Ironically, this common phrase comes straight from traditional Eskimo wisdom. I know, it seems wrong on so many counts, doesn’t it? Hey, that’s the miracle of it all. Still, “the devil is in the details,” and that window could be on a high-rise penthouse. This is why life is hard.
H.O-M-E. Four letters we pack with meaning and feelings. January 1981. Boston. Fire. Homeless. Yadda yadda. Okay, no teasing, I woke up to smoke pouring from the baseboards in my third floor apartment. Everyone escaped, and bless the fireman who saved one of my cats as my neighbors and I huddled in a Red Cross van and watched our building burn. I was a waitress, no car, no savings, no insurance. Bit of a pickle, it was.
Robert Frost said, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Right on, Bobby! So, I boomeranged back to Wisconsin for refuge in the “mother ship” — my parents’ home. Like a phoenix, I rose from ashes with new clarity and purpose. Just kidding. Over two states, I zigzagged across eight jobs and six addresses, while friends and family scribbled every change because they loved me. When the dust settled, I sent everyone a new “T” page.
Fast-forward through acres of yadda and I can offer a column where unmitigated blather always has a home. Except for the “flammable” details, it was entirely generated by AI.* Belly up to a trough of spiritual cocoa at DILLIGS, aka “Does It Look Like I Give a Sh*t!?”
QUESTION: I’m a neatnik but my husband is messy. Help!
DILLIGS: Is his name Tony? Sweetie, he wrote to complain that you nag. If you two want a miracle, consult an Eskimo whose igloo has windows. Are we talking about Tony’s socks on the floor? Or basement steps strewn with marbles and possum traps? First, heat your bathrobes in the dryer, put ‘em on and then jointly define “good enough.” Consider this: “A spotless house is a sign of a misspent life.” Having said that, hygiene she be wicked fine too. Returning home after a short trip can be a brutal wake-up call. You might suddenly see with fresh eyes the filthy tree house you call home, so encrusted with bird spatter it looks like Jackson Pollock flew over.
QUESTION: Can self-acceptance be a sort of emotional home?
DILLIGS: You bet. Embrace imperfection, don’t compare. When that fails… hello, pizza, my old friend! Mark Twain said, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. There is nothing more satisfying than that sense of being completely at home in your own skin.” Easier said than done, especially when our skin starts birthing moles that pop up like surprised prairie dogs.
QUESTION: Why do we say our bodies are temples? Sounds barren and lonely.
DILLIGS: Yeah, far from homey with no favorite chair or pet hair. That’s why many folks soften their temples by wearing threadbare zebra sweats and Firestone winter flipflops. Frankly, we may be more like yurts in need of fresh hides. Loneliness sucks, but we can belt out a hearty “Honey, I’m home!” because our yurts are stuffed with 39 trillion microbial squatters. I suspect they snuck in through windows opened by an overzealous deity. They’re tiny but when these cuties link what passes for arms, they cushion the impact if we jump from a height. Could’ve been useful in ‘81. But better late than never, and with 39T helpers buckled into coach, over time I’ve mastered — don’t try this at home, kids — a flying somersault off a building into a dumpster.
QUESTION: I think our home is haunted! What should we do?
DILLIGS: Ring bells and wave your arms to be loud and big. Wait, that might be for gators stalking Florida golfers. Anyway, most spirits are harmless lazy-asses, banging cupboards and sneaking beer. Just once, would it kill them to clean the litter box? Instead of hiding the TV remote, they could grow a pair and tackle those hospital billing errors or internet issues by wrestling with dead-end phone menus and online “Support” staffed by robots on crack. But, no. Spooky snots wander the house, willy-nilly opening windows. Huh. So… are Eskimos aware that ghosts do this?