You’ve probably heard this one before: an old man saw a boy flinging starfish from where they were stranded on the beach back into the ocean so they could live. The old man asked the boy why he was wasting his time because the beach was miles long and full of stranded starfish. What difference does it make for the boy to take the time to do it?
The boy looks at the starfish in his hand and replies, “It makes a difference to this one,” and throws it into the surf.
YES YOU DO. Everyone knows this story.
So, I read a lot of other writers’ blogs and from time to time, a topic comes that I read with great interest. The articles usually start along the lines of, “One question I get asked over and over again as a writer is why do I write?”
Something I need to say here is that no one has ever asked me that question. Mainly, I hear, “What do you write?” Or better yet, “Still?” Then I answer and my non-writerly friends’ eyes drift over to the buffet. I think I need to work on my, “elevator pitch.”
Anyhoo, the question of why writers write interests me because I think we should all ask ourselves why we pursue the things we do. We need a sense of purpose and urgency. Else, if we think no one is reading, watching or caring, we would stop.
That might be bad.
Yes, you must read my novel about a songwriter in love with two men who are best friends, one even married to her own best friend, or your life is in great peril. You’ve been warned.
What in God’s name are you talking about, Jen? And be quick about it, because they’re running out of shrimp on the buffet. I can see it from here.
A Show About Nothing
The year was 1996. One of the funniest Seinfeld episodes aired on a cool October evening. The episode was called, “A Difficult Patient.” Elaine saw her doctor for a rash on her arms. But while left alone in the examination room, she peeks at her chart and sees that she’s considered a difficult patient. The doctor returns to the exam room and chides Elaine for looking at her own chart. He fake erases the comment and dismisses her rash as nothing to worry about. Elaine obsesses. Decides she can’t see her doc anymore and goes for a second opinion. The new doc opens her file and shuts it quickly with an exhale. “Your rash doesn’t look serious,” he says as he writes something else on her chart and walks out.
Meanwhile, she scratches her way through the episode unrelieved and even ropes Kramer into stealing her chart so it won’t follow her around for the rest of her life.
Yeah, no. Kramer as Dr. Van Nostrum from The Hoffer-Mandale Clinic in Belgium, The Netherlands, doesn’t get her chart back.
Funny? As all get-out.
Life saving? Yes.
I don’t get it.
I’ll explain it to you.
Mammograms Can Be Funny
A woman in my life who is as close to me as as anyone can be was blowing off her mammogram. For, like years. Her doctor finally got firm with her and told her to stop avoiding her mammogram. She instantly thought of, “A Difficult Patient,” made a typical jokey Seinfeld reference, then made her appointment last month.
She’s having surgery this week because she has breast cancer.
Thank you, Seinfeld writer, Jennifer Crittenden. You just played a part in saving my mother’s life. I’m glad you didn’t stop.
For you, Gentle Mood Swinger, keep flinging starfish.