YYears ago when I started writing TimeOut for the Wet Mountain News in Westcliffe, CO, a friend suggested that my column referenced the Time Out magazines that cover cities from New York to London to Sidney.
Actually, I had forgotten about the weekly entertainment magazines. In reality, I was thinking of the time-out that parents give their children who are sent to the corner where they are to simmer down and collect their raging passions.
To my mind, adults sometimes need to sit in the corner and collect their anger, disappointment, frustration and fear. The nicest thing about being an adult is that we are in charge of our own time-outs. As adults, we are in control. If need be, we can take ourselves to the corner, the workshop, the bottom step, the bedroom, or a bar and suck our thumb if need be. What sweet relief.
Thumb sucking isn’t what it used to be. I was a thumb-sucker until maybe age four. I’d hide behind my grandfather’s platform rocker. Thumb-sucking was very satisfying until my mother painted my thumb with… I don’t know… something red and nasty. I lost my taste for the habit, but I still remember the sucking and the comforting fleshy pad against the roof of my mouth.
Ruby was a thumb-sucker. Right up through high school. She was a noisy sucker. Lots of slurping. Needless to say, Ruby was shunned. As I remember, she dropped out of high school and got pregnant. I hope it wasn’t by her father. When I heard about her pregnancy, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” was a popular tune.
Ruby was too poor to go to town. If it wasn’t her father, it might have been a brother or cousin. What dark thoughts! I need a time-out.