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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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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How Your Personality Flaws WILL Significantly Impact Your Blog!

13 Personality Traits of Disengaged Employee, Human Resources Concept

If you’re looking for another boring article on the 10 Character Traits that All Successful Bloggers Possess, you’ve come to the wrong place. Isn’t it obvious you need to be “Tenacious” and “Communicative” and “Original” and blah blah blah to be a popular blogger?  It’s far more intriguing to see what your own negative character traits will do to your blog, isn’t it?  See that? One of my bad character traits is “Pessimistic.” You didn’t think a “Positive Thinker” would be writing an article like this one, did you?  If so, you’re “Gullible” and “Naive” and will find a discussion of yourself below!

How Your Personality Flaws Affect Blogging

  1. IMPATIENT —  You cannot delay your gratification even long enough to click “Preview Post” before you hit “Publish.” And proofreading? Ha! Why, if you’re readers wanted good grammar and punctuation, they’d be following an Old English School Marm who would know that Schoolmarm is all one word and the third word in this sentence should not have an apostophre and apostrophe is mispelled and so is “misspelled” for that matter . . . and who has time for this nonsense?!
  2. WORRIER — Will the blogosphere like your topic? You better Google it to make sure it hasn’t been done before. But being anxious isn’t just self-focused. You’re quite concerned about others too. For instance, someone who follows you and used to comment often (leaving you high praise!) hasn’t been on your blog in over a week. Oh dear! Are they okay? Should you check on them? Or will that make it look like you have a big ego? What if something happened in real life and you never hear from them again? Ever. You will never know why. Why didn’t you insist that all commenters leave their next of kin contact information?
  3. SNOOPY —  If you’re a busybody type than you cannot resist asking your readers to comment on your blog using a prying, intrusive type of request. Example: At the end of this post, please comment if there are any personality flaws that you yourself deal with which I might have inadvertently left out. So transparent. You may as well just change your blog name to “Notes from Nosy!”
  4. IMPULSIVE — Yeah, I’ll betcha you’d like to turn this character flaw into a positive, fun-sounding one  like impromptu or spontaneous, wouldn’t you? But face it, you’re a loose cannon and the whole reason you’re even a blogger in the first place is because one day a thought flitted through your mind along these lines — “Gee I need a new hobby and coin-collecting turns my fingers black.” Voila! Permanent commitment — You made your WordPress blog, now you must write in it!
  5. ACCUSATORY — Your writing style tends to sound very much like mine does above for “Impulsive.” Sorry about that. Oh and you may apologize a lot.
  6. **SUPERSTITIOUS — Nobody will ever find a photo of a black cat or a cracked mirror on your blog. Even if the subject is “Halloween” and “Breaking away from vanity.” And if you’re a humor writer, you’ll never put 13 jokes in a post. This is non-negotiable. And sometimes just for good luckle, you need one to be a rhyming chuckle.
  7. PREDICTABLE — Ho hum. Let’s say you think you write humor (like me!) which means your blog should be full of little shocking statements and catch-you-off-guard surprises that elicit laughter. But instead you’ll overuse cliches and puns throughout your writing or worse yet, the puns are actually about blogging itself because the room you blog in has an open window and you’re too cold to start another “draft.” Or if you’re too sleepy to blog, you can just download a nap for that. But you can’t help if your posts are predictable — it’s not your fault you have that “type” of keyboard. And then of course (yawn) you put, “ba dum tsssss” immediately after the pun. And then you tell readers to click HERE as well.
  8. FLIRTATIOUS — Blogging to you is just like putting your profile up on a dating website. After all, you never know what kind of attractive single, available reader could be lurking out there! You’ll bat your i’s a lot and give that “come hither” opening hook. Your conclusion always has an amazing climax, and you’re not beyond playing “hard to get” by writing things that nobody understands. Just remember to always use protection….install a spam filter. 😉
  9. PERFECTIONISTIC — Before you leave a comment on someone else’s blog, you absolutely MUST peruse what every other reader has already said, (even if that means scrutinizing 182 comments) otherwise you risk duplicating their remarks, or you could sound terribly boring in comparison to their witty messages.
  10. ANGRY — Unless you are Ben from  Ben’s Bitter Blog, (and you really should be, cuz he’s hilarious!) your unpleasant attitude will alienate followers who are reading blogs to escape their real life sarcastic, toxic spouses. You may only endear someone with the following personality flaw, because they won’t have to put themselves down any longer — you’ll gladly do it for them. (See below)
  11. SELF-DEPRECATING — Making yourself the butt of the joke may be funny at first — but after a while, it’s just a super irritating tone to write with, okay? So the next time you want to insult yourself AND be accurate about it, just refer to yourself as “Annoying” AND #7.
  12. THEATRICAL — If you have a flair for the dramatic, your blog will either be perceived as entirely fictional, (even if every bit of it is 100% true) OR you embellish and exaggerate things to make a point so often that readers leave you comments saying, “I’m very sorry for your loss,” when you wrote, “I just found my teen daughter motionless on her bed because she couldn’t handle doing the dishes anymore. I guess she threw in the towel.”
  13. GULLIBLE/NAIVE — You’ve incorporated all the recommended personality traits listed right HERE to become a successful blogger and now it’s just a matter of time until your stats soar and you’ve gone viral. Hooray!
  14. SUSPICIOUS — You’re sure that if you post your best writing, it will be plagiarized and therefore you have copyright symbols on every page. You put your post titles into search engines to see if they come up anywhere else. But this paranoid type of behavior isn’t solely limited to your own stuff. You think any blogger who calls himself, “In My Cluttered Attic” is just one strike of a match away from an arsonist blaze. And that SpeakingWins is not just writing innocently about his treasured garden, or his love of teaching young children the alphabet, but instead he’s diabolically combining both his interest in kids and crops to commandeer your blog for harvesting fairytales about fruit and veggies, like The Princess and the Pea and Cinderella and a Pumpkin. And finally, that BensBitterBlog will surely be spiteful when he sees you linked to his blog under the “Angry” personality trait (above #10) so you better prepare for his vindictive retribution!

** Since these are all the author’s own personality flaws, she wanted to stop with just 13 traits, but because she’s also #6, there was no way she could do that . . .  without breaking her mother’s back.

12 Bizarre Behaviors Belonging to the “Blogger Bunch!” (Yes, Us!)

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The Blogger Bunch!

Here’s a story of a bunch of writer-folks, who’re once a strange set of girls and boys,
Growing up they had their journals and diaries, pretty much ignored all other toys.
Till the one day when these wordsmiths met WordPress, they knew they’d be just as pleased as punch,
If this group could somehow form a Blogosphere, and that’s the way they became The Blogger Bunch!

 

Ready? Here we go!

12 Blogging Behaviors You Might Recognize!

 

  1. We excitedly register for a free online WordPress URL, spend hours (no days!) setting it up, picking a perfect theme, arranging widgets, plug-ins, clever headers, tag-lines, backgrounds, and fonts — only to realize when the blog is finished . . . we must now actually write! (Wow, some of us were those brides who registered for china patterns, ordered imprinted napkins, centerpieces, catering, picked out the perfect gown, only to realize when the wedding was finished . . . we must now actually marry!)
  2. When tax season rolls around, we secretly fantasize all our “Wonderful Writer’s Write-Offs.” Surely our accountant will find ways to justify those long lunches in restaurants (how else do we get ideas for posts if we don’t eavesdrop on other diners?) extravagant vacations (bloggers have to experience new places in order to write about them!) and the latest computers (Duh!). Upon hearing our CPA say, “Actually only office supplies will technically qualify!” we go out and . . .
  3. We purchase 180 boxes of paper-clips, saving all receipts.
  4. We come up with an amazingly witty title for a topic we know will win us thousands of new followers — and then Google it, only to discover . . .
  5. We get very depressed to see our great blogging idea has already been done. 43 times. We decide this shouldn’t really matter. Everybody!s heard that there are NO new thoughts in this wide world. We’ll simply Tweak things a bit and it will be completely original. Tweak, Tweak, Tweak . . .
  6. Weeks later we are startled to find on the internet someone else’s post (that’s becoming a VIRAL SENSATION) which is essentially OUR tweak! We take to Twitter to announce our tweak is being savagely plagiarized. Tweet, Tweet, Tweak, Tweak . . .
  7. We contact an attorney to see about lawsuits, because something must be done about this grave injustice. The lawyer says, “Hmmm, this will be difficult to prove. All someone had to do was read your blog, make some tweaks of their own, and voilà! A new idea has been born. But can I phone you back tomorrow? I’m knee deep in a new case about a blogger using a photographer’s pictures from Shutterfly without getting copyright releases or giving attribution. Now THAT’S a slam dunk case!”
  8. We quickly delete every single one of the photographs from our posts in terror.
  9. We decide to take the focus off our own website and be a Good Blogger Samaritan — so we visit other people’s blogs to interact with their words, click “Like,” leave thought-provoking comments that will surely entice them (and all their many readers!) to follow our cute little remarks (Hansel & Gretel breadcrumbs anyone?) back to our own blogs where they will instantly become ensnared enthralled. (Gotcha!!!)
  10. When that doesn’t work, and still nobody is reading/following us, we think it cannot possibly be our writing. So we get to work changing our theme, header, tag-line, background, widgets, plug-ins, and fonts. Tweak! Tweak! And Tweet Tweet!
  11. “Ugh. Who wants to be married anyhow??”  We throw the bridal bouquet (made out of thousands of paper-clips) out to a sea of potential bloggers, raising high their eager, outstretched hands. Good luck to them! Good riddance blog.
  12. We turn on reruns of The Brady Bunch and call it a day.

Dear Bloggers:  Did I miss a common (bizarre?) behavior of yours?  Leave it in the comments section so we can all follow your clever words back to your own site and become enraptured! 😉

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We Interrupt This Blog . . .

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There may be an official ordinance about posting unfunny things on a humor blog, but I’ll accept a warning citation. Ironic short stories are my original genre of writing and several readers have encouraged me to share more widely here. Back to regularly scheduled chuckles soon! Thank you.

Going Up, Going Down, Going Thru, Going Under!

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Wow, I’m really going under tonight.

I’ve seen this hypnotist’s show before and figure I can trust him just fine to put me under. The only embarrassing part of the act was when he made the women on stage believe they were doing a striptease for their husbands. But even that I can handle, I reassure myself. Besides it might actually help Dennis see me in a new light. Lately he’s been restless, telling me I hold him back, I’m too safe, don’t take enough risks, and I’m not living life boldly enough. “Carpe Diem,” he’ll say as if mocking Robin William’s character in the movie, only I know he really means it. So in less than one hour, I will seize the day, and the night, and my husband’s respect.

All by announcing I am pregnant when it’s my turn in the spotlight.

“The rabbit died,” said that nasally nurse with the goofy sense of humor on the phone yesterday, and it had taken me a few seconds to reconcile her morbid, archaic expression with the fact that I finally had wondrous life growing inside of me after three years of fertility futility. No more temperature taking, ovulation kits, semen analysis, uterine biopsies, and standing on my head after lovemaking.

Dennis pays for our two tickets with a credit card that I strongly suspect will be declined. It’s the third one we’ve exceeded our limit on since he lost his job at the architectural firm. But I’m right behind him, expediently holding two twenty dollar bills so his red-face embarrassment will be short lived. That’s what a good wife does after all. But it’s dark by the box office and so I miss his grateful expression as we’re unexpectedly ushered into an elevator behind two perfectly proportioned blondes. The more platinum of the two drawls, “Going up,” while pushing a button with her fuchsia fingernail.

Both young women follow us into the theatre and meld their lithe bodies into chairs directly next to us. I notice the taller one lets her high-heeled encased ankle graze my husband’s pant leg as she deeply crosses her exposed thighs. But I turn my attention to the overhead banner that proclaims, “The Hip Hypnotist. Is it your turn to surrender?” And another sign to the right that advertises, “Enjoy yourself at our show… you ARE our show!” I squeeze my husband’s hand with affectionate anticipation knowing how pleased he’ll be to see me up on stage as a vivacious volunteer. And the grand finale when the hypnotist asks each participant to tell the audience something they would never guess, something shocking…well, I can’t think of a more fun and bold way to break the news of the baby. I only hope I won’t be too deeply hypnotized to appreciate Denny’s pride.

I’m immediately reassured when a slide show flashes on a big screen monitor explaining that being hypnotized is relaxing, enjoyable, and further elaborating that the subjects will be alert at all times to what is going on around them. And how it only serves to bring everyone into a deeper state of reflection where inhibitions will be tempered. This sounds like exactly what I need. Denny’s biggest complaint? I’m too uptight, too in control, and far too anxious. To have any fun.

I’m not expecting such a frenzied rush to the stage when the MC invites people up and I’m nearly trampled trying to grab a chair in the line-up. I’m relieved to see that I’m seated between two conservative, stuffy looking gentlemen so I feel very at home even though the lights are painfully bright. I glance back into the second row, my hand shielding my eyes as they strain to seek out my husband from the crowd. I am rewarded to see him nod appreciatively. “Just wait,” I say silently, “if you think this is good, you just wait.”

I gently flutter my eyelids closed as instructed and feel a certain warmth radiating from my toes on upward. I speculate if this is the heat the Hip Hypnotist suggests I’ll be feeling, or if I’m just flushing with embarrassment wondering if people think my hairstyle is dated. “Don’t analyze,” I chide myself, “Just go with the flow.” But what is that soft background music? It almost sounds like the instrumental part of The Doors, Light My Fire. I love playing Name That Tune.

All at once, Hip’s voice seems to come to me from everywhere and nowhere, soaking through my ears, dripping into my mind’s eye where it paints delicate pictures with watercolor words. “A river of thought,” he murmurs. “A stream of consciousness,” the voice drones, “a trickle of trivia…” Did we pay our water bill this month I wonder, and visualize the online automatic withdrawal system that I recently activated. But Hip’s gentle touch on my shoulder distracts me from this mundane image as he calmly states that each time he taps me, I will be filled with a deeper and deeper sense of tranquility. I crack one eyelid partway open, then quickly admonish myself in my former preschool teacher’s voice, “no peeking.” But now Hip is counting backwards from ten to one and when he’s done, we’re supposed to open our eyes and find that we’re in a fantasy field of flowers.

Someone lowers the lights and fades the music and I’m horrified to realize I feel no different at all. I am exactly the same. Three, two, one. A panicky sensation grips my throat and I begin to sneeze in succession, four, five times, something I always do when I’m edgy. But nobody says, “bless you” and I realize everyone around me is probably too busy frolicking in their lovely imaginary meadows. And here I am, stuck — trapped inside the same old self-conscious, timid, awkward wallflower persona on this stage while Hip heads toward me with efficient strides, probably to test my level of hypnotization, if that’s even a word. To add to my mortification, the prim looking man seated on my left lowers his face with drowsy oblivion deeply into my lap. Obviously looking to graze in MY greener pastures.

Hip the Hypnotist seems entirely satisfied to raise my arm up and watch it droop down again, apparently checking the “floppy factor,” a true litmus test for hypnotists. He then nods approvingly, gesturing toward me and egging the audience into rapturous applause.

“One more thing,” Hip adds when the clapping dies down, “If at any time during our show, someone next to you in the first ten rows appears to have gone under, please raise your hand and one of our lovely assistants will escort them on stage to join our act. It happens more than you’d think!”

Still alarmed that I’m not under some spell or feeling any different at all, I think back to when I saw this show before. What’s next? What the hell is next? Oh, we stink, we really stink. That’s right. I can fake that. I quickly remember all the things I’ve pretended in my life. Pretended to be asleep when Dennis came to bed, pretended I liked his mother’s obnoxious perfume, and pretended I had my doctorate degree when I was around the snooty women at my husband’s X-mas party. I begin to hold my nose and fan the air, looking suspiciously at the man to my right as Hip insists our neighbor hasn’t showered in weeks. The audience barely chuckles and out of the corner of my eye I think I see Dennis yawn and glance sideways at Blondie next to him.

Next we’re given the choice to be jockeys or thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby and I have to make a quick decision which one would be less embarrassing. I’m self-conscious about my size so I decide to be a horse rather than a rider (don’t they have to weigh under 100 lbs?) but once again I’m humiliated beyond belief as Hip proposes that the horses have just done the unthinkable! All the jockeys hold their noses at our imaginary disgusting stench. What is up with this guy and his obsession with odors? But the audience seems to really enjoy this and so I play along, all the while planning my seductive striptease where I can more than likely redeem myself in front of Dennis before I broadcast that I’m the expectant mother of his first child.

It dawns on me that everyone else on stage seems to be genuinely hypnotized as they prance freely around and I can’t believe I’m the only one held prisoner by my inhibitions and hang-ups.

“What’s your name and where ya from?” Hip closes in on me with his microphone and I try to make my eyes appear dreamy and awestruck, the way I imagine they should look in a trance.

“Sharon Henderson from California,” I recite zombie-like.

“That’s a strange racehorse name,” Hip persists.

F*ck I think, I’m blowing it. I quickly add, “otherwise known as Lucky Lady from Laughlin,” I toss my hair like a Clydesdale mane, but decide that actual neighing noises might be too over-the-top. And that’s when I notice Hip’s eyes narrow at me just a bit before he moves on.

Next we’re skiing in the Alps, only we’re doing it barefoot. Easy. Just shiver uncontrollably. After that, we’re at the beach and one of us, (thankfully not me) has a hole in a prominent spot in their bathing suit. Another cinch. I fake a shocked expression while the crowd bursts into bawdy howls. But now I feel my whole body tighten because it occurs to me that after this, it will be time for all us females to become x-rated exotic dancers. I scope out my competition and that’s when true despair sets in. I didn’t realize there were so many beautiful young girls up here. Is that one even legal, I wonder, knowing that alcohol has been served all night long. I can only hope that afterwards, Dennis will be so ecstatic over my pregnancy announcement that he’ll make generous allowances for a clumsy, horselike, foul-smelling stripper reject. I let myself glance at him momentarily, but he seems to be staring down motionless at his shoes.

A sudden prod on my shoulder and I’m introduced to the audience as “Cherry Jubilee,” direct from Paris. I recognize the bump and grind music from some old Broadway production. Great, he has to go and make me a French girl, I lament. I flounce around on an elevated platform twirling my sweater, then sashay stage left because I know Dennis sits off to the right. Hips. Swivel your hips and get your ass into it, I encourage myself and now I’m swirling and swaying pretty good for someone who’s seven weeks along. But the audience starts to taunt, “Take it off Cherry, take it all off!” and I know Dennis would want to see me loose and carefree so I fling the plaid sweater at some man in the front row and start to undo the top part of my silk blouse. I’m indebted to Hip for stopping me mid-button, but not at all grateful for what he spits out next.

“Why, you big ham you! You’re not really under at all, are you? Thought you could fool us fools? But let’s give Sharon a big hand anyhow for her participation thus far,” he says and gives me a hard thrust toward my seat as people hesitatingly clap. As I stare in disbelief wondering what about my dancing could’ve given me away, I hear Hip continue enthusiastically, “But it looks like someone in our audience is highly suggestive and has gone completely under. Let’s bring him up here, shall we? Audience?” Everyone thunders away and I notice Buxomy Blondie next to Dennis wildly waving her hands and pointing fingers at my lethargic husband who appears drunk and perfectly content to be accompanied up the steps of the stage by a stunning red-haired assistant.

It could be my imagination but it almost seems like both the blondes stick their feet out in the aisle to trip me as I try to squeeze by and return to my seat with some semblance of dignity. “Going Thru!” I whisper to them.

All eyes are now on the intriguing newcomer in the spotlight, and I watch as my husband, (now seated in the exact chair I just previously sat in) gregariously introduces himself as ‘Dennis the Menace.’ Hip snaps his fingers and in response, Denny instantly slumps forward in a genuine daze.

I look at my watch and realize the show is nearly at its conclusion except for the ending stunt where everyone makes a single outrageous confession. I’m sad not to be able to blurt out my amazing baby news, but I still feel a few eyes on me so I chortle along with the rest of the crowd as one girl proclaims her bisexuality. Another man dressed in Walmart garb surprises people by declaring he’s a multi-millionaire. One of the younger girls admits being hot for Hip the Hypnotist and everyone shouts, “Go for it!”

Dennis greedily snatches the mic out of turn and leans closely in, characteristically clearing his throat before he talks. I almost think Blondie next to me blows him a coy little kiss, but maybe she’s only swatting at a gnat.

My husband hesitates one suspenseful moment before speaking…

“I don’t love my wife Sharon anymore. I’m having an affair and I’m leaving her.” His burning voice seems to come to me from everywhere and nowhere all at once, singeing my ears as the words blaze into my mind’s eye; an explosive inferno of divorce papers, wedding albums, and abortions ignite together as blonde looks of pity smolder in my direction.

Wow, I’m really going under tonight.

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Listen up! If You Want More Readers, Just WHISPER!

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“Well shake it up baby … twist and Whisper!” Huh? Shhhhhhh, you’ve just entered The No-Shout Zone! Right HERE is an old perfume television commercial with the slogan, “If you want to capture someone’s attention, just whisper!”

And evidently our librarians knew what they were talking about, (and HOW to do their talking!) when they insisted we all speak in hushed tones — and thus eventually associate whispering with the pleasure of reading books. But did you know there’s now something called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) which is a very STRANGE phenomenon that has hundreds of women profiting from making online videos where they do nothing but seductively whisper as they role-play being flight attendants, hairdressers, party planners, eye doctors, and personal shoppers?

Now mind you, this is not supposed to elicit any kind of sexual response in us. Instead, it’s supposed to give a highly pleasant tingling or relaxing sensation like when you’d have a sleepover with a friend and the two of you would draw letters on each others backsides to guess what you were spelling. Some say it’s a “climax of the brain.” Okaaaaay….Here’s a much better explanation right HERE. But that depends on your definition of “better!” Crazy, right?

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO FINDS THIS KIND OF WHISPERING AS OBNOXIOUS AS FINGERNAILS ON A CHALKBOARD???

Forgive me for spoiling all your fun, but I can’t stand the way she forms those “wet” sounds with her mouth, her long pausing, (get on with it already!) and also the overly familiar way she behaves with her hairbrush. In general she’s bizarrely overly intimate with her listeners. My adverse reaction could possibly hearken back to grade school when Jenny Mayron would lean into my desk, cup her sweaty hand around my ear, (so the teacher couldn’t hear) and proceed to whisper some stupid secret that was completely obliterated by the disgusting feeling of her warm, moist, stale breath on my skin.

However an argument might be made that I’m just simply jealous of these Whispering Women because I cannot do what they do.  That’s right, according to my children, I lack the ability, and am utterly incapable of any discreet whispering.

In a movie theatre:

Me: (Whispering) Do you think he’s really dead? Or do you think he’s going to pop up later and attack his ex-wife? And will that be before or after he cuts off her child support?

Daughter: Do you think you could talk any louder? So next time the entire audience can hear you, and not just the six rows around us?

In a restaurant:

Me: (Whispering) Don’t look now but that kid from your football team who can’t catch a ball to save his life, just sat down three booths behind you.

Son: Oh my god, Mom. And you could be our announcer high up in the booth at our game without even using a loudspeaker!

So for the sake of getting some much needed practice with these skills, and also because I’d like to experience what it’s like to bring tingling pleasure to other people just by merely using my voice, I’ve decided that the following scenarios warrant whispering.

ROADSIDE

Me: (Whispering) Didn’t you see my brake lights? You teenagers shouldn’t even be allowed to drive. And it’s a brand new car! What are you going to do about this??!!?

Teen Driver: (On cellphone) Dad? I think I just rear-ended the Low-Talker from Seinfeld.

KARAOKE CONTEST

Me: (whispering Little Richard’s Song) 

We-eee-eeel….

You know you make me wanna (Shout!)
Kick my heels up and (Shout!)
Throw my hands up and (Shout!)
Throw my head back and (Shout!)
Come on now (Shout!)
Don’t forget to say you will
Don’t forget to say, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah . . .
Judge: Okay that was just plain odd. But just in case — hope you recover soon from your laryngitis.
Being Proposed To
Me: (Whispering)  Yes, yes. Of course I’ll marry you. I just wanna shout it from the rooftops, “I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with a wonderful guy!!”
Him: Eh?? Pardon me? Was that a yes or no?
Announcing Children’s Report Cards to Hard-of-Hearing Grandmother For Monetary Reimbursement
Me: (Whispering)  You wouldn’t believe the GPA your grandchildren all demonstrated this year in school.
Grandma: Young people today! It’s disgusting how much kissing, hugging, and slobbering over each other they do in front of others. That kind of behavior should never be rewarded! Hmmph.
Kids: Grandma! Come back. NOT PDA! OMG, Great time to perfect your whispering talents, Mom!
And lastly I’ll leave you with a party planner who makes me just want to slap her silly! Give a short listen right HERE and if you have any other reaction besides, “Speak up, Sister!” I wanna hear about it in the comments. Meanwhile, I’m giving a “Shout-out” to Marian the Librarian in Music Man and tonight I’m watching, “Old Yeller” and cranking up the volume!
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Dealing with a NON-Jealous Mate

jealousy-cause-and-cureYou may reread that headline and decide it’s probably a typo. Or you may think having a NON-jealous mate is actually a good thing! And that may be true except … when it’s not.

Bear with me as I relate the following conversation:

Me: So I had lunch today with my publisher, Jamie.

Him: Nice. Whadya order?

Me: Salad. You know . . . Jamie IS a unisex name. Aren’t you suspicious that my publisher is a guy? And feeling a bit concerned that I had lunch alone with a male?

Him: Nope.

Me: Well he is. And he’s actually VERY male.

Him: That’s nice. Glad to know my gender values books.

Now stop right there.  I know, I know. This illustrates he’s perfectly secure within himself. Also it shows he has a ton of faith and confidence in me and our relationship, trusting I’m not going anywhere.

But what does this say about his perception of my potential value and attractiveness? He doesn’t bat an eye that someone else might find me worthy of coveting! jealousy

Metaphor Time:  Every Friday I drag my overflowing trashcans out to the curb. I never worry someone will come by and flirt with my garbage when I’m not around, or try to take it for their own pleasure. And it’s not because I have a trusting relationship with my rubbish . . . well the recyclables maybe. But now consider this – – parked in my driveway is a shiny, new red Mazda. And you better believe I installed an alarm system on that baby!

Aha! What does this tell you? That’s why I just had to find out more. So I told my best friend to call our home phone several times a day and hang up when he answered.

Him: Darn telemarketers.

Seriously?? So I bought myself some beautiful flowers.

Him: That’s so nice that your older kids would send you an early mother’s day bouquet.

Grrrrrr. So I made a big production out of carrying in a mysterious brown wrapped package from the front porch late one night.

Him: Wow. Who’d guess Nordstrom delivers after midnight?

Ugh. So I secretly opened it in my closet, then intentionally left its contents (a lacy negligee with tags still on) out for him to stumble upon.

Him: Ha. Someone actually believes you could wear a size extra-Small.

That does it.

Me: Haven’t you been the least bit concerned over the past few days? And haven’t you seen the amount of friend requests I receive on Facebook from men who look wild with desire?

Him: Yes. I meant to tell you to stop posting those graphic pics of your brisket and brownies.

Me: Sheesh. What will it take for you to feel threatened? To fight over me? To challenge someone to a duel?

Him: (looks around) Is that last question directed at me or did Sir Lancelot just ride into the room?

Me: OMG! Well, would you at least rescue me if I was tied down to the railroad tracks and a speeding train was imminently approaching?

Him: North or Southbound? Sorry. Absolutely. Of course. No question.

Finally! I decided to stop (the hypothetical questions) while I was ahead. He didn’t need to know that (in my mind) the reason I was tied to those tracks was because Jamie, (my VERY manly publisher) had shouted in a fit of jealousy, “If I can’t have you, then nobody can have you!”

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I love hearing from you. Tell me if you get jealous or if your mate ever does?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rhythmic/

How to Guide (and Chide) From the Other Side!

tumblr_static_cs_theothersideidentity-1If I can just get organized enough, I’ll be able to communicate with all six of my kids (and by communicate, I mean nag) well beyond the grave.

And so will you! Because any self-respecting, obsessive control freak will admit if they could be assured they’d continue to exert the same level of power and control over their loved ones after they’re gone, death will be a highly enjoyable experience!

I’ve figured out a way to do it with the written word!

I’ve actually always used my writing for this purpose. The night before any surgery or cross-country flights, I print out letters “to be opened in the event of my unexpected death” ensuring nothing is ever left unsaid.

Yep I take the phrase, “Any final requests?” quite literally and boy do I make a lot of them!

This isn’t a morbid thing to do when you consider people have issues with “lack of closure” that are so prevalent, they put many psychotherapists’ kids through college.

But most challenging is who will distribute my abundant quantity of heartfelt correspondence? I can just hear my sister lamenting, “Who has time to properly grieve for Stephanie? I’m delivering more letters to her offspring than a U.S. postal carrier on Valentine’s Day!”

And I can’t ask any of my friends or neighbors to do it. One is already tasked (the moment she hears I’m dearly departed) to rush over, shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows, and lay my body out in some kind of Marilyn Monroe position. Another has committed to checking all toilets are properly flushed, sinks scrubbed, and confirming there’s no dog hair on the living room white couch. Finally, the busybody across the street guarantees she’ll make sure my children won’t wear white if my funeral is held after Labor Day.

That’s right – I’ve got Glamour magazine, Martha Stewart, Emily Post, Gladys Kravitz, and The Grim Reaper all rolled into one!

But now guess what?  We can all breathe a sigh of relief and check “Interventions From The Afterlife” off our To-Do lists because I discovered it’s as simple as composing well-timed emails and companies like THIS will take care of everything for you!

That’s right –there are online services that will facilitate sending your next of kin hauntingly beautiful messages (that you write!) postmortem.

My new plan is simple — anticipate all six of my children’s upcoming happy milestones, as well as all their problems, issues, decisions, shortcomings, downfalls, emergencies, divorces, illnesses, job losses, etc. (I can skillfully do this because I hold an advanced degree in Catastrophizing) and then pour out my unique motherly advice, suggestions, tips, guidelines, instructions, admonishments (And because I’m Jewish — brisket recipes and guilt!) to fill up their inboxes during all future appropriate moments.

But with this new age solution comes an age-old problem, namely money. Costs for these emailing services get calculated per word and that will never work for me. Mind you, Adele’s popular song; “Hello From The Other Side” doesn’t begin to hold a candle to the amount of one-sided conversation I intend to send through the years.

I’ll never be able to afford to speak my mind!

So because I plan to remain ever the frugal mother after my departure, (and until these companies offer coupons!) I’ve come up with an alternate no-cost option. It involves just relying on the simple every day world for crucial communication. You know, like “signs” that hold special significance?

I’ve even devised elaborate codes (with a witty deciphering key included) so now family will be able to interpret all my many future messages 100% FREE.

Examples:

If a Crow Soars Overhead = Work is for the “birds,” son. Tell your boss you need a vacation and book a “flight” to Hawaii to relax soon!

If a Train Passes By = “Track” down your sister right now for goodness sake, and take her to lunch before your relationship totally “derails.”

If the Cubs Get Into the World Series = Don’t even think about going to “2nd base” with that jerky new guy you’re dating!

If Your Apartment Gets Burglarized and then a Cop (which Starts with the Letter C) puts Handcuffs on the Robber’s Wrists = My diamond bracelet (Yes, the one you always begged me to wear to school dances) is now safely hidden inside your bottle of Vitamin C, which I knew you’d never take.

If The Sun Rises = Always remember your bright mother will love (and nag!) you for all eternity.

And on and on it will go (I have a completed ‘dictionary’ with equivalent meanings all spelled out!) so my kids are guaranteed to spend the rest of their dying days walking around observing stuff that contains messages from me — Yep, they’ll never rest in peace!

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“Guilty As CHARGED!” (But the Thief Lives in Your Own Home??)

0a3b2cd8fc3a57f55e82c17f42b70ac1And you probably already love this crook dearly! That’s right — If you possess a mobile phone and live with other cell users, a terrible crime occurs in your home at least several times a week.

Your phone charger is either being (A) used without your consent (B) swapped for a seemingly identical, but ever so slightly different charger (different in that the replacement one looks like a starved rat gnawed through the end of it) or (C) blatantly snatched right out of the innocent grasp of your usual friendly outlet, never to be seen or heard from again.

Hanging up posters like this will be totally ineffective.

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Here are some insidious indications that you’re either about to fall victim — or if you’re already missing your charger, it is NOT the result of your poor menopausal memory, which many would love for you to believe.

10 Tips To Detect Cell-Charger Foul Play

  1. Anyone who casually asks you, “Hey, have you seen my charger around the family room today?” is immediately suspect because if they can’t find their own, this means they’ve already set their sights longingly on YOURS, which you believe is safely sequestered behind your locked bedroom door.
  2. Careful of wrapping a piece of uniquely colored duct tape around your charger cord. Such “defective” tape can inadvertently slide right off in the slick hands of a CCCC (Charismatic Cell Charger Coveter) and suddenly you have no identifying mark to point to when trying to assert your position of ownership.
  3. And don’t get overconfident and think scrawling your initials on just the plug part will do the trick. The initial “P” can effortlessly be converted into “B.” And an “H” can easily morph into an “A” (in the right wrong hands!) and before you know it, your cell charger can justifiably be claimed by someone named “Benedict Arnold.”
  4. Think you’re safe because in all capital letters, you spelled out your first, middle, and last name (in Sharpie pen!) all over the darn thing?  Think again. Remember that “As Seen on TV Miracle Permanent Stain Remover” you ordered which failed miserably to scrub the tiny indelible ink mark off your leather sofa? That sucker suddenly works like a charm!
  5. Warning! Seemingly helpful children who regularly play the card game, “Old Maid” (skilled at palming off the ugly spinster woman with crossed eyes and multiple chin hairs!) are instantly experts at redistributing previously mixed-up chargers, making sure you end up with the one in exceedingly ill-repair.
  6. Beware! Your daughter (who often gains your sympathy) by showing you her home screen so you can affirm she has only 1 measly flashing bar left) will one day tip her hand, revealing a screenshot pic taken at 1% battery which she permanently relies on to strengthen her fraudulent case of a dying cellphone. She won’t intend for you to see this, and that’s why it’s known as a “Fraud-ian Slip.”
  7. Household members who know you’re deathly afraid of spiders will enthusiastically shout, “Wow! Would you get a load of that black widow crawling on the INSIDE of our window, right where mom does the dishes!” When you run screaming from the kitchen, that’s when the heist is adeptly pulled off.
  8. Anyone who is overheard using the term, “Frayed” and subsequently witnessed performing strange, delicate balancing acts consisting of holding their hands at weird angles or building a platform out of blocks or tupperware, while charging their phone with something that resembles this . . . icordrx-fixes-your-frayed-lightning-charger-cable-465051-2and the next day is seen strolling jauntily around the house, whistling a carefree rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In!” (while sporting a charger that’s miraculously healed) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!
  9. Take a hint from often burglarized neighborhoods and form a “Bedroom Watch Program.” Have a designated individual patrolling unattended cords after dark so people can sleep soundly. Report unexpected “unplugging sounds” or “yanking noises” promptly.
  10. Resist the urge to show concern or compassion to anyone who frequently utters phrases like, “I’m running dangerously low and expecting a job offer to come in the next ten minutes.” And if they desperately whisper, “Oh my god, I think I’m about to die any second!” do not hesitate to put your finger on the inside of their wrist while sweetly responding, “You’ve got a good, strong pulse there, soldier!” Then demurely add, “But Bravo! Now go try your act on your sister because she already “borrowed” my cell charger an hour ago.”
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WHEN YOUR CELL CHARGER BREAKS BUT YOUR SIBLING HAS ONE THAT WORKS!

This Will Be the Worst Writing You’ll Ever Read!

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See what I’m doing here?  This is me playing with your anticipation level. You’ll read this post (hopefully!) and instead of hating it (like you are primed to do from the title) you’ll think, “Well, it wasn’t really all THAT bad. She kinda has a “loose cannon” charm to her. In fact, I think I’ll follow her and share this post everywhere!”  Okay that last sentence is me now playing with your suggestibility level.

But my point is that by my downgrading the quality of my writing in advance, you will have lowered your judgment criteria and therefore my chance of success will have increased.

We’ve all gone to see a movie someone raved to us about . . .

“Expectations and Disappointments and Reality…..oh my!”

A bit too much of a mouthful for Dorothy to singsong as she skips through the Cowardly Lion’s forest, but for me — this is something I chant everyday.  It’s how I cope.

Remember the book, The Secret?  Of course you do. The premise went like this: “Envision yourself living in an abundance of love, money, health, (or anything else you fervently desire) and you will automatically attract all of it.”

For months I walked around acting “as if.” I was this bestselling author, so utterly revered and famous that I couldn’t be bothered picking up the phone to deal with all the producers clamoring to adapt my latest intriguing novel into a thrilling movie.

Maybe I playacted this scenario a little too realistically and the frustrated filmmakers gave up on reaching me, contacting Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl!) instead.

Maybe, but somehow I doubt it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well when my expectations are raised through the roof (because roofs can leak!) and the reality never lives up to the vivid pictures in my head.

A garage sale box was too good of a fate for my wretched copy of The Secret. That’s how much I detested its disappointing promising pages.

Besides deep down I believed there was somebody “up there” who had it in for me and made sure I never got what I wanted. I just knew this was true. The proof?  I always yearned for a daughter (the premise of my novel but don’t order it because it really IS the worst writing you’ll ever read. 😉 ) but I kept giving birth to sons (three in a row) so one day I decided to fool the Gender Granting Gods and instead I prayed, “Please bestow upon me just one more boy … so they can have a foursome on the golf course!” The result?  You guessed it!  My first daughter was finally born. Aha! I tricked you, Universe!

Therefore I will now write a sequel to The Secret and call it, “The Terces!” (George Costanza will be my publisher because he also believes in opposite thinking, remember?)

No I won’t write that silly book with the backwards title. But I will say this — I was recently in a very serious car accident (ahhh, you’re thinking — finally an explanation for why this post is completely all over the place!) where I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the truck about to barrel into my tiny red Mazda. In that millisecond, I braced myself to die. I anticipated it to be all over for me. When I opened my eyes and saw white puffiness surrounding me, I wasn’t thinking it would turn out to be airbags. For the first few days, I went around announcing to everyone that I was the luckiest person in the world to have come through an accident like that. Until someone said, “If you’re really so fortunate, why were you involved in a serious crash like that in the first place?”

Perspective.

Are we talking something as simple as optimistic, pessimistic, and realistic here? Do you drink from a glass that is half full or half empty? Or do you just believe glasses can shatter and reach for plastic cups instead? Are you Tigger or Eeyore? Oscar the Grouch or Elmo? Gilligan or the Skipper? Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton?  (Okay, that last pair was just to see if you’re still hanging around here, reading the worst writing ever!)

But now it’s time to take my version of the Stupidest quiz in the world.

Where are you on the Sliding Scale of Expectations?

  1. When you walk into your home after a long day of work are you expecting: a) Smiling guests to pop out from behind the furniture and curtains shouting, “Surprise!” because they missed your last birthday? b) Drawers and cupboards chaotically opened, jewelry missing, and your dog chewing on the soup bone that the burglars distracted him with? c) Ketchup, mustard, mayo, and tartar sauce to be all that’s in the fridge, but that’s okay because you have a craving for Condiment Casserole.
  2. When you post your new writing on WordPress are you expecting: a) These paragraphs are golden, baby! Stats are gonna spin wildly around like the increasing cents on the display when you put gas in your car. b) Nobody will read your words. c) Why do you assume everyone on WordPress is writing their heart out, Stephanie? I’m a photographer here!
  3. When you go out on a blind date, are you expecting: a) Chariots of Fire music to play as you race to the bed the alter. b) To be stood up. c) What era are you from? We date online. Besides there’s controversy over using the word, “blind” now.

That’s it. That’s my entire test. And I’m not giving you a key to interpret what your answers mean either. I warned you in advance that it would be a really stupid test!

And this time you’re inclined to agree, aren’t you?

Dear Reader: Do you have high expectations, (believing in the laws of attraction?) or do you lower them so you’ll avoid disappointment? And quick (no googling!) who said, “Reality . . . What a concept!”bfjznz7igaathtu

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