Acting Over the Top

For God’s sake, woman, to redeem your humanity, you must marry him!” No, this is not some obscure Jane Austen reference, this is a line from the impassioned email sent by the best friend of a scorned 19 year old suitor. Ah, the humanity! It says so much, doesn’t it? Our inamorata sets a high standard for arousing the passions of men. And I’m unable to inspire sufficient interest to hit “reply.” I believe this one paragraph sums up the entire Gestalt of male-female relationships, soup to nuts.


But back to our desperate lover. As an aficionado of hyperbole, I confess that when this tale was told, I roared with laughter. I just love the idea of so much hanging in the balance for our merry maid and her Heathcliff. Suffice it to say that all his overtures met with defeat and a moderate concern about stalking, but it got me thinking about points in our lives where, maybe, we’ve come across as over the top.


When in your life have you been a bit much? Now, don’t pretend you haven’t done it, because you have. Even the most mild-mannered of us overreact on occasion.


What was it about this person or set of circumstances that motivated you to such heights? Are you willing to concede that, perhaps, your dramatic personae had more to do with you than with them? How does that make you feel? Chagrinned? Justified? Bereft? Sympathetic? Glad you’re not that dramatic anymore?


As I type these words, I’m aware of the fact that some of you might experience a twinge of longing to feel passionately about anything these days. The deadening weight of responsibility and disappointment can result in a flat-lined existence, but it doesn’t have to be that way, I promise. There’s a keen difference between numbness and serenity. Quiet joy and uproarious laughter are available to all of us, all the time. We just have to be on the look out for it. Personally, I love to laugh and do so nearly each and every day, even when it feels like there’s little about my immediate circumstances that are in the least bit funny. But the ridiculous abounds, around every corner, in the parking lot, next to the vegetable display at the market, on the bus, and in overheard conversations. If we’re not acting over the top, then our neighbor is, offering us some much needed comic relief.


Seeking out the humorous aspect of situations is a key tool for re-booters because the act of doing so provides perspective that is helpful when thinking our way through a situation. For instance, instead of flinging ourselves into a wailing weep over the perceived neglect of our heart’s desire, we might imagine him scurrying off into his mouse hole, whiskers twitching in terrified fright that he can’t handle a daunting dinner invitation. Or, perhaps, we envision our nemesis working themselves into a foaming froth as they manically craft a sweeping piece of fiction dedicated to denigrating our character—and dubious humanity– as the persuasive piece of evidence needed to convince the Powers That Be. Imagining the playwright hard at work allows me to see beyond the personal insult to a more realistic and balanced assessment of the situation.


Humor is serious business. It provides a gut check when our emotions try to hold sway, and if we employ it correctly, can keep us from making giant fools of ourselves. An email unsent is an email not regretted.


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One Response to “Acting Over the Top”

  1. grasshopper Says:

    LOVE IT!

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