I excel at throwing blankets—one toss and they land flat, perfectly centered on the bed. I know just which size Tupperware will fit the dinner leftovers. I can skim scum off boiling broth like a motherfucker. I can extract a full row of plates from the dishwasher in one motion—all those college work-study hours in the dish room. I can measure a fever to the first decimal place with my cheek but not my hands—all that hot crockery long ago. I can drift the wash-boarded turns of our dirt road in the pickup truck, a controlled skid, Dukes-of-Hazzard style minus the racism, a skill that has earned me admiration from my teenaged son—that’s worth something. I can coax a root-bound plant out of its pot and shove a pill—gently—down a dog’s throat. I can fold paper so the snowflake comes out with six sides. I also know how to catch porcupines. However, I cannot yodel or burp the ABCs. I don’t know how to read palms or tea leaves or entrails, although I can often read minds and, given enough time, the writing on the wall. I don’t expect there will ever be a desperate need for a heroic blanket thrower. My specialized skills may never save a life, but you never know. Humbly, I await my destiny. In the meanwhile, it gives me great satisfaction to see those who have been neither considered nor elevated given the honor and appreciation, if not the salary, that has always been their due: the grocery clerk, the janitor, the pizza delivery guy, the garbage collector. Let me feed you clear soup under a smooth blanket, surrounded by proper snowflakes, eminently free of porcupines.
Lea Page is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, The Pinch, The Boiler and Entropy, among others. She is also the author of Parenting in the Here and Now (Floris Books, 2015). She lives in rural Montana with her husband and a small circus of semi-domesticated animals.