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By Tristan 

Life could be perfect if I could live it like the director's cut


I get annoyed with people who wish life could come with an instruction manual because they want their life to be easier. Don't be such a noodle, I say.

If you're going to wish for it to be easier, ask for a good script, proper lighting and awesome background music. Maybe a hair and makeup artist. And a custom-made wardrobe.

Pam Burke

Life would be so much easier if I didn't have to figure out what to say and do and wear.

My husband John and I went to two parties over the Labor Day weekend. Count 'em — two. Two social gatherings. Two soirées. Two opportunities to lodge my foot in my mouth, fall over, onto or into something and/or accidentally insult people — which is a lot worse than intentionally insulting them (trust me, I have a lot of experience at both).

I don't think I did too badly, socially-moronically speaking, because no one appeared to be thinking: "Why does John always have to bring his wife to these things?"

Honestly, though, unless I actually have to pull my foot from my mouth or pick myself up off my face, I still spend a lot of time second guessing my success or possible (probable) lack thereof.

It's exhausting. The whole thing. The trying to psyche myself up to go, the effort to remain socially acceptable and the endless worrying afterward.

If I had a script to tell me what to say, where to stand, how the other person will respond, life would be much easier. I could be wittier. Smoother. More stylish.

If I verbally stepped on any toes, it would be because I was supposed to ... the script said so.

There would be no awkward photos because the lighting and my wardrobe would always be perfect for the moment.

It would be refreshing.

All of life would be so much easier.

Dating would've been less nerve-racking more perfect-moment-ish.

Life questions would have been answered.

Should young, high school me date that cute guy? Well, when I look at him I hear overly-dramatic music with sad notes from an oboe — and he's always lit half in shadow. That's suspicious. I'll pass.

Should I take that one job? There's something hinky here. Whenever I look at the employment ad I hear a music score like a strange mixture of the "Jaws" shark-is-coming scenes, the "Psycho" shower scene and some kind of soul-sucking zombie movie tune. Yeah, I'll wait for a job that gives me "Top Gun" feel-good music.

And if all that seems too scripted, to you, remember that I can yell "Cut!"

"I don't think my character, me, would say that. I mean, what's my motivation here? I really think we should take this story line in a lighter direction."

I would be very comfortable taking charge like this if my life had had a script from the beginning:

"Action!" the director would've yelled. "Cue newborn baby Pam's entrance into the world. Aaaand cry. Cry! Cry-cry-cry. What! Why aren't you crying, Pam? Can anyone tell me why she isn't crying? What do you mean she's not breathing? Dangit, Pam" — Smack — "be a professional. Oh. Now she cries. Now you cry? After you've ruined the scene. Alright, put her back — it's a do-over.

"Pam's birth scene, take two … ."

Yeah, life could be that way.

(When they say "La-La Land," I'm sure they're talking about my state of mind at [email protected])


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