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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Measuring Up
By Emily Ritter


Sues house is immaculate. If I stand inside for a mere five minutes, the fragrance of clean laundry perfumes my hair and clothes. I leave cleaner than I walked in, without trying. And I wonder, if people stand inside my house for five minutes, do they become like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, with dust rising and falling in clouds around them with each breath? Do they notice the blackened soles of their white socks from taking off their shoes?

At Sues I find myself inspecting everything as I walk around, desperate to discover dirt or disorganization. Once I noticed that the grooves on the underside of the plastic soap dispenser had hidden dirt. Success! So I went home and scrubbed my plastic soap dispenser until it squeaked when I rubbed my thumb against the side. Now Im smug when I wash my hand at Sues, as if I know her dirty secret and Ive bested her.

Once a year we give our lungs a rest from our accumulated dust and stay a night in a hotel room, to breath in the bleach for a while and feel rested. Cindy Crawford smiles at me through this Best Western T.V., batting her eyes and reeling with enthusiasm; she wants to sell me her serum, and make my skin as soft as an apricot and as taut as a rubber band. Had I purchased it fifteen years earlier, when she started smearing the melon juice infused goo on her face, maybe I too would be fortuned with the sway of smiling and becoming a millionaire.

My husband keeps changing the channel, and I ask him to put it back on the infomercial. He looks at me as if he has just seen a pelican in a bow tie, but he acquiesces to my request.
Were packing to leave, he reminds me.
And I nod, not even looking his direction. When the T.V. fades to black, I notice how sad and ugly I feel. I had looked in the mirror earlier and been satisfied with my makeup application, but now I frown at myself and turn away, accusing myself of betrayal.
Why didnt I purchase that melon juice earlier? I think. And direct my focus to the floor to keep my hand away from the phone. I plan to order later, when its not so obvious that I was tricked by the infomercial. My longing is for the subtle health of adequacy, to soak my soul's discontent in a swimming pool full of melon serum, and have it heal me.

Home again at my dish window, I notice our above ground pool in the backyard and imagine a pale orange hue of silky thickness peeking at me, and glimmering in the sunshine. I think how nice it might be to immerse my limbs and release the travel grudge. I settle for the lemon beaded soap at my fingers, and notice the accumulated dirt beneath my plastic pump.

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This article has been read 398 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Connie K Cameron01/17/13
I read your story and I thought, darn it, this is good!! I laughed all through this piece, I loved it! You are a good writer.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
Wow! You did an awesome job with this one. I really delighted in your sardonic humor. Your message came through loud and clear and wasn't the least bit preachy. It was a delightful read.
Colin Swann01/21/13
Yes, you sure are a good writer - you'll be rising through ranks, that's for sure too!

If you want extra feedback go to the forum and 'Chuck a Brick' for this particular topic.

Colin (Gold Membership)
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Nicely done! I so enjoyed this. God bless~
Terry R A Eissfeldt 01/23/13
Ah...the things we do to make ourselves 'measure up' - or so we think!
Very real to life. Well done.
Bonnie Bowden 01/24/13
This was a fun story, Emily. I am more like the MC than her friend. Congratulations on your 2nd place entry.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations on your ribbon in your level and for ranking 13 overall!!(very impressive. The top 40 overall rankings can be found on the message boards)
C D Swanson 01/25/13
God Bless...Congrats