Posey and Carl Jung’s Theory of the Collective Unconscious

heartofdarknessMy senior year of high school, I had a truly awful English teacher who did not care for me very much whatsoever. Towards the end of the school year, she asked that we go around the classroom and announce where each of us was to attend college the following fall. It basically went down like this: “Harvard.” “Yale.” “Stanford.” “M.I.T.” “M.I.T.” “M.I.T.” and so on. I have no idea why so many engineer-minded kids were in an AP English class, but they were. Then she came to me. I shyly said, “The University of Iowa.”

She glared at me, curled her evil lip up just like the Grinch, and snarled– “You don’t want to be a WRITER, do you?” Gulp.

This post doesn’t have much to do with that story, I just wanted to tell it. The segue is that in this class, I read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and learned about Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious:

“My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited.”

So basically, we’re all born with inherited human experience collective knowledge. And you know what? I totally buy it. I’ve seen it in action. In the form of… THE TELEPHONE.

These days, the only phones Posey has really ever seen in action look like this:

iphone

So how the heck can I explain the fact that she totally instinctively knows what to do with THIS thing? Like, what do do with a handset? When she’s never seen one before???

chatterphone

But she gets it. And answers the phone. That Jung guy was on to something.

The Ballad of Penny Joanna

83 phone calls.

That’s how many times I dialed Chicago’s Galter Life Center to try to register Posey for their Aquababies swimming program.  Think that sounds nuts?  I forgot to mention that I set my alarm for 4:50 a.m., as the registration began at 5. I thought it was going to be overkill.  Instead, I quickly found out I should have had six phones to dial simultaneously.  Apparently, these are the only indoor lessons that take infants as young as six months, so classes fill up quickly.  Finally, on the 84th dial, I got through, and it felt like I won the lottery.  “Let me guess!” a chipper voice sang on the other end. “You’ve got an AQUABABY!”

Well, now I do.

My kid loves the water.  You’ve never seen happiness until you’ve seen Posey splash around in her bath tub.  So now it’s official–  I’m one of those parents who goes to insane lengths for their kids.  Or in my case, my baby.  It’s still sinking in:  I got up before 5 A.M. to make 84 PHONE CALLS to score SWIMMING LESSONS for a BABY who WON’T REMEMBER THEM and probably will still NOT KNOW HOW TO SWIM when they’re over.

And it felt awesome.

In 1984, I wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid.  So did every other kid in America.  Unfortunately for my Mom and Dad, there was no internet yet.  No pre-orders, no eBay, just empty shelves in every toy store across the nation.

Shortly before Christmas, my parents got a tip from a local store (which sadly, went out of business years and years ago) that a secret shipment was coming in.  They literally had to meet an employee at a back door to get the doll– which was disguised in brown paper wrapping.

And Christmas morning, I met Penny Joanna, a Cabbage Patch Preemie, her weird little tuft of yarn hair all yellow and fluffy. She was hidden, Red Ryder BB Gun-Style, behind a chair in the living room.  The Grand Finale.  I still remember how she smelled and the crinkly sound that the box’s plastic window made.

Swimming lessons start August 23rd, my birthday.  I can’t wait.

Wait, you’re ALL ordering the small salad?

Took the baby out to lunch today with three former co-workers, all with kids under 14 months. Being the lady that I am, I planned on ordering the chopped chicken salad (entree portion, of course). But I ordered 3rd. Behind the other two women who ordered the small version. Dressing on the side.

Crap.

I upped the ante by asking for NO dressing- don’t even bother bringing it! Take that.

Over lunch, we had a delightful conversation about our wills and who would raise our children if we weren’t around. Also, what our husbands would do without us.

Just a little pleasant salad talk.

Then I went home and ate my second lunch.