Lucy and Ethel

I was half listening to the television this evening and heard a woman say "It was like Lucy and Ethel learn to snorkel". Of course, the mental image this brings is something like the Candy Factory assembly line fiasco, but underwater. Something hilarious to watch, but probably not as productive or ideal in execution as one might hope. Which got me thinking....

Is it really a bad thing to do something like Lucy and Ethel? The outcome is rarely a stellar success, but is usually an eventual success. The few times it doesn't completely succeed, it is at least a learning experience. Through it all, Lucy and Ethel are absolutely dedicated to whatever they are doing and are wholeheartedly convinced that whatever they are doing will work out splendidly. These two women are definite proponents of the concept "Go big or go home."

Lucy, in particular, lives her life in the moment, not worrying about what might happen if it goes wrong. Ethel, on the other hand, sometimes worries about what might happen if Ricky or Fred might find out, but generally follows Lucy's lead with a bit of prompting. Even though the end result might not be optimal, I propose that Lucy and Ethel are fine role models to follow. They're perpetual optimists who live in the moment and have boundless energy. They also fail to take themselves too seriously and laugh at their mistakes. Their setbacks rarely slow them down more than ten to fifteen minutes of show time, if that. By the end of an episode, they're back to their usual sunny selves. Lucy often says she knows that she should know better than to try another hair-brained stunt or scheme, but she rarely remembers that after the next commercial break.

The world would be a much more positive, fun place if we were all a bit more like Lucy and Ethel. For that matter, I think the world would be well-served by promoting role models who are, like Lucy and Ethel, overtly imperfect. What fun is there in being flawless in every way? One would end up going through life unable to take risks for fear of making a mistake. Not only that, but the flawless are scrutinized mercilessly and any hint of flaw is trumpeted. I'd rather be regularly flawed so that the impact of each individual flaw on the overall picture is minimized. That's not to say that I wouldn't mind moments of perfection, but sustained perfection is far too much stress and strain for the amount of benefit it brings. That is not to say that one shouldn't strive to do/be the best one can do/be, but that there is something to be said for enjoying the experience as well. Furthermore, the end result should not be the only metric by which an action or endeavor is judged. There is something to be said for enthusiasm and intention, even if the end result isn't quite what one had hoped. At a minimum, points should be awarded for having fun and living life to the fullest, even if it doesn't turn out entirely according to plan or cultural expectations.

So, here's to the dorky, goofy, optimistic silly people like Lucy and Ethel! You go Girl!

(You know, someone ought to write a book celebrating the imperfect female heroes like Lucy, Ethel, Aunt Bea, Peppermint Patty and Ellen DeGeneres. I think these women/characters have much more to teach us than "perfect" ones such as Jackie Kennedy and Harriet Nelson.)

More Food for Thought....
The One-A-Day Vitamin people are now making gender-specific vitamins for teenagers, designed to "address the top health concerns of moms". (Apparently dads don't have health concerns for their kids.) The teen boys' vitamins have magnesium in them to support healthy muscle function while the girls' vitamins support healthy skin. Yep. That's the message I want my teenager to get from their vitamins. Boys are supposed to be strong and muscular. Girls are supposed to have good skin. Uh-huh. How about strong muscular girls? How about a product to support that? I can't think of any teenaged boys who wouldn't like clear, blemish-free skin. Surely any self-respecting mom might also want her daughter to have reasonable muscle development or her son to have healthy skin. Here's a about putting the same darned vitamin mix in both the boy and girl vitamins. I'd love to see the research that indicates that boys and girls have significantly different nutrient requirements. I suspect this is mostly just a marketing ploy by the manufacturer to separate the impressionable consumer from their money. On a similar note, Extra-Strength Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine are the exact same product with different labels and different prices.


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