Wanna Befriend FAMOUS stars? Just become Their Student!

blogger-image--1957697618Are you familiar with a new self-help trend on a website called MasterClass? It’s where you can learn from “the best teachers in the world” by signing up for lessons with famed individuals. Online. By video.

Now Dear Readers, THIS is exactly what I’ve been waiting years for! After taking a few of these $90 classes, I can now officially put down on my resume that I studied writing under Judy Blume AND James Patterson.  I’ve also been schooled in the art of comedy by the inimitable Steve Martin! Additionally for good measure, Serena Williams trained me to play tennis, without my ever needing to set foot on a court. Yep, these are just some of the website’s many famous superstar instructors!

But then the MasterClass company made the fatal mistake of inventing an “ALL ACCESS PASS.” This is exactly what it sounds like — for one price you can take every single class they offer. Really?? Hello Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Diane Von Furstenberg, Wolfgang Puck, and so many more! Indeed, why not add directing, producing, acting, fashion design, and cooking to my already amazing skill-set?

Next I read the fine print. Seriously? These big-time celebrities will even hold “office hours” and MIGHT personally critique some of my submissions. That’s just dandy! I always knew that given half the chance to become acquainted with me, (and my charm and talent!) famous personalities would want me in their lives in a very intimate way.

But how to convince them they’ve been missing out on knowing me? Simple….

“ALL ACCESS” (at least to me) means I have complete admittance into their world via email, telephone, or even in-person. And there you have it! I will simply contact all these celebs before the start of their courses and introduce myself, just like any ambitious pupil in college does. I will cozy up to them so I’ll be a stand-out on the first day of class.

Here are the instructors I set my sights on befriending, and the oh so clever tactics I employed to demonstrate that I’m their biggest fan, and that we have much in common!

DUSTIN HOFFMAN:  Sent email with “Hey Tootsie!” in the subject line and signed the email, “Meet me in my hotel room ~ Mrs. Robinson.” In the body of the email I stated that I would be “The Graduate” of his course whom he would be the most proud of.  I also mentioned I admired him so much that I actually named one of my twin boys, “Dustin” (Actually true!) and the other one “Hoffman.” (Not so true?)  I searched and found his cellphone number and left voice messages exclaiming, “Kmart Sucks!” and “Uh oh . . . ten minutes till Wapner.” Lastly, I taped a note on his front door with the class roster and my name highlighted in yellow so he could know exactly whom to make his Teacher’s Pet.

STEVE MARTIN: Sent email with witty salutation, “To The Jerk!” and mentioned he was a better Inspector Clouseau than Peter Sellers in the body of the email. Promised I’d be phoning him soon so we could discuss his course syllabus, piquing his interest by mentioning I might have two brains.  I then signed off with, “From a Wild and Crazy Girl.” Zero response, so I called and sung my version of “King Tut” on his answering machine. I currently await a coffee invitation.

JUDY BLUME: Sent an email with, “Are you there Judy? It’s me, Stephanie D. Lewis!” in the subject line. I told her that she writes puberty novels about getting your period and I write menopausal blogs about losing your period, and that I just know we’ll become BFF’s AND collaborate on a book together since writers use periods so often in sentences. I think she’ll appreciate knowing that. But just in case, I added that I was also a Fourth-Grade Nothing. I’m presently making a reservation at Outback Steakhouse for the both of us to have lunch.

WOLFGANG PUCK: I was aware that this instructor needed to be approached through smells, textures and tastes, but no boring teacher’s apple would do. Instead I shipped my famous Jewish brisket to his home, but the gravy obscured my return address so I’m sure he didn’t know whom to thank. Next, I emailed him with, “What’s cooking?” in the subject line. And ended it by declaring I would be the most skilled skillet chef in his whole entire cooking class. Can’t wait to trade recipes with Wolfie very soon!

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: I texted her and said, “Here’s what you and Gloria Venderbilt taught me in 8th grade–‘You’re only as good as the designer’s name on your jean’s pocket.’ So thanks for that! Ps. Can I get a vintage dress if I sit in the virtual front row of your fashion classroom?”

UPDATE:  As of this blog posting, there hasn’t really been any replies or acknowledgments to all my enthusiastic student overtures. After thinking it over (and I’m sure you’ll realize this isn’t just sour grapes) I’ve decided that I can do better than these people. Far better. After all somebody very wise once said, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach!” NO TRUER WORDS.

Now excuse me while I stalk the individual who said that, and have him give me lessons from his new class, “Thinking Up Profound Quotes!”

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READERS: Would you sign up for one of these online classes with a celebrity? Or do you find this to be a gimmick? All comments welcome!

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Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

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Very SNEAKY speakerphone crimes are on the rise these days and even Yours Truly is guilty of a few. See if you’re the victim of any of the ones I’ve made up names for below — or if gasp….(be honest now!) you’re actually The Perpetrator!

  1. THE BRAG — Being around other people and expecting a phone call you know will contain good news? Possibly someone is going to be praising YOU for a job well done? You answer the phone and say, “Gosh it’s so hard to hear you. Let’s see if you’re more audible on speaker. Keep talking.” Bingo. You’ve just modestly made everyone around you aware that it was your quick thinking and innovative talent that saved the day!  Look properly sheepish when hanging up, but don’t overkill by saying, “Awwww shucks,” if someone around you offers a high-five or a congratulations.
  2. THE JEALOUSY — Your relationship has just passed that two-year mark when people typically start taking each other for granted just a tad. You’re out with your girlfriend when the call comes through and you recognize the name/number as the young sounding female nurse from your doctor’s office, obviously calling to report your lab results from your recent physical. You answer the phone on speaker but as soon as the caller chirps, “Hi, it’s Katherine . . . ” you awkwardly (guiltily?) interrupt her and say in a lowered voice, “Hold on so we can uh, talk more privately,” and remove speakerphone. During your long silence (in which she’s reading your blood results) nod your head enthusiastically, smile a lot, and suspiciously doodle on a pad of paper — the initials that stand for bad and good cholesterol . . .  “LDL” + “HDL”   This works best if your name is Logan David Lewis and the nurses name is Hilary Denise Lawrence.  Then put a plus sign in between the two and for good measure, draw a cute heart around the whole thing.  (Don’t jot down your triglyceride levels, that’s not romantic at all!) Upon hanging up, chuckle nervously while announcing to your gal, “That? Oh that was just the doctor’s office calling. Heh heh.”
  3. THE BUFFER — Did you just crash the car? Forget to do something important you promised? Spend a ton of $$ on something frivolous? Are you afraid to reveal these things to a certain someone because they fly off the handle easily? Simply make the call and when they answer, casually inform them you have a little bad news, but to first say hello to some mutual friends. Have a few people shout, “Hi there, Tom!” Guaranteed your confession will be received calmly and serenely. They may even say, “Don’t worry about it, you know stuff like that never bothers me.”
  4. THE EMPATHY — Your best friend calls you once a week to read entries from a journal she keeps on her relationship. This week she suspects her boyfriend may be having an affair with the young nurse from his doctor’s office. You turn on speakerphone, but you employ the mute button so she cannot hear you doing the dishes and vacuuming. After she finishes (and your house is tidy) and she asks your opinion, you say “I’m just too stunned to formulate any words.”
  5. THE CHORES — Call the child who always loudly protests their responsibilities, from their best friend’s home. Proceed to tell them you’re having tea with the parent and how proud you are to hear they’re sooooo helpful and polite whenever they’re a guest in this particular parent’s home. Next, remind them to please walk the dog, empty the garbage, and make the bed before you return home. When they pleasantly agree, resist asking, “Okay, who is this really?” (This is my personal crime and it works like a charm.)

READERS:  Please comment on any other speakerphone abuse I may have omitted besides the obvious — not letting someone know when they are on speakerphone, and people who talk on speakerphones in public places. Poor chaps never had walkie-talkies as a child!

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    Do You Have Options for Declining An Invitation This Holiday Season?

72-og Here’s a very simple (yet timely) question for you, Dear Reader.

When you are invited to yet another gathering or festive night out and you’re not going to be attending, do you give a reason why or do you just politely refuse?

During “The Ghost  Host of Christmas Past,” I’ve felt obliged to elaborate and provide a good enough reason, (or an innocent made-up excuse!) to avoid hurting the host’s feelings. But recently people have told me this is unnecessary and it’s actually oversharing.

Below is my track record with this social grace ….

ME: I’m so sorry, but I’m already committed.

INVITER #1: Really? To do what?

ME: I’m committed to not saying more than that when I decline invitations.

INVITER #1: No really, what exactly are you doing instead??

Note To Self: Get less assertive friends.

ME: Thank you for thinking of me, but I have another engagement.

INVITER #2:  Again? OMG! Hopefully you make it down the aisle this time! Feel free to bring your new fiancé.

Note To Self: Next time use more specific language, while still not stating exactly what you’re doing since it’s none of their business.

ME: I’d love to, but I’m having an affair of my own that same evening.

INVITER #3: No wonder your engagements never last, you cheatin’, lyin’ slut, you!

Note to Self: Go back to my little white lies.

ME: Darn, I’d really like to come to your annual potluck tree-trimming party, but I’m allergic to pine.

INVITER #4: It’s artificial this year. Vinnie always pees on all our real trees.

ME: Well I’m allergic to dogs.

INVITER #4: Vinnie is our 15-year-old son.

ME: Seriously! Was he born in a barn??

INVITER #4: Yes. I went into labor cleaning the horse stall and gave birth on a bale of hay. . .

ME: Ahhhh! Which I’m very allergic to?

INVITER #4: In our previous house.

ME: Guess I’ll be bringing peanut butter cookies to your potluck tree-trimming party.

INVITER #4: I have a life-threatening nut allergy. You’ll bring 2 dozen filet mignon steaks instead.

Note to Self: Google who said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Hmph. Guess honesty IS always the best policy.

ME: To tell you the truth, I just really don’t want to come.

INVITER #5: Well frankly, I really didn’t want to invite you but your siblings forced me to.

Note to Self: Let a few weeks go by and then call Mom and apologize for not being more tactful. 

ME: Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it because my really messy closet has me barricaded from my front door.

INVITER #6:  “When first we practice to deceive . . .” Oh come now, you can do better than that! A messy closet. Sheesh, what do you take me for? I’ll expect you at 7 pm, unless you send visual proof of that whopper.

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INVITER #6: Uh…Maybe my guests can bring some hangers and come over and help dig you out. It can be a “Coming Out Of The Closet” theme shindig. 

Note To Self: Wear those mustard yellow pants hanging in center of closet. AT. Every. Single Party. (To eliminate future invites.)

READERS: When someone declines your invitation with a vague, “Thank you for thinking of me and I hope you have a great time!” Be honest — Are you a teeny bit offended, wondering if they could totally attend, but just don’t want to? And how do you personally say, “Thanks but no thanks?”

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Couple’s Conundrums Creatively Clarified! (How do little things get decided in a new relationship?)

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First of all, how do two people (who’ve been dating) even decide they’ve actually become a “Couple” unless they’ve had that specific, “Are we or aren’t we?” talk.  Instead everyone looks for telltale validating signs — the changing of the relationship status on Facebook, the deleting of a dating profile, or the specific way an introduction is made. (I’d like you to meet my…..my WHAT??) Some even view the ultimate official coupleship marker as meeting the other person’s family. But suppose within two weeks you just happen to bump into his awkward parents for the first time in the lingerie department of Nordstrom as you’re trying on a teddy that will hopefully captivate him? Does this mean . . . BOOM! You’ve now rocketed from a lowercase “we” to a capital “US!” (with an exclamation point) right in the fitting room? Nope, it simply means his nerdy parents also still like to have a little fun. Ew.

But that’s just one of the mystifying issues that may need clarifying in new relationships. Here are three other concepts that are intriguing to think about when everything is so brand spanking new. (And nope, spanking didn’t make this list.)

An Over-Thinker’s Guide To Couple’s Conundrums!

  1. WHO YA GONNA CALL??  — How are those special (and ridiculous) nicknames for one another originally determined within the coupleship? Does she just say, “Gee, I’ve always had a thing for ‘Kitten’ on the Father Knows Best series. From now on you call me that, ok? Meow.” (BTW, Kitten would be a true PET-name!) Or does one person think up two options and then invite the partner to give their input? i.e. One day he offhandedly says, “So yeah. Ya wanna be my ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Little Lolita?’ Operators now standing by for your vote!” Or do couples connect their terms of endearments to personal stuff that nobody else knows about. For instance, his first word as a baby was “Baa-Baa” (stupid, but maybe he couldn’t say bottle?) making him sound like a little sheep. Plus he’s a black belt in martial arts so of course you’re gonna try and work a karate move into his new name as well. Put both concepts together and whadya get? He’s now you’re little “Lamb-Chop!” Okay that particular example? Maybe not so much.i-shall-call-him-squishy-2-4558-1455894011-1_dblbig
  2. BEDROOM PREFERENCES? — It’s the first time you’re sleeping together (not actually hitting the sack, but you get the euphemism?) so how is it decided who’s gonna be on the bottom? Perhaps in prior relationships both parties preferred to be the one who looks down on the other person? But suddenly there’s an indoor wrestling match, jockeying for the top position before the bell rings! Really? Alternatively when it’s your very first time “sleeping together”  (And I mean actual “staying over night snoozing” this time!) how do you resolve who gets to sleep on which side of the bed . . . if you’re both accustomed to being on the side closest to the window? For efficiency sake, I suggest a little check-box notice left on the nightstand (much like hotels do with their complimentary continental breakfast room service door-tag which you hang outside to designate preferences for whole wheat over white bread, and orange over tomato juice.) So yours would say —   Circle Your Choices:  1. Sex Position:  Top/Bottom  2. Side of Bed Sleeping: (as per facing the foot of the bed)  Left/Right  3.  Lighting: Off/On  4. Snoring Remedy:  Shaking/Hitting/Shouting 5. Cuddling & Snuggling Duration: Part-Time/Full-Time/Roll Over Immediately After!  5. Linens: Extra Blanket/Just Sheet  6. Temperature:  Coolish/Cozy/Stuffy  7. Windows & Door: Wide Open/Slightly Ajar/Bedroom Gets Sealed Tighter Than a Drum In Case of Prowlers. 8. If You Awaken First:  Rinse & Repeat/Hands Off and Lemme Sleep In!21an8lv
  3. SOCIAL CONTROL? — Which one of you makes the plans now that you’re no longer formally “just dating?” (There are 52 weeks in a year and equality suggests an even 50/50 split in calendar calibration — so simply alternate who’s in charge bi-weekly? Think of it as sharing the custody of your Joint Fun before the actual divorce.) And for that matter, when does “going out” taper off and both people deem it cool to just spend Saturday night staying in just “hanging out?” (If you do this, consider inviting other “official couples” over and playing my version of The Not-So-Newlywed Game!)  And finally, if you officially declare Coupledom just before the holidays, how do you decide whose family you’ll be joining? (Note: This is where some people like to bring out the gender wars and say it should always be celebrated with the female’s family — citing that stupid old saying, “A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is your daughter for the rest of her life.” Having FOUR sons I’d like to say “Utter Nonsense!” and offer my own little saying, “Go to the holiday table that calls you by your new Pet-Names, promises calorie-free eating, and thinks of dish-washing as a New Year’s Day resolution to be broken by Jan. 2nd!)

PROBLEMS SOLVED!

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HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHO STARTS THE PILLOW FIGHT THE MORNING AFTER YOUR VERY FIRST SLEEPOVER?

 

Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

Breaking-the-Rules-in-Soulmate-RelationshipsHow will you know the difference between someone who’s supposed to be your partner for all time, and someone who’s just gonna be your partner in crime?

Some cultures and religions claim RIGHT HERE that you have only ONE SINGLE soul-mate out there because it literally involves the splitting of polarities from one intact original state of unity. I don’t write like that! What does that gobblygook even mean? In other words, the two of you were originally baked up together (but where? In some NYC bagel shop?) as one entire whole soul but upon birth, your soul was sliced in half (like an onion, poppy-seed bialy?) and you are therefore “incomplete” until you search far and wide for the one person in this world who possesses the other portion of your soul. And thus only when you both find each other (and a tub of cream-cheese!) will you actually feel WHOLE again.

I imagine going around town like the Duke in Cinderella, only instead of having every eligible fair maiden trying on a glass slipper to see if it fits, I’ll be awkwardly moseying up to strange bachelors, demanding they intimately press their half of their soul right up into mine (forget regard for personal space when soul-searching!) to see if our soul’s jagged edges align and interlock like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, and then exclaiming, “Hmmm, close but no cigar… Next?!”

Or instead you could simply pay more attention to my weird list of . . .

7 Extremely Subtle, Nearly Imperceptible Signs that You’re With the Correct Soul-Mate.

  1. NO MORE SQUANDERED FOOD! — You’ll suddenly notice nothing goes to waste because (since this individual is truly your other half) they’ll want to gobble up the other half of the morsels  you discard.  For instance, they’ll eat the yolk in the hard-boiled egg when you only like the whites … so the WHOLE egg gets eaten. They’ll eat the white meat while you prefer the dark meat in a chicken … so the whole bird gets consumed. Sensing a “wholeness” pattern here? That’s right, while you eat the banana, they’ll ingest the peel. (Or you could just be dating a human garbage disposal?)
  2. FINISHING JOKES! — Forget finishing each others sentences, that’s no big trick. But when you’re telling a really good joke (in front of your mutual friends you want to impress) and just as you’ve painstakingly outlined the entire set-up and have everyone hanging on the edge of their seat — in true soul-mate style, they’ll loudly chime in with the funny punchline, lovingly stealing your thunder. Then that’s your “better” half, for certain!
  3. INTENSE EMOTIONAL REACTION! — You cannot stand them upon your first meeting and never want to see them again. In fact you want to destroy them and wonder if their body might fit into a blender? This is because our higher selves know more than we do and can pick up the vital significance of this person before we’re even consciously aware of it. This triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response as we suspect there’s gonna be a very expensive wedding looming ahead, and we dislike someone shoving cake in our mouth while being photographed. It’s self-sabotage, baby! But this is your soul-mate.
  4. NEWLY ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE! — When you’re around this person you’re suddenly speaking fluent Egyptian, inexplicably knowing that apples are evil, or ascertaining how to crack open a bank vault. This is a sure sign you were both historical soul-mates in a previous life — Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Adam & Eve, or Bonnie & Clyde. Bonus: Your next Halloween costume is already decided.
  5. BOOKS! — Join a book club where you must all read the same inept, boring novel. When you can’t stand it anymore, put a bookmark in. At the next meeting, ask members, “So who stopped at the beginning of chapter two?” If it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, (and they’re literate folks) most everyone will nod their head. You’re getting warmer. But to narrow down your precise soul-mate, shout out, “Twenty-six, middle of the third paragraph?!” and when someone else raises their hand, you’ve found them! Everyone knows being on the exact same page is always a match made in heaven, or at least in your local library.
  6. THEY COMPLETE YOU! Or rather they complete important things for you. The last of your gallon of cookie dough ice-cream . . . gone! The crossword puzzle you started and meant to get back to . . . already filled in. You paused Black Mirror right at the most exciting part until you’re back from the gym . . . it’s been watched to its ironic conclusion and the free Netflix membership promptly cancelled. (But they won’t complete washing the dishes, your joint taxes, or the Christmas shopping list because they know how you like those things done your own special way. Bless your considerate soul-mate’s heart.)
  7. CLAM CHOWDER! And lastly and most importantly, if you ever share a hot steaming bowl of chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, or french-onion . . . Oh wait, that’s a blatant typo made when I couldn’t think of anything else to write and Googled, “Signs of a Soup-Mate.”  NEVER MIND!   (My best Gilda Radner impression below…..isn’t it amazing, the resemblance? She’s my comic soul-mate!)

Readers: Do you believe you have just one single, solitary Soul-Mate?

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Forget Renting Cars, Houses, Office Space, — Now You Can Rent Me!

for rent meIt all started when I recently read about Japan, (you can catch up on it too, right HERE) where you can hire someone to impersonate your relative, spouse, co-worker, or anyone else for that matter and keep them as LONG AS YOU WANT. Smart Asian single women are hiring male actors to portray the role of a lifetime – – – their loving husbands (and fathers of their existing children!) — until death do they part. (Or their lease is up!) In some cases, the children never find out their parent is just a loaner. Hmmm, shades of The Truman Show anyone?

I decided to Google and see if this bizarre social phenomenon was happening in the United States and to my surprise, I stumbled upon  Rent-a-Friend  which of course meant that I had to try it out immediately so I could blog about it pronto!

But first I had to think up a unique angle, a niche, some clever way to corner the market! If the current website offered only Friendship rentals, my mind exploded with other interesting ways to fill the relationship gap/void in people’s lives — all while maintaining a witty rhyming title, of course.

For instance there already exists “Rent-a-Gent-a” (a male escort service) and “Renta-Yenta” (a female nag and busybody errand runner) but is there such thing as “Renta-Accenta?” (Someone who comes to your home speaking only the foreign language of the country you’re about to travel to, so you’re already accustomed to their native tongue when you arrive?) I think not! But there’s an overwhelming demand for that service nowadays, wouldn’t you agree? As well as my other suggestions below….

Presenting My Ideas For Renting People While Still Maintaining Cutesie Rhymes!

Lease-a-Police-a: When your neighbor throws a loud, obnoxious party and you need to break it up, but real law-enforcement takes so long to arrive because they’re too busy catching actual killers. For extra $$, Lease-a-Police-a will come to your home (after halting the festivities next door) and perform a hot bachelorette striptease as well!

Lease-a-Justice-of-the-Peace-a: For all these Japanese people who are faking their marriage with the rental spouses, (see above) they’ll also need a fraudulent officiant to conduct the pretend ceremony, no?

Lease-a-Niece-a: Because sometimes you want to go shopping, get manis-pedis, and attend a fashion show WITHOUT the hormonal commitment of raising a complete daughter.

Lease-a-Piece-a: When you open the door, they ask . . . “So ya wanna piece of me?”

Lease-a-John Cleese-a: Alright, obviously I ran out of rhyming words at this point, but who couldn’t use a real life reenactment of Monty Python?

Charter-a-Martyr: For all those who have yet to experience what having a Jewish mother is like.

Charter-a-Self-Starter: Short of a maid, I can’t think of a personality type I’d rather rent!

Engage-a-Teenage-a: For the regretful but masochistic Empty-Nester! A week’s rental will last you a lifetime, trust me.

Hire-a-Crier: Afraid your funeral will be rather sparsely attended? These people will show up on time to bawl, weep, and suffer up a storm at the news of your loss. Your surviving friends will be duly impressed.

Hire-a-Liar: No longer will you need to perfect your phony cough when you call in sick to work. Liars will attest to your dismal health with your boss as well as get you out of all social commitments with full-proof alibis that begin with, “I’m with him right now and trust me, he’s certainly in no condition to _fill in the blank_ !”

Hire-a-Squire, a Vampire, an Umpire, a LiveWire, a Ball-of-Fire, or a Pacifier: Alright admittedly these all need a little more work, but have great potential.

A Loaner Moaner: Remember the neighbor who had the wild and noisy party (above) but didn’t invite you?? A loaner moaner will make them equally jealous by putting Meg Ryan to shame from THIS SCENE IN WHEN HARRY MET SALLY,  And bonus — you don’t even have to be at home to elicit your neighbor’s complete respect and admiration cuz she just keeps going and going….

“Don’t Borrow Sorrow From Tomorrow!”: This isn’t a relationship rental, but it’ll make a hell of a bumper sticker for a different business I may start.

UPDATE: As I continue to fine-tune my above quirky brainstorms, I went ahead and made my own profile for that more conventional “Rent-A-Friend” website and have already become a pal to at least a dozen outcasts, hermits, and wallflowers! I’ve been handsomely compensated to accompany a lonely retiree to dinner and a movie, cheer a man on in his first tennis match, (he lost) go on a cruise with a woman who gets seasick easily, (I held her hair) and feed a widower some brisket while reminiscing about his late wife. (Yes, I was also the Crier for Hire at their lovely memorial service.) But in each and every booking, inevitably (before my friendship appointment came to completion) I’d find something they said highly disagreeable, start a heated argument, and end things by storming off in a huff shouting, “And don’t bother accompanying me to the the exit, I’ll gladly see myself out!” thereby slamming the door behind me.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce my new (non-rhyming!) yet very sincere, FREE service service called simply, “Rent-a-Rival” —  because let’s face it . . . with a friend like me, who needs enemies?

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Shh! Secret Sketchy Scam School Secures Scholastic Students!

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Finally uncovered! This is it! This is where the best online Scammers all learn the tricks of their trade.  Let’s listen in on a classroom lesson in progress . . .

PROFESSOR: Alrighty, so this is Intro to Scheming 101, a freshman survey course specifically for online hoodwinks. If you’re looking for Credit Card Fraud or Elderly Duping, they’re not being offered this semester.  Let’s get started. The first rule of thumb for Facebook is that women are getting wiser.  No longer are they automatically accepting friend requests from handsome military officer types with profile pictures featuring an American flag background and holding a cute kitten. We think it’s because this just screams, “litter-box changing!” So now we’re recommending you become a well-built (inexplicably shirtless) widower with an eight-year-old son (brings out their maternal instinct, but not their diaper aversion) and have all of your interests related to mani/pedis.

PUPIL: What’s your opinion about just using the 3 B’s — busty, blonde, bikini–and scamming the men-folk?

PROFESSOR: If you can handle drag impersonations, go for it. Male Facebook users aren’t too picky these days. But we’re no longer advising stealing legit bosomy bombshell photos off of Google images because they’re cracking down on citing proper attribution. So if you wanted to avoid being sued, you’d need to state, “Hair Color by Clairol, Swimsuit by Nordstrom, and Body, Mind & Soul by Kate Upton.” It’s kinda a dead giveaway that it’s not really you.

PUPIL: Can you talk a little bit about hacking into their Facebook account and pretending to be them. I haven’t been able to quite understand what the advantages are to doing this?

PROFESSOR: Hijacking profiles? Well if you’re bored, it’s a ton of fun to make a crazy fake post about how all their smartypants kids are failing all their subjects and their daughter just got knocked-up. Or if they’ve been recently putting up 10th wedding anniversary weekend photos at a glitzy 5-Star hotel you could say, “OMG. Caught my husband in bed with housekeeping staff!” You might also unfriend all their followers so they look really unpopular. I saw a hand raised in the back. Yes?

PUPIL: So there’s no monetary gain with this impersonation shenanigan at all?

PROFESSOR: Absolutely not. Stick to Match.com for that. Here’s where you can screenshot someone else’s photos, hobbies, favorite foods, sexual preferences, and personality type results so when you show up on the actual date, ordering steak & lobster, and conveniently forgetting your wallet — they’ll be so upset at having to pay the bill, they won’t even notice you look nothing like who you said you were.

PUPIL: Yum!

PROFESSOR: Moving on to email scamming. Nothing Nigerian is getting any results these days. That part of the world has lost all public empathy for its exotic sob stories. Even if you’re heir to millions, they’re just not sending their bank account numbers. But we’re seeing great things with Netflix suspension notices. Use this exact phrasing, “Oops! We were unable to validate your billing information for the next subscription cycle so we are terminating your account unless you click here and immediately update your method of payment.” And don’t forget there are two “M’s” in immediately. Studies show that opening with “Oops!” makes you appear friendly AND professional yet just as innocent and well-meaning as a blue-haired grandma with a run in her pantyhose.

PUPIL: (rubbing hands greedily together) So once they click anything in that email, we’re home free?

PROFESSOR: Yep! You can simply reel ’em in hook, line & sinker. Which reminds me, there’s a consensus in our industry to drop the “Ph” on “Phishing” and just spell it the regular old fashioned way — “fishing,” so remember that on your upcoming vocabulary quiz.

PUPIL: What advice can you dispense for sending effective  e-cards?

PROFESSOR: First make sure it’s really their birthday and that your greeting has a hilariously sexy first line. And definitely make the recipient someone they adore on their contact list, so when they eagerly click to see the stupid punchline, our proprietary viral spyware will infect their operating system so fast, they’ll wish Hallmark was never invented. Or choose the option of turning them into one of the bots from the infamous Zeus family, thus utilizing malicious malware that will launch pop-up ads for porn sites in new windows all over their screen so they’ll be far too embarrassed to go to the police. Yes, question?

PUPIL: Is malware always malicious or can it sometimes become benevolent?

PROFESSOR:  Great question! Is there life after death? Okay so before I conclude today’s lesson, I’ll take a few more inquiries. Make ’em specific and crafty.

PUPIL: When implementing a travel scam, is there any way we can actually go on the exciting fantasy Bali vacation instead of them?

PROFESSOR: That’s big, really big. I’m recommending to faculty that you graduate early. Time for two more….

PUPIL: I’m really proud that we have the word “Artist” in our “Scam Artist” vocation title. Is there any way to set up some easels and have a creative display, showcasing our framed masterpieces after our midterm?

PROFESSOR: Ahhh what a brilliant way to bring more respect into our field! Last one….let’s see, you in the back with the gray flasher trench-coat on.

PUPIL: (opens coat to reveal dozens of binoculars) I’m selling invisible, high powered visual aids so we can all copy everyone’s answers on our final exam. These are the same expensive devices used to capture ATM passwords even if the target remembers to shield the keyboard with his hands. Normally $199, but students in this class only have to pay $49.99.

PROFESSOR: (pushes intercom) Security, would you kindly escort this unscrupulous cheating shyster out of my classroom immediately. And that’s immediately with two “M’s.”  Class is dismissed!

READERS: Have you ever fallen prey? Leave me a comment with the most innovative scam you’ve heard of so we can all be wary.

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Is THIS Really a Thing Now? Cuddle Up With My Blog and Find out!

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Hello Friends! I’m your Snuggler Buggler Cuddler Befuddler! Are you lonely? Do you suffer from skin-to-skin hunger? Are you in need of some Spooning Fine-Tuning? The answers to all your problems are just one touch away atop my cozy, comfy couch! Simply give me a call and for $80 an hour, we’ll laze around together on the sofa watching Netflix Black Mirror episodes. Benefits to you include lower blood pressure, reduction of stress/anxiety, as well as an instant mood boost. Requests for me to wear my Hello Kitty jammies will be honored at an additional charge.

That would be my commercial if I were certified in the up-and-coming cathartic career in caressing called a “Cuddle Collaborator.” Yes this really IS a thing, folks. And lest you think this is just Cuddling Camouflage for Coquettish Courtesans, let me point out that the Cuddling Code of Conduct constitutes a NO SEXUALITY clause. Yep, you can confirm all of this right HERE — as well as watch a humorous short video that consolidates and cancels all your cuddling concerns because cuddling calamities can cause catastrophes!

If you prefer your snuggling to take place in larger groups (just like litters of kittens, but not nearly as cute) with music and food, you should come to a Cuddle Party right HERE.

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These are my two professional cuddlers  (Ritz & Bits)  age 6 months!

Would I lie about this stuff?? I even ordered one to come to my house for an interview to see for myself.

ME: Come in, have a seat at my kitchen table.

PRO CUDDLER: Oh we need a horizontal surface. Chairs are bad Snuggle Feng Shui.

ME: Well the thing is, we’re gonna cuddle long distance– and by that I mean you’re not gonna lay so much as a finger on me, but I’m gonna ask you questions.

The Pro Cuddler left in a huff when I made ear-whispers, arm stroking, and hair ruffling also off limits.

By now it must be obvious that I’m absolutely incredulous this could be a real thing in our society. But no amount of coaxing, coercing, convincing, or cajoling will ever get me to do ANY of this touchy/feely stuff because my motto can be classified with MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This!”

However…..someone obviously put their thinking cap on and thought of ways to make money doing something that requires little training, effort, and investment capital, which in turn inspires me to brainstorm other easy career options as well.

A Nagologist — Oversleeping on weekend mornings? Forgetting to do those pesky chores? For $120 I will arrive at your home with lists of tasks in hand that you should be doing around your house and yard.  Just say the word and it can carry over into your personal appearance as well — because nobody is as highly trained as to when you should wear a jacket or get your hair out of your pretty face, as I am.

A Clockationer — Your time is valuable and I do things with clocks that are earth-shattering and life-altering. For $1,000 you’ll get my services year-round. Simply provide me with a key to your home and unbeknownst to you, I’ll occasionally sneak in and set all your clocks ahead by thirty minutes. Imagine arriving places with perfect punctuality, or even a few minutes early for once in your life! Conversely, when you’d rather skip an appointment you’re dreading, I’ll set your clocks back by two hours so you’ll have no chance. This is an idea whose time has come!

A Complimentician — Plagued by low self-esteem? Raised by overly critical parents? Feeling under appreciated at work or by your spouse?  I have 150 different ways of applauding you while saying, “Great job!” You’ll feel like a million bucks for just under 100.  Never again will you be taken for granted and my *gratitude for you (as a person!) will know no bounds. (*I’ll be extra grateful if you pay me under-the-table in cash.)

An Imaginarian — Feeling bored? Life too predictable? Yearning for the excitement you see in movies? For $99, I’ll bring my overactive imagination in tow along with my unique hypothetical scenarios that will make you feel young, vibrant, and alive again. Each hourly session starts out with me probing, “What if?”  For instance, “What if . . . you found out your committed, honest spouse was actually having a secret affair? Your child, (a straight A student) was good at covering up his cocaine addiction?  Your doctor’s blood pressure cuff hasn’t been calibrated in years and you really have 160/110? Just think! (No gratuity tips necessary.)

A Blogchiatrist — For $300, I’ll put your blog into psychoanalysis, specifying what your theme is covertly conveying, your language and vocabulary is subliminally suggesting, what gruesome thoughts your accompanying photo images are conjuring up, and report back with a thorough critique of the number one reason many of your readers are not returning for more. After you’re feeling clinically depressed about everything you’re doing wrong, I’ll give you a bonus complimentician and nagology session, followed up by an imaginarian and clockation hour. But wait, there’s more! I’ll take you into my figurative bed, wrap my metaphoric arms around your shoulders, and give you an all-day comforting symbolic cuddle at no extra charge!

Dear Readers: What jobs can you think up that nobody needs, but everybody wants to read about?? Leave one in the comments.

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10 Reasons You Should Text Instead of Call!

31CULTURALSTUDIES-jumbo-v2I know, I know…. most articles have the opposite viewpoint of this one, emphatically claiming technology has gone too far and there are huge benefits to returning to real human interaction with real voices in real time. But here’s the other side of the coin err pay phone!

10 Reasons Why Texting is Superior To Calling!

  1. The “Just One More Thing-er” — Do you know anyone like this? After you’ve reached the conclusion of your conversation and you say, “Gosh, I really need to go now,” the other person suddenly remembers 26 CRUCIAL things they must impart to you. Let’s take the example of my mother…

Me: Oh! Look at the time, I’m going to be late to pick the kids up from school. Love you, Ma!

My Mom:  You better scoot then! Scoot, Scoot! But did I ever tell you I was almost voted homecoming queen at my senior prom?

Me: Uh, no mom, that must’ve been exciting. But if I’m late, the school charges me $1.00 per minute.

My Mom: Only $1.00? Have I mentioned that First American Bank charges me a $3.00 service fee every time I use another financial institution’s ATM machine.

Me:  Oh, that’s a shame. Bye bye!

My Mom: Yes! Bye Bye Birdie is opening at the Actors Alley Theatre near me. Why don’t we go see it?

Me: Sure Ma, get the tickets and I’ll reimburse you. But right now I’m gonna hang up!

My Mom: Hang-up!?? Ugh. Your father had such a hang-up about crying in front of other people. Did you know he never shed a tear in front of me? I certainly hope you don’t have that trouble, dear.

Me: (Sobbing) Mom. Pleeeeease let me disconnect from this telephone call!

2. Evidence! — With verbal calls, you have no proof that someone said something if they deny ever uttering it. With text? Just screenshot it and resend. Ba-Bam! Their text message is staring them in the face. Pass the salt because now you can make them eat their words.

3.  No Awkwardness! — Phone calls have three uncomfortable scenarios: A) Both people start to talk at once followed by both parties politely offering the other person the chance to speak first. This is also said simultaneously! B) Both of you run out of things to say at the exact same time and a lengthy silence ensues. C) You cannot hear the other person because their voice is garbled (or they’re a mumbler) and it’s embarrassing to have to ask them to keep repeating things so you just start agreeing with whatever they’re saying — and lo and behold, suddenly you’re a Trump supporter! Not happening with texting. None of this. Nada.

4. Non-Intrusive — Ever hear anyone request, “Would you mind not texting me during the dinner hour?” or “Bad timing on your part, your text interrupted some really fantastic sex!” And IF they can hear an innocuous notification during their “fantastic” sex, it deserves to be interrupted!

5. Clever Comebacks! — You have as long as you need to text back something witty. No need to think fast on your feet during a phone call or have second thoughts lamenting, “Ugh! Why didn’t I tell him to ‘Kiss my grits’ just like Flo from the old Alice sitcom?” (It’s like the difference between playing Scrabble at your kitchen table with an egg-timer versus Words With Friends online when you have all day to use your “Q” without any “U”!)

6. Tone Deaf— It’s much harder to decipher someone’s tone during texting. But this IS a good thing! No longer will you be subjected to your ex’s voice dripping with sarcasm on the phone. You’ll receive accurate information, minus the drip. And the same idea works in reverse, so use it to your advantage! i.e. You can say whatever you want (venting anger or resentment out of your system!) via text. When the person expresses hurt feelings or calls you on your sh*t, simply type, “My goodness, when they say tone gets misconstrued with texting, they’re absolutely right. Surely you knew I was joking?” (Note: If they’re like my ex-husband, they may respond with, “Please don’t call me Shirley!”)

7.  Efficiency! — Some of us hate all the details and niceties leading up to the main point. We just want to get in, get out, and get on with eating avocado toast. Small Talk is for Small Minds.

8. Multi-Tasking!– Talk about your time-saver! I wrote this entire blog while texting with my mother. What will you accomplish while texting your own mother?

9. Eliminates Annoyance: With text you won’t hear their gardener’s leaf blower or their children fighting in the background. You won’t hear them stutter/stammer, saying “Um” all the time or be subjected to their excessive use of the words, “like” or “ya know.”

10. Analysis: You’re in a new relationship and you’ve documented your entire text conversation. Great! Now screenshot it and forward it to your most experienced married friends for their insightful feedback. Be sure and ask, “What do you think he actually meant by his third sentence when he wrote, “I’m not interested in you romantically, so let’s just be friends?”

  • Bonus Reason #11: Rectify Regrets! — It happens. You’ve texted something you wish you hadn’t. Simply follow up the unfortunate text with, “My brother just grabbed the cellphone out of my hands and typed that last remark. You know what an impish practical joker he can be! Hehe.” Then find an emoticon that looks like something you would use on April Fool’s Day. But try unsaying something you said (that you regret!) by phone. It’s out there. You might even say it’s now “written in stone” in a verbal kinda way. 😉

Readers: Do you prefer text or phone calls? Please tell me why in the comments below!

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Timing is Everything in Life!

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If everyone got rid of their clocks, watches, calendars, hourglasses, (and oven timers!) and there was no way to keep track of the elapsing minutes, would our bodies still age? (And our cakes still burn?)

The passage of time plays such a huge part of our lives physically, psychologically, professionally, and socially that I wanted to get reader input to see if there was a general consensus about the amount of time you should wait regarding certain life experiences.

It should be noted that when I started to type the phrase, “How long should you wait….” in an internet search, the first thing that came up was the rest of this sentence: “To date again after a break-up?” That makes sense given there doesn’t seem to be a standard protocol we all agree on for a confusing life event like that. But surprisingly, the second most prevalent question that overwhelmingly popped up after typing in, “How long should you wait….” was “To go swimming after eating a full meal?” Seriously folks?? Are we all still fretting over that silly age-old dilemma? (There are NO cramps people! That was just my Jewish grandmother’s clever way of keeping us out of her pool after she fed us so she could put curlers in her hair.)

The following are the things I often wonder about with time so please chime in if you have an answer. Meanwhile my little (snide?) remarks will be in red font after each question.

How Long Do You Wait?

  • To announce to friends and family that you’re in love? (I think immediately after you tell people this exciting news, your new lover will confide in you they have a criminal record.)
  • For someone to finally come out of their house and get in your car after you’ve honked your horn loudly? (The worse part about carpooling!)
  • To tell people you’re pregnant? (Religious Jews believe this should NOT be divulged until the first trimester is over, when the chance of miscarriage goes tremendously down. Do you wait?)
  • To submit your writing elsewhere if you haven’t heard back from an editor/publication? (I think giving someone 48 hours to have it dawn on them how clever/funny I am is PLENTY of time! Okay, 3 days if they’re super dense.)
  • To get remarried after the death of a spouse? (My mother tells me lots of women in her age group bring homemade meals to a newly widowed man (at his wife’s funeral!) as a way of saying, “I’m a great cook. Can I be next in line for you??” This is referred to as the “Brisket Brigade!” Oy.)
  • Between applying coats of paint on your walls? (Yes, I really wanna know this! Shouldn’t it be the same as fingernail polish??)
  • Until you set a date after the marriage proposal? (the trend for staying engaged for a long time is a confusing one!)
  • Before tossing bread/muffins/tortillas in the refrigerator after the expiration date? (These date stamps are something we routinely ignore in my house in favor of color-coding. In other words, a red-flag with baked goods would be discovering it’s now green!)
  • Before sending a second text asking, “Hey! Did you get my first text?” (This dilemma drives me crazy because maybe they received it but are purposely ignoring me. Or maybe they texted back and I am the one who NEVER got their response. Where does it end??)
  • Before calling the police if your teenage daughter is not answering her cellphone and none of her friends have seen her? (This will only make sense to someone whose kid routinely retorts, “If I’m grounded, I’m running away from home!”)
  • To nudge someone if they’re not taking their turn in Words With Friends?? (C’mon already. And don’t just resign or forfeit — I don’t wanna win that way!)
  • How long should you date different people before becoming “exclusive” with just one? (It should be the same answer for “how long do you traipse through furniture stores before deciding on a couch?” Won’t there always be a more comfortable, nicer looking sofa?!)
  • How long should you wait after a child is born to have a second? (And God help you when the adults are outnumbered.)
  • Between brushing your teeth and eating? (A conundrum I could never figure out. Brush after eating, makes sense. But then if I get hungry again? The whole cycle repeats itself 80 times a day??)
  • For the sex to get better with your new partner? (Alright, you’ve given them “the initial tour” and they kept getting lost. How long are you expected to wait for them to feel at home in your strange little “town?”) 
  • For a late professor to show up in a classroom at college before leaving? (He does NOT wait for you to show up before teaching!)
  • How long should you wait in bed to drift off to sleep before deciding, “It’s obviously another night of insomnia — those poor online readers are getting another idiotic blogpost from me about timing.” (I have absolutely no comment/opinion on this last one, other than to apologize.)

Readers: Can you answer anything I’ve asked here or do you have your own question about how long to wait for something? Leave either or both in the comments section below! 

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