Tuesday, April 04, 2006

GETTING THE PINK
There is an expression in my friend Kathleen's family, "Getting the pink". It began when a niece collapsed one summer evening singing in a pathetic voice, "I didn't get the pink, I didn't get the pink, I didn't get the pink all day..." Apparently there had been lots of kids around, and several times Otter Pops were brought out to refresh, and damned if she didn't miss out on pink each time.
The expression, "getting the pink" has become synonomous with getting what you want, and/or getting plenty of what you need. "I'm not falling for it," Kathleen will say when one of her girls complains, "you've been getting plenty of pink". When one is particularly down, she'll say, "She just hasn't gotten the pink."
Last night my friend, Terry, called from Philadelphia. She too had a pink story, but in this case, she didn't want it. She'd had a friend come over and share a deep, dark secret. "It's like that Dr. Seuss book*," she said, "you know the one where the pink gets on one thing, and they keep trying to get it off, but it just keeps spreading?" I knew exactly what she meant. Deep dark secrets are like that. You swear, before even knowing the secret, that you won't tell a soul. Then, once the secret has been shared, so has the pink. It's spread now on you. You are contaiged, and the only way to get it off of you is to spread it to someone else. That's why she called me, clear across the country she could spread the pink, without risk of me telling anyone. Except that I'm dying to now! I don't even know this woman, and I'm just itching with the pink that is crawling on my skin.
"I just have too many friends, and know too many of their secrets," she said, "and I have ADT (Attention Deficit Trait)! I'm dangerous! I can't even remember what it was I promised I would or wouldn't do, two seconds after I promise!"
We talked about that for awhile and agreed. We are too old, too overwhelmed and overloaded, to be managing this many people's inner lives.
"Really, you can only have two close friends," she said. "That's all you can properly manage. Any more than that and you can no longer be held responsible for breaches of confidentiality."
I feel I'm one of the better secret keepers in this world. I am told it's because I am the adult child of an alcoholic. We are trained early and well to keep secrets. So far I've managed, but she's right, someone's going to be hurt if I don't shut down my secret-keeping operation soon.
So there you have it, I am hereby closed to further secrets. Some of you will, of course, be grandfathered in, but I am not accepting any more close friends. The ones I have are too dear to me to treat something as important as their privacy, with anything less than the care it deserves. I have the good pink. I have all the close friends I want and/or need. I don't want to spread any of the bad pink on them by spreading myself too thin.
* The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

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