In the early morning hours, in a hotel, I was preparing to be on faculty at an important conference when I discovered that an elf had snuck into my makeup bag and stolen my Lancôme foundation. For those who don’t wear cosmetics, foundation is a substance that takes your skin from “ready to read a book in the privacy of your home” to “ready to appear before important people” within moments. Because of the elf, I had the moments but not the foundation. I rarely wear foundation, so I wasn’t surprised that the elf made off with it. I always pack tubes of red lipstick in various conveyances, however, so they are too numerous and substantial for the elf to carry them all away.
Horrified, I realized I could not recover from this theft in time to appear flawless by conference time. There was no store open at that hour, not even one that carried the most inferior foundation. For a split second, I wondered if I could text the director, “I’m sorry, but an elf stole my foundation so I can’t appear today,” and go home. No. No, I did not text her that.
Instead, I summoned courage and applied the rest of my “face” before heading out for the event. Here is what did NOT happen as a result of my lack of foundation:
- The director did not say, “No foundation, no conference!” before slamming the door in my unadorned face.
- The attendees did not say, “We cannot concentrate on anything you are saying about publishing because you are not wearing foundation.”
- No writer said, “I will not submit my work to any agent who appears at a conference without foundation.”
- The Conference Directors of America did not send me a notice saying, “Because you dared to appear at a conference without foundation, you are taken off every conference faculty invitation list until further notice.”
Imps, elves, leprechauns, sprites, and hobgoblins love to steal essential objects, such as foundation, keys, coins, and jewelry. They love to play with computers, cars, manuscript documents, spreadsheets, and appliances, to name a few. But if you press on, you may discover their activities don’t result in as much tragedy as you might think.
Tell us about a time when a hobgoblin, imp, elf, sprite, or leprechaun made mischief with you. What happened?