How Lice Can Make You Rich !

price is rightThis is a parable. You can substitute anything at all for Lice in this (nit)witty allegory tale — Fleas, tics, bedbugs. Okay, seriously? This is a quick but true story of how parasites can become paradise!

Once upon a time (Note: there are far more original ways to begin a narrative than this so think up another one.) I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about how a mother of six deals with lice. The lice finally disappeared (or we may have given them away to some classmates, but that’s not really relevant here) and any reader laughs from the article also faded into Arianna’s (that’s Ms. Huffington’s first name) archives. All was forgotten.

Until….fast forward a year (Note: editors state that writing “fast forward” is an overdone, awkward device to depict the passage of time in your writing, so don’t use it!) when I get an email from the Chief Marketing Officer at Lice Clinics of America saying they need someone to dispel the public stigma of lice. Basically they needed someone who can write about nits and nymphs (a teenage louse) and other itch-worthy causations in a humorous way.

Well anyone who has read more than one of my blog posts knows the immediate reaction is to scratch your head and ponder, “Why does this woman think she’s even remotely funny?” And thus my humor was deemed louse-y enough to fit the bill. (Note: Self-deprecation is borderline acceptable as humor but fairly transparent as to its intentions, so don’t rely on this too much.)

But there was a major problem. My Little Miss Menopause persona simply would not do. It sounded old. And hot-flashy and crotchety. What could my new Pen Name be when writing about these fascinating creepy crawlies?  I thought of The Licey Lassy, aLice in Wonderland, Minnie Louse, and even Linda LoveLice came (no pun intended) to mind. An idea I thought was brilliant, “Glinda the Good Itch of the North” was blatantly rejected. Hmmmm. How will you Dear Reader, ever find out which alias I eventually came to use to become so well-known in the lice world? (Note: Cliffhangers can work but should be inserted at the end of your post.)

Here’s the real point for conveying the information in this post. If you write blogs ABOUT ANYTHING, there could be an unlikely paid opportunity just awaiting you as well. But the person has to know that you’re open to such possibilities and have a concrete way to contact you. After she read me on The Huffington Post, the Lice Chief Marketing Officer (lice have chiefs and they get marketed?) tracked me down to offer me this glamorous job from a category on top of my blog menu called “Hire Me To Humor You.”  You need to have something similar! Make one right this minute. (Note: Research shows that readers love to be told what to do by an author. It has something to do with Fifty Shades of Grey.)

And now without further ado, I implore you to follow my brand new blog aptly called “Sugar & Spice & Everything Lice” because even though Lice are no laughing matter, I’m going to find a way to make them at the very least, a chuckling matter. And also because they’ve given me permission to write about other subjects as well, just so long as I loosely relate them back to lice. Therefore you can expect the topic of sex to surface at my new Lice blog quite often! (Note: Sex Still Sells!)

PS.  If any readers think I’m selling out, you should know that I have firm self-respecting boundaries.  I draw the line at writing about termites. Crickets however will be okay because duh…Jiminy and Pinocchio. (Note: Very bad idea if you’re trying to get followers to a new blog about lice to suddenly end with a Walt Disney movie reference. Give the original link once again so the last thing on their minds is to click and follow it RIGHT HERE.)

It’s Just Me, Myself & I !

Lermaa1 (pic)When you’re as neurotic as I am, (aside from having a lifetime of writing) you’ve had a lifetime of therapy as well.

But psychologists can get extremely bored with you and your same old stories replaying, so they’ll often have you do simple “therapeutic exercises.” Nothing that would make you feel awkward or silly of course!  Just sitting on their couch and pretending a part of your personality is in the empty chair across from you. And then talking to it. “Speak to your Fear & Anxiety and tell it everything will be okay,” they’ll encourage.

And they love role-playing “games.”  But they always make me play the part of ME. Hmmph.

But if they find out you’re a published author, this one becomes their favorite idea — “Write a letter from your Younger Self to Your Present Self” or “From Your Future Self to Your Intuition.” Or “Your Small, Fragile Child” or “Your Angry Side” or “Your Control Freak.”

However, what they really get off on is having you do certain things with “Your Inner Critic.”

Let’s see . . .  so far I’ve embraced my Inner Critic. Then in a shocking move, I fired my Inner Critic. Apparently I hired him back however because next thing I knew, I was instructed to silence my Inner Critic. I still have to tame my Inner Critic, then challenge and conquer him. We’re very busy together.

My point being with all these different facets of my personality floating around various therapists’ offices, I thought it was high time I did something completely innovative with all of them.  I would invite everyone to a fun cocktail party!

“Hi Personality Traits!  Please come to a formal gathering so we can all get to know each other better and then we can rely on one another when we need help or when we just have an impulsive desire to be one well-rounded, sane person! Potluck, of course!  See you at my house. Oops, I mean OUR house.”

Sincerely,

Sybil err Stephanie

I was nervous an hour before the get-together but my Perfectionist showed up early and laid out the silverware, plates, and napkins in meticulous order. Okay okay, Miss Compulsive might have come along as well, but I think she busied herself threading fruit salad onto skinny wooden skewers. Soon the kitchen was alive with a cacophony of noise and conversation as various parts of me interacted.

Lazy Bones: Seriously?  Who do you think is gonna clean up this huge mess?

Eating Disorder (ED): And how come you’re only putting out healthy fruit and veggies and some measly cheese and crackers?  Where are the Oreos, Nutella, and pints of Rocky Road?

Mean Girl: Like oh my god! You can’t eat anything until you fit back into your cheerleading uniform from high school. And what makes you think anybody will show up to a boring party that Loser you throws anyhow?

Confidence: Hey everyone, after we have a few ice-breakers, I’m gonna read aloud one of my classic Huffington Post humor pieces. You’ll love it and never stop laughing.

My Fiancé: (Yes I just got engaged and he’s the only actual real person at this wild shindig!) That sounds great Stephanie.  I’m so proud of you, but first let’s go into your room…

Me: (tossing hair in a flirty flounce) Oh, really?  Right now?? Well okay, Handsome. Come along Inner Critic, Bitter About Prior Divorces, Blame, Shame, Aggressive, and Sarcasm. Oh alright, Fragile Little Child, you’re welcome in our bed too. In fact, let’s try this with everyone for a change! C’mon y’all — we’ll be swingers!

Inner Critic: Lights off!

My Fiancé:  Yep, that’s the drill.

Bitter About Prior Divorces: You’re just like the rest of my ex-husbands. Already implying our sex life is mundane and predictable.

My Fiancé: Let’s hammer out the details. And shelve it.

Fragile Little Child: I don’t wanna put this discussion on the shelf. Tell me now! You’re leaving me, right?  I feel scared and tiny. And vulnerable.

My Fiancé: I’m not going anywhere as long as you can take all my pounding.

Confidence: (fluttering eyelashes) Well I like it rough, but gentle can be nice too. I can handle anything you got!

Asks For What She Needs: But can I get a lot of support?

My Fiancé:  Definitely. It will hold up to a lot of abuse if nobody throws a wrench into it and you go easy with all your many hang-ups.

Self-Defense Mechanism:  Like you’re so perfect! You have a few skeletons in the closet too, I’m sure. Maybe you’re a skirt-chaser?

My Fiancé:  Skirts?  Nope, I just can’t wait to come out of this closet!

Waiting For Other Shoe to Drop:  What?? You’re gay? See that!  I knew something like this would happen to prevent our future happiness. Can’t you at least fix it to swing both ways??

My Fiancé: Stephanie, can you stop integrating all the different sides of you for just a moment? I need to concentrate on getting this extra storage wardrobe built. Otherwise when I finally move in, I’m afraid I’ll drown in all of your clothing! Why do you have so many dang dresses anyhow?

All Personalities: (simultaneously) Surely you don’t expect all of us to wear the same size, do you? !

Big thanks to my new fiancé who will hopefully be just as understanding as he was when he was my boyfriend that I use his “persona” here for PURE FICTION!

“Wow! You Should Be a Guided Meditation Leader!”

images (11)Has someone recently said this to you? It probably means you have that “peacefully enlightened” vibe, a relaxing demeanor, and definitely a comforting, soothing voice. But if you’re really toying with entering the meditation field, you will need to use phrases (ad nauseam!) that could literally make your friends lose their ever-loving mind(fulness).

Nevertheless, if you’re still curious about becoming one, here is a resume of the 9 most important qualities needed to be a Guided Meditation Leader:

  1. The ability to direct people to let themselves “Arrive,” ignoring the fact that they are actually already there, sitting in real upholstered chairs, listening to your droning voice (which should be dripping with butter or honey or something else decadent that none of these people will ever let their bodies ingest) Yes, this ceremonial act of “Arrival” is extremely important, so execute it with pronounced enunciation.
  2. Able to conduct Individual Intention Settings. It’s crucial that anyone who is about to listen to your guided meditation tapes or Youtube videos first set their intention. Warning: A few smart alecs will state, “My intention is not to set any intentions.” Ignore them and do an Intention Intervention instead.
  3. Must possess creativity to command your listeners to breathe-in a large variety of different things. (Although seriously, when did breathing plain old oxygen become such a scarce commodity?) Make certain they’re breathing in something they might potentially want to embody (being mindful not to choke them by telling them to inhale a new Mercedes!) and then direct them to breathe out something else entirely different — preferably something you think they might want to rid their life of. (Hint: If they are listening to you with their children nearby, avoid telling telling them to exhale their ex-spouse!) And then tell them to do it all over again. Sixty. Three. Hundred. Dang. Times.
  4. Be adept at issuing reminders.You’ll want to regularly remind them to notice lots of body parts. “Notice your arms, notice your hands, notice your fingers, notice your ear-lobes (always a fun one!) notice ankles, knees, calves, thighs, etc.”  If they start to notice another participant’s feet, they might have a fetish and become aroused and you should gently guide them back to a state of complete relaxation.
  5. Should have strong observation skills in the area of respiration (you may think the act of observing is similar to the act of noticing, but shame on you — it’s incredibly different!) Say things like, “Observe how your breath flows in and out. Make no effort to change your breathing in any way, simply Observe how your body breathes. Your own body can Observe how much air it needs. Observe in your mind’s eye, your breath flowing gently in and out of your body, etc. Etcetera! As long as you string together certain key words into a fun tongue-twister, nobody will be the wiser that you’re a Guru who just made a boo-boo.
  6. Able to Help Someone Conjure Up a Serene Meadow. This is self-explanatory, but having a vast knowledge of classic Crayola crayons is useful here. Water should be imagined as Turquoise Blue, Aquamarine, Periwinkle, but most likely it’s always Cerulean, while the grass is either Pine Green, Forest Green or Fern. Remind them there’s no need to color inside the lines in their mind’s eye meadow. Ahhh, freedom!
  7. Must Be a Thought Killer. Approach this one gingerly. You can’t let them know you’re straight out of George Orwell’s novel, 1984 with “The Thought Police” so say things thusly — “When your attention wanders, as it will, just focus gently back again on your breathing. Notice any stray thoughts, but don’t dwell on them. Simply let all your thoughts peacefully pass away.” Shouting out “Die, thoughts, die!” might rile up all the gun-control issue folks.
  8. Continuously use the word “Mindful” even when you’re not leading a class. Here are creative ways to incorporate this great new buzzword. “If you don’t stop kicking the back of my seat, I’m going to lose my mindful!” And, “Do you mindful?? I’m trying to get some sleep here and I can’t with your damn snoring!” As well as, “Mindful your own damn business!” And don’t forget to say this to your teen daughter, “I have a good mindful to let you freeze to death in those skimpy shorts.” You can also take liberties with the trendy word “authentic.”  i.e.  “Seriously the price is $85?  Is this just a plain old suede purse or is it genuine, authentic leatherette?”
  9. Ability to Self-Soothe. When you suddenly find yourself out of a guided meditation job because everyone and their bloody Uncle wants to live in the present moment and do this woo-woo work.  But no worries!  With all the skills you’ve just cultivated, you can still use that terrific voice of yours – – as a Phone Sex Operator. Just know in advance that all the cleansing breaths you’ll help elicit from your customers will be the “Heavy Breathing” kind.

Thanks for reading and Namaste! (How the heck do you pronounce that??)

If Your Name is Jack, You Need Psychological Help?

jack

Therapist: Welcome to the therapy support group for (Barely) Functional, Fictional Jacks. Our first order of business is that we’re a non-smoking building, so Jack Be Nimble, please put out your candlestick.

Jack Be Nimble: I’ll be quick, Ma’am.

Therapist: Thank you Jack. And Little Jack Horner, please join the group, we have a chair for you right here in our circle.

Jack Horner: Sitting in the corner is just fine, Mrs. Jackson.

Therapist: You boys feel free to call me Jacqueline. But Mr. Horner, I do insist you join us. We’ll work on that social anxiety of yours later on, but our focus of the day is on eating disorders, over-exercising, and body dysmorphia.

Jack Spratt:  Nobody here deals with any of that crap.

Therapist: Oh, don’t they now? When was the last time you allowed yourself to eat a little fat?

Jack Spratt: Well I . . . um. . . well you know. I don’t trust our entire Fat system. They claim there are now considered good and bad fats. I figure better play it safe and eat NO fat.

Therapist: Oh nuts! Slice up an avocado, Jack. Eat salmon. You’re wasting away. And your wife, that little heffer, she isn’t helping matters by eating no lean.

Jack Horner: I brought some Christmas Pie to share. I’ll just go get it. It’s in the corner.

Therapist: What a good boy are you!

Jack Horner: What a good boy am I!

Therapist: Yes, Mr. Horner that’s what I just said. But what’s that on your thumb?

Jack Horner: I was born like this. It’s a terrible, hideous swollen purple defect.

Therapist: Oh, it most certainly is not! That’s your body dysmorphia talking, Little Jack Horner. There’s nothing at all wrong with your thumb. You just stuck it into a plum one time too many.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Little ditty about Jack & Dianne. Two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Therapist: Now is not the time to introduce your girlfriend to us, Jack. I’d like to concentrate on the Jacks who feel they must chronically burn off calories. Jack and his companion Jill are forever going up hills. Jack and the Beanstalk is, well he’s climbing up and down that tall vine so much it would make a golden goose’s head spin. And Jack Be Nimble hasn’t met a candlestick he can’t jump over. It’s textbook ADHD combined with compulsive exercise.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Jackie gonna be a football star. Diane debutante backseat of Jackie’s car.

Therapist: Ahhh, I see you also suffer from delusions of grandeur, eh? You probably think you’ve got a hit song on your hands.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Oh yeah…. Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

Therapist: And some situational depression too.

Jack & The Beanstalk: May I interject something? There’s a grotesque monstrous giant chasing after me because I stole his golden harp. Would that make me a kleptomaniac?

Therapist: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, has anyone ever given you a paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis, Jack Old Chum?

Jack Spratt: Can we get back to my relationship with my heffer wife? I think we balance each other out nicely in the kitchen — between us both we lick the platter clean.

Jack Horner: Ewwwww, gross!

Therapist: Germaphobe.

Jack & Jill: I don’t suppose you could analyze why every time I take a fall, Jill comes tumbling after?

Therapist: Because she’s co-dependent, Jack. Choose better next time. Now I’m sorry but our time is up for this week. When we meet next we’ll discuss the common unhealthy dynamics in your childhoods since you all shared the same maternal influence.

All Jacks: She did the best she could under the circumstances. We forgive you, Mother Goose.

Receptionist: Excuse me, but your next patients are here.

Therapist:  Yes, please tell the Brothers Grimm I will be right with them. And all their Little Princesses as well.

Dear Readers:  I would love your comments on this piece or the last few in the series I’ve written (Fictional Characters On the Therapy Couch) 

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Poor Jack Nicholson….he’ll be next!

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This Jack really needs to think more outside of the box!