Even though my children are grown, there are moments when I feel I failed as a mother. My son, who’s 20 and a junior at Flagler College, came for dinner last Sunday night.
I’d been there once before, in 2010. In her international bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert raved about a pizzeria in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza, and I decided that when in Naples, I would eat their pizza.
I broke one of the “Ten Commandments” of family gatherings, and I am suffering for my sin. When my brother married some 22 years ago, his new bride let it be known she wasn’t much of a cook.
My brother and sister and I played the same game every year at Christmastime. Because our father was a pastor, we made the trip between our house and the church quite often.
My students at Flagler College were writing an essay on this topic: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?As we discussed thesis statements and narrative techniques, I contemplated which superpower I would select if I were granted that choice.
I was happily surprised last month when Dr. Julian Ng, President of Warnborough College, the school where I earned my PhD in Creative Writing, offered me the position of Director of the school’s Creative Writing Programs.
I had to think about it. Hard. For at least ten seconds.
Anyone who has followed me for more than ten minutes knows how I feel about Warnborough. Much of the writing I shared during 2014 was writing I was doing for that program.
It wasn’t a degree mill, as some call low-residency programs. I completed twelve intense writing modules (one, for instance, had me reading a Nobel Prize Winner each week and writing two to three essays on each author). I finished the degree requirements with a 70,000-word creative dissertation that became my second book, I AM LOVED at Community Bible Church.
Low-residency programs are near and dear to my heart. I got my MFA from one of the top ten in the country, Spalding University’s MFA in Writing program. Spalding was another one of the greatest things that ever happened to me and to my writing.
So it is with great pleasure I announce that I have a new gig. I’ll still be writing my column for the St. Augustine Record. But I’ll also be discovering some of the world’s great new writers. How fun is that?
To listen to a brief interview I did about this new position, click here.
Have you heard the recent joke about the war on drugs?
The best way to end the war on drugs, the joke goes, is to legalize them but make people buy them from their cable provider.
It makes sense. You have to go through 12 Steps to get an actual person on the line when you call a cable company. And they’ve long been able to hook us TV junkies.
“Wouldn’t you like to try the Tennis Channel, Ms. Hutcheson? The first month is free.” That was eight years ago. I’m still paying for the Tennis Channel, although my cable seems to only work every third Sunday during low tide if Donald Trump uses enough hairspray in New York City.
My cable was out during the first few days of this year’s French Open. When I called to complain, Comcast promised a dealer – er, service person – would be at my home on Tuesday between three and four. After calling me three times to confirm I would be home, they didn’t show. Thanks to Comcast, I successfully kicked my French Open habit for a fraction of what rehab would have cost.
In late August, with the U.S. Open set to begin, I devised a backup plan to alleviate the horrors of withdrawal should my cable fail. I intended to numb my pain by watching on my iPhone’s Tennis Channel app.
I didn’t realize logging on required my Xfinity username and password. I had no idea what those were, so I gritted my teeth and called Comcast.
When I finally got through to a person, Bob offered to hook me up with a dab of pay-per-view boxing or some ShowTime smack.
“I just need my username and password.”
“I am sorry that you are having problems, and I will try to help you resolve them. However, I see that you are not currently a Comcast customer.”
My hands were starting to shake. “I’m calling you on the phone line I have from Comcast.”
“I cannot find you in our computer.”
“I’ll bet you could find me if I stopped paying my bill.”
“Would you like to sign up for Comcast and receive Internet service and quality programming like HBO, ShowTime, and the Tennis Channel?”
“Can you just put me through to customer service?”
There was a long pause before he said, “Since you are not a customer, I cannot put you through to customer service.”
I hung up and dialed again. This time, a woman named Sarah answered. I explained my predicament. She asked for my name, address, social security, and four-digit pin code.
“I didn’t know I had a four-digit pin code.”
She gave me a hint that sounded like, “Your pin code is the sum of the digits of your maternal grandmother’s birthdate times the square root of purple.”
“I still don’t know it.”
“If you don’t know your pin code, the only thing I can do is mail your username and password to the address we have on file. That will take anywhere from 11 to 30 business days.”
I hung up thinking if Comcast took over for the DEA, illicit drug use in the United States would end within 10 business days.
And that will happen around the same time Serena Williams wins a calendar-year Grand Slam.