Wild Statistical Fantasies — Where Do Yours Fit In?

Yes, this title is an intentionally deceptive word ploy to get my blog ranked higher in the search engine optimization. This piece will not list the percentage of American women who fantasize about seducing an officer of the law. Nor will it mention dominating or submitting, unless it’s submitting writing. In fact it isn’t sexual in nature at all and the tame fantasies are actually just my own. They occur when I scrutinize my blogging statistics each day and detect a huge peak in a specific category or a tremendous amount of referred readers coming in from Facebook or LinkedIn or another source. My imagination runs amuck…

4 Common Fantasies Induced by My Stats:

Literary Representation! — I’ve been discovered! This fantasy gets spurred on when I get a lot of extra activity on my short story section or my stats with the keyword “hilarious” have uncharacteristically spiked. Particularly when I discern extra readers are all surfing in from a site called “Agent Search.” In reality, my brother is an insurance agent and has a link to my blog for his clients to get a laugh after they’ve crashed their car or had a roof leak. But since this is my personal fantasy, it goes like this: A bored fiction agent who reps well known horror authors (think Stephen King and R.L. Stine) needs a break from all the blood, guts, gore, and murders. He casually Googles, “Quirky Humor Bloggers Who Write About Gone With The Wind” and that’s it! One glance is all it takes. The rest is history. From the moment he lands on the front page of my blog he’s in stitches and it’s definitely not from a stabbing. He’s riveted by my hysterical tagline, the witty titles of my menu categories, and spends inordinate amounts of evening hours reading each blog entry to the point his wife suspects he’s having an affair. “Yes, yes, you have me hooked from your opening line!” and “Oh my god…that’s the perfect climax!” are shouted from inside his closed home office door.  The next sound you hear is my phone ringing as he rehearses what he’ll say to convince me to sign a three book contract as the next Erma Bombeck. I’ll hesitate for a moment, letting him think there’s a bidding war for my comedic talent, but eventually acquiesce when he offers royalties on lunchpails and a Barbie Doll likeness with the exact hairstyle as my Facebook Profile.

High School Quarterback Returns! — This fantasy is vividly inspired when certain categories like “Relationships” and “Love” and “The One That Got Away” zoom off the charts in my stats section.  I imagine my old high school crush has accidentally stumbled into my blog and reads my post about our yearbook. He reminisces about football games and how I endearingly clapped and screamed for him to throw a touchdown from the stands. Why didn’t he look beyond the gorgeous cheerleaders on the sidelines to see that I also had a nice pair of fluffy pom-poms? Regrets of asking the Marcia Brady lookalike to homecoming dance will plague him as he recalls 9th grade Intro to Creative Writing with Mrs. Lyndahl reading aloud my short story titled, “If Chocolate Chip Cookies Could Talk!” and how he scoffed about baked goods coming to life, causing me to sob in the girl’s locker room. He emails me (using information from my “Hire Me To Humor You” page) apologizing profusely, then asks me out as his prom date. After I vindictively tell him I have absolutely zero recollection of who he is, I am call-waited by Mattel to pose for my new barbie doll and then the envious wife of the literary agent calls, insisting on knowing how many times her husband has sent me roses?

Parent Trap!: This fantasy only occurs when certain posts I’ve written about my childhood are repeatedly perused in my stats. Even though I only have one brother, suddenly a familiar looking girl leaves a comment on my blog insinuating we are related and in fact she believes we share the exact same genetics! Apparently she was put up for adoption to a poor family because after I was born, our parents realized that daughters were just hormonal nightmares who cost lots of $$ with orthodontists, gynecologists, and dermatologists and so they could only afford to raise just one. We proceed to make plans to attend the same summer camp and then discreetly switch homes afterwards.

Law Suit!: (I never claimed my fantasies were always fun or exciting.) This terrifying scenario comes on after I notice that my stats are soaring for a certain popular picture I used long ago to illustrate a past blog post.  Why would so many people be looking at this particular picture all at the same time?? Suddenly fear strikes deep in my heart as I realize I inadvertently forgot (okay I was lazy!) to acknowledge copyright info or give credit to the photographer. And now somehow she’s entered her photo into Google Search Images and it came up that my blog is featuring HER masterpiece without any attribution. That grave injustice (combined with the fact that I am the one who grew up with parents who cared that I had an overbite, acne medication, and regular pap smears) fuels my long-lost sister to take me to court. An example is made out of me for all the bloggers who blatantly steal copyrighted images and I’m prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Even smiling coyly while trying to seduce the arresting police officer doesn’t prevent me from getting taken to jail. (In fact he tightens the handcuffs.) I only get one phone call and it’s to my literary agent to bail me out with a hefty book advance, but the call is intercepted by his insanely jealous wife who refuses to let me speak to him and instead forwards me to my old crush, the high school quarterback — and of course now he doesn’t remember me from Adam. Except since this is still MY fantasy, his youngest daughter begs for a popular lunch box and every day that his ugly, old, former cheerleader wife makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he fantasizes about making love to the female author whose likeness is now prominently celebrated on his daughter’s brand new trademarked lunchpail.

Readers: What nutty fantasies has your Stats Section inspired?

 

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Here’s Something You Should NEVER Try in Marriage!

I’m currently divorced, but this doesn’t mean I don’t have a tale to tell about marriage…

“The Perfect Pair For You!” my cellphone advertised.  I covered up this headline quickly when my husband (at the time) walked into the room, so he wouldn’t see the screen and make snide remarks about my buying more shoes. Too late!

“I’m not looking for footwear,” I quickly reassured him. “Oh,” he said suddenly very interested. “Heh heh. Perfect Pair. You thinking of doing some upstairs remodeling? D or DD?”

“Shut up!” I shouted, hurling my Smartphone at him, which is always a good idea to distract from the topic at hand with your spouse (insures you get a long lecture about how cell insurance doesn’t cover abuse) Didn’t work. Eyebrows raised suspiciously.

Me: Okay, alright. Not that kind of Pair. I’m searching for a couple.

My Husband: A couple of what?

Me: A Couple. Period. Another couple for us to hang out and do fun things with. They have websites for that kind of thing now — syncing us up with the perfect pair of husband and wife friends.

My Husband: (incredulous You’re finding us a “Frarried?”

Me: A what now?

My Husband:(Smirks) Aren’t you supposed to be the witty one with words?  I just combined Friends and Married and got “Frarried.” Bwahaha!  I should be the Creative Writer in this house.”

Me: Perfect. In our new profile under “Interesting Tidbits About Hubby,” I’m gonna add, “Feels threatened so competes with wife in really strange ways.”

My Husband: Be sure and also write, “Must like hotdogs. And the Yankees. And Heineken and …”

Me: Excuse me! But this isn’t “Buddies N’ Ball N’ Beer” Match-Ups. This is for both of us, Mister. Besides I think we’ll make a great Scrabble team against another couple. So just forget about baseball.

Fast forward to our first “Date” with Couple Number One.

Me: Nice house y’all have. So how long have you two been searching for um, for lack of a better term, “Friend Mates?”

My Husband: Or “Frates?” Or “Mends?” Haha!  Betcha you guys can’t think up a better word combo than those?

Other Husband: Wow. You really ARE insecure and competitive, aren’t you? You’re on, Pal. Break out our Scrabble board, Ruth!

Ruth: I’m on it right now, Babe!

My Husband: (Suddenly nervous, still hoping for a sports night) Uh, unless you have a couple of catcher’s mitts and bats?

Me: (glaring) Oh no you don’t. No baseball talk.  So….Babe and Ruth — how long are you married?

Husband: (Ears perk up.) Babe Ruth?

Fast Forward To Our Drive Home

Me: Clearly we have to work on your social skills. The “How about we get to 3rd base tonight!” line was what got us thrown out.

My Husband: Just a little baseball humor. And you shouldn’t talk.

Me: What?? It’s normal to ask how long a couple has been married.

My Husband: Not when they blatantly announce they enjoy an exciting affair.

Me: I thought they meant a Fair. As in suggesting we all go to a fun carnival.

My Husband: Yeah, I see your point.  I mean seriously, who starts an exciting affair but gets so sick and tired and bored with being alone together that they go online looking for other couple friends? That’s just plain weird. I mean for us, it makes total sense, but…

Me: What does THAT mean???

My Husband: Nothing. But for our next new married best friends, can you find a husband and wife who are faithful? To each other.

Fast Forward to Couple Number Two

Me: Happy 51st anniversary! That’s a nice, long marriage. But I coulda sworn your ad said you were married for 15 years?

Wife: Howard says that’s my dyslexia, but I really just need new glasses.

Me: So which one of you loves to surf?

Wife: That would be Howard again. But he surfs the web. I just wanted to make it sound like he was more active.

My Husband: So which one of you is Howard??

Me: (Elbowing husband roughly in the gut.) So which one of you bowls?

Howard: We both put ice-cream in bowls, right Chunky Monkey?

Wife: That’s right, Rocky Road!

Me: And right here, your profile says someone is really into DIY?

Howard: Dessert In Yogurt! That’s right. The little wifey here is a wild thing. Always dunking her “Donuts In Yogurt.”

Wife: Not just Donuts. I’m daring!  “DIY” can stand for “Danish In Yogurt” too. Or I can even dip Devil’s food cuz that starts with D also.

Me: DIY. And here I always thought that meant “Do It Yourself?”

Wife: Oh it does! This is strictly a solo project.  Howard never helps me dip.

My Husband: Yeah, that’d just make Howard the Big Dip! Bwahaha.

Fast Forward to Our Drive Home

Me: You’re so creative with words….you couldn’t have said, “the Big Dipper?” instead? That could’ve been passed off as sightly amusing and we might’ve gotten to stay and cream that old fogie couple in Scrabble!

My Husband: Hmph. Some long-term married people can be so touchy.

Me: Alright here’s the new approach. Since I’m obviously the better half of our equation, I’ll make friends first with a married woman and get her liking me a lot. Then I’ll lower the boom and mention I have a goofy husband who could use a new friend too. And I’ll suggest we double-date with her hubby. Got it?

My Husband: Perfect. Then you two wives go shopping and the husband and I will go to a baseball game.

           Fast Forward To Our Divorce!

Readers: Is it THIS difficult for you to find couples as friends? Tell me in the comments! And just go right HERE if you’re brave enough to shop for other Couple Friends online . . . “Frouples!”

 

Judy Blume . . . My New Best Friend!

 

It all started when I heard rumors that  Judy Blume (every girl’s favorite childhood author and someone I became obsessed with in the 1970’s!) was teaching an online MastersClass. (You know those internet courses you pay to sign up for that are taught by famous people?)

Now at first I thought my sister-in-law (a Judith Bloom!) was playing one of her usual tricks on me once again.  She’s a practical joker and has had name envy her entire life, wishing she could be the one making all the money from those best-selling teenage novels about girls’ developing bodies and their first boy crushes. Well guess what? I wasn’t falling for it this time!

So when I logged onto the website, there was the REAL Judy Blume smiling kindly at me from a photograph — and that’s when I first sensed it — our private, special, one-on-one connection.

Judy’s compassionate expression from her picture beckoned, “Come on Stephanie D. Lewis, just sign up for my class and I’ll make you the Teacher’s Pet!” I even detected her winking conspiratorially at me during a video while I became mesmerized by her paperback book-covers flashing hypnotically across the screen. But when I replayed it, I couldn’t exactly swear to that.

Disregarding that old adage, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach,” (This is Judy Blume we are talking about, after all!!) I studied the fine print carefully; “Judy will hold regular office hours, critiquing select students’ work and sending her personal feedback.” I could just see it now! Choosing me, (over all her thousands of other pupils) we’d bond over her charming knack for writing about menstruation — and my odd ability to pen blogs about menopause.

My first email to Ms. Blume would shout in the subject title, “Are you there, Judy? It’s Me, Stephanie!” (Yep, I’d totally go there!) She’d giggle, impressed how I stood out from her other humdrum students by referencing her most popular novel of all time. And then upon Judy’s friendly prompt response, I’d mention our further commonality as chocoholics. After all — she named her character ‘Fudge’ in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and I (a Fifth Grade Zero!) had named our family poodle ‘Cocoa” as a direct result of reading that book.  Of course, this only encouraged our house guests to indulge Cocoa with numerous Hershey’s Kisses — eventually killing her, because dogs shouldn’t ingest chocolate. But I’d reassure Judy I never once held her accountable for this misfortune and she’d reply, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee to make up for your tragic loss and discuss how you’re gonna follow in my famous footsteps.”

Now lemme briefly pause here to say that when email interactions don’t go as well as one imagines — an experienced writer (like myself!) knows how to:

a) Reframe — Of course Judy’s eyes were hurting from overzealously reading all my compelling writing samples, so she’s napping today, but she’ll reach out to me first thing tomorrow.  b) Have a Plan B — Call Ms. Blume directly on her personal landline, demonstrating exemplary student initiative!

And what a creative plan B this would be! After Judy’s voicemail plays and I hear the beep, I resist calling her “Judge Judy” and instead belt out the Beatles, “Hey Jude!” That oughta do the trick. But as I sing the “na na nana na na’s” that end the famous lyrics, a robotic voice interrupts me, “Are you satisfied with your message or do you wish to re-record?” Thinking it sounds cheesy, I’ll press delete and launch into my Cary Grant impersonation exclaiming, “Judy, Judy, Judy! Let’s do lunch, baby.” There!

I’ll follow that call up with personally delivering a large bouquet of flowers onto Judy’s front doorstep (in Key West, Florida) with some really clever wordplay. The card says, “Here’s every “bloom” I could find in honor of my new BFF Judy “Blume” and our “blossoming” friendship!”

As I sink further into this magical reverie, a notification on my cellphone rudely alerts me, “We are sorry to inform you that Ms. Blume’s writing course has been permanently cancelled due to her vivid premonitions of a crazy, fanatical fan stalking her!”

Extraordinarily disappointed, I’ll let myself in thru the backdoor of her home (that she’ll have given me the key to during our coffee date) and find her sitting inconsolably on her living room couch, where I’ll immediately put my arm around her shoulders and whisper soothingly, “There, there, Judy. I know it’s extremely challenging possessing the kind of overactive writers’ imaginations that we both do! But we’ll get through this. Together.”

It’s only then that I’ll glimpse the cellphone cancellation notice is originating from . . . Judith Bloom. Drats….my impish sister-in-law has managed to get me again!

Judy need only ask me once, and I’ll help her title ALL her books!

The GPS Lady is Our New Magic 8-Ball !!

For decades many New-Age people have claimed that the universe sends us signs — if only we’d just tune in and pay more attention. They claim that finding feathers indicates our guardian angels are frolicking nearby and a fork-in-the-road symbolizes an important decision will need to be made. And I always scoffed, “Sure! Right! Whatever.”

Until the one fateful day this past December when I started getting profound messages (and spiritual guidance!) from the Modern Digital World. I’m not kidding! It all began rather innocently. Just like this . . .

WALKING WONDERS!

I tried to cross the street at a busy intersection while debating what to do about my unsatisfying relationship. “Should I break up with my boyfriend now or delay things until after the holidays?” I wondered aloud, while pressing the crosswalk button. Immediately the light turned red and an emphatic male robotic voice reiterated over and over again, “Wait! Wait! Wait! . . . Wait!” Startled, I looked around at the halted pedestrians patiently anticipating the traffic signal to turn and grinned broadly, realizing I had just saved a $200 therapy session. “Of course I should wait,” I mused. “After all, he might put a terrific present under the tree this year.” Never mind that we’re both Jewish.

CAR CODES!

Inside my Mazda, I caught a glimpse of my mousy brown hair in the rear-view mirror and for the umpteenth time that day contemplated, “Should I dye it blonde or go with auburn highlights?” Without missing a beat, my GPS lady wisely advised, “Take the Highlighted route.” Well, that settles that! (I guess blondes will just have to have more fun without me.) Gosh, this woo-woo stuff was actually pretty cool.

Thinking of my boyfriend waiting for me in bed, I started to connect my cellphone to my Bluetooth when it instantly blurted out, “Ready to Pair!” Well I wouldn’t go that far, but I was feeling a bit aroused at the thought of him shopping for my Chanukah present. Maybe there was something to this, “Getting Messages From Beyond” thing after all?

As I pulled into the parking lot of my next destination, I wondered if I would ever get to a place in my writing career where I would finally achieve real success? “You have arrived!” exclaimed the GPS lady enthusiastically. “Really?” I flushed with excitement. (Now if only my publisher saw it that way and sent me on a lavish book tour.)

CHECK-OUT CHARMS!

Using the self-checkout kiosk in Target, I had to admit to feeling pretty self-conscious about my appearance lately, particularly since I hadn’t been sleeping well and the skin under my eyes appeared swollen and puffy. After swiping my credit card, I entered information into the keyboard indicating I would use my own totes to carry away my purchases. “You have zero bags!” the machine comforted me. Blushing, I thanked it for the compliment on my complexion.

My next errand was clothes shopping. As I waited in the long line to pay for shirts for my boyfriend, I wondered how on earth I would know which register would be available first? Immediately a seductive computerized voice loudly announced over the P.A. system, “Cashier number 3, please!” Wow! The Electronic World certainly does have all of life’s answers! I made a mental note to set-up The Checkstand Lady Voice with The Crosswalk Man Voice, who was so diligent at his 10-9-8-7 countdown while I strode across the street. It would be a match made in digital heaven. And now I was eager to see what psychic information would come across next from another device!

MAYTAG MARVELS!

As I piled the dirty towels into the front-loading machine in my laundry room, my thoughts drifted to a possible pregnancy. My period had been erratic and it was getting rather challenging to predict. “What’s my monthly going to be like?” I asked aloud. The washer was quick to reassure me there was nothing to worry about by lighting up the control-panel with, “Normal Cycle!” Thank goodness — I was getting way too old to change diapers.

NETWORK NUANCES!

Even text messages on this special day became uncannily spiritual. Feeling stressed, I contemplated what kind of self-care I should do? Perhaps meditation or maybe a long walk on the beach? Just then I replied to my friend’s request for a good pizza parlor, prompting her to text back, “TY!” Normally I knew this acronym was just a typical social nicety, expressing gratitude. However on this unique day, I somehow recognized it didn’t stand for “Thank You,” but instead my smartphone was now an algorithm guru telling me in secret language to “Take Yoga!”

Next I made the decision to create a cool new self-image on social media. I changed my User Name, put up a hip new profile pic, then sent friend requests to all the buddies of my adult kids so I could become popular with the younger in-crowd. Upon acceptance, many of them greeted me back with a timely acronym, “WTF!” This was unbelievable! What were the odds?? Every single millennium was warmly communicating back to me, “Welcome To Facebook!”

EXTRAORDINARY ENDINGS!

Before I fell asleep that evening, I called out to Alexa, “Please wake me up at my usual time.” And she ominously confirmed back to me, “You will become Alarmed at 7 am.”  Wow. Just wow.

The next morning I was eager to tune back in to my Digital Universe of Guidance, but nothing seemed to be working. When Siri asked how she could help me, the Yelp Chinese restaurant review she directed me to was rather ordinary. Google merely gave me a synonym for “intelligent” that was actually rather dumb. My Voicemail wouldn’t play back any new messages from my boyfriend for me on my phone. And even WordPress had no wisdom to impart. At first I thought, “Status: Draft!” meant that the U.S. military would be mandatorily inducting young boys into the army again, but nope — it just meant it had saved the silly blog post I wasn’t too sure about publishing.

Sadly, all the magic emanating from my digital world had abruptly ceased. Where had it all gone? “Appliance Reliance” had turned into “Appliance Defiance.” And I was simply left with only my “Inner Navigational System” to rely on, which I now refer to as M.O.M — “My Own Mind.”

But perhaps this 24-hour accounting of unusual events will somehow help someone else out there obtain sudden flashes of intuition from their technological interactions?

Please leave me a divine comment from your mystical Apple Watch to let me know if that’s the case!

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

Have You Self-Improved So Much that Now You Suck?

All the psychologists and marriage counselors know to flock to my garage sales because every few months my living-room shelves sag with the extreme weight of hundreds of self-help books (ranging from having better relationships to communicating more effectively to figuring out if you’re addicted to self-help books!) and so I put every single paperback and hardbound copy on the front lawn with a sign, “Take All My “Fix Yourself” Books For $500.”  Oh! I’m not selling them for that price, I’m actually willing to pay someone that amount to haul them the heck off my property.

In addition to reading scads of these books, I participate in dozens of self-improvement courses, programs, classes, groups, meetings, and listen to Ted-Talks and podcasts. And this is where all of this SELF studying has gotten me today.  Have a listen!

SUPPORT GROUP SOCIALIZATION

ME: Wow, that was a great discussion you facilitated today. I got a lot out of it.

LEADER: People-Pleasing!

ME: No, I just meant it was perfect for me.

LEADER: Perfectionism!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry.  I appreciate you pointing this stuff out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying those kind of things!

LEADER: Catastrophization!

ME: Oops, you’re right. I just really want you to like me.

LEADER: Not everybody is always going to like you, you just have to accept that.

ME: Yes, how does that go again? Let’s see…”What other people think of me is none of my business?” Is that right?

LEADER: Approval-Seeking!

ME: Oh now this is getting kinda silly, don’t you think? Just tell me if I said it correctly.

LEADER: Controlling!

ME: Oops, I guess that kinda was. So how are you? You mentioned last week you were getting over a cold.

LEADERS: Boundaries!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep, I was truly concerned. I’ll just keep my big, fat mouth shut from here on in and then maybe you’ll be happy.

LEADER: Self-Deprecating AND Passive Aggressive!

ME: I am soooooo sorry.

Leader: Overly apologetic!

As I leaned in to give her an “I’m not upset” hug goodbye, she whispered “Co-Dependent!” into my ear.

While I went about the rest of my day, I decided that two can play at the psychobabble game! And this time it would be to my advantage.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE AT SON’S MIDDLE SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL: We’d like to discuss with you what we foresee after graduation when your son starts high school.

ME: Oh!  I’m sorry but I only live in the present moment.

PRINCIPAL: Really?!  Well, don’t you think you should think about the fact that he’s not passing several classes at this point and he should have a tutor.

ME: Watch those “should” statements. Always substitute “Could” for “Should.”

PRINCIPAL: Alright. Could you conceive of your son failing biology, history, and math? Because every single one of his teachers Could.

ME: Magnification!

PRINCIPAL: Well, what’s your plan as a mother to cope with your son not graduating?

ME: I’ll just “ACT AS IF” he’s graduating. Haven’t you read The Secret? You really should.

PRINCIPAL: I suppose I Could.

I flounced out of his office and went straight to the bank to secure a loan. When the teller went to shake my hand, I pointed out that he might want to deal with his attachment issues.

FIRST AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSAL WORLDLY BANK

ME: Let me start out by clearly setting my intentions. I am here to borrow money. Dollar signs have also been placed on my vision board.

TELLER: Your what board? Never mind. So you say you’d like some extra cash for Home Improvement? Can you be more specific?

ME: Boundaries, please!  Let’s just say I’ve given up on Self-Improvement.

TELLER: (odd look) I see. Gosh, Miss Menopause, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you today.

ME: You’re in denial!

TELLER: That’s a river in Egypt.

ME: Humor Defense Mechanism! Let’s unpack what’s making you so uncomfortable about this issue, shall we?

TELLER:  I am required to ask you certain questions and I’m also accountable for deciding if you’re a good risk. It’s a lot of responsibility for me.

ME: Narcissism! It’s not always about you.

TELLER: You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been at such a total loss before, like I am right this very moment.

ME: Reclaim your power!

TELLER: Ok. You’ll either need to respond directly to my questions or immediately leave the premises.

ME: Black & White Thinking!

And with that I raced home to practice my relaxation and meditation. My kids were in for a treat because I challenged myself to see how many times I could (NOT should!) use the word “Mindful,” which was how my yoga instructor told us we should approach life.

FAMILY TIME

SON: What’s for dinner?

ME: Do you think you can go one morning without asking that idiotic question? It’s enough to make me lose my ever-loving Mind-ful!

DAUGHTER: What do you think of my new dance routine? Do you like the music?

ME: please! Do you Mind-ful?? I’m trying to relax right now and that godawful song is blasting!

DAUGHTER: Can you at least tell me what you think of my new outfit?

ME: It’s wintertime. I have a good Mind-ful to let you freeze to death in those skimpy shorts.

SON: Gosh, whadya think is up with Mom today??

ME: Will you both just Mind-ful your own darn business?!!

At that point I gave up completely and wisely switched from meditation to medication. Forget Self-Help. What a difference in my life just a single letter can make!

READERS:  Are you, or do you know someone else who is overdosing on Self-Help Stuff? Leave me a comment if this strikes a chord and then God help us all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Ex Back (Even If You Don’t Want Them Back!)

Wait a sec. . . I think my title is supposed to say, “Getting Your Ex Back (Even If THEY Don’t Want to Come Back!”) But either way, it makes as much sense!

Hey! Did you know that . . .

the “Reunite With Your Ex!” industry is thriving!

Not a day goes by I don’t get an email shouting, “8 Ways To Make Your Ex Beg To Reconcile!” or “10 Phrases To Text That Will Make Your Ex Realize They Made a Huge Mistake!” or “How To Get Your Ex Back And Ignore All the Valid Reasons You Broke Up With Him in the First Place.”

And my personal favorite, “How To Lure Your Ex Back Without Looking Like a Psycho!”

Last week I sat at a cocktail table with my girlfriend Tiffany (Yes, Stephanie and Tiffany — it’s beyond precious!) at a Mix N’ Mingle event when she immediately burst into tears lamenting, “Why am I here? I just want him back. I’d give anything for that to happen.”

Immediately a man in an ugly green tuxedo shirt and suspenders materialized from behind a pillar and launched into a routine so smacking of a vacuum salesman, I anticipated him scattering clumps of dirt on our white linen tablecloth and sucking them up with his expensive sample machine.

“For just $1,000, I’ll have him crawling back before the New Year. He’ll be full of yearning, promises, engagement rings, and offering homemade Key Lime pie.” He danced a little jig as he spoke.

“She hates Key Lime and besides . . . ” I started to say.

“Really? That’s my favorite pie,” he interrupted.

“Then maybe YOU want her ex back?” I winked.

He pretended I wasn’t there, and turned his attentions back to Tiffany, who btw is not the sharpest tool in the box.

“My schemes are guaranteed to have him crawling on hands and knees no matter whom he’s currently frolicking with.”

“He’s frolicking with God,” I stated solemnly.

“OMG, he is??” asked Tiff, incredulously.

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said to Tiffany and then without missing a beat, threw a bunch of mud on our table — at which point she paid him $89.95 for a DustBuster.

“Forget that creep,” I told my friend.

“But I do still love him,” Tiffany protested.

“I meant the jerky salesman, Tiff.  Sheesh, even I have better ideas to get your guy back!”

Suddenly Tiffany had an epiphany! (But again remember — not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.)

“That’s right!  You’re creative!  You can help me. So far all I’ve come up with is losing ten pounds because he’s always hated my muffin-top. I just KNOW you’ll give me advice that will work.”

After reluctantly researching this idiotic topic, I realized there are two contradictory schools of thought. One was basically to disappear completely, because supposedly he’ll miss you terribly and come running back.

And the other is the exact opposite — recommending you definitely do NOT vanish because then he’s liable to develop complete amnesia and forget all about the amazing sex you had on the balcony during your cruise to Alaska. (What? No cruise to Alaska?? Well now we know exactly how to get him back, don’t we? Anchors away, my eskimo friend!) So essentially this technique advocates staying very much on his mind!

Alright so back to my dimwitted friend, Tiffany. I created two index cards outlining each of the very different ways to proceed. Essentially little cheat sheets for Tiff to pick one strategy and then follow it. Easy Peasy.

 

 

 

 

 

But Tiff couldn’t make up her mind which method to try . . .  so of course she utilized them both!

One day she unfriended him from all social media, cancelled every one of her memberships, and changed her phone number/email address. The next day she sprayed her signature perfume on the welcome mat of his front door, requested all radio stations play their favorite song, and had billboards put up on his route to work with pictures of her and another guy. (It was just her twin brother and they’re not identical, so this didn’t blow her ruse.)

She carried on like this for weeks, alternating days of being totally in his face with days of falling off the face of the earth — until I was sure the poor slob didn’t know whether he was coming or going — much less what Tiff was doing!

Meanwhile she also continued her Atkins diet and lost 10 lbs. However one fateful day she discovered he was on a European vacation for three months and the person she’d been seducing back was his 85 year-old grandma who was house-sitting. Not a good plan.

At this ridiculous news, I decided to permanently end my career in the field of “Reconciliation” and  just stick to writing. As a last ditch effort, I suggested that Tiff text him with an offer no man can refuse….having really great Make-Up Sex!

But Tiff claimed that he liked her face au’ naturale, without any mascara or lipstick — so I had to explain the concept.

The next day Tiffany was elated to report his response was, “Yes! But before we have great makeup sex, we need to have a really HUGE tiff.”

It was a Win/Win! Not only did Tiffany think he was referring to her name, but she was also thrilled to increase her calorie intake.

THEY SOOOO DESERVE EACH OTHER!

READERS:  HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DESPERATE TO GET AN EX BACK? WHAT DEPTHS OF DESPAIR DID YOU SINK TO? LEAVE ME A COMMENT!

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!

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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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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