Every now and again, I become delusional about what I can and what I can’t do. It’s not like I’m incompetent. I have managed to stay married for 37 years, and done it without lopping off my–or anyone else’s–body parts. I’m a mom and an author. I have a functioning level of competence. I have even learned new tricks through the years. Hey, computers weren’t around for most of my life and yet here I am, using one to do this blog. Not a complete idiot.
Which makes my epic fails so, well, baffling. For instance, there is the Gingerbread House Conundrum. Years ago, a friend gave us this cute, gingerbread-looking house for Christmas, only it was made with graham crackers. No mixing, rolling or baking required. Easy, peasy. I was charmed. And possibly glutted on the chocolate roof. It wasn’t rocket science. You glued some squares together with frosting and then stick on goodies.
With no realization of epic fail incoming, I thought, “I could do this.”
That was my first mistake, though it wasn’t my last. It was the beginning of a multi-year quest to construct a gingerbread house that didn’t suck dead toads. I tried to stop several times, but just when I’d think it was over, I’d see a “fool proof” gingerbread house kit. Or I’d try to avoid the house problem by constructing a Santa sleigh (yeah, because that shape is easier to do than a box).
I tried to stop. I gave away the cookie cutters and the frosting bags and various tips that never looked like they were supposed to when wielded by me. I averted my eyes, yes, even from the already constructed gingerbread houses (because that was cheating and cheaters never prosper). I thought I was cured. Then I visited my brother and his wife took me to this visitors center in Council Bluff. It was right before Christmas, but I hadn’t even thought about a gingerbread house or made eye contact with a kit. I was mulling fudge.
Do you know what they did at this visitors center every Christmas? Yeah, I didn’t know either. They had the BIGGEST, FANCIEST, gingerbread house display ever. It could have been the Food Channel on steroids. These weren’t houses, they were gingerbread properties. Mansions, ranches, high rise apartments. These people had made a country out of gingerbread. I hadn’t managed a single story, one room gingerbread house, but I looked around and thought, “I could do this.”
Delusional. Epic fail delusional.
Our next stop was a craft store with gingerbread house kits. It’s not my sister-in-law’s fault. She didn’t know about my problem. I’d still be on my quest to make a gingerbread house that didn’t suck, but my family had an intervention, made me step away from houses, and anything else made from gingerbread.
I can’t say I walk past those kits without flickers of that old, familiar feeling, but so far I’ve been able to resist the temptation to try one more time. I have stuck to what I can do: writing fictional mayhem cause I seem to be better at destroying than making…
And then I went to ApolloCon in June and a friend said, “Let’s go try Origami for Adults.”
I have looked at origami kits, origami things without any delusions of origami competence. I didn’t ever think, “I can do that.” In fact, I looked at them and thought, “No way.”
So there I am at a table with some other adults, some of them dressed as elves, looking at a table top covered with brightly colored paper squares. I’ve made paper airplanes and those things you grab your nose with. When I was in high school, I had to take an aptitude test where you looked at flattened boxes and figure out what shape they’d be put together. I aced it, too. So I figured I could fold paper for forty minutes without embarrassing myself. Had no sense of a possible epic fail incoming.
In fact, I had the beginnings of that old delusion of competence. Cause I so didn’t manage to fold paper for forty minutes without embarrassing myself. I did, finally, manage to create something that sort of looked like a box. I even made a frog that jumps a bit crookedly. And I left, thinking, well, I’m done with origami. But then I started thinking.
That would be my second mistake.
I popped online and found Sticky Note Origami: 25 Designs to Make at Your Desk. Wow, sticky notes are so, well, sticky. Okay, so my origami fail hasn’t reached the epic proportions of my gingerbread houses, but I found myself thinking about something else the origami teacher mentioned.
I’d been at ApolloCon, a science fiction convention and the instructor mentioned that you can do origami of almost anything. Like space ships…
If you google “origami” and “Star Trek,” you find all kinds of interesting paper, SF looking things. I haven’t ordered the book yet, but I confess I’m tempted. Those delusions of competence…somebody stop me. Now. Please. Is there a 12 step program for origami delusion?
Did your mom tell you that if you put your mind to it you can do anything? Mine did. Was the wrong? Please tell me I’m not alone here. Projects that have been a crash and burn? Or have an “ouch” factor? Distract me from the origami Enterprise…
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Pauline Baird Jones has so far resisted the origami temptation and she hopes resistance isn’t futile, because she doesn’t have time for another obsession. She has books to write. Books to read! To find out more about the books already written, visit her website at www.paulinebjones.com