Friday, July 2, 2010

Strong Like Bull

If there's anything I like better than thick, white coffee mugs the waitress refills twice, it's thick, white coffee mugs the waitress refills three times. This morning I may have snuck in a fourth refill, whilst breakfasting with H in a cafe older than I am.

(I will miss, profligately, breakfasts in my hometown, rolling around in my own history like a potbellied pig with a nostalgia complex. Sigh.)

H and I started in on one topic, but the conversation turned, as conversations do (they're wily little buggers, spryer than pigs) and we got around to strengths and weaknesses. Apparently the Presbyterian church calls weaknesses "growing edges" but everyone knows this is church-speak for faults. After all, most of us are experts on weakness. We're prodigies. We're rocket scientists! Heck, I can recite by heart a taxonomy of my soft spots, my blindnesses, my flaws.

(I'm anxious. I'm cowardly. I am persnickity. I don't trust easily. I'm reactive. I'm mildly lazy. I'm selfish, especially when hungry. I'm restive. I have a hundred more where this came from.)

What we don't continually catalog -unless we are Liberace or Sarah Palin- are our strengths. We take them for granted. Our strengths are like the maiden aunt who takes care of you for eighteen years after your mother and father die in an elephant-riding accident. You see her around the house every day cleaning up your dishes, ironing your shirts, but you don't bother to say thank you because that's just what she does.

So I'm coming up with some strengths. Not the standard answers I trot out for job interviews, but some honest-to-God, real-life, bona fide maiden aunts. Here goes:

I'm empathetic.
Words are easy.
I'm a cheap laugh.
I'm a good walker.

That was actually kind of tricky. What are your strengths?

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