I’ll Have What She’s Having


September, 1991

As I sipped my Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, I looked around.  The place looked so familiar, yet I knew I had never been.  When we had entered, my law school friend Todd, grabbed a ticket at the door to mark our place in line. Meanwhile, I both gazed at, and inhaled in, my surroundings. The deli looked quite old, like it had been around for at least a hundred years.  Yet, the atmosphere was far from dead.  It was as if the next to the words ‘hustle and bustle’ in the dictionary were pictures of this restaurant.

Todd ordered two pastrami sandwiches, letting me know it was a “must have.”  As I bit into the most awesome sandwich that was clearly too large for me to consume in just one meal, I looked over, “Where are we, anyway?”  “C’mon.  You don’t know?”  At that moment, despite the fact that both my parents were raised in New York City, I felt like a little Midwestern school girl.  “No, should I?”  “We are at Katz’ Delicatessen!  Didn’t you see the movie, “When Harry Met Sally?”  I smiled, and instantly tried to find the spot where Sally so famously broke the news (following up with a demonstration) to Harry that some women fake it.  I couldn’t find the location until I realized we appeared to be seated at the very spot. 

Recently, I had one of “those” weeks.  I discovered that from sitting awkwardly on the train for hours while balancing my laptop on my legs, I provoked a bout of sciatica.  And then, within days, the tooth I had recently had refilled began to ache terribly.  A rash broke out on my bottom and legs, which may have been related to the sciatica or the result of a brush with my husband’s poison ivy-infected clothes from yard work.  And then, I got my period. The entire experience left me feeling intensely uncomfortable on practically every physical level, and feeling sorry for myself.  When people would ask, “Meg, how do you feel?”  I would soak in the concern and let them know I was miserable.  John says when I am not feeling well I am the worst patient.  He’s right—I am not good at faking it.

And then, I opened the paper to read that Nora Ephron had died.  As with many, I have been a huge fan.  Not simply because of her amazing talents as a writer, essayist, humorist, wonderful wife, and mother to two boys.  No, even when diagnosed with a fatal illness, Ms. Ephron also had the keen ability to always laugh at herself.  Last October, channeling Ellen DeGeneres, I wrote a post called, “You Never Know What Funny Can Do.”  There I stated, “The truth of that simple sentence struck me deeply. The ability to laugh at yourself is the key to helping others feel comfortable with you, no matter your difference.”  As the week progressed, the eulogies for Ms. Ephron poured in and often had a common theme: Nora Ephron will be remembered because she made as much fun of herself as anyone else.

With respect to my two fingers and two toes, there is no question I have continued to poke fun at myself where possible.  Just this week I mentioned on a conference call that I could get a memo out asap since I was the fastest two fingered typist this side of the Appalachians.  Awkward silence often follows, but I don’t care.  I readily laugh at myself when it comes to my condition.  However, it occurs to me that I need to carry that humor to other life experiences that feel challenging.  And so, in honor of Nora Ephron, I’ll update my prior theme: “The ability to laugh at yourself is the key to helping others feel comfortable with you, no matter your experience!”

What also caught my eye was that in Ms. Ephron’s final book, “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections,” she had a “What I Won’t Miss/What I Will Miss” list about things she would or would not miss on Earth.  Here’s my variation on the theme:

Hiding my Difference: What I Will Miss


Flaunting My Difference: What I Will Miss

  • Not caring if people stare
  • Writing…with honesty and candor
  • Being a role model for my kids
  • All the unexpected and probably undeserved discounts and then being able to pay the savings forward
  • Having people I regard as role models think of me as a role model
  • Having the ability to laugh at myself…and mean it
  • Having the ability to laugh at myself…and watch people visibly relax about my difference
  • Trying new things without worrying how others are judging me
  • Teaching people the message, “What You Think of Me is None of My Business!”
  • Inspiring others to flaunt it, simply by being myself

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11 Responses to “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

  1. vidyaanandamJuly 21, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Dear Meg,
    I’m living in India. I’ve been following your blog ‘don’t hide it, flaunt it’ since the dawn of 2012. Your writings are highly motivational and inspiring.
    I’m also a different person in the sense that I have no children (which is considered not only as a disability but also a sin in our society.) After a lot of waiting and disappointments we have decided to adopt (which is another sin according to the standarads of our society. But I have got a wonderful husband who has been instrumental in taking the decision. My husband and myself have to prepare ourselves for a great ordeal awaiting us when we get the child. ) It was in this context that I came across your blog (rather accidentally. I’m interested health topics and usually spend a lot of time in medical sites. When I was searching in google for ectrodactyly, I found your photos . Your children are really so cute that I forgot my search and entered your blog. Ethan and Charlie are soooooooooooo loveable, cute and smart. You are really fortunate to be blessed with such lovely children.)
    After that I started reading your posts now and then. I was extremely surprised that you have an adopted child also. Savanna (named after Savanna medaows I suppose. Very apt indeed.) Then I became more personally involved in your writings.
    Your posts surprised me at first because I was of the openion that in your country, people are decent enough to be indifferent about differences. But it is a blessing in a way because we would not have got “‘don’t hide it, flaunt it” if you had not faced those stares or questions.
    After reading your blogposts there is a lot of change in me. I have begun to accept the fact that I haven’t got a child. Though I have received a lot of spiritual education from my childhood I could not accept the fact till recently. Now I can face any question with courage. I can say ‘No, I Don’t have a child’ with the least pain. I think this is very important to adjust myself to the problems which are awaiting us in the next stage of the issue, that is bringing up an adopted child. I’m sharing your ideas with my husband and he is also inspired to know about your blog. Now we hope we can face any silly question about that new addition into our family, apart from making him/ her accepting the fact, (as you have written in your post ‘It is all in the blood ‘) giving him/ her the most comfortable atmosphere and the best possible parentage by God’s grace.
    I think I have found a sisterly counselor in you for any doubts or questions regarding acceptance of difference. Pardon me for being lengthy (since it is the first letter ) and also for my English. (I’m not sure if it is upto your standards since I have studied it as a second language only.) with love, Vidya

    • MegZuckerJuly 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Dear Vidya,

      I am so grateful you took the time to write and share your life experience on my site. Thank you for the kind words about my children. By the way, your English is terrific! I love your comments so much I am planning to incorporate them into a foryhcoming blog post. I hope that is ok. Your words resonated with me on multiple levels. Please have faith- good things to come for you and your husband. The most important part is believing in that yourself, despite any external judgment. Sounds like you have reached that goal. My best, Meg

      • vidyaanandamJuly 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

        Thank you, Meg, for your kind and immediate response. I’m eagerly waiting for your next post. Have a happy weekend.
        with love, Vidya

      • MegZuckerJuly 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

        Doing an olympics post next. Look out for it ealy August.

    • MegZuckerAugust 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Vidya- the post about you is up since Friday! Did you see it? I know people lost power last week in India. Hope all os well. Thank you again for allowing me to re-post your piece!

      • vidyaAugust 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

        Dear Meg,
        I saw that post and commented. But failed to note this one. There was no problem in my part of the country. Only northern states were affected. Thank you.
        With love, Vidya

  2. BethJuly 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I’m a week behind, but still loving this post!!

  3. Patriciats@verizon.netJuly 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    We just met at Dagmar Bjorkeson’s house!! I loved your post and would love keep reading your blogs!!! Patricia Talavera Smith

    • MegZuckerJuly 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Thank you! Feel free to ” like” the Don’t Hide It Flaunt It facebook page for ongoing updates! Great meeting you!

  4. Dave WeaverJuly 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Great post as always Meg! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • MegZuckerJuly 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Dave. Always great to hear from you!!!

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