(previously published in KC Star newspaper on 1.12.11)
As a teenager, I never worked in the fast-food industry. Not because I didn’t need the money nor because I had an aversion to reeking like a vat of fat.
Plain and simple, I am incapable of flipping anything. I kid not — it’s an embarrassing truth!
Pancakes at my house are regularly folded in half and undercooked in the center. Hamburgers lay limp and bloody between the grates on the floor of the grill. If you are an egg at my home, you scoff at the chef — omelets and fried eggs are always askew and overcooked. And you say you want a grilled cheese? Forget about it!
I became a pediatric nurse because it is one of the few professions where I didn’t have to flip anything. Well, there was that one time in nursing school when an orderly needed assistance flipping an incapacitated adult patient. A bad outcome and one strained back later, I realized I needed to work with children and have others do my flipping.
Coming to grips with my disability, I now know I couldn’t have graduated from McDonald’s Hamburger University. (Don’t think I’m joking. This college in Oak Brook, Ill., graduates 5,000 French fry-scented students a year). No flipping honors were to be in my future.
My problem is I maintain the confidence to attempt all flips in my life. I volunteer to toss coins to end disagreements, ending with the change flying across the room and under a piece of furniture that can’t be moved without a team of horses.
I once flipped a mattress and got my body completely trapped between the box springs and the king-sized foam torture device. I have remnants of pizza dough on my kitchen ceiling. And don’t get me going on flirty women who can flip their hair perfectly in slow motion to drive the men crazy! Never could get that flip momentum without getting whipped in the eye or loudly cracking my neck. Not an attractive look — or sound.
So what kind of role model am I for my children? Do I admit to them I have a problem that no 12-step program can repair?
Yes. I must be honest and not let my children know I am self-conscious of my flipless life.
After years of struggle and failure, I must turn my handicap into life lessons for my kids. Hopefully, this will help them realize it’s an illness and they shouldn’t be embarrassed. Give me a mulligan, please!
My life lessons from a flipless mother:
•There is always another way to do something.
•There is no such thing as perfection.
•Not everyone is good at everything.
•And, finally, in a coin toss, a quarter in the hand is worth two under the piano.
I only hope by admitting my flaws to my children, they will learn from my plight. The good news is they should be comforted by knowing flipping is my only flaw.
Stacey Hatton is a pediatric nurse and freelance writer. Her humor blog can be found at http://nursemommylaughs.com.