Fifty Shades of Dismay

photo-284

Blogger Renee, in gold lamé  beret (Passé!)

Ate soufflé at buffet (Gourmet!)

Played croquet with fiancé, at Chalet (Feng Shui!)

Drank  blasé  Grand Marnier,  (cliché!)

Read “Eat, Love, Pray” in risqué negligee (where’s fiancé?)

Toilet began to spray – – called housekeeping to convey (naiveté!)

“She Showered in the Bidet!”          (Oy Vey!)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/

 

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The Lame Name Shame Blame Game!

photo-250Could our given names play a large influence in the quality of the lives we lead?  Could the “perfect” Blog name give you an extra boost for success?   I am not setting out to definitively answer these questions, but I am going to probe the issues with my own personal brand of quirkiness!

My own name (Stephanie) was picked right inside the delivery room.  My parents were set on calling me Samantha, but days before I was born, the popular show depicted below was televised and the main character was named (what else?) Samantha.

Maybe I woulda had a 2 inch waist like hers too?!

Maybe I woulda had a 2 inch waist like hers too?!

Plagued with the idea that people would call me a witch, my mother switched it at the last minute.  (I secretly suspect however that it was really her fear of being thought of as “Samantha’s mother, Endora”  Remember her?!)   To this day, I wonder how different my life would have been if I were Samantha instead of Stephanie.  Samantha twitches her nose bewitchingly and casts super cool spells.  Stephanie blows her nose incessantly and sneezes a few times. (For a little extra charm?)

Nowadays, I have six kids of my own.  This means I’ve had half a dozen chances to drive my husband(s) frigging crazy over choosing the “ideal” child’s name.  And rest assured,  I didn’t squander even one opportunity!

Me:  If it’s a boy, I want to name him Mitchell.  It’s not as common as Michael, yet it still sounds “Presidential.”

Husband:  Presidential??

Me:  Yes, when he’s ready to step into that position. But when he’s a baby, we’ll call him “Mitchie.”  Then he can grow into “Mitch” as a teenager.  And finally, when he’s a Senator, he can go by his first and middle name – –  “Mitchell Harrison.”

Husband:  Gotcha.  What’s for dinner?

Me:  No, wait a sec.  It could be a girl!

Husband:  We don’t get to eat supper if it’s a girl?

Me:  If it’s a girl, I love the name Jamie  – – do you remember Helen Hunt’s adorable character in “Mad About You?”  But I don’t want her to be 1 of 8 Jamie’s in her 1st. grade class.  So I have this idea. . .

Husband:  It’s an excellent idea.  Say, Little Jamie’s probably pretty hungry right about now, so whadya say we go grab some Chinese?  Again, wonderful idea!

Me:  You haven’t even heard the idea yet. I want to formally name her Jamisyn.  That way she has a Fallback Name if there are too many Jamie’s in her Kindergarten.  Plus she can go by “Jay-Jay” when she’s a baby and can’t pronounce her own name.  I like names with options.  Don’t you?  What do you think about options?

Husband:  Options are so important.  So would you prefer Chinese or Mexican?

Me:  You’re not paying any attention.  What have you heard?

Husband:  I heard that you want to give our daughter a name that she will not be able to pronounce.

Somehow I was able to bestow all six children with terrific names (including twin boys, ‘Dustin & Benjamin’ that came straight out of the movie The Graduate – – Dustin Hoffman played the character Benjamin Braddock!) that most everyone agreed were unique, but not bizarre.  Beautiful, yet not too cutesy.  And intelligent, yet not too nerdy.

So why couldn’t I think of a name for one simple blog?

You see, I knew about the concept of Branding and even wrote a post about how important it was.  (Check this out if you haven’t read it yet.)  Plus I used to write a Humor Column for my college newspaper and since my maiden name was Mark, I had some built-in natural branding coming my way – – I could’ve called my column, “Make Your Mark!” or “On Your Mark, Get Set….READ!!”  But I eventually decided upon, “Mark My Words” and it was wildly popular throughout campus.

But then I got married and my last name became a little more “worldly” as in ‘Mrs. Stephanie Atlas.’  However, I couldn’t think of any creative way to utilize that name other than claiming to be married to Mr. Universe, “Charles Atlas.”  So much for my worldly writing.

Sadly I got divorced and remarried to just become a plain ole “Lewis.”  Now I ask you, what can you possibly do with that boring last name?  (Oh hello there, 2nd Ex-Husband!)  Certainly it does not lend itself to a clever blog name.  And when naming your blog, there are no useful charts to consult.  You know, like the top 100 most popular names for male or female blogs.  What if I named my blog something that turned out to be the common equivalent of Jennifer or Jason from the 80’s?   Or a name that boxed me in to one particular theme?  For instance, I loved the witty name, “The Blogical Conclusion,” but I never make ANY sense at all.  And I take pride in that nonsensical personality trait.  Yep,  I can’t think of a worse fate than being pegged as Logical.

One day I came across a Blog Name Generator.  You can try it here.  But first please finish reading this, lest you become addicted enthralled with trying it out and continuously toying with naming your blog some of the ones it suggested for me.  “Chesty Language?”  (Hmmm, seems Mr. Blog Generator somehow knew about my post entitled, “The Quests for Smaller Breasts?”   But then it threw out, “Challenged Notebook” or “Screecher’s Blotter?”  Okaaaay.

Bottom line – –  for weeks I went around telling people I was an “Expectant Blogger,” (unfortunately Expectant Bloggers don’t get to park their cars closer to shopping malls, and nobody throws them a Bloggy Shower with white cake and presents either.)  and then finally it was my “Launch Day.”  That’s sort of like a blog’s birthday and when the official name excitedly gets revealed.

By that point, all I could think of was that cruel famous family with the last name of Hogg who named their poor daughter Ima.  (By the way, it’s a rumor they named her sister, “Ura.”)  So I was about to just go with, “Ima Blog” until my smartass ex-husband (would that be #1 or #2?)  suggested my blog have a middle name –  – “Randy.”  That was the end of that.

Maybe I was getting too clever for my own good.  I would just keep my own first name with the word “Blog.” Clean and Simple – – “Stephanie Blog.”  Perfect.  I could even honor my favorite movie star, Mae West, and call it “Stephanie Mae Blog.”  But then again, (after this nutty post) Stephanie May NOT Blog.  Ever again!

Leave me a message and tell me how you came up with your child’s name or your Blog name.  And then try the Blog Generator and tell me what it suggests!photo-252  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/

Age is Just a Number – – Ha! Age is a Bunch of Numbers!

An actual card given to me this Saturday from some young Whippersnapper.

An actual card given to me this Saturday from some young Whippersnapper.

“AGE IS JUST A NUMBER!”  People like to quote that old bumper sticker adage when they’re in a relationship with one person who is significantly younger or older than they are.  (yet they want things to work)  Well, I cannot begin to tell you how much I wish that romantic topic is what I’ll be writing about today.

But alas, I turn 50 on Wednesday, so instead this is going to be about getting older, so I can submit it to the WordPress Prompt before I get too old to comprehend the entry rules.  Maybe it’s a contest or Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes I can win….Ed McMahon lurking?

Therefore the numbers I am going to focus on are all the numbers that younger people who like to say, “Age is Just a Number” don’t EVER have to worry about.   Are you ready to examine them?  Let’s go!

115/65 – – This is my blood-pressure.  That is, when I am not contemplating how much I’d like to teach a good, “strong” lesson to all the young troublemakers who chirp, “Age is just a number.”

210 – – This is my total cholesterol and I defy you to find two articles that agree this is a bad number without giving you some ratio formula that sends you back to 8th grade math class.  And then where would you be?  Passing, “Do you like me?” notes to cute Jeff W?  Or maybe to cute Susan M?  Because after all, “Gender is just a word.”

1,310 – – This is the number of Calories that “they” claim I can take in and still maintain my current weight, (a number by the way, that shall remain nameless numberless?)   Yeah, sure!  This is also the exact number of sit-ups & push-ups I’ll need to do, plus the # of times I must run around my block if I eat anywhere NEAR that number of calories!

148 – – The number of my friends over forty who can relate to what I’m talking about here.  At least I’m not alone. And yes, misery DOES love company.  Misery particularly loves when the company you keep makes you look far better in comparison. (Hey, everything is relative!)  You know, like surrounding yourself with older, uglier and duller – – so that suddenly you start to look pretty darn good?!  Keeping this theory in mind – – if you’re ever looking for me from this point on, you’ll find me happily posing on the sofa pictured below.

That's right!  I'll look like a ravishing bride if I get married sitting on this left cushion.

That’s right! I’ll look like a ravishing bride if I get married sitting on this left cushion.

5 – – Average number of times in a week I lose my keys. We’re coming off a high-achieving week right now because it’s actually been 8 times.  But I finally got smart and made copies so I have two more sets left until I’m really desperate.  They called me from Target on Friday and urgently declared, “Miss Menopause?? We just found your car keys in our shopping cart!”  I magnanimously said, “That’s okay.  Give them to someone more needy than I.”  Then I leisurely strolled to retrieve my 9th set from my jewelry box.

16 – – Number of times I look at my hair in a mirror per day and say, “Gray is the new Brunette.”

.2 – – This is the amount of Testosterone that courses thru my veins.  1. Google the amount in the average woman.   2. Google what kind of things Testosterone influences in your body.  3. Agree with me that I will never get remarried if I cannot raise this number.

4 – – Number of hours I sleep in a night.  This is on a good night.  This is because of a) 26 hot-flashes  b) 22 thoughts of,  “I better not forget to do such ‘n such tomorrow. c) 6 night sweats (don’t tell me this is the same thing as a hot-flash.  It’s not!)   d)  3  reoccurring, terrifying nightmares that I got remarried on that couch pictured above.  Or remarried at all.  d)  16 funny noises (not “ha-ha” like a whoopie cushion) that I think I hear at 1:45 am, which subsequently require my walking thru the entire house with a baseball bat.  e) 2 realizations that I should probably make my sports-enthusiast son a baseball themed birthday party.  f)  80 –  the number of google searches at 4 am it takes me to find a local bakery that will make the perfect baseball diamond-shaped cake.

14 and 1/2 – – The number of times someone tells me in a day that I am “a little bit” obsessive/compulsive.  The 1/2 is from someone else who also has OCD and keeps changing their mind.

2650 – – Number of piano lessons I was “encouraged” to have between the ages of 8-16 years old because my mother told me I would be popular at parties. “After all, everyone loves a good sing-along,” she cajoled.

0 (zero) – – Number of times I have been dragged to a piano and requested to play Moonlight Sonata or a Polka by ANYONE at all during some wild musical bash in someone’s home.

4 – – Number of times my mother reads my blog in a week so I can say, “See?  I told you so.”

22 – – The average number of pills YOU Dear Reader will need to take every single day  (to keep all the above numbers in control!) as you age.  Note:  I however, will NOT be ingesting any of this junk because I’ve officially changed my mind about this whole entire thing.  I don’t need to win any writing contest about aging.  I withdraw my entry! Forget it! (What writing contest?  See it’s already forgotten!) I’m doing just fine as a young spring chicken, thank you very much.

Age is a bunch of numbers (and a bunch of pills?)  No Thank You!

Age is a bunch of numbers (and a bunch of pills?) No Thank You!

What “number” bothers you the most about aging?  Can you make light of it?  Leave me a comment below!

Don’t Change That Channel-er !

photo-192I finally broke down and did it.  I made an appointment with a Chaneller.  Not someone who expands the variety of stations on your cable TV set,  but rather a psychic medium who tunes into “the Other Side.”  I don’t normally believe in this New Age, metaphysical, transcendental stuff, (and definitely don’t believe in ghosts) but my friend Tiffany, (one of these people obsessed with life after death)  thinks I need a new blogging topic (all my friends somehow think I’ve run dry) and took the liberty of arranging a session for free.

She further claims that this Channeler is completely legit and highly renowned in the industry – –  (btw, it’s not a very large industry, just a “Medium” one.  Yeah, I know….Sorry!  But haven’t you read that, “He who blogs after midnight is entitled to tell one bad joke.”)

Doesn't everyone get a fortune like this?

Doesn’t everyone get a fortune like this?

And get this – – the Channeler’s name is Paul Pulseman and his tagline is, “Mr. Pulseman has his Pulse on the Pulseless.”  How’s that for some good Medium Marketing?

Basically I’m supposed to focus on someone that I have unfinished business with because (Tiffany promises) I will supposedly get some much needed closure.  I’m giving some thought on whom this should be.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pulseman emails me to confirm my appointment and advises me to do the following:  Each day I should find a quiet space, close my eyes, and silently issue an invitation for the people that I want to make contact with to come into our upcoming session.  I must specify the date and the exact time – – like these Souls have calendars and booked-up social lives??

Hmmmm, Let’s see – – how many people should you put on the guest list when you’re throwing a Closure Party?  More importantly, what happens if someone has already been reincarnated? Do you get their voice-mail?

Still highly skeptical, I decide to go forward and make it my personal mission to speak to someone I never did have the chance to say goodbye to – – a husband who recently departed.  Oops, I just knew I would make a psychic mistake right off the bat.  The correct term is, “Crossed Over,” according to the terminology section on Mr. Pulseman’s website.  Anyhow, picking a husband will surely prove, once and for all to Tiffany that Paul Pulseman is a fraud, which is one of my main goals.

Today is the sitting and I’m worried how to dress.  Can a loved one who has “Crossed Over”  look back and see things thru a Channeler’s eyes?  (Maybe those who have Crossed Over prefer Cross Dressers?)  One thing’s for sure – -I had better not wear that low-cut purple blouse since women who “dress to kill” really disturbed this particular husband.

Next I get a terrific idea. . .  I’ll  bring my newly published novel, so I can show off to The Other Side, what I’ve been doing on This Side  – –  with just a little bit of oxygen and a computer!

This is absurd, I chide myself.  Nobody will be talking to me today.  Except maybe “the great” Mr. Paul Pulseman.

It turns out Mr. Pulseman is laden with tattoos and quite short in stature. As I stand on my three inch heels, I am almost as tall as he is. He also has wavy hair, nearly as long as mine. And when he speaks, it is barely above a whisper while he offers me a limp handshake. This is good because this hubby was a real macho character and liked to be taller than other men and to have the firmest grip in the room.  I note the tee-shirt Mr. Pulseman wears has printed on the front, “The sky is always bluer on THE OTHER SIDE.”photo-195

First he leads me through a meditation exercise with both our eyes closed.  Or he tries to.   I keep squinting through my lids to see if Mr. Pulseman is checking to see whether I’m peeking or not.  I don’t like to be stared at when I don’t know about it.  It takes us a good five minutes to establish enough trust in each other to know that we are both keeping our eyes tightly shut.  When he counts to ten and I am finally given permission to look,  Paul Pulseman has gone into an intense trance. Or at least he knows how to give a good impression of someone who has.  Suddenly his eyes snap open and he looks wildly off to my right side.

Pulseman:  There’s someone in the room who is very male. He’s an intimidating presence and just crushed my hand with a tremendous grip and called me an F-ing Midget.

Me:  (okay, I’ll take the bait)  Hi Honey.  Well, I guess this is it.  So Long, Farewell, Adios, Goodbye!  Rest in Peace!

Pulseman:  (bellowing) That shirt makes you look like a prostitute!

Me:  Gosh thanks, Dear.  But look, I finally published the novel.  I know you’re “just dying” to read it . . . (holding cover of book toward ceiling.)

Pulseman:  If you’re gonna be an author, dress like a damn author!

Me:  You should talk. With that hair and those tattoos – – You look like some sort of Hippy Clairvoyant. Oh, wait. That’s what you’re supposed to be.”

Mr. Pulseman gingerly points one slender finger toward the ceiling to remind me that it’s not really him who utters these words. Of course it’s him.

Me:  Tell him to say something that proves his identity.

Pulseman:  He says you never used to call him Honey or Dear.  And he doesn’t have to prove a damn thing to you and you should show some respect to your elders. Oh and also . . .  get your long hair out of your face so people can see your beautiful eyes.

Me:  Respect my elders?  Wait a minute.  Aha – – You Phony Baloney!  I’m two years OLDER than this husband.  Gotcha!

Pulseman:  You’re two years older than your own father?

Wait a sec!   Hold the phone!   My Dad??  I am stunned.  My father always did nag me to get my hair cut.  I guess old habits “die hard.”   I narrow my eyes and stare Pulseman in the face, willing him to back down from this charade.  But his pupils dart spastically off to my left side.

Pulseman: (high-pitched)  I’ll bet that novel you wrote has tons of run-on sentences and ill-placed commas.  Just like your eighth grade report on Hemingway did. The one that earned you a C-.”

Me:  Mama??  You aren’t invited here today. I already made my peace with you a year after you passed away.

Pulseman:  It’s “weren’t invited,” Missy.  Still mixing up your tenses, I see.   And it’s “Crossed Over,” not passed away.”

Me: (apologetically to Pulseman) Mama was an English teacher. And a stickler.

Pulseman:  (head jerking to the right again)  Lydia! You never told me our daughter got a C- on that thing! I should ground your butt for a month, Young Lady!  Your mother went too easy on you. Letting you date That Jerk instead of insisting you study.

Pulseman: (looking up just above my head) Hey, baby. It’s “The Jerk” here.  Wow, been a long time since I’ve been on top of you. You’re still looking pretty hot. Remember when we went to third base on my motorcycle the night before I crashed into that brick wall?

My first boyfriend?!  Geeze, I wonder if my parents have ears that they can cover?

Pulseman: (gravelly Brooklyn Jewish accent)  So?  You’re wearing my good pearl earrings? You knew they were supposed to stay in the safety deposit box until you became a big shot Best Selling Author.   Doesn’t anybody bother to listen to a Grandma anymore?

Me:  Look, take it easy everyone.

Pulseman:  Quite the family you have here.  In addition to having a degree in Paranormal Psychology,  I’m a certified psychotherapist.  Why don’t I conduct a family session right now to help with some of this dysfunction you have going on.

Me: (yelling) I am NOT dysfunctional.  This is ridiculous.

Pulseman:  Don’t raise your voice to me, Missy.  Or you’ll never get my special, “Heavenly” brisket recipe that’s being held in your trust fund.

Seriously?  How hard can it be to make this ??

Seriously? How hard can it be to make this ??

Amongst a bunch of clatter and family squabbling, Paul Pulseman discreetly leans over to inform me there are now several Aunts, Uncles and Cousins quietly sitting in the back of the room, their hands neatly folded in their laps, (wearing cowboy hats and bandanas) waiting patiently for their turn to speak.  This doesn’t sound like any kind of behavior exhibited in my extended family.

Me:  Listen guys, can we just agree to disagree here?  You didn’t leave me enough inheritance to keep coming back for more sessions.

Now Mr. Pulseman eagerly reports back to me in a hushed tone, confirming that the relatives in the back are actually here for his next client, a woman from Texas. They got the time wrong and arrived early. They hate to be late.  However, he continues,  they are quite impressed with my attitude and hope their own niece will be just as good-natured.

I shoot Mr. Pulseman a look that says, “You are one Whacked-Out Psycho Dude.”

Pulseman:  Sorry about all this.  Sometimes these things happen.  What’s the name of the individual you actually came hoping to talk with today?

Me: (if he’s so intuitive, why doesn’t he know?)   It was a husband.

Pulseman: (sobbing)  Oh No Jack, our darling girl has become a Widow!

Pulseman:   Now, now, Lydia.  It was all that bacon and ham. And that good for nothing gentile never got his lazy ass off that sofa I built for them.

Me:  Stop it everyone.

Pulseman:  Will someone tell a poor old grandmother just how the husband actually passed on?

Me:  Don’t you mean “Crossed Over?”  And I stabbed him.

DEAD SILENCE.

Pulseman:  Hear that??  I told you we weren’t strict enough with her, Lydia.  Now she’s a murderer.

Me:  Will you relax and chill out?  It was the husband in my novel.  I had to kill him off; he was raping other women characters who dressed too seductively.   I just came here today to test out this “Life After Death” mumbo jumbo and prove to my friend that it’s all just a big crock.  If any real husband HAD shown up, I would have known that you were a Fake.

The room is suddenly filled with tremendous whining and complaining.  Lots of upsetting accusations flying around bemoaning (or moaning?) the fact that I don’t care enough to base my fictional characters after each of them.

I put my hand over my ears and stand up,  preparing to take my leave – – but first I wave to the Polite Relatives who are just “killing time” in the back of the office and carefully mouth the words, “You are sooooo lucky!”

As I exit out  The Other Side of Mr. Pulseman’s door and into the peace and quiet of  This Side,  I am extraordinarily grateful to be back in the Land of the Living, where life is always predictable and sane.

During the drive home my cellphone rings and I’m surprised to hear Mr. Pulseman’s voice on The Other Side of the line.

Pulseman:  How did I do?

Me:  Huh?

Pulseman:  Tiffany traded the lowdown dirt on your family for discounted sessions with me.  And in exchange, you’re going to write about me in your blog because you’ve run out of interesting subject matter. Good advertising for me and a chance to get Freshly Pressed for you.  It’s a win/win for everyone.  Kills two birds with. . .

Me: I’m gonna strangle Tiffany.

Pulseman:  That’s nice.  Come back and see me next year and I’ll arrange a visit between you two.  By the way, Pulsemann is spelled with two n’s.

You can hate me here but please “like” me on Facebook! Just click HERE

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

List of Sneaky Ways to Find Out If You Really Know Someone!

Which side of the "Black and White" cookie do they prefer?  Very telling about their Ethics!

Which side of the “Black and White” cookie do they prefer? Very telling about their Ethics!

Disclaimer:  This blog title does not specify just how many sneaky ways are on the list. (i.e  TEN Sneaky Ways…) This gives me leeway and freedom to add some more. Depending on how obsessive you are about knowing the whole story, you may need to keep checking back.

HOW IS THIS LIST DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?

Sure, the internet is filled with lists of topics that you should discuss together prior to getting serious with someone.  We all know you should talk about how you both feel regarding:   a) Children  b) Pets  c) Finances  d) Household Chores  e) Frequency of Sex  f) Location of residence g) Dark chocolate    and so many other subjects, but still.  Really??  Is that supposed to give you an accurate and true litmus test of whether this person is right for you?  Aren’t we all still in the “Put my best foot forward” mode until the minute we walk down that aisle?  And what woman is going to admit that putting her best feet forward entails having a $1500 pair of Louboutin shoes on them?  Would you confess to someone (if you want them to continue seeing you in a good light) that the only reason you donate to a charity is to get those cute little personalized return address labels?

Every time I hear a couple’s relationship has fallen apart because “she isn’t the same person she was when we dated,” I nod my head knowingly.  She (or he) did NOT change.  They simply couldn’t keep the lovely sales presentation going forever.  It’s exhausting.  There must be a way to cut through the facade earlier!

When I date, I use my own unique version of a “Sincerity Test.”  It involves making up a joke that doesn’t have a real punchline.  When I tell it, I pause and then watch to see if they will do “that pretend laugh thing.”  Here’s the most recent joke.  “What do you call a woman who won’t do windows? An Adult Film star on ice-skates!”  Get it ??!   Some laugh uproariously.  A few will look quizzically and ask me to either tell the joke again or explain the bizarre ending.  Those are the ones I date again.  And then tell another joke. . .

So without any further ado, may I present….

SOME SNEAKY WAYS TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE REAL PERSON YOU THINK YOU ARE WITH!

1. Forget Monopoly (and whether or not they cheat by stealing money from the bank.)  Play Scrabble with them instead.  Form a seven letter nonsense word.  Do they insist on the Dictionary Challenge?  (Trust Issues.)

2. Text them from a cell number they don’t recognize and flirt with them anonymously. Do they flirt back? (tests paranoia)  While flirting, text them a joke WITHOUT a real punchline that you’ve already told them before.  (Tests Memory.)

3. Go to a Chinese restaurant together.  But forget how your partner treats the hired help.  They already know you’ll be watching for how much kindness they show the waitress.   Instead notice if they miss a tiny piece when picking the mushrooms out of the Shrimp Szechuan?  (Tests for Attention to Detail.  Also shows if they can tolerate a rubbery textured gross fungus. Eww!)  Do they hand you your own particular fortune cookie or let you choose it for yourself from the plate?  (Control Issues.)  Do they add on, “In bed” after reading their fortune aloud?  (Shows a propensity toward major Kink!)

4. Knock on their front door.  Immediately throw dirt on their carpet.  Gage reaction.  Anything less than a chuckle is bad news.  (No sense of humor.)  Everyone knows this is a funny bit from one of the greatest “I Love Lucy” episodes ever.

5. Ask them if they prefer Mary Ann or Ginger?  Mrs. Brady or Mrs. Partridge?  Kramer or Newman?  Starsky or Hutch?  Wilma or Betty?  Scarlett or Melanie?   (Tests gullibility and logic factors….do they really believe Mary Ann can bake coconut pies without any flour on the island?  The rest of the choices just tests for television addiction. Except the last one.  It’s a 4 hour feature length movie with the most handsome guy ever.  Tests their “Clark Gable Tolerance” level.)

6.  Snickerdoodle or Oatmeal?  Fudge or Peanut Brittle?  The black or white side of a Black and White Cookie?   This doesn’t tell you anything about their character whatsoever,  but you will have clarity about whether you should walk into a bakery with them.

7.  Ditch them in a large department store and then page them over the loudspeaker by your pet name, “Will Pookie, Snookie Cookie please come to cashier number 8 please?  Your Doodle, Noodle, Kitten Caboodle is waiting for you.”  (Shows tolerance for PDA.)

8.  Hold a garage sale with them.  Will they part with their kid’s old shoes?  (Sentimentality test)  Will they mark down those same junky shoes to a reasonable price? (Shows realistic expectations.)

9.  Do they say “Bless You” when a stranger sneezes?  (No?  Shows lack of goodwill toward mankind.  Yes?  May be a religious zealot.)

10. Tell them this Valentine’s Day there is a big surprise waiting for them in your bedroom. But you’ve hidden your front door key inside one of those pretend, “Hide-a-key” stones.  In your rock garden around the side of the house. (Tests perseverance)  Text them back and tell them you meant to say “under the door mat.” Remove the mat. (tests Patience)  Call and tell them to look in the mail.  Remember to place your doormat inside the mailbox first.  With a note attached that says, “Door has already mysteriously opened by itself.”  (Tests whether they’d be a good audience for a magician show.)

The following items on the list must only be implemented when you are not around.  You need to find out how they behave when they are alone.  You’ve heard it said to “Dance like nobody is watching!” Right? Well, I will soon be marketing a motorized “Fly on the Wall” with a camera and mic hidden discreetly inside, so YOU CAN be watching.

11.  Do they wash their hands in a public bathroom when they are the only ones in there?

12.  In a private dressing room inside Target, will they keep their underwear on when trying on a bathing suit?

13.  When they walk their dog on a dark street at night, do they still clean up after them?

14.  Do they tailgate people who drive super slowly in the fast lane on the freeway?  What happens when they realize they are old people and have already given them the finger?

15.  Will they stop at a lemonade stand run by little kids?  Will they overpay and lick their lips at the sugar water?  Or do they demand their change, telling the child there should really be a cookie to go with the lemonade at these prices.

16.  When watching Old Yeller, do they cry at the ending?

17.  Do they drink from the family milk carton in their refrigerator when they just want a little sip?

You should try at least five of these prior to Valentine’s Day before you send the flowers or the chocolate.  And remember # 4   is  a major deal-breaker.  EVERYONE  loves  Lucy.

Footnote:  If you are surprised by how sneaky I am, it means you have not read this ( SNEAKY BLOG  ) photo-129and probably should peruse it before you make the final decision of whether to follow my writings.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!