One woman, lots of paint and hundreds of tiles. If you're here because you found a painted tile, it's yours to keep.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Candy's Meaningful New Life

The crew down at the factory where Candy worked had been steadily shrinking over the past year. She knew that one day, her position would also be eliminated and she would no longer be able to make those little widgets she loved making. So she'd been surfing local jobs sites for something new and preferably something meaningful to do with her life when she spotted an ad that intrigued her. It read: “Dancing Ice Cream Cone needed at old fashioned ice cream parlor.”

Now, Candy's not much of a dancer, but the little voice inside her squealed with delight when she saw that ad. Not one to ignore her inner voice, Candy called the number in the ad and then drove directly to Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor to see what this job was about. As it turned out, it was about promoting Jaxson's new hurricane season offering: A 3-flavor Cone of Uncertainty, for those who just cannot make up their mind. The owner of Jaxson’s explained to Candy that with all these recent hurricanes being described with terms such as “disorganized” and “confused” … he felt it was high time South Floridians stepped up to embrace the confusion and celebrate our place in the Cone of Uncertainty. Laughing, almost to himself, he said, “You know what the last straw was for me, Candy? The moment I decided there must be an ice cream cone to celebrate this?”

“What, what was it?” Candy asked in complete interest.

“Well,” he says, “it was the day I read a story about one of those storms ‘bamboozling’ the computer models. I might actually make that a new flavor he says … maybe something with rum raisin … Bamboozled indeed.”

If there's one thing that Candy could work up feelings about. It was Uncertainty. After all, she'd been living in the Cone of Uncertainly, both mentally and physically, for some time now. She felt uncertain about a lot of things, most of the time. She knew she was THE perfect candidate for this job, and that no one on this planet had explored uncertainty to the extent that she had explored it.

She knew competition for this job would be tough, with so many people being out of work and searching for more meaning in their lives. So she gave the interview her all. But the owner didn't want just any dancing ice cream cone. "Can you swirl?" he asked, somewhat challengingly.

"Swirl?" she asked cluelessly, thinking she might have to make fudge ripple ice cream or something.

"Yes, you know, swirl, like a hurricane?" he said, making a swirling motion with his index finger.

"Oh, swirl, of course I can swirl," she lied.

"So give it a swirl then," he says. But I need you do that while holding the two ice cream cones I’m going to make.

Suddenly Candy realized just how ridiculous she was going to feel, putting her whole entire self out there to this extent. She had no swirling experience, and had she known that she would be called upon to swirl, she’d have practiced at home first.

She also realized that she may never again find work as meaningful as this. I mean, imagine what a better place the world might be if we united around our uncertainties, if we all just for a moment stopped pretending that we know everything and realize that in essence, we know very little and we're unsure about a lot. I mean, look at all the things we once thought were true, and maybe some were true at the time, but time changes, life continues and uncertainty, like an old but loyal friend, surfaces again to remind us to let go of what’s no longer true, and maybe never was. It reminds us that at any given moment, life can come along and it can huff and puff and blow your fragile little house of cards down, and when it does, as it inevitably will on occasion, we must be brave enough to keep swirling in new directions, even if the little wind turbines of our minds get stuck or start clanging in the wind and making us crazy.

No longer afraid, and clearly grasping the significance of the moment, Candy bravely rose from her chair, took the cones from the owner's hand, and gracefully swirled out the door of that owner’s office and then all through his ice cream parlor. She did at one point, drop a cone, but quickly recovered by grabbing handfuls of sprinkles then twirling clear out into the parking lot where she showered those sprinkles upon ice cream lovers while gracefully spinning and singing little made-up songs about uncertainty, disorganization and total confusion. But they were happy songs, songs about the empowerment of uncertainty ... because uncertainty comes from a very honest place, whereas absolute certainty is often just about us trying to convince ourselves that something is true, or not true.

If you want to find out what’s really true, swirl in the Cone of Uncertainty and let the ice cream drip where it may. There’s no guarantee it won’t make a sticky little mess. But you can clean it up and move on. Or better yet, toss some sprinkles on that sticky mess and let it serve as a colorful reminder that one of the most real and the most beautiful things in life is pure unabashed uncertainty. Embrace it with all of your might, and swirl. Swirl like there is no tomorrow.


Dropped Candy at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor in Dania. She's under the sink in the ladies room, ready to come out swirling …. Since Candy started waving cars into Jaxson’s parking lot from her new post along Federal Highway, a dance craze now known as The Swirl of Uncertainty has been gaining popularity in South Florida clubs and now -- thanks to the Internet (where people are posting videos of themselves swirling) -- across the U.S.

Also ... in an unprecedented move, TV weather people have come forward and confessed that they actually know nothing about where these storms are headed but that they too enjoy a good swirl. The local weather people, however, do predict that Jaxson’s will still be standing in 100 years, and that Candy will be long gone … but that her disciples will continue to celebrate the start of each hurricane season by swirling to music in the parking lot, eating drippy ice cream cones and tossing sprinkles onto sticky puddles of ice cream to symbolize their ongoing respect for uncertainty and all that it symbolizes.

Writer’s note: The story you have just read bears no resemblance to the truth, at least the truth as most people know it. But even after swirling in my Cone of Uncertainty, it all still sounds true to me. : )



At 6:15 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

After finding Candy hiding in the ladies' room last night after her first shift as a Jaxson's Ice Cream Dancer, we were, well, uncertain whether we'd made a wise decision hiring her. The background information you provided has assuaged our fears. Candy is fragile while dense, colorful on the one hand while endearingly drab on the other.
Between dances, Candy occupies a special spot in the Ice Cream Parlor that was once reserved for heads of state. But with the disorganization and total confusion that characterizes politics today, we feel that a solid, groutless presence is preferable to the mere likeness of another talking head.
Thank you for the gift of Candy. She can swirl because she believes she can swirl...

At 6:45 PM, Blogger Mary Tiler More said...

Thank you so much for the update on Candy. I bet she is loving her new home, and her new job ... She might miss making the widgets for a while, but this is meaningful work and that is what she's been seeking.

I'm very happy for Candy. She took a big chance, risked looking utterly ridiculous, and gracefully swirled her way to happiness. But if I were you I'd lock up that mint chocolate chip ice cream, especially at night. :)

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Mary Tiler More said...

Jerry: P.S. ... Please let us know when Jaxson's begins serving the Cone of Uncertainty. With all these storms brewing, the time seems just about right.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

We are presently offering a triple dip special "Cone Of Uncertainty" at the take out window.
Candy misses you and would like you to stop by for a dance.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Mary Tiler More said...

You really really are doing that? That is so great! I am swirling right this very minute .... You tell Candy I will see her when I stop in for my Cone of Uncertainty. Tell her to keep on swirling!


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