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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: Sharpen Your Mind with Donkeys
By Emily Ritter


At any moment, without warning, my mind drifts from normal perception to bizarre musings. This happens, of course, during somber settings like the vow exchange at a friend’s wedding. The musings have no obvious source. My college roommate identified this eccentricity as “inside jokes with [my]self.” And she’s right. I avoid explaining why I’m laughing because my jokes are lost on everyone.

While sitting cross-legged at Courtney’s wedding, I listened to the preacher formally ask,

“What have you brought today as a sign of your affection?”

I knew, of course, the obvious response was “a ring,” but wondered why the pastor seemed to be waiting for an answer with bated breath. This hokey reenactment sent my mind reeling. I imagined the groom responding:

“ A donkey,” then elegantly slipping off stage, to reenter leading the dusty beast by reins. I looked up at the couple standing in the tuxedo and elegant white gown, and in my mind’s eye saw the donkey chomping on hay and looking serenely into the bride’s eyes, hoping she’d accept the gift from her groom. It didn’t help that the pastor turned to the bride and repeated,

“And what have you brought today as a sign of your affection?”

I then saw two donkeys on stage. To prevent myself from exploding in laughter, I held my breath, curled my toes forcefully in open-toed flats, and bent forward in my pew to avoid eye contact. Unfortunately, my posture greatly concerned my husband.

He thought I was having a medical emergency, and he tried desperately to get a word of assurance from me. I waved him off, but it wasn’t enough; he was still adamantly concerned. Knowing I had to convince him to not rush me to a hospital, I focused my mind on the first deep sad memory I count revive.

I imagined the scene from My Girl when Vada bursts into Thomas’ funeral and shakes his 11-year-old lifeless body in the coffin. As a ten-year-old, I had sat on my couch and audibly sobbed through the movie scene. That memory of young mourning counterbalanced my donkey vision hysterics. I returned to an upright posture and softly stated, “I’m fine.”

My husband’s expression changed from a pained grimace to a look of concern, like a teacher’s face when confronting a cheating student. His somber disapproval aided my “keep it together” efforts. I made it through the rest of the ceremony sitting upright, with no audible outbursts-- an accomplishment I am proud of to this day.

The ceremony concluded with the common arm-in-arm charge up the isle by the exuberant newlyweds. I turned to leave but noticed that my husband was expecting an explanation for my disruptive antics.

“What in the world was that about?” my husband questioned.

I sheepishly explained the progression my mind took from the pastor’s request for the groom to present the rings, to the donkeys on stage, and watched his eyebrows dance on his face. His eyes seemed to beg the question, “Who did I marry?”

“Maybe we should get you that Kindle after all,” he stated.

“Oh yeah? What will that help,” I questioned.

“It may sharpen your mind,” he stated. Remember, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2.”

“Show off,” I mustered, referring to his labeled bible reference. “I am renewing it. There are donkeys in the bible,” I informed.

“Donkey’s during wedding ceremonies?” he questioned.

“In fact, yes,” I said. “I was perfectly within the context of the bible during my…”

“Your ridiculousness? “ he interrupted.

“Yes. I think God approves.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

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This article has been read 323 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joseph Veseli03/16/13
Hilarious! I really enjoyed this. However, you did lose me at the Kindle part, (Apple fan) :D.

There were a couple of grammar issues, mainly due to punctuation and it was a little bit of a stretch for the topic I think.

However, I really enjoyed reading it. I like funny stories and I hope to see more of them!!!
C D Swanson 03/17/13
Hahahahaha...NIcely done, and nicely told.
I enjoyed this piece.

God bless~
Judith Gayle Smith03/19/13
Enchanting! More! More!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/22/13
Oh what a delight this was to read. I think your MC and I would get along just dandy except we would probably get kicked out of church a lot. :)

The only red ink I might offer is instead of using taglines, use that spot to show the MC's emotional state or personalty. For example: "What in the world was that about?" My husband arched his right eyebrow so that it almost disappeared in his receding hairline.
(It may not be perfect, and if your hubby does have a receding hairline, I;ll never admit to writing this...uh except you could show him...uh I know I'll say someone hacked...oh but I digress. Kudos again on this great piece. I think it may take someone just a tad wacky to fully appreciate the brilliance in this piece. (The people here will love it!--No, I didn't just say that! :))
Congratulations on ranking 12th in level one! (But in my book, you were right near the top of my favorites this week)