Busted Halo
author archive
Eileen Mitchell :
21 article(s)

Eileen Mitchell writes from Northern California.
May 3rd, 2005
Epiphanies in an Auto Repair Shop

An auto repair shop is an unlikely place to have a profound moment, yet I’ve had two. And with the same person. Is God trying to tell me something? The first time was because of a flat tire. Alex, the shop manager, had a brusque attitude that rubbed me the wrong way and I was preparing to respond to his attitude with a smart remark. Then somehow the subject of church came up. And with the conversation that ensued, I discovered that underneath his curt exterior Alex was a pretty neat guy.
Fast forward one year
I recently went back in the same auto shop to get an oil change. Standing in front of the counter to pay my bill, I recognized Alex. However, he apparently had no memory of our talk because I saw not a flicker of recognition.…

September 20th, 2004
Script Supervising and the Importance of Small Things

Recently I helped design a letterhead template consisting of just a couple images and panels, our company logo and, in teeny font, our address. I had felt there was no need to check spelling because there was no text to proofread.
After emailing it out, boy, did I hear back. In a practically blank template, I had managed to misspell one of just seven words?our street.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, my eye
My little discrepancy was seen by only a few dozen people. Which, humbling as it was, didn’t quite make the evening news. But take Seth Copans. As a New York based script supervisor for movies and TV shows including Ed, Law & Order, The Sopranos and Third Watch, his work is under the watchful eye of millions.…

July 25th, 2004
Hopping on the trademark bandwagon

Please accept these words as written notice to the public (with Jacoby, McMillan and Myers in copy) that effective immediately, I am pursing claim to the ownership of the name, God?. Any future use or reference to this name without the aforementioned mark is hereby prohibited and from this day forward, the name God? is the expressed property of its registered owner, yours truly. Furthermore, failure to comply may result in a federal court appearance due to unauthorized use.
Trademark this
These days people are claiming ownership to universal expressions, names, and sayings, forcing the rest of us to acknowledge recognition should we dare to use formerly common words now lawfully owned. And what exactly is a…

June 9th, 2004
Drunken Taunts, Childhood Regrets

I was just walking my dog on a peaceful Sunday afternoon.
From beyond a grassy knoll of lavender and roses, someone beckoned me from a second floor apartment balcony. I looked up to see a shirtless man leaning against the rail. He was too far away for me to make out his features, but I could tell he was young, blond, and—from his unsteady swagger—drunk.
“What kinda dog is that?” he yowled. A greyhound, I responded, continuing to walk.
“I’ll bet he can kick some ass,” he bellowed, taking a swig of something I safely presumed to be beer. “I’ll bet he can kick some major aaaaassss” he repeated.
“Naw, he’s friendly.” Still not breaking pace,…

May 20th, 2004

I can’t keep quiet any longer.
Beyond the teeth
I’m going to finally reveal the reason why daytime and prime time (Sun-Thurs., May 17-May 26, 2004) versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? have been such a resounding success. No, it’s not because it’s a clean, wholesome show the whole family can enjoy, and no, it’s not because game shows are a refreshing change from trash TV reality shows.
It could be because America is glued to the tube, hypnotized by the glare of Regis Philbin’s unnaturally white teeth, but that would be secondary.
I choose to ask the audience?
10% say they watch because they can’t find their remote. And the remaining 90% say?.because they are or were…

March 12th, 2004
Parental Guilt Trip Ends at Right Destination

A few years ago my mother said, “Today is Good Friday. Why don’t come to church with me tonight?”
Oh no, I thought. Not the church talk again.
“Mother,” I explained for the hundredth time, “I don’t need church to feel close to God. It’s all here.” I patted my heart. As usual, she wouldn’t accept that reply.
“Would it kill you to visit God once in a while?”
Parental guilt tripsI pondered her request. While I considered myself a spiritual person, I never felt the need to attend church. But Mother’s request came the day before she was flying to Phoenix to spend Easter with my sister. That triggered my paranoia.
What if her plane crashed?…

February 27th, 2004
Scratching That Home-Improvement Itch

What is it about falling leaves, the scent of smoke in the air, and pumpkins propped on the front porch that turn me into the Tasmanian Devil of decorating? I’m usually oblivious to the latest home fashions. Do the pillows need plumping? Does the armoire need waxing?
No. Well, maybe. But who cares?
Come every autumn, however, my interest in home and hearth experiences a drastic shift, and my long dormant nesting instinct suddenly kicks in, just in time for winter. Maybe it’s the glow of the harvest moon, the morning frost on the windows, or the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot that awaken my critical eye. Who knows? Before I can say Trading Spaces, my modest little townhouse seems to morph overnight from…

January 27th, 2004
Prodded Beyond My Chocolate Martinis

It was the last week of December when a co-worker came bearing delectable treats like cheesecake, cookies, and tarts.
“Our department can’t eat another bite,” she groaned. I groaned right back. “Thanks, but we’ve been pigging out too”
Which might explain why these days I’m feeling less than svelte and more like a Sumo wrestler. As I ponder these thoughts, I reach for another See’s Candy and wash it down with a Starbucks mocha.
Too much of a good thing
I’ve always been embarrassed of the aches that come from overeating. I mean really?what a decadent discomfort. That’s like complaining that your wallet is too heavy because it’s weighted…

January 4th, 2004
Back to High School at the Niece's Recital

Last week I returned to the high school from where I graduated.
The occasion that drew me to my alma mater for the first time in several years was a Christmas recital consisting of the local elementary, middle, and high schools. I had attended all three and now my 12-year-old niece, Meggie, was following in my footsteps. She plays the flute in the middle school band.
Wave of nostalgia

So there I sat in the familiar bleachers, hit with an unexpected pang of nostalgia as I looked around the gym and recognized pennants and memorabilia from days when Donny Osmond ruled and Lynyrd Skynyrd rocked. Had it really been so long? How could the years slip by like a mere blip on the radar screen? I felt like a bad cliché as I wondered where…

January 2nd, 2004
The Restive Nomad Buys a Townhouse (with Multi-Paned Windows)

Everyone expects black balloons and wise-cracking cards once your birthdays celebrate passing the age of 30. No one, however, mentions an unexpected perk: kissing those carefree, post-college days goodbye.
Contentment . . . what a conceptIt’s not that I was unhappy in my youth. But now I can admit I was restless, a heat-seeking missile constantly searching for some elusive target that would radio back “Ding ding ding , this is it!”
But just what was “it“? A glamorous job pulling in big bucks? Living in a trendy loft in the city? Or was”it” a husband, kids, and a home in the ‘burbs? Maybe “it ” was a career as a globe-trotting journalist, or a Peace…

December 31st, 2003
The Surprisingly Gratifying New Year's Alternative

Surprise! There are perks to adding on a few years. Really.
Like, for instance, discovering that you can enjoy your own company without having to rely on someone else to make you happy. That’s why I no longer freak out when New Year’s Eve rolls around.
But it wasn’t always so
Used to be I dreaded the question that began rearing its ugly head around Thanksgiving:
“What are you doing New Years Eve?”
Because if ever there is pressure to celebrate an event, New Year’s Eve is the big kahuna. For years my unhitched friends and I casually quizzed each other about our plans for December 31st, yet we hesitated to make plans with each other. Why?
Because however much we cherished our friendships,…

December 19th, 2003
Parental Metaphors Gone Awry?

I learn from people. I respect their opinions, try to see both sides, and usually succeed.
But recently there was one argument I couldn’t reconcile. It came from a woman who read a newspaper essay I wrote about my pet greyhound, Elvis. She didn’t appreciate the fact that I had referenced myself as a “mother” to my dog and admonished me for using that expression.
Lost in La-La Land?“You apparently don’t have a very firm grip on reality,” she emailed me. “While I commend you for adopting a greyhound, I am completely dismayed by your reference to yourself as a ‘mother.’ Here is a very important piece of information—you cannot return a child if you feel…

December 2nd, 2003
A Four Alarm Make-Up Disaster Story

Show me a woman who is happy with her looks, and I’ll show you a woman who thinks denial?badaboom!?is a river in Egypt.
The cosmetic-industrial complex
It’s true though. We are always seeking the secret formula that will unmask our “hidden” beauty. Each year women spend thousands of hard-earned dollars on cosmetics, hair products, tummy smoothers and fanny shapers. Maybe our eyebrows aren’t shaped right, or we’re wearing the wrong shade of lipstick. Maybe if we didn’t have that darned bump on our nose, or have one front tooth bigger than the other, we too could be as striking as the models that grace magazine covers.
And I’m as guilty as my sisters. Is this as…

August 26th, 2003
Was It Just Me and My Possible Tumor - or Not?

It started with a simple physical. The doctor was almost done when, feeling my neck, she exclaimed, “Hello, what’s this?”
This turned out to be a lump , the size of a strawberry, nestled on my thyroid. It didn’t occur to me that it might be something to worry about. That is, until she called for another doctor’s opinion. They had never seen a lump that size before, which started my heart pounding like a Ricky Ricardo bongo solo.
Then she referred me to an oncologist.
Now I was worried
But I discovered that the fear of cancer was not foremost on my mind. Instead, I found myself thinking, “I may be sick and I’m alone.” That part, about being alone, was almost as scary as…

August 3rd, 2003
Service Call on the Road of Faith

Somehow, getting a flat tire in a church parking lot seems wrong. After all, I could have used that hour to get a head start to the beach. Joined friends for champagne brunch. Slept in and perused the Sunday paper over a soy latte . But nooo, I went to church.
And promptly parked on a nail. Obviously the Big Fella doesn’t play favorites, a fact that agnostics should find somewhat comforting.
To the shop, do not pass GoBut be it God or serendipity, I believed my flat tire occurred for a reason. Obviously I was not meant to be on the road at that particular time. So only somewhat grudgingly I steered my limping Toyota in the direction of the nearest auto shop, which I recalled had recently advertised their new Sunday hours.…

July 20th, 2003
It's Not What You Have But Where It Points

People like Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, and countless other show biz hotties, are renowned for their striking beauty and perfect bods. Some were born that way and others had a bit of help in the nip and tuck department. As for the rest of us? Either we apply for Extreme Makeover or get by with what we have, whatever that may be.
But aren’t we all just a nose job, chin or cheek implant away from being one of them? You know, one of those Beautiful People who stop traffic and turn heads like appetizers on a Lazy Susan? Perhaps it’s just my chunky thighs or short, pudgy nose with the flared nostrils that prevent me from being a drop-dead beauty, the kind that leaves people slack-jawed and gaping. One…

July 10th, 2003
The Professional Worrywart Stumbles Upon a Solution

Darn those yearbook photos?they always come back to haunt us and remind the world that yes, we once thought puka shell necklaces were the epitome of fashion.
But a study at U.C. Berkeley found that yearbook photos do more than verify bad taste. Old photos from the 1958 and 1960 yearbooks of Mills College in Oakland, California, were analyzed, and researchers discovered that women who looked the happiest went on to live the happiest lives. The study concluded that “individual differences in positive emotional expression were linked to personality stability and development across adulthood.”
This would explain why, in my college photo, my eyebrows are stitched together and I look gravely concerned.…

July 9th, 2003
Not Being a Mommy Isn't a Childless Abyss

Comfortably nestled in adulthood, I realize it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be a mother. Heck, in recent months I haven’t found a guy I want to share a dinner with, let alone my DNA.
But that’s okay. Because incredible as it may seem to some, motherhood has never been a goal.
As a child I never played with dolls, pretending they were my “babies.” I’ve never experienced pangs of envy when attending baby showers, or cradled a newborn, wishing it were mine. Not once have I ever turned the same shade of green that washes over me when, for example, someone gets a puppy or vacations in London.
Do I like kids? Absolutely. Will I regret not having any of my own? I doubt it. I recognize that…

July 6th, 2003
The Real Soul Mates I Can't Live Without

As a naive youth, I once believed my soul mate was just around the corner. Now well into adulthood, I suspect this corner resides in a parallel universe. My doppelg?nger is probably happily married to my Mr. Right. And me? I’m in this universe alone, a fairly successful single woman trying to make a decent go of it. If I had a hat to throw in the air, I’d be indistinguishable from an old Mary Tyler Moore repeat on TV Land.
Normally I’m content being single. The only time I feel alone is during a crisis. Then I curse the absence of a human being that is legally bound, by God and law, to provide that comforting hug when I need one.
Good connections
But really, neither God nor law can bind one person to another.…

June 1st, 2003
A Little Bible Study Didn't Hurt

For years I’ve recited the same prayer, every morning as I drive to work and every evening before I go to bed: Lord, help me feel your presence and be nicer to people. But my morning prayer is usually interrupted by some nimrod doing 80 in the slow lane who has just cut me off. And more often than not, my evening prayer is preempted by pondering that age-old question: what will I have for breakfast, a smoothie or soy latte?
But hey, God knows what’s in my heart. It’s not like I’m asking to win the lottery or anything (although if you’re listening, Big Fella, that would be nice too). So surely He’d be willing to grant a prayer so selfless.
He hasn’t. And every time I’ve cursed…

Page 1 of 212
powered by the Paulists