I first heard her say it several weeks ago. She was walking up the last leg of the ramp that leads to our apartment when she sighed and suddenly became an 83-year-old woman: “All the problems…” she said.
Sometimes Elie Mae will insert an “it’s” beforehand, as in, “It’s all the problems.” Never does she provide an explanation. She has yet to name even one problem.
Is it a bully on the playground? Did she bounce a check?
“Elie,” I’ll ask, “what are all the problems?”
She smiles back and giggles. “All the problems.”
My favorite time came two weeks ago as she was praying on her potty. She was really going in. “Thank you for God helping us all the problems,” she said. This girl really might be 83 in shpirit (Thank God for medical science, though, because she still has all her teeth).
Needless to say, it has become a household phrase to describe every and any kind of failure or annoyance. Burn the bacon? It’s all the problems. Internet down? Diaper blowout? Imminent threat of nuclear war? You guessed it. #AllTheProblems. Don’t you see? It’s a statement that both judges and refuses to judge.
Elie Mae is a genius. So wise. Queen Solomon.
Go ahead. Try it at your staff meeting today. Look straight at your boss and just mouth the words. Tell your boyfriend it’s not him, it’s just, you know…all the problems.