Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Quite A Lot Of Pressure

Skylar is supposed to get his test scores any day now and I simultaneously need it to happen immediately and not for a while. He is antsy and it is A Lot. He has been waking up throughout the night, gasping, and informing me that he just had a series of dreams in which he got his score and the score is always "average" and he doesn't know how to feel about it. I need that to stop. But also, it's kind of fun to anticipate something exciting during The Great Covid, which has produced few opportunities to anticipating something exciting.

I asked him, mostly as a joke, whether I could look up his score and read it to him, like Warren Beatty announcing the Oscar for Best Picture. It sounded so glamorous when I suggested it. I got shot down initially but then later in the day Skylar came back to me and said that actually, yes, he did want me to read it first and break it to him because "you're really good at sharing news."

Obviously I was flattered by this completely true observation. I am fantastic at sharing news. I get teary-eyed and emphatic over good news, celebrating achievements like they're my own and empowering the people responsible for them. I like to be the one to extend job offers for my law firm when we make a decision because I am so phenomenally good at it.

But more importantly, I am honestly the Meryl Streep of delivering bad news. I'm not kidding, you guys. If you ever have bad news, you should call me and have me tell it to you. I once got distracted while messing with people on Yahoo! Answers when I saw someone ask a question about whether they could sue their boss who fired them for a totally good reason and I left such a thoughtful and inspiring answer for that person about how they didn't have a legal avenue for recovery but that they had so many important qualities that mattered more than the job and that person emailed me to thank me and we are literally still in touch five years later.


I'm honestly not trying to brag, it's just that, we're all good at some things, and this is the thing I happen to be most good at. I totally got it from my mother who, yes, did inform me that my pet bird Feathers had died by screaming "his guts are everywhere!" AND I WAS SEVEN, but she could also tell you you're dying in such an empowering way that you'd feel like the revelation was the best news you'd ever heard.

Tangent: I came out to my parents in 2014 by saying "I'm incredibly gay" and my mother responded "is there a difference between 'gay' and 'incredibly gay'?" I said, "no, but I just wanted to make sure there was no doubt about it so we wouldn't have to go down that road." She then winked at me and said, "got it!" like I had let her in on a little secret. The entire time she had her glasses at the end of her nose and she was sewing AND SHE DIDN'T STOP ONCE.

Skylar knows I'm like my mother in digesting "bad" news because every time he starts panicking about perceived bad news I re-spin it for him and tell him that the news is actually a positive thing. I actually think most of us get better at this with age. Sometimes you just have to "fail" a few times to get in the habit of realizing that things not going according to plan isn't necessarily terrible.

I remember people telling me in college that I shouldn't stress so much about a bad grade because down the road I'd realize it wasn't all that important. That sounded like nonsense to me at the time.

I still think it's important to try, but I do have to admit, now that I'm mumble mumble eleventy years old that I don't regret a single bad grade or missed opportunity in my life, because, well, I've ended up married to the best person in the United States of God Bless America and I couldn't possibly have a cuter dog so what more could I possibly want out of this life?

Ok, now I'm bragging. Sorry.

Anyway, all of this is to say that once Skylar told me he wanted me to read his results first and then reveal them to him I suddenly started feeling a lot of pressure I had not anticipated and now I've spent the last five days practicing reactions. Fortunately several years as a teenager in which I rehearsed various Oscar reactions while looking in the mirror have been somewhat helpful.

(I was an incredibly gracious loser, usually to Meryl Streep, which doesn't make a lot of sense considering the gendered categories, but how is that the thing you guys are latching onto in this hypothetical scenario where Eli McCann has been nominated for an Academy Award in the late 90s where his only theatrical resume included a one-night stint as "tumbleweed number four" in our church's spoof production of "Oh South Jordan" based off of the hit musical "Oklahoma?")

The point is, I feel very nervous and I could use some advice. This could be happening any day. I'm sure the news will be good because Skylar is the greatest genius of our time even though on several occasions he has misspelled "walk" when speaking the letters to me so as not to send Duncan into a panic. But you never know.

Help. My husbandly duties depend on this. I'm pretty sure this scenario was specifically included in our vows.

Someone's future doctor.
~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Well, now I am nervous for both of you even though I also have the greatest confidence that things will go as planned. You are booths great, and, your dog, even greater!!

  2. I'm assuming his results will include a number. Write out an equation that equals that number, then take the various parts of the equation and hide them around the house. Skylar has to look for the numbers and assemble them into the correct equation while you yell medical jargon in a panicked voice through a megaphone. In the end, he'll be so relieved to have saved the equation that he won't care what the number is, and that's the true meaning of being a doctor.

    Or, if you don't want to do math, set up a scale of tv doctors based on hotness. Assign each doctor a grade that corresponds to the results Skylar could possibly receive. Include Skylar, because it will probably take days to decide whether McDreamy or McSteamy is hotter and that's a good, fun distraction. Then when the news arrives, you can proudly announce "You got a George Clooney in ER!" Which may be the highest score, but he might be disappointed because he wanted it to be Taye Diggs from Private Practice.

    1. The tv doctor idea has me laughing so hard!

    2. Creating this scale may just be the new #gayagenda.

    3. This doctor scenario is genius!!!

    4. Eli, you have to do this. I am obsessed with this idea!!

    5. This! Make it this!

  3. I needed to read this yesterday - my son got some really bad news and it would have been great if you could have shared it with him.

  4. Please wear a tux when you it and record it for us. We are all so invested in both of you. Have sparkling cider ready to hand to him as he comes up for his acceptance speech. Rooting for you form California.

  5. Good luck! I’m sure he’ll do great, but the wait is nerve wracking.

    Also, if you’re looking for a way to flex these “bringing hope and support into bad situations” muscles, consider signing up as a volunteer with Letters Against Depression! It’s a non-profit where people send handwritten letters to strangers all around the world going through mental health struggles, and it’s pretty cool!

  6. If you’re going the Warren Beatty route then you have to announce that La La Land won before correcting yourself.

  7. Not joking, will you read my bar results to me over the phone on the second Friday in October?