And I should know, because I’m a card-carrying Lucy, a flighty, impractical whirlwind of disastrous schemes and wild ideas. Half-assed is my specialty and I’m unswayed by both risk and embarrassment, so having an Ethel is essential to my welfare. We, many of us, need them the same way we need oxygen.
My mother, bless her heart, was an abysmal Ethel. She could be talked into almost anything, regardless of how hare-brained. Although, one time I wanted to stakeout a funeral, see who showed up and how they’d aged, but that’s where she drew the line, apparently. I came this close to convincing her it would be good, harmless fun, but nope, she refused and would discuss it no further. It was a rare flash of Ethel.
My most enduring and abiding friends have all been Ethels, to one degree or another. As reluctant accomplices, they’ve pulled me out of clothes dryers, off window ledges, hauled me to ERs, operated as lookouts, laughed with me and at me; they’ve fed me, housed me, threatened me, come to my rescue, lied for me when necessary and covered for me always; talked me down from panic and up from crushing sadness, they’ve stopped me in my tracks with a stern look, and held me together when things fell apart. They have been my champions and my defenders, my sidekicks and better angels.
I’m just a huge fan of Ethels. They aren’t rigid; they aren’t humorless or autocratic or judgmental. They’re unshakable pragmatists with clear-eyed insight and not necessarily women. I’ve known a bunch of guys I’d classify as Ethels — one of my bosses, the only one I ever liked, was an Ethel. He aided and abetted, allowing me to get away with murder. Which isn’t recommended by 4 out of 5 business professionals, including me.
There’ve been times when I was between Ethels — after moves, following job changes — and I was rendered defenseless. Without their steadying influence and guidance, I was on my own and I, naturally, failed to thrive. Stoopid decisions went unchecked, odd behavior prevailed, and bad things happened — ridiculous, avoidable things. I should never be left unattended. I need a minder; I need an Ethel or six.
So to all the Ethels in all the lands, thank you. You deserve to be celebrated and cherished for your unending patience and tolerance of headstrong nutjobs. We are a woefully misguided crowd, to be sure, but we’re also hugely grateful.
Vive la Ethel.
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