Friday, January 14, 2011

Time for another deal with the devil?

I think the devil concept solidified in my mind (to the extent anything in my mind is solid, LOL) from a 1996 Suzanne Somers TV movie, "Devil’s Food."

Here is’s synopsis: “When a TV anchor woman finds her career to be hampered by her uncontrollable weight problems, she closes a deal with the devil. He lends her her ideal weight, she promises him her soul. By contract. Soon enough she realizes she's made a terrible mistake and tries to negotiate her way out of it. Alas, the devil knows but one motto: "a deal is a deal", and now he's ready to collect..."

In 2004 I surprised no one more than myself by reenrolling in college after a couple of decades. One big concern was stretching my energy, pretty much non-stretchable even on a very good day, for the requisite hours of homework. I can get up early, but I can’t stay up late, and I needed to work fulltime.

The energy equation worked out better than I first thought it would, in a scenario that sometimes seemed like a deal with devil. It was as if I had said to Satan, “Give me a job where I am not so challenged that I will have mental energy left for homework, and where I am low enough on the totem pole that I can take full lunch hours during which I can do homework.” Or maybe it was more like a bad wish from a genie in a bottle – where I remembered to ask for energy and time for homework, but didn’t think to ask for anything else that I would need for survival or even sanity. But, this post title is about the devil, and even just the word “devil” may have made someone click to the blog, so let’s go on in that vein…

Post-Satan (I am speaking metaphorically), some office lunches streeeeeeetched a bit past the hour slot. But the homework all got in on time and I stayed on my “I’ll only do this if I can finish in less than 2 ½ years!” schedule. Some months of my job were almost intolerable (bored, disrespected, I’ll stop at those 2 words) – I remember a long phase where I was marking big X’s on my calendar at the end of each day where I DIDN’T KILL NOBODY. Remind me to put a few more footnotes into my next contract with The Dark One.

Several years later, I am wondering what that burning smell is in my office. A coffee maker malfunction? Today someone said it smelled like curry powder. Well…it smells like something that has gotten hot. (Sulfur? Brimstone?)

I don’t think (most days) that I would summon dark forces to enhance my office career, but maybe at least on some level I have considered such an evil thing for my writing. How far into the darkness would I go to have success as a writer…even to finish a book? Uh, even to get to the middle of a writing a book… Starting I can do, but beyond that I seem to need supernatural intervention.

In the movie "Devil’s Food," Suzanne’s character found a creative way to get her soul back. The Satanic Deal had been that she would not gain a pound. Well, with the help of the man who entered her life when she became slimly lovely, she got pregnant, and the baby’s weight meant Suzanne stepping on the scale got a higher number. It wasn’t Suzanne, but it was Suzanne’s weight. So the deal was invalidated!

Suzanne found a loophole – and neither Suzanne or the characters she plays are the brightest bulbs in the firmament.

Surely I can find a way to achieve professional success – even if I have to redefine what that means – without downgrading my afterlife.

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