Many years ago, at the height of the “South Park” craze, I was a devoted Eric Cartman fan. That little fat, rude, grumpy, politically incorrect cartoon character made me sincerely laugh until tears. Somewhere in my basement still resides a stuffed Cartman (don’t judge).
My friends even started calling me Cartman, because sometimes I would just have to hit the party off switch, without warning.
Flipping the party off switch is a line from one of my favorite “South Park” episodes. Cartman throws a big birthday party for himself, complete with amusement rides and ferris wheel. He tells all of his friends exactly what to buy him, including Kenny, the kid from the wrong side of tracks without much money. When Kenny shows up with a can of green beans, all that he could provide, Cartman flips as in hits the party off switch. It didn’t matter how many gifts he already had, he was done when Kenny walked in with that can of green beans.
The episode shows Cartman literally hitting a switch next to the ferris wheel that read, “party on, party off.”
That phrase became my moniker for a few years. Whenever something was going afoul, I flipped my own internal switch to the off position.
Over the years, I’ve softened and I’m less reluctant to hit that switch. I’m open to keeping the party going longer, whatever it takes to improve a mood, get a job done or help others.
By keeping that switch in the on mode longer, I’ve experienced some incredible opportunities. I’ve also learned that it’s still okay to flip the switch to off, especially when it comes to self- preservation.
Over the weekend, I turned the party switch to off and removed all of the holiday decorations. HC hated losing the tree, her favorite part of the season. Although I had tried to prepare her that the tree coming down was inevitable, by the time I stripped the ornaments and left a bare tree remaining, she still wasn’t ready for me to flip the switch.
She wanted the party to last just a little bit longer, if only for a minute.
Cartman though, had it right from the beginning. You have to know your own limitations, what you will and won’t put up with and you have to be prepared to flip the switch to off with minimal warning.
It’s the easiest way to make a fresh start and move on until the next party.