My mother gave me a gift when I was 13. It was a sticker for my bedroom door.
(I had a lot of stickers on my door. I loved stickers then and love them still. I'll show you later in the article.)
Does anyone remember Garfield? Apparently they are selling this exact sticker on eBay and other sites as a vintage classic sticker from the 70s and 80s.
Geeze I feel old, now!
Anyway, my mother gifted me this sticker. My mother was famous for passive aggressively giving "back handed compliments".
For this who've never heard that phrase, a backhanded compliment is a compliment that disguises an insult.
One example of that (I cringe every time I think of this story) is my mother putting my report card on the refrigerator. You would think that would show how proud she was of me.
In reality, it was demonstrating to every person that walked into the kitchen that I was not good enough.
You see, I hated math. I never did my homework and I never applied myself in class. I usually received a failing grade.
In the USA, our grading system goes A = best, B = good, C = average, D = below average, and F = fail.
I have no idea what happened to E.
So, I guess, this particular grading cycle either I actually attempted to apply myself, or I copied enough of the homework, or my teacher felt pity for me. My grade was a D.
My mother made a huge deal of this. She pretended to be so excited that I hadn't failed. And she put the report in the middle of the refrigerator for all to see.
"How is this an insult?" you ask.
My parents were entertainers. Not that they were in a traveling show or circus folk. They entertained.
They had parties. A lot of parties.
My mother started her career as a nurse (because in those days and in her family women were either nurses, secretaries, or teachers - if they had a career at all - they weren't surgeons, which is what she really wanted to be) but she didn't like it. When I was little, she went back to school and became an attorney.
My step-father is a nuclear physicist (PhD) and was a professor at the local University.
The people they entertained were mostly academics. There may have been a linguist or two in the crowd, but mostly mathematicians.
I don't know about your parties, but at my parents' parties, everybody always ended up in the kitchen. Maybe because it was closer to the alcohol.
So, all these math geniuses and PhDs got to see my below average math grade on the refrigerator. And if they didn't notice it or comment on it, my mother was sure to point it out.
"We're so proud of Jonica. She didn't fail math this semester."
That's a backhanded compliment.
I think the Garfield sticker was the same. Like, here's a gift, but I'm really not giving you something nice, I'm telling you and the rest of the world you are lazy.
She would tell me I'm lazy in other ways, too. Usually by saying, "You're so lazy!"
My teachers called me lazy, too, because I was always daydreaming and living in my imagination. They knew I was smart, but I never applied myself.
Now, I'm a grown up and my career is writing. If I'm not sitting at the keyboard all day, typing away, I hear my mother's voice, "Jonica, you are so lazy. Why don't you do something productive?"
I hear that voice, but I'm also able to argue with it, now. Because even if it looks like I'm just sitting around, starting at my phone (I'm usually writing), or streaming online, or reading, or playing mobile games, I'm actually working.
So much of my work hours on in my brain before it goes on the page.
And when I'm actively typing or handwriting, I allow myself to let everything go. Including housework.
If you came to my house and saw all the clutter, piles of clean clothes needing to be put away, dishes needing to be washed, furniture needing to be dusted, you might also conclude I was lazy.
I never miss my animal chores, though sometimes (like right now) I may get caught up in writing and be late.
But all my other chores? Pffft. Who cares? Nobody published the next great American novel by doing dishes!
I know I'm not lazy, even if I hear my mother's voice in my head (or over the phone) twerking me I am.
How about you? Are you lazy? Have you been told you are lazy? What do you think of as lazy?
This week's prompt is laziness. Come join the fun!
Please keep in mind to
Write anything on laziness
Write 100% original content
Tag me @JonicaBradley
The longer your article is, the more likely you will get attention from Rusty. I suggest 600 words at a minimum.
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It's not the competition! It's just another part of the writing community.
If you like the cat sticker, thank you, I designed it myself. If you are interested in other items I've designed, stickers, cards, coffee mugs, leggings, dresses, shower curtains, socks, and bath mats please check out my RedBubble store here.
Even if you don't buy anything, I would love for you to drop by, look and like some of my work. Follow me. Etc. Y'all know the drill!
Lead and first photo: Garfield sticker license free