Guess Who?

photo (15)Remember the game where you snuck up behind an unsuspecting individual, covered their eyes and shrieked, “Guess who?” If your tuna smelling fingers didn’t give you away, your friend could whip their face around, instantly revealing your identity.

But suppose you could touch someone while staying incognito indefinitely?

Anonymous has been a presence that’s figured prominently throughout my life. Here’s how:

  •  In 2nd grade, a pretty and popular girl in my class received cards throughout the school semester from “Your Secret Pal.” You know those cutesy, colorful ones with little kittens or teddy bears saying things like, “Although you may not know my name, I think you’re terrific just the same!” She barely stopped to read them before running off to play dodge-ball because she was team captain. “Your Secret Pal” was probably shy, couldn’t spell anonymous, and was always chosen last.


  •  In 5th grade drama class, an unsigned note was placed on the teacher’s desk nominating me for the part of Dorothy. The ruby shoes were too small, so alas that juicy role went to Becky with the petite feet.


  • In middle school, lengthy letters were turned into the principal’s office, citing full names of students who were smoking marijuana in the bushes after school. Anonymous obviously did not want to be known as a ratfink.


  • In a college suggestion box for the university’s literary magazine, two stories were submitted as “Author Unknown.” One was published without credit or a bio. Anonymous must’ve thought the writing was either too awful or too fantastic to attach a name.


  • In my early 20’s, various anonymous tips were given to the local police department. One led to an apprehension of the thief who abandoned stolen cars. Being a Good Samaritan was dangerous.


  • In my late 20’s, I volunteered on a suicide hotline. On my night off, my co-worker answered the phone to a depressed caller who described fantasizing various ways of dying. The call was lost before logging in a name.


  • In my early 30’s for three Valentine Days in a row, several of my divorced girlfriends received boxes of chocolate marshmallow hearts left on their doorstep minus a card. They were cheered.


  • In my mid 30’s, a bouquet of red roses was delivered to our home on my birthday. It was signed “From Your Secret Admirer.” After a jealous tirade, my husband took up the new hobby of finally sending me flowers. Daffodils were his thing. One year he forgot our anniversary, but when a heart traced into the dust on my car’s windshield suddenly appeared, he was jolted back into the routine.


  • In my late 30’s, Anonymous attended 12 step programs. There was one for Eating Disorders, Emotions, Love & Sex, Codependency, and Addictive Personalities. Anonymous sat in the back and rarely spoke.


  • In my early 40’s, a therapist friend of mine mentioned she got a frantic email from an account she didn’t recognize, confessing an inability to take care of young children properly. She considered calling her supervisor or a social service bureau but there was no contact information.


  • In my mid 40’s, before caller ID, a lot of my married friends received anonymous phone calls with eerie silence. Anonymous probably wanted to hear what went on in their household during the few seconds before they hung up. Or was curious if husband and wife would accuse one another of having an affair.


  • In my late forties, anonymous donations were made to various charities. Children’s organizations, animal rescues, breast cancer were a few. Or a local theatre because Anonymous seemed to support the arts. Perhaps Anonymous thought the amounts were embarrassingly small. Or was worried they were large enough that other people would ask to borrow money.


  • In my mid-forties, Anonymous left fliers under doormats on cul-de-sacs, suggesting someone start a Neighborhood Watch program. I guess Anonymous didn’t want to be that someone.


  • In my late-forties, our large city newspaper published some anonymous letters to the editor taking a strong stand on issues ranging from childhood vaccinations to guns. Anonymous hates confrontation.


  • In the last year, comments from “Nobody” have occasionally surfaced on my humor blog. They generally single out a line of dialogue that’s hilarious or refer to me as The Queen of Comedy. They are never EVER unfavorable.


  • Now that I’m 50, Anonymous feels the need to claim accountability for more things. A cleansing of the soul, you might call it. An owning up to the past. All things neutral, good, bad or just plain odd.

Anonymous is responsible for six children, an aging mother, a home, a dog named Lola, a car, and a writing career. It’s about time Anonymous took responsibility for herself, don’t you think?


I’ve Dropped So Many Eaves – – I Need an Entire New Roof!

I know, I know…Awful Title. But “Confessions of an Eavesdropper” seems to be way overdone. And I feel the need to come clean, (maybe purge some guilt?) about my past transgressions before a certain consequential birthday hits me in March.

“Hello. My name is ‘Little Miss Menopause’ and I’m a Snoopaholic.” (No, I am not obsessed with Charlie Brown’s dog.) Unfortunately, I have listened in on so many phone calls, read so many diaries, pressed my ear to so many walls, and glimpsed so many text messages that even a 12 step program cannot help me now. Besides I’d probably just spy on my “Higher Power.”

Next Stop…Eavesdrop!

I believe this obsession started unintentionally, dare I say even innocently? Back when landline phones adorned every kitchen wall, and those phones had other attached phones connected to the same line (called “Extensions” for you youngsters) in faraway upstairs bedrooms – – where eavesdropping could easily happen quite accidentally. Well let’s just say if you were ten years old, listened to a certain radio station where you simply HAD to be the sixth caller when the DJ played a sound-clip of The Fonz grunting, “Heeeeyyyyyy” (so you could win tickets to the County Fair) you might suddenly snatch up the receiver and . . .and…. instead of finding out you’re going to the fair, find out your older sister is actually HAVING an affair.

“What was that? Did you just hear a click like someone picked up the other line? We better hang up now, just in case. I love you, Alan…”

Of course there was only one thing for me to do the next day….

And the miniature key was right in the little padlock!

“Dear Diary,

Today Alan kissed me and then confessed to being a married man. This is so Marsha Brady/Dr. Dentist-like! (Oh God! I had just watched that Brady Bunch episode with her last week!) He gave me a locket and told me to wear it under my blouse and never show it to anyone. But today I noticed my ten-year-old sister staring at the chain. (I had been staring at her boobs, wondering about my own.) She is so obnoxious. And fat too. Gotta go study, Diary… (Nooo! Right at the best part?) college finals are a bitch.

It’s Not Always About You. (Yes It Is!)

Wait, forget the affair. So now I was fat?? This was news to me. Obnoxious I knew, but how many pounds did I need to lose? That was the day I learned something very important. You never really know what others truly think about you unless you eavesdrop.

I’m not trying to justify my actions, but don’t most people do this sort of thing to dig up dirt on others? From that moment on, I just wanted to find out the truth about MYSELF. Make sure I was living in the real world. I was dying to know what else was being kept from me.

The next day I played at a neighbor’s house (twin girls a year older than me) and decided to try a little experiment. In the middle of playing Barbies, (nobody ever calls Barbie “fat” behind her back!) I excused myself on the pretense of needing to use the bathroom. I made sure my footsteps could be heard stomping down the hall, then silently tiptoed back to listen through their bedroom door.

“She smells like tuna.”
“I know. And she always wears her hair in that stupid fat braid.” Great, now my hair was chubby too.
“Let’s tell her we have a piano lesson and can’t play anymore.”

They should just have an “Evil Twin” lesson and call it a day.

Sheesh, this was a terrific week for my self-esteem. But now I was completely hooked.

I Was All Ears Thru The Years!

As the years passed, I fine-tuned my nosiness. When I was dating my soon-to-be fiance, we went to a party at his brother’s house so he could introduce me to some of his buddies and even his parents were invited. I was nervous but as the evening wore on, I seized the moment on their couch to sort of “drift-off.” Uh huh. I had a glass of wine. Hey, it could happen! And I was a good actress, earning high marks in Fake Sleeping 101.

“So….what do you think of her?”


“She’s pretty nice. I’d say she’s a slight improvement over Vanessa.” Vanessa? Who the hell was Vanessa? Don’t blink, don’t blink.

“But does she always wear her hair like Farrah Fawcett?” Man, I can’t seem to win in the hair department!

“Well Michael, I’ll say this – – If you’re really gonna propose to this one, make sure she knows I get Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Her side of the family can do Groundhogs Day and Washington’s birthday. Oh and I get Christmas Eve too.” A control freak future mother-in-law?

“Ma, she’s Jewish.”

“Really? But she doesn’t have the big nose.” An ignorant, anti-semitic, control freak future mother-in-law. No thanks.

After that, I got much more daring with my “detective skills.” Once in my thirties, after a horrible fight with my married sister, I got the idea to telephone her home but then not say a word when she answered. I figured maybe I’d get to overhear her using some choice words about me to her husband. How could it hurt?

She answered on the third ring, sounding like she’d been crying. Wow, I guess our fight upset her more than I realized.

“Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?! I can hear you breathing. Bitch.”

Silence. What juicy tidbit would I find out about me now? Maybe they think I’m a horrible cook, my kids are brats…or…

“Alan, why don’t you tell your Mistress to stop calling our home at night before the children are in bed.”

Silence. Wow. Talk about full circle. I sadly hung up.

Snoopology Technology!

But then came email. And text messaging. And Facebook. A veritable SnoopFest Smorgasbord.

In fact, it’s thanks to an unprotected password on my sister’s cell phone that last week I saw an entire text conversation about my big upcoming birthday that I mentioned above. (Okay, okay….I’m going to be fifty soon, blech.) And there’s going to be a surprise party. Or there would have been a surprise party. But now I know everything. Maybe I can pretend?

You’ll be happy to know that today I finally got my comeuppance. Unbeknownst to me, as I sat in the beauty salon, (I must’ve jostled my sweater pocket) my cell phone somehow stealthily dialed my sister. And can you believe she listened spellbound to my entire conversation with the manicurist, even overhearing me describe which dress I would be wearing to my own surprise party? And now, well now my birthday has been cancelled.

My name is Little Miss Menopause and I’m a Snoopaholic. Thank you.

PS. If I leave this blog right now, are you going to talk about me in the comments section??

PPS. Yeah, my hairstyle is still stuck in the 70’s.