Gallopin’ Grandma: No admission to club misery

By on December 23, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – There is an old joke that asks, “Do you believe in clubs for women?” Answer: “Only if all else fails.”

The urge to clump into groups and exclude everyone else must go back to the Big Bang. I’m sure that when the first three protozoas appeared, two of them formed a club and told the third that it couldn’t join, so it went off and formed a new species.

My friend LaWanda and I have always loved clubs and in high school we joined the Biology Club, during which LaWanda ate a grasshopper. We also joined the Automotive Club and I stripped the gears on my father’s car. Now that we are much older and less prone to eat insects and destroy cars, we thought it would be fun to join a club of some kind and to indulge in pithy conversation, share personal observations and make new friends.

I was looking through the paper and found an article about the book club at the county recreation center. It sounded like a lot of fun, it was free and the article said they “welcomed everybody.”

LaWanda and I went to the next meeting and discovered that “everybody” didn’t exactly include us. Some of the members were friendly but the rest looked at us, if they looked at us at all, like we had dropped through the ceiling. The leader, Gladiola Olsen, informed us that if we didn’t have an e-mail address (we didn’t) she wasn’t going to call us. I guess information would have to arrive via the Ozone.

Books in hand, we went to the next meeting. The book we read was filled with interesting passages that could provide the seeds for pithy discussions and personal observations. Only nobody seemed to want our pith or observations. Gladiola seemed irritated by our presence and our desire to discuss anything. She made us feel uneasy and frostbitten. However, we know clubs are hard to break into and that they are like an elaborate dance that everyone knows how to do except you.

Later, I got a phone call from Gladiola who had said that she never called anyone, but she called me. I thought she might be welcoming me to the club, but I should have known better because she informed me that I talked too much and gave too many personal observations and caused the book club hour to run overtime. I said “thank you” and hung up while she was still talking. LaWanda called and told me that she, too, had heard from Gladiola, who left her in tears.

I am willing to admit our fearless leader, Gladiola, meant well and didn’t mean to be unkind. And it certainly wasn’t like I hadn’t heard it all before. But she made my friend cry and treated us like a pair of badly behaved five-year-olds.

LaWanda says we should form our own two-person club that nobody else can join, but I recall that Groucho Marx said he would never join a club that would have him as a member. Good point.

Do I believe in clubs for women? You bet, and I wish I had one.


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