Friday, May 23, 2008


MELP, or Minimum Expected Level of Performance, is a value based on the number of classes I am teaching, the variety of life-stress I am anticipating, and the number of dollars not in my bank account times my waist measurement (in inches) divided by my hip measurement (in iches), rounded off to the nearest hundredth and scrawled on the back of an envelope and placed under a cookie bag on my desk. I permit myself to have a moderate level of healthy self-esteem if I maintain MELP.

Let me start over.

There are four levels of MELP.

Level One: whatever, whenever, just don't show up for work visibly drunk. (A little bit drunk is fine).

Level Two: whatever, most of the time, just don't show up for work visibly hung over.

Level Three: make it to the gym once a week, no visible holes or stains, grade the papers instead of throwing them directly in the trash.

Level Four: be attractive, polite, virtuous, strong, and competent in every measurable way.

Fall semester was a Level One in every way. It is positively bizarre that I did not get fired and I might have suffered a psychotic break and did so publicly right here on this blog.

I have been functioning somewhere between Level Two and Level Three all semester and I have even, on a few occasions, performed for an entire day or 1.5 days at a shiny, happy, church-going Level Four.


Today I am formally and officially going to do an unthinkable and unwise thing: I am not only going to GO to a Level Four, but also make it policy and tell the whole world, right here on this blog.

Oh and my dad 's surgery was canceled and he is on his way home because really there is no point in trying to fix the leg of a man who has leukemia.

Have a blessed day. I am going climbing.


Julie said...

Well, Level Four sounds good.

I'm so very sorry about your dad though. Many good thoughts and prayers going his way.

Avitable said...

Does Level Five include mindblowing sex and chocolate? Because I totally think you should do that.

Annie said...

So sorry about your dad, but he is a fighter and people can and do amazing things, he already has :-).
Go level four all the way!

Miss Britt said...

I don't know. Level Four sounds like a LOT of work.

P said...

Level Four makes me want to take a nap.

How could the doctors say that? I can't accept it. I can't.

Finn said...

Can't you save Level Four for the mountain?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I don't even HAVE four levels. I have one, and it is more of an unsteady ledge.

Kudos to you, dear. You're my inspiration.

Kate P said...

Since it's Friday, I'm raising a glass to you, your Level Four, and your dad. I'd do one for each but I think that would require my personal MELP to be in the basement.

ingrid said...

oh i am so incredibly sorry. level four is pretty damn impressive. sending you whatever support, love, care and levels of drunkenness can ease your load. xo from someone who doesn't know you in person but adores you from afar.

Effortlessly Average said...

I don't see the level that involves revenge against your enemies. Where is that level?

DaisyJo said...

I can only do level four with mind-altering drugs. You're a stronger woman than I.


Dagny said...


My stomach just dropped reading that last line.