Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Why send a wreath when you can bring chalk?

Someone recently suggested writers complete the statement: When I grow up I wanna be...

I was thrilled! Finally I have the chance to come out of the closet and tell the world about my dream career.

I've always wanted to be the person that draws chalk outlines around the dead people. It seems like a pretty exciting career and if I get a job in a small town, I won't have to actually work that often. Maybe once every ten or twelve years tops.

Ever a professional, I keep sharp as a tack by making turkeys out of my hand print every year at Thanksgiving and tracing around the letters on my newspaper each week: "E-n-q-u-i-r-e-r". My family is pretty supportive of my pursuit toward this goal, although they are growing somewhat tired of waking up every morning and finding chalk all over their sheets.

I also keep chalk in my purse just in case somebody should fall out right in front of me in the regularity aisle at Wal-Mart. I figure that would give me the chance to show off my outlining ability to the local law enforcement and thus get a jump on what I'm sure is stiff competition. (That's a little outliner's pun.)

Sadly while training for my dream career, I once inadvertently caused a little trouble. I went to visit my aunt at what we like to call the "rest home" and upset a couple of her persnickety friends. In my defense, they were about a hundred and they were being oddly still.

This job requires a lot of thinking outside the box to be sure. When my son's fish went to be with Jesus, it presented a problem. When one passes away while in a fish bowl, one makes it difficult to draw any sort of line around one. Not to be outwitted by some two-dollar dead fish, I whipped out my chalk and drew a line around his bowl.

I'm not sure when the desire to be a chalk outline professional was born in my heart. Maybe it was in the pages of Harold and His Purple Crayon. Or maybe it was when Miss Luckadoo brought her brand new silver chalk holder to school and beautifully printed her name on the third grade blackboard. I'm guessing it was a combination of both those things plus all the times my Maw-Maw used to force me to kiss my dead relatives good-bye so I wouldn't have nightmares.

Thank God she did, too. Nightmares are the worst.

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Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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