Once upon a time in a land not very far from here in a time more recent than you might think, there lived a damsel in distress.
No, she wasn’t locked in a tower or being held captive by a fire-breathing dragon or even being forced to clean houses in violation of her birthright.
She wasn’t wandering, lost, in the forest or turned into a ogre or trying to communicate after an evil sea witch had stolen her voice.
She was just in the regular sort of distress.
Oh, you know. The kids needed more (more time, more attention, more help) and work needed more and the house needed more and OH GOOD GOD, the house. The house was an evil, living thing that did not take kindly to being neglected. It demanded attention and when it didn’t get it, well, it was worse than the children with the resultant tantrums.
(What, you think houses don’t have tantrums? They may not kick and pout, but they definitely throw fits. A leak over here, a sprung board over there… they’re sneaky about it, but it happens.)
The damsel in question felt quite overwhelmed by all the tasks set before her, and in her anxiety her problems seemed to be growing by the minute. No, wait; that was her ass. Her ass was growing by the minute on account of the best strategy she had thus far devised for dealing with all of the other problems at hand was to eat copious amounts of ice cream. It was not solving any of her problems—not by a long shot—but it was quite delicious.
Only now she had all of her original problems, as well as needing to shop for new pants. This is the very definition of distress, no?
One day, as she wept and wailed and gnashed her teeth, a fairy godmother appeared to her. “Child,” cooed the magical old woman, “why are you crying?”
“It’s… well… it’s just EVERYTHING!” she sniffled. “I CAN’T DO ALL OF THIS!” Tears dripped into her half-eaten bowl of Edy’s Slow Churned coffee ice cream.
“Well of course you can’t! Who said you were supposed to?” She chuckled while the damsel considered this and wiped her eyes. “Quit your whining and just figure it out. And for GOD’S SAKE stop eating.”
“Um, aren’t you supposed to offer to help me?” She was suddenly hopeful; perhaps a solution was at hand.
“Oh, right.” The fairy godmother drew herself up a bit and pulled a wand out from the folds of her sleeve. “I can help you! What would you like?”
The damsel considered the options while licking the spoon from her ice cream. “Could you… well, could you make sure the kids are happy?”
The fairy godmother laughed so hard she dropped her wand. “I said I could help you. I didn’t say I could work a miracle. How about something a little more practical?” While she picked up her wand she completely missed the damsel’s annoyed glare, or at least pretended to miss it.
“Fine. Can you make me 10 pounds lighter?”
Now it was the godmother’s turn to look annoyed. “I. can. help,” she said again, but very slowly. “Just help. Maybe you’d rather find yourself a lamp with a genie or something. Me, I’m just sort of an executive assistant.”
Crickets chirped in the background while this new and somewhat disappointing turn of events (and some of the ice cream) was digested.
“Well,” the damsel finally ventured, “I need to sell the house.” She held up her hand as the fairy godmother opened her mouth to protest. “I know, I know… you can’t take care of that. I get it. So… help. Assist me. Tell me how to feel less like my head is going to explode.”
The fairy godmother smiled and clapped her hands. “Yes! Now you’ve got it!” She rummaged around in her pockets and finally produced a slip of paper. “Here you are. This will help. I promise!” And then as quickly as she’d come, she was gone again, leaving behind only a bit of glitter and a faint scent of mothballs.
The damsel looked down at the piece of paper and shrugged. Why not? She called the number, and then something amazing happened.
She was still cranky and overwhelmed and also wondering when exactly fairy godmothers had essentially been demoted to secretaries, but she now believed in magic. How else could she explain how one minute she had this and then it magically turned into this.
I don’t know if she lived happily ever after, but it was still pretty cool.