Yesterday I wandered into T.J. Maxx to my favorite part, the Home section, and this is what I found on a shelf. I took a pic of it because I’m a bit demented. First, I will testify that I didn’t do it. If I had done it, I can assure you (pardon the pun) that I would have chosen a word with more panache. Second, I don’t think a rascally shopper did it either. There were no other letters in the aisle. It appears this is what remained after a mish mash of startup inventory and a busy weekend. It was a thoughtless display with unintended consequences.
The whole thing just reminded me why I don’t like letters and words as décor. I always think it’s weird when people have words like Laugh, Celebrate, Family resting on shelves. It’s kinda like when you drive by a restaurant and the word EAT is propped up in huge letters on the top of the building. That’s not usually the signal that quality food is being served, instead the sign seems to communicate that servings at this locale require an edict in order to be consumed.
What happens when the word CELEBRATE gets dusty on the shelf or perhaps a little cobweb forms in the holes of the “B”? What if you are having a rough day and something tragic happens to you and staring down at you from a shelf is the word LAUGH? Maybe you don’t feel like laughing, maybe that day you have to put a book in front of the “L” and the “A” and just leave UGH. I think there are many days that décor like this can mock you, and I don’t have time to adjust my tchotchkes to suit my mood.
If I had to choose a word to put on my mantle, one that I could be secure fits my every day I would choose WORRY. Worry is my credo. It’s my raison d’etre. It is what I am best at. I could even fashion one of those wood paneled signs and get a whole theme going. In swirly turquoise letters it would read “Start Worrying. Details to Follow.”
I find that worrying is a great coping mechanism and I believe I get the same solace from imagining worse case scenarios as some people get from dusty wooden block letters that proclaim FAMILY. I like to really dig deep into a situation, swim around in it. Years ago when we lived in a house with an open lot next door someone bought the lot and started building. Of course I worried tremendously about our privacy. I worried that their kids might be bullies. I worried that the parents might be unreasonable and a true pain in the arse to live near. This is all reasonable. But no, I didn’t stop there. I’m no amateur, I’m a world class woe factory. Once the crew started working I worried that they would kidnap my children and sell them into sexual slavery. I like to voice my concerns to my husband. Someday he will be sainted. Soon the house was built and the new neighbors moved in. They were delightful people. No one was harmed or enslaved in the making of their dream home, and I was more than thrilled that the only consequence of my new neighbors was that I had to invest in some new shades.