This is my entry for Week Nineteen of The Real LJ Idol competition, where the topic is "Blanket." I'll post an update about voting later in the week. If you haven't already, you may want to join therealljidol, since some voting will be restricted to community members. Again, I really appreciate all the support so far!
(In the first frame, Lucy is saying, 'You Blockhead!" Linus replies, "Who's a blockhead?" Charlie Brown says, "Look here, It's bad enough that you two fight every day..." In the second frame, Charlie Brown continues, "But don't you realize what Santa Claus must think of you when you fight and argue this time of year?" In the third frame, Linus and Lucy stare at each other. In the final frame, Linus and Lucy hug. Lucy says, "Dear brother!" And Linus says, "Dear Sister!")
When we were kids, my dad used to refer to my brother and I as "Linus and Lucy," after the Peanuts characters, Linus and Lucy Van Pelt. This was, in part, because my brother, when he was very little, carried around a blue blanket, his security blanket, much like Linus. And I suppose we bore some superficial resemblance to our cartoon counterparts: my brother, the sweet-natured dreamer, and me, the bossy know-it-all.
To be honest, I never liked that comparison. Lucy isn't the most sympathetic of Peanuts characters. However, I'm definitely not like Charlie Brown, the perpetual scapegoat; or Sally, obsessed with her unrequited love of Linus (which would be doubly creepy, my brother being Linus, after all). I also wasn't like Schroeder, who was always more interested in his piano than in any human connection.
Somehow, Dad never seemed to pick up on the fact that I glared at him when he called us Linus and Lucy. If he had noted it, he probably thought I looked very much like Lucy just then, so often portrayed with a whiff of smoke coming out of her head as she stewed over somebody's inane comment.
If anything, it burnt me that my brother was the one whose artistic, sensitive side shone so brightly. I was the creative one, I thought. Or at least, I wanted to be seen that way. For the longest time, I don't think anybody, either in my family or outside of it, saw me as anything more than a brainy brown-noser who didn't always play nice.
In my own defense, if I yanked a football away as you were about to kick it, you probably had it coming.
From early days, I remember wishing I could be a little more like Linus. I envied my brother his ability to pull his blanket over his head at night and fall asleep, knowing himself protected from the monsters that lurked in the dark. I frantically lined stuffed animals and dolls on either side of me in my double canopy bed, including my fail-safe sentry, So Big [mine was in worse shape than this picture], a doll whose hair had worn off in a mohawk. When accidentally pushed off the bed in the middle of the night, So Big would release a ghostly wail, potentially scaring away intruders. More importantly, I reasoned the monsters would get her first, since she was closer to the edge of the bed.
More than the security that his totem blanket provided him, I envied the easy way my brother embraced life, while I felt compelled to fuss about everything. Had I been born in a different family, I would have become an analyst, or perhaps a forensic scientist. My brother's delight in the natural world, along with the conversations we shared at the breakfast table, recounting our dreams, taught me to value the beauty and mystery around me.
While my brother is a natural storyteller, I had to cultivate my storytelling ability, spending long hours writing stories, essays and poems. My brother could pick up any instrument and learn it easily, while I had to practice painstakingly until I achieved a clockwork-like precision on piano and clarinet. There was very little passion in my playing, but what do you expect from a fussbudget?
I can't run from certain aspects of my Lucy nature. For one, I am extremely critical, both of myself and others. This means that, no matter how well the world might think I'm doing, I'm never doing well enough to feel content. While I am infallibly loyal to friends and family, I also enjoy mocking, rather mercilessly, anything in the public arena, from bad movies to kooky fashions. My husband can't understand this tendency, but I just can't help myself.
Last weekend, we were visiting a local museum with my father, and I noticed that one of the signs had a misplaced apostrophe. So I took a picture of it, intent on sharing it with an online community that makes snarky comments about grammatical errors.
Unless "It's speed" is short for "It is speed," it should read, "Its speed."
"You're taking a picture of that?" my husband asked, baffled. I didn't explain, because I was certain he wouldn't understand. Only a fellow Lucy might.
Fortunately, I also exhibit some of the more positive aspects of Lucy's personality. She was always a fiercely independent soul, who believed in herself and in her own capabilities. While I've had some moments of doubt, I am also strong-willed; I don't give up easily when I set my mind to something. That's why, since 2000, I've managed to lose 70 pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To my way of thinking, failure is not an option.
And while I don't have a psychiatrist booth, I am a good listener. My friends often come to me to talk about their problems and hear my untrained advice. I offer no guarantees, by the way. Take it or leave it. Five cents, please.
So I guess I have to admit, I'm still a lot more like Lucy than I am like Linus, but I'm trying to overcome my default settings, to be a more well-rounded person (and certainly, no blockhead). As a result, over time, I've become a little more Linus, a little less Lucy.
My brother rides a hobby horse while I complain
that my Fisher-Price camera doesn't take real pictures.
Bonus music: click here for a video of David Benoit playing the famous jazz piece and Peanuts theme, "Linus and Lucy."
Life is like a comic strip, except you get more panels.