Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Captain Obvious on Widowhood

I must be the last person on earth who didn’t (until a few days ago) know who Captain Obvious is. In my defense I don’t have teenagers around who keep me up on pop culture and fictional superheroes. And I don’t spend time playing video games or reading comic books---never did and probably never will. I do, however, get a kick out of what I just learned about Captain Obvious, a superhero who can fly but is afraid to do so. There is something just plain ridiculously funny about creating a character that travels around in an RV with his side kick, Readily Apparent Boy, and whose mission it is to seek out the blatantly obvious stuff to explain to the general public.

“Hey, water’s wet!”

“Good call, Captain Obvious.”

Captain Obvious has many super powers one of which is the ability to stare intensely at a forest and eventually see the trees. He can leap to conclusions in a single bound and best of all, he has perfect hindsight. How great is that? I’m in love.

Today I had fun looking at Captain Obvious type jokes. Things like real instructions on products. For example a warning label on a Sears hairdryer that says, do not use while sleeping. Other funny ones: on a Nytol sleep aid, Warning: may cause drowsiness and on a box of Christmas lights, For indoor or outdoor use only. Clearly, Captain Obvious has many years of work ahead of him if he’s going to clean up the redundant mess we ordinary humans are strewing across this place we call earth.

What brought on my mini obsession with Captain Obvious? I was doing some reading at a widow’s support site and a woman was telling about a remark someone made to her about being too young to be a widow and she said had to bite her tongue from saying, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” That was it. That’s all it took to send me off to Internet Land to find out where that expression originated. I guess I live a sheltered life. Who knew it’s been around since the late 90s? Certainly not me.

The young widow brought up a few other things that got me thinking and not in a good way. She had a stereotype fixed in her head about what widows look like and it wasn’t very faltering to us “older widows.” As I read her words I resisted going to the mirror to see if I fit her image. I didn’t really need to look. I do fit---in need of a haircut, no makeup, less than fashionable clothing. The only thing that didn’t fit is I don’t keep cats. The young widow also mentioned that when she was a kid there was a widow on her street and on Halloween all the kids avoided her house. Oh, my God! Just a few days before reading that I’d been thinking about how much I dread Halloween coming. Maybe I’ll turn into one of those scary kind of widows who will be like old Fish on The Barry Miller Show and I'll shout out to the kids, "Get away from me!"

Handing out candy was always Don’s job and joy. He would sit outside in his wheelchair, all bundled up for winter with his basket full of treats and the walky-talky (in case he needed help or more candy). At the end of the night he'd come in with sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks and a huge smile on his face. The kids all knew him from his travels around the neighborhood in his electric wheelchair. It makes my eyes misty just typing this. Some of those little kids or their parents are bound to ask about Don this year. I don’t know what I’m going to do about Halloween. Should I just go away for the night? Should I sit in the dark pretending no one is at home? Should I suck it up and hand out tear-stained candy?

If a certain superhero should drive up in his RV right about now he’d probably say, “Holidays will never be the same again” and I’d bite his head off with a snappy reply of, “Well, thank you Captain Obvious for that newsflash.” And then I’d say---in a calmer voice, “Come inside so we can talk about your arch nemesis, Professor Subtle.” Hey, when you have a fake conversation with a comic book superhero it never hurts to try to distract the guy so he doesn’t have a chance to come back at you with his wildly appropriate---at least in this imaginary exchange---zinger of, “Your welcome, Sergeant Sarcasm. ©

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