Shiny Nothingness: 10 Amazingly Useless Talents That I Possess



Whilst holding a laundry basket full of fluffy warmness freshly wrenched from the dryer in one hand, I can use the other hand to yank the lint trap out, pop it open, professionally scrape up all the puffy detritus contained within, pop it closed, and shove the trap back in place without dropping a single thing.


I can back my car all the way down our frustratingly-long driveway without killing anyone. Usually.


I can do a round-off into a back handspring and hit the landing perfectly. Thirty-odd years ago I could do it on level ground, especially at frat parties. I can do it now, but only if I am falling down the stairs trying to answer the doorbell. And I still hit the landing. Just in a different way.


I am quite adept at whacking my hip on the corner of the kitchen counter with admirable regularity, despite that counter corner being in the same place for decades.


My ass apparently has an infrared back-up camera. No, really. I can tumble out of bed in the middle of the night, my body wracked with the gurgling of eminent recycling, and stumble into the bathroom without turning on the light because I don’t want to awaken the dead around me. I rip my clothes asunder, assume The Position and begin The Descent, when an alarm goes off and my knees instantly lock. This is how I know that the toilet seat has been left upright and I have narrowly avoided an unexpected splashdown. Of course, some day the battery on the camera will need to be replaced and I’m not sure how I’ll accomplish that.


I can trip over pockets of air, which is bad enough, but I complicate matters by overreacting to my ineptitude with dramatic gestures and inappropriate flailing (leftover instinct from my theater days?), drawing even more attention to the fact that I am making much ado about nothing.


This is a newly acquired skill, courtesy of my decaying mind: I can read an entire page in a book and suddenly realize that I have no idea what I just read. In a related note, I can be watching those “on the last episode” review scenes at the beginning of the current episode of a TV show, and I realize that I don’t remember any of the recap material (“Delilah is now a man?”), even though we just watched said previous episode two hours ago. But hey, I can quote the entire lyrics to a “Human League” song from 1981.


When selecting a seat in a movie theater, I will invariably find the one broke-ass chair in the entire building, the one that squeaks every time I breathe and is tilted at a 45-degree angle, making me feel like I’m watching an art film even if it’s “Despicable Me 17: Those Three Little Girls Hit Menopause”. Additionally, I will need to pee within three minutes of sitting down, despite having avoided all liquids for the last 48 hours. But since it will now take the Jaws of Life to extricate me from the torture chair, I just sit there and hold it, weeping quietly.


Despite my general avoidance of answering the front door if I’m not expecting anyone, when I do succumb to the siren call of humanity, it invariably results in this: Someone wants to know if I’ve found Jesus. When I point out that I wasn’t aware that I was on the retrieval committee, they shove a pamphlet in my hand, because I was too slow to hide said hand behind my back. When I inquire about the search for Allah or Yahweh or Shiva, their eyes glaze over briefly, then they shove another pamphlet.

When I grow frustrated and try to excuse myself so I can get back to the pagan activities that are not really taking place in the inner sanctums of Bonnywood, they gasp and shove a third. All of these leaflets follow the same design principle: Crude illustrations of sinners burning in Hell because they haven’t lived the life others have deemed worthy.

All of this is what annoys me about religious fundamentalists in America. (Spirituality is a rainbow of colors. Forcing the focus on one specific color is not only unjust and disrespectful, it’s un-American and belies the visions of our founding fathers, despite the right-wing trying to subvert those visions.) This is also why I am able slam the door and then shove the three pamphlets back under said door, along with an itinerary for next week’s Gay Pride celebration in Dallas. If statistics hold true, at least one of the congregants on my porch will snatch up that itinerary and quietly slip it into his pocket.


Despite many signs to the contrary, with the constant barrage of so many things going terribly wrong in so many places on the planet, I firmly believe that, eventually, the right people will do the right things and someday, somehow, all colors of the rainbow will flourish. This is perhaps my weakest and most unjustified useless talent, but this is also the questionable skill that gives me the most hope.



36 replies »

  1. I appreciated the sense of humour when added and the serious nature, when warranted. Your last one is my favourite. I think you have a lot more hope for this world and the people in it than I do. Thanks for a great read

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My useless talent: I can remember every phone number (plus my seventh-grade locker combination) from my first 60 years of peripatetic existence. I have no idea of any phone number from the five years after that up to and including my current one .

    Liked by 1 person

    • This short tale only makes sense if you are familiar with the old-school system for American phone numbers: When I was a wee bairn, the first phone number I memorized was that of my paternal grandparents, even before I knew my own. But in my head, it was formatted incorrectly. Instead of the 3-digit exchange and then the 4-digit station number, I quoted it to myself as 4 digits and then 3. This is a pointless memory, other than to clarify that I have never done things the way that I should… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, number 8… Give Father Time a few more years and holding it in? Oh, you optimist. Gently weeping takes on another meaning altogether. Another post that leaves me smiling, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was lol-ing away quite happily, thinking damn…B is like a clumsy, sexy, theatre nerd (like moi) movie fan and short term memory loss enthusiast (like moi), back flipper and laundry collecter-er extraordaire…how incredibly hot and stuff

    And then you went all sweet and save the world and make it happy and rainbow-y on us and I was like…oh okay. THAT’S why he is perpetually loved and heartbreakingly uneffingavailable!



    Liked by 3 people

    • I fully fess up to being a clumsy, sexy, theatre nerd, so I was greatly enjoying that bit. Then you went equally sweet and rainbow-y and reminded me why you are one of my favorite digital people, ever. Perhaps one day we can backflip our way into a Parisian cafe and spend hours chatting and sharing and celebrating how we fell through the cracks and found each other. Smooch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant!!

    Re item #1…I always jam the lint filter…even using both hands it takes sweat and tears for me to free those fluffy fuzzies from the inner confines.
    Re item # 10…Yes, yes, yes!!
    Re all the items…Brilliant (I said that) and hilarious and even elegant with just a touch of Shakespeare!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I like that Shakespeare reference, made me quite happy. You might have to be my new best friend. Come sit with me for a while and let’s talk about life over coffee and some really exquisite pastries… 😉


  6. I’m with barbtaub on remembering numbers. I have, locked in my head, the registration plates of every car my father owned during my childhood and can still stir his nostalgia with ‘Do you remember KLK 183K, the green Renault 12?’. I can, however, never remember the registration plate of my current car when I’m at the parking machine that asks you to punch it in first and it ends up being, shall we say, in the abstract.

    Also, if I get asked my telephone number during a conversation with helpdesk or something, I will often give out the correct one for the job that I had a cell phone for fifteen years ago (and handed back on redundancy ten years ago) and then, realising my mistake and wondering why the hell that was still in my head, fail completely to remember my current one.

    However, I also have number ten. So it can’t be all bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • First and most importantly, Number Ten is a brilliant affliction to have. I embrace it wholeheartedly.

      Second, this number thing. Actually, memory in general. I can remember in precise detail almost everything up to about the age of 30. After that, it becomes a slippery slope to my own inability to recall the digits on my current registration plate. Is it possible that we can only remember so much, and once we’ve topped off the tank, the new information overflows and goes down the drain at the filling station?

      I would hope not, but I’m encountering increasing evidence that this is true. Life is cruel…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have maybe two of the skills on the list. Anything involving gymnastic hijinks of the limber and flexible kind were never, ever my forte’, even when I was young and allegedly stretchy in the bones and joints and ligaments and all that mess. The laundry? Something is always dropped on my scurry from my laundry room to the confines of the dresser drawers or closet where stuff just might be flung because I’m steamed because I dropped something ‘back there’. Inevitably it’s an item of underwear and just as inevitably a member of my church will show up at that precise moment and get a free peek at what state of decay said undergarment is in. I never seem to drop the pricey, expensive label bearing ones of course. Always the sad, should have been retired in 1990, but it was still allegedly “good”, is now frizzy with spent lycra/spandex threads (which are apparently what they weave bras from), and is a suspicious grey color. Despite generous applications of bleach and other whitening agents. And as to #9? Next time you get the urge, answer the door naked. I GUARANTEE those pious twerps will possibly fall off your porch or steps in a mad scramble to get away from that hedonistic naked man. The word will possibly spread and you will be plagued no more by zealots professing to “know Jesus PERSONALLY” and wanting to share the joy. I think Jesus would laugh too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What IS it with undergarments that they become increasingly shabby and defunct, despite your best intentions? It’s annoying when I slip on a pair of underwear, only to have them plummet to my feet because the elastic in the waistband had decayed into powder. I mean, I paid good money for those cup holders, so to speak, so why are they turning on me? It’s an outrage.

      Side note: I can help you with the conquering of dryer lint. I’ve studied this from many tactical angles, often with the assistance of Scotch and Cleo, as they are/were very invested in fluffy things that can be batted about.

      Now, this nudity suggestion concerning the pious knockers. I’m greatly intrigued, especially since my underwear is becoming increasingly recalcitrant. Are there any rules with such a power move? Where is the fine line between simple domicile security and public indecency. Please advise.


  8. We are definitely related.👍 I share many of the same talents.

    Being a former thespian does give one the ability to explain the air pockets tripping with clever mime moves.🤸‍♀️🤦‍♀️

    Is Jesus still lost?😯 Hasn’t anyone found him yet? I haven’t seen him on a milk carton (do they even DO that anymore? Are there milk cartons anymore?) 🤔

    Thanks for the laughs! I absolutely agree with #10 too🏳️‍🌈

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perhaps, one day, we will find out that we both have a great-aunt Cora, and with a bit of research and deduction we will then find out that we are cousins, thrice removed. It’s not out of the question.

      My thespian skills haunt/delight me to this very day. You just can’t shake that mess.

      And yep, apparently Jesus is still lost. Along with those informative milk cartons….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you. I only know how to be me, much to the chagrin of my family. But in the end, they put up with me, so there’s that.

      But really, what IS the deal with those pockets of air? And why am I the only one who can’t get past them without a dramatic reenactment from “A Streetcar Named Desire”? It’s just not right…

      Liked by 1 person

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