Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marvelous, so Marvelous (Or, The Reason I Love Glee, Park Benches, and Coffee Cake)

In the "Theatricality" episode of Glee, drama queen Rachel meets her drama empress mother, Shelby Corcoran (the coach of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline). There's a lot of dramatic moments involving Lady Gaga costumes and slurpees, but the part I love about the episode (and why I paid the .99¢ to rent it on iTunes for two days) is when Rachel and her mom are saying goodbye. Rachel asks to sing with her mom, and they duet to "Poker Face" - acoustic style. And they get to this point where they're singing, "I'm marvelous, I'm marvelous, so marvelous!"

And there's some so joyful and true about their voices singing loudly (and from the diaphragm muscle, undoubtedly) that they are marvelous.

As I sat on the back of a comfy chair in my apartment tonight after a long day at the office and looked at the girls sitting across from me, that "marvelous" line ran into my head. We had been having the "well, those guys are so cute but obviously they won't go for me" conversation, and suddenly I just wanted to drop everything, throw up my hands in claw-like "little monster" style, and belt out, "I'm marvelous, I'm marvelous so marvelous!" because the truth is, we ARE. We are marvelous! It doesn't matter that the 24 year old with the cute horn=rimmed glasses reading his book on the Metro didn't see you and immediately head out to Tiffany's. It doesn't matter that you spilled orange juice on your nice black pants before your internship this morning. It doesn't matter that you forgot your notebook and had to take notes at a briefing on a scrap of paper in the back of your daily planner. It doesn't even matter if you walked around with a little piece of lettuce between your teeth from lunch! You are marvelous. Just marvelous.

So, "marvelous" (which is starting to sound weirder and weirder as I type it) is the reason I love Glee - because they are unafraid to sing out, to let their voices loose and to wear their individuality, their uniqueness, right on their sleeves and vocal cords. "Marvelous" is also the reason I love park benches. This morning before I went to work I decided to go to Starbucks and treat myself to a tall nonfat no water chai latte, and a piece of warm pumpkin loaf. I was seriously excited about both these items, mostly because there isn't much that can be spilled/slopped/stained in the order. I took my steaming purchases to Farragut Park. Which, I learned, is NOT the Metro stop where all the trains connect because some wealthy people didn't want to move the statue in the park. And between you and me, the statue is not all that thrilling. Nice, but not thrilling. So what the fuss was about beats me.

ANYWAY (I digress)... I was sitting in Farragut Park, watching the steady stream of bleary-eyed, messenger-bag-carrying, loafer and stiletto wearing crowds exit the Metro and the bus and thinking about how lovely the morning was. And then I saw it: a rabid squirrel.

It might not actually have had rabies, but it was definitely possessed by something. It had its eyes on the pumpkin seeds I had dropped on the ground in my exuberant consumption of my little slice of pumpkin heaven. And nothing was going to stop this squirrel. I, of course, freaked out and tried to shove the squirrel away with my foot. This did not work, but I did make the squirrel more determined to get the seeds and inch nearer and nearer to my quivering foot. I swear it knew I was afraid. And as I lashed out one more time in my brown flats, this cute guy in a button down plaid shirt and brown pants walked by. Yep, walked right by me with my latte in one hand, my other hand full of pumpkin loaf crumbs, trying to kick a squirrel away from my park bench. Oh yes, if he didn't think lunatics existed in DC, he does now. Yep, I'm "marvelous."

And finally, "marvelous" is the reason I love coffee cake. This morning after my run-in with the squirrel I went to work and discovered that I was going to a staff meeting that morning. And there was free food, and so to be polite I took a big piece of coffee cake and some fruit salad and sat down with my coworker Elizabeth to enjoy not being responsible for a committee report (sorry, GCSA, I don't miss those committee reports). And just as I was taking a decently sized bite of my coffee cake, my supervisor Scott began to introduce me. Hello, organization, I'm Hilary, a student of Gordon College. Don't mind me, I'm just stuffing my face with your food!

I was embarrassed, swallowed too quickly and tried to say, "Hi" but it came out kind of garbled and tight as the coffee cake made its way down my throat. But Scott went on to describe what I'd been working on and then said, "she's been doing a great job so far." There it was: the affirmation I had been hoping for since I arrived at my internship last week. There it was, coffee cake and all! Perhaps, after all of my escapades and run-ins, all of my ups and downs and squirrels and sketching and parks and Georgetown - I am marvelous. I am marvelous.

So reader, here is what I want you to do. Go to Hulu or Fox or something and watch the "Theatricality" episode of Glee. Watch Rachel and her mom Shelby Corcoran sing the "marvelous" line from "Poker Face." And then, whenever something happens to you that makes you feel anything less than marvelous, sing the line. Sing it in your head, or out loud, or in a whisper to your best friend. Sing it as you go to class or turn in your first paper or spill hot coffee on your new skirt. Sing it when a rabid squirrel tries to eat your fallen pumpkin seeds. Sing it when you eat coffee cake too fast. Sing it because you are so marvelous, from your thoughts and ideas, to your passionate love for math/science/art/poetry/film/lacrosse/theater/student ministries/politics/intellectual history/ethics/theology/french/latin/soccer/dance... You are marvelous from the way you just aced your economics homework to the way you just asked a great question at the panel discussion on So-and-so's new book. You are marvelous - just ask my friend the squirrel.



  1. Thank you for this complete truth! We are all so marvelous, and we should tell each other more often!

  2. Gahhh I laughed out loud. And then I read it to Amanda and we laughed out loud together. Marvelous writing Hil... that squirrel story is going to brighten many a day when I recall it (although, we both know I'll think of it at the most inopportune times... story of my life)

    Love you.


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