Call Me…Tired

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By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter

In case there is ever a need to know, my Victorian name is Josephine, the Disney Princess with whom I mostly closely identify is Belle, and the ’80s movie that epitomizes me is “The Breakfast Club.”

I find it important to know as much about myself as possible so I take online quizzes seriously. When a recent one accurately told me that I had been married for 16 years, I was not surprised. It’s like magic.

Using these quizzes as a self-help tool and a vehicle in which I can study myself, I have learned that I am 100 percent Georgia Southern, although I have never even lived there. I can only assume that my birth certificate is wrong and I was actually not born in D.C.

If the end of the world were nigh, or I were lost in the wilderness, a recent quiz informed me that I would be dead in less than a week, a
possibility I find quite concerning. Now, it’s not worrisome enough to do anything about it, but I can at least warn my friends not to rely on me to save their lives.

I am not sure if I am a bookworm, a jock or a bonehead, although I really don’t need a quiz to tell me that physical prowess is not one of my Top 10 attributes. Which is probably why I am doomed once separated from civilization.

At some point in our history, we started labeling everyone: ADHD, introvert, extrovert, liberal, shy, dyslexic, quirky, anxious, OCD, gifted, slow, tenacious, charitable, conservative, messy, mean.

In my younger days there was no way I wanted to be identified with any one particular group. I was terrified of being called a geek or a nerd, and now it’s a way of being falsely self-deprecating while bragging about intellectual aptitude. Or maybe it gives an excuse for odd behavior.

Regardless, people seem to like labels, no matter what those proclaim.

I have been told by friends who self-identify as introverts that they are not rude, they are just living within themselves. My extrovert friends assure me that that is good to be out with people all of the time and I must understand their need for high energy contact. Some of my friends keep to themselves while others have “Touch All The Time Syndrome” when they talk, and can’t help making contact with me while catching up. That’s because they are “touchers.” I have contemplated becoming a “hand chopper-offer…”

Some of my friends’ children have either ADD or ADHD. In varying degrees, they can’t focus, sit still, pay attention, follow directions, use manners, stop talking or quit making noise. It is who they are, it is their label and therefore I am to accept it. Woe to the parent who corrects any errant behavior or actions that are usually socially unacceptable. The labels are a modern-day permission slip.

What used to be considered insulting stereotypes are now desired categorizations. I have had friends take these free, highly accurate online tests to help them become a part of the up-and-coming group of people who now have excuses for being irresponsible. Or mean. Or lazy. Or lacking follow-through. Or unable to help, clean, cook, etc. The list is infinite.

A friend once explained to me that she is not capable of teaching her children anything because she is too intelligent. Neither could she familiarize or orient anyone new to her line of business. She did everything intuitively and could not comprehend a level beneath basic; she was too smart to understand the needs of the beginning learner. She was a geeky nerd and too bright for most people. I am not sure, but I think she insulted almost everyone in the world with that comment. Hopefully, everyone is too dumb to understand the slight.

I understand the desire for labels because it is an easy way to describe a particular behavior or habit with a minimum of words. A lengthy explanation takes time and few people listen, because, after all, there has been an explosion of attention-focusing disorders.

To help my friends understand me as well as I understand myself, since I am a student of introspection, it is necessary to share some of the simple labels that give me permission to act the way I do:

Exhausted.

Well, that list was smaller than I expected but it certainly encompasses everything. It explains why I haven’t finished my book for book club. It’s the reason I haven’t written my memoirs. It’s why I didn’t cook dinner. It’s why I put my head on the table and begged my children to quit aking noise. My general incoherence, and trying to dial the remote control to call my dad, are both a direct result of my fatigue.

And the real reason my children make bad choices and are naughty? I am sure there are any number of labels I could use, but mostly it’s because they don’t listen to their exhausted mother and are simply naughty. Enough said.

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