of course, I haven't started knitting it yet...

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger Marianne said…



  • At 2:36 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    Ditto! But you can do anything, you set your mind too, and you will succeed, no ifs no buts!!


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