A Woe in My Pocket7:30 AM
You. Yes, you. Over there. Come here. I've got something to show you. In my pocket. Hold out your hand - there. Isn't it amazing? I've been looking for one for ages. It's better than the one that you found the other day, is it not? Much more tragic and tear-stained, I think. And it's all mine. I'm keeping it until I find a better one. Here, give it back and I'll help you find one too - unless it's a truly spectacular one. That one's mine.
According to Mark Twain and et cetera, boys find frogs, put them in their pockets and bring them out at inopportune times. I've caught some toads in my lifetime (and never had a pocket to put them in), but that boyish pastime is nothing to the female specialty of Woe Hunting.
We feel as if we cannot be respected and loved without a woe in our pocket; we simply must have some sort of hurt to pull out and display when all the other girls are in a circle and admiring everyone's pet problem. The married women all can one-up the next with lazy, good for nothing husbands - such drains, such slobs, such incompetent substitutes for leaders. The ladies ooh and aah with great sorrow and pleasure until the Mrs. X shows up with a spectacularly tragic circumstance.
The single women complain about their lot in life - their woes are all riddled with tears and deferred hopes, broken romances, insincere fellows and love-life mistakes that will - ah, me! - affect them the rest of their lives. The sixteen-year-olds have particularly wonderful woes in that category.
Then there are the general complaints of bad weeks and difficult relationships, accompanied by sighs and martyr looks - the mysterious woes, easy to catch, that excite the suspicion and jealousy of other females and make them regret that they found a joy that week instead of a woe. Then they hastily pull a rather old woe out of their pocket and dress it up to make it look new and problematic.
Woes are very recyclable. They can be resolved twenty times over and their owners can still find a new facet that they missed. They are especially useful when one feels she hasn't gained enough attention that day and needs a quick boost to the top. Never mind if one found joys all throughout the week - one woe is enough to outweigh all the joys in the world.
Nobody tells us it's sinful to indulge in our little woes. Indeed, we believe it's quite useful and healing to gossip about ourselves - we're encouraging one another - we're supporting one another. We'd never dream of killing another's pet woe - never. Nor would we ever trade a worn-out woe for a brand new joy. Where's the fun in that?
Do you go hunting for woes and keep them handy in your pocket for just the inopportune moment to draw attention to yourself? That's all nice. But mine are much woefuller. I'm quite the expert. Care to take lessons?