The Security Guard’s Relationship With Me (That He Didn’t Know He Was Having!)

It all started one day this past summer after moving to a townhouse inside a gated community with a real live security guard who sits in a little shack by the entrance and monitors everyone’s comings and goings. You know the modern version of the kind who shouts, “Hark! Who Goes There?”

As I unpacked boxes — lamenting my lack of closet space, my phone rang with news that my little Shih-Tzu had been picked up by the Gate Guard. “Thank goodness her collar tags still reflect my same cell number even though my address has changed,” I said aloud as I rushed over to claim my Lola.

“Better be careful with this little one,” admonished the Gate Guard with raised eyebrow, “She almost crossed that busy street.” Great. The Gate Guard thinks I’m a negligent pet owner now.

That night we ordered pizza. Obviously. What family doesn’t order pizza on moving day? My cellphone rang and as I answered it, I heard the gate guard tell the driver that it sure smelled good. Guiltily, I granted permission for him to let Papa Antonio’s delivery service through the gate. “Extra cheese??” the Gate Guard commented to me in what could have been considered a very indicting tone. Great. The Gate Guard knows I’m lactose intolerant and undisciplined now.

The more people who came to see my new place, the more self-conscious I became. It seemed to me the Gate Guard knew everything about my life just from the types of visitors I had. “I wonder why so many men come through here asking for her address?” I imagined him contemplating luridly. After the fifth guy came before noon, I felt an explanation was needed. “You see, I’ve been having a lot of work done on my place today and right now I have a clogged toilet and a hornet’s nest on my back patio,” I offered weakly when he called to get my okay for two more fellows named, “Buzz Hoff” and “John’s Flush” to be let through.

“Uh huh. Whatever,” the Gate Guard said flippantly. Great. The Gate Guard thinks I’m running a house-of ill-repute now. How judgmental.

It wasn’t long before I was certain the Gate Guard (Whom I’d taken to referring as “GG” now) formulated a strong hunch that I wasn’t much of a cook. I pictured him welcoming Chinese, Greek, Mexican, and yes more Italian food trucks into our community and pointing them all toward my place with sort of a disapproving look on his face. And that’s why, when I passed him by one day on foot on the way to the mailboxes, I felt obliged to let him know my oven was broken. “I’m sure it is,” he responded, grinning widely. Great. GG knows I’m a liar now. 

GG also became quite familiar with my mother and probably thought it was really lame that she’d already come over here 18 times in the two weeks since I’d moved in. That accounts for the reason I exclaimed loudly out my rolled-down car window the next time I exited through his shack, “We’re Jewish!” while he looked bewildered and yelled out after I passed, “Well….Shalom then, I guess!” Great. GG thinks I’m a religious fanatic now. Such Chutzpa!

During a stressful week that was particularly prolific with pizza, GG (who also rides around on a golf-cart patrolling our neighborhood, ridding us of burglars and kidnappers, but probably more often dealing with sidewalk solicitors) passed me walking on the street late at night and slowed down to ask real friendly-like, “Getting some much needed exercise after all that pizza?” Great. GG thinks I’m getting fat now. What nerve.

“I have two constantly hungry teenagers,” I justified. “And I only eat the veggie toppings and spit out the cheese!” Great. GG knows I have an eating disorder now.

When he passed me by again a full 2.5 hours later, still riding on his stupid golf-cart, he came to a complete stop this time looking incredulous and inquired, “Still walking??”

“Yes. I have to stay out here until my pedometer says 11 miles or until my watch says 11:11pm, whichever comes second.” He gave a weird little nod, issued a tentative wave, and sped quickly away. Great. GG knows I have obsessive compulsive disorder now. 

During Thanksgiving, I had my mother and a few other family members over for dinner, all except my four older kids who sadly all moved far away. I noticed GG was burning the midnight oil in his little guard shack after my guests departed. I decided to take him a food care-package because everyone deserves to eat turkey and pumpkin pie. When he slid open his glass door I said, “You’re the same age as my son who couldn’t come home tonight. Thought you’d enjoy.” He took it, thanked me, but added that his own mother was keeping dinner warm for him. He emphasized the words, “My OWN MOTHER.” Great. GG thinks I’m some sad little empty-nester who wants to adopt him now. 

A few days later, a survey came in the mail asking how the community has been running? It also asked for feedback on certain employees, including the Gate Guards, of which there were several. I filled it out and wrote a comment specifically about GG which went like this, “GG does his job okay, but he’s very presumptuous and jumps to all sorts of conclusions about my lifestyle. He’s nosy and invades privacy. I would appreciate it if you’d tell him to keep his opinions to himself, otherwise you should probably fire him because he makes your residents feel very uncomfortable.” I then realized I didn’t know his real name so they wouldn’t know who I was specifically referring to.

I drove down to the shack and knocked matter-of-factly until GG opened the window and I could lean my head in closer to scrutinize his name badge. He instinctively took a few steps back so I couldn’t read anything at all. Great. GG thinks I’m a Mrs. Robinson type and I’m here to seduce him now. And so I said, “Relax, I just need your name.”

“My name is Gregory Garrison, but my good friends call me GG. And by the way your pumpkin pie was better than my moms, you’re an excellent cook and the nicest, most interesting resident I’ve met since working here. They told me if I don’t get enough good reviews, I’m going to be let go after Christmas. I just wanted to tell you that you’ll be the one I’ll miss the most.”

I stood with my mouth wide open, completely dumbfounded. Great. GG probably thinks I’m shy and at a loss for words now.

But I wasn’t. I drove immediately home to erase my comment on the survey form. In it’s place I printed these emphatic words. “Gregory Garrison, (GG) is an asset to our community and should be given a raise for his competency…. but especially for his sweet, caring, personable behavior.

Dear Readers, Is there someone doing a regular job in your life that you are either completely oblivious to or have the wrong impression of? Reaching out or giving the benefit of the doubt is such a wonderful thing. Happy Holidays!

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6 Expert Blogging Tips You Should Promptly Ignore!

1. Blog Every Day — Do NOT do this! I’m actually waiting for the “experts” to diagnose our blogs (which don’t have well-formed, regular posts coming out like clockwork) with having “Blogstipation” and prescribing us something like Metamucil (I met a Muse ill one time as well!) which would contain FingerFiber to unblock our hands when they’re too bloated to type. All kidding aside, if you’re going to put writing out there this consistently, you’re depriving your readers of that intense and exciting emotion known as “yearning.” They cannot miss you if you’re constantly in their face. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder!” Didn’t you ever find that message in your fortune cookie? Or do you subscribe to the opposite (idiotic?) idiom which goes, “Outa sight, outa mind!” and only holds true for spouses justifying cheating when their significant other is on a business trip.  I myself intentionally go months without posting something and then wait for readers to demand I return to the blogosphere, which is usually illustrated by them throwing me a “Coming Home” surprise party. Basically when I log into WordPress, a cheery notification pops up that says, “Welcome Back!” and that’s how I know my numerous fans simply cannot bear my playing hard to get anymore. Bottom line is keep ’em wanting more — blog twice yearly.

2. Write Great Content: Say what? No! Don’t do this. Once you start out with excellent stuff, you’re denying your readers the chance to say, “I knew Mr./Ms Blogger when they were writing pure drivel.” Here’s what you do — write mediocre paragraphs sandwiched by a yummy headline and a delicious call-to-action conclusion. This framework supports your post in the manner to which it’s become accustomed, and people only read those parts anyhow. Think about it. Do you really scrutinize the turkey or roast beef in your lunch or are you marveling at the golden flaky sourdough bread perfectly cradling the savory mayo and mustard? So toast your titles to perfection and spread the condiment conclusion extra thick. I guarantee any way you slice it, people will continue to order your blog!

3. Comment On Other Blogs Frequently:  The theory being that if you sprinkle enough breadcrumbs online, readers will trace those scintillating trail of comments back to your own writing. But do you really want a bunch of followers named Hansel and Gretel? And besides doing this will get you a reputation as a “Rampant Remarker” and you’ll have to drink Constant Comment tea! Just remember — “Those that can …do. Those that can’t… teach!” You’re smart enough to somehow tweak this bumper sticker proverb so it’ll work wisely for this example, aren’t you?

4. Run a Competition and give prizes!: Hold on there, Ed McMahon! (Did you know he never even officially worked for the Publisher’s Clearing House contest? Check it out right HERE) Think about it — you hold a competition to grow your blog bigger, right? But if you NEED to grow your blog, that means there are currently very few people reading it to enter your exciting contest. Every time the Academy Awards show “The Oscars” rolled around, I’d run a similar promotion on Once Upon Your Prime cleverly calling it, “The Blogademy Awards” or “The Bloscars” and advertise awesome prizes for all 25 different types of blogs. That’s right, instead of generating my own new writing material (and subsequently making people laugh) every post consisted of me obsessed with begging convincing potential contestants to enter my competition because I was the judge and I always wanted to be able to say, “Due to an overwhelming number of submissions for Best Supporting Blog, picking a winner was extremely difficult so therefore we have a tie!” But nooooooo, because I was too embarrassed to cancel my contest and confess there wasn’t enough competition, I ended up sending out gift cards to the same blogger who entered every single category. That’s right — they now have a lifetime supply of Starbucks and the following year they asked if the prize could be a Target gift card. Of course they did. Just say “NO!” to holding contests!

5. Be Controversial!:  Professional bloggers will tell you they got popular by taking an opposing view and not being afraid to offend people. This is supposed to make your blog go viral and (if you write humor like me?) maybe you can be the Don Rickles of blogging. No!! With three exceptions, don’t do this! The first is writing a blog on men carrying handbags — because you’ll not only have controversy, you’ll have contropursey! Alternatively ask, “Should there be male assistants in doctor’s offices?” and then you’ll also have a big contronursey on your hands.  Or just play it safe and frustrate readers by typing in an irritating light-colored font like this. Of course we call that being Fontroversial!

6. Tell People to Ignore Expert Advice: It’s really transparent that you’re just trying to make others suck so your blog will stand out big time next to all the losers.

Readers: Leave any other tips you currently disregard in the comments

Not Your Typical Mom & Pop Stores!

I recently watched a movie in one of those expensive theaters where a waitress comes and takes your order and then not only is there Surround Sound and Technicolor, but suddenly there’s “Scentaflick” as the sharp aroma of goat cheese mushroom pizza wafts throughout the cinema. But smells are so not the point. The point is that this was precisely when I realized what other innovative (and time saving!) businesses there could be if certain services and/or concepts were integrated together.

IMAGINE IF YOU WILL . . .

PediDine – Unique restaurant with delicious entrees served to patrons seated at booths with floor length tablecloths. And what’s happening down on the floor, obscured by all that fine linen? Lithe and limber spa employees crouch below giving relaxing foot massages and full-on pedicures, while podiatrists examine diners for signs of fallen arches or pronated ankles. Themed dishes are served with fitting names such as “Foot-long sandwiches” and “This Little Piggy Ate Roast Beef” while the house special is of course, “Polished PotaTOES with shiny, red clipped TomaTOES.

A Shrentist’s Office – This unique establishment will combine a competent shrink with a dentist office for all your one-stop therapy and cavity needs. Recline back in the chair as the hygienist tells you to open wide while a psychologist asks leading questions to crack wide open your dysfunctional childhood. Have a fluoride rinse and rinse away your bad memories simultaneously! When you hear, “C’mon, spit it out!” — will that mean the toothpaste in your mouth or your negative feelings about your mother-in-law? Only your Shrentist knows for sure!

Gyro-Gyno-Gym-o– A Triple Threat for the healthy, hungry, and fit woman! Eat this Mediterranean style lunch (combo of lamb and beef) while lying with your feet in the stirrups as a trained physician conducts your annual female exam. Afterwards, enjoy state-of the art equipment at the gym to help you with your kegel exercises so you can keep your visits to the above mentioned gynecologist to a minimum. Ghirardelli chocolate would complete the experience.

Drive & Strive To Look 25! – A DMV with a professional hairstylist and makeup artist on staff so you don’t have to look how you actually look in real life in the photo when your drivers license gets renewed for the next decade.

Backs & Tax – A chiropractor works on your aches and pains while a certified public accountant sits in the “back” room going over your financials! Come April 15th, the only extension you’ll need to worry about is the extension the back doctor showed you to lengthen and strengthen your spine!

Press N’ Dress – It’s Nordstrom with a functional dry-cleaners at the entrance. Bring your entire old wardrobe in for a complimentary wash and ironing — and since now you’ll have nothing to wear for the day, you’ll shop for more clothes! Talk about a win/win!

Y Not? – (Yoga, Yogurt, Yo-Yo, Yoko Ono!) It’s time for a trendy role reversal store! Forget hot yoga and Fro-Yo!  This Frozen Yoga studio (your mat is a sheet of ice) serves Hot Yogurt (And why not? You’ve heard that warm milk is relaxing, right??) Bonus – Every Sunday, Yoko leads a group meditation and each participant walks away with a free Yo-Yo favor because …well just because nothing else starts with a Y.

Push/Nip/Tuck/ — A maternity ward where as you give birth, a plastic surgeon stands by to give you a tummy tuck! Need I say more?

The CardioCake Factory – Full service Cheesecake Factory with servers bringing any item from the dessert menu into a workout room where stationary bikes, stairclimbers and ellipticals are programmed to burn the specific calories of whatever you ordered by the slice. Special pre-calculated treadmills (when you go overboard) set for, “I’m actually consuming an entire Cookies n’ Cream Dream Extreme!”

Wet Pet Vet Debt Bet Roulette! – Okay so the company name needs work, but animal lovers and gamblers unite! Walk in with your dog or cat and they’ll be immediately bathed and groomed, followed by a veterinarian giving them vaccines and thorough check-ups. Can’t afford any of this? Don’t fret or get upset because the waiting room is a legalized casino and odds are in your favor you’ll play slots to pay for shots!

Alright, so maybe that last one is a little far-fetched, but I’m still ordering the fillet of “Sole” at the PediDine restaurant!

READERS: WHAT BUSINESS IDEAS DO YOU HAVE THAT WILL BE A UNIQUE COMBINATION? PLEASE LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENTS.

Now Back …. By Popular Demand!

back by popular demand, newspaper article text

So…..what’s back??? Absolutely totally nothing is back. I’m just fascinated by this concept. A lot of times I’ll read “BACK! By Popular Demand!” as a headline for a product, a candidate rerunning for an election, a workshop being taught at a local university …. or even the title of one of “your” blogs!  And I think….”How do we actually know people have been demanding this??” Where is the proof? So I tried a little test in my own household to see how it would go over.

On the refrigerator, I posted an impromptu menu titled, “Tonight! Back By Popular Demand!” and then below it listed “Meatloaf, Asparagus, and Mashed Yams.” I left my cell phone on record mode and left the scene. And here’s what I got . . .

Youngest Daughter: Eww. Seriously?

Middle Son: Only explanation…. a homeless person has tried mom’s meatloaf.

2nd Eldest Son: I thought you were the one requesting Mom’s Worst Meal Ever?

One of the Twins: Betcha Benjamin did it as a practical joke and that was all mom needed to call it “popular.”

Benjamin: I’m de-twinning you just for that creepy and false accusation. Gross to the 10th power! Especially those dehydrated onions she disguises in her meatloaf as “flavored confetti.”

Ex-Husband: Whew! I thought you kids were finally losing it, requesting this atrocity.

ALL: So who’s the moron in our family asking for this slop?? (All eyes narrow suspiciously)

Finally my firstborn child comes into the kitchen with a black sharpie, crosses off the word “Back!” and replaces it with “Boycotted!”

And that ended that little experiment.

Okay, okay, so maybe my family was quickly onto me, but my Facebook Friends would probably fall for it! Plus it would allow me to do some boasting, albeit in a justifiable sort of way — meaning….it’s not my fault I’m posting this, YOU GUYS INSISTED.

Yesterday I put this up on Facebook and then waited for the compliments and kind words to roll in.

Hi everyone! — Normally I don’t do this kind of thing but ironically, a lot of you have been private messaging me, asking if by some chance there might be a link showcasing all my articles on The Huffington Post. Kind of like an online portfolio. Well coincidentally, there is …. just click HERE  !  And thanks everyone who wrote showing so much interest in my past work!

Then I sat back and awaited the praise from those who probably never realized I was published there.

The post got ZERO likes. Nobody commented. But the private messages started immediately. (And I mean this time, for real!) Here’s what I got . . .

 

Hi. Can you name the names of those who wrote to you asking for this link? I would like to speak to a few of them to confirm.

*****************************

Stephanie! Do you know the song “Glory Days” by The Boss — Springsteen?  Lol.

*****************************

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who are too lazy enough to even try anymore, rest on their laurels.

******************************

Alrighty then. Ashamed, I put this up today:

To the one and only interested person who requested I put up my Huffington Post Link, or at least who agreed to say that they did — I can’t find your name on PayPal to send you the $100. Please contact me.

Enough with all this psychology of creating a need where normally there is none. I guess I’ll never make it as an advertiser/marketer. But suddenly in my snail mailbox appeared a postcard announcing, “Held Over Just 1 More Night By Popular Demand….Wicked!” Tickets = $250.

Haha, I thought. Yes, it would be nice to see that musical and find out what all the hoopla was about, but $250??  And now that I know for certain that phrase “By Popular Demand” is totally meaningless,  I’ll just call and see if I can get half-price tickets.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I made my case on the phone while bargaining for seats like people do in garage sales, as the adamant Box Office Agent kept insisting, “Listen Lady. It’s being held over just one night by popular demand.” And I kept saying, “Of course it is. I’m sooooooo sure. Just give me the names of the patrons demanding the show stay around longer and I’ll fork over my money.” When finally she interrupted me to report, “Sorry Miss, my computer screen just announced we are entirely Sold Out. Better luck next time!”

Hmmph!  Well to cheer myself up I looked up discontinued comfort foods that were brought back by …. you guessed it…..popular demand. Have a look right HERE and then have a consoling Twinkie with me!

Really? Does THIS SHOW ever get an extended run??

 

 

Ready to Turn the Tables? Here’s Whatcha Gotta Do!

I don’t know about you but I get tired of all the annoyances that go on in our “civilized” society and the protocols and routines I’m expected to adhere to. I think turnabout is fair play and sometimes people deserve a dose of their own medicine. I recommend the following:

Dentists:  Send them a pesky postcard every few weeks saying, “Just a friendly reminder! It’s been six months since you last cleaned my teeth. What’s taking you so long to schedule me? Please call my home because I’m waiting with baited breath for my next appointment!” Also after your cleaning, when they hand you your new dental hygiene accessories in a little festive party favor bag, hand them back a zip-lock baggie with your old toothbrush and some used dental floss as a gesture of goodwill in return.

Restaurants: Bring your own little rectangle tray and when the server sets down her tray with the itemized check, you hand them yours with a little bill that says “Seat-Warmer Fee- $25. Without my presence at your table, this place would take a nose-dive. Gratuity is already included. Thank you for your patronage.”

Physician’s Office: Walk immediately up to the receptionist and hand her your guestbook commanding, “Please sign in.” Then give the nurse a little cup and insist she leave a sample in the restroom.  Ask a Physician Assistant to step on the scale, but don’t allow her to remove her shoes first. Catch the Doctor himself off-guard by rapping three times very loudly on his office door and startling him by calling out, “Hope you’re decent? I’m coming in now!” But first make him wait about twenty minutes. Also before you leave, find every person you interacted with and have them sign forms to protect their privacy and acknowledging the new HIPAA laws.

Department of Motor Vehicles: Distribute a Scrabble letter tile to all employees and announce through a megaphone, “Now serving Letter R.”  Then snap their photo with a Polaroid camera when they’re least expecting it and not anywhere close to smiling.

Theaters: Walk in with a mini-flashlight and immediately greet the usher, asking to see his ticket. Hand him a program which consists of your grocery list for next week folded in half with Act 1 listing all the healthy foods in order of their appearance around the supermarket and Act 2 specifying the junk food you’re actually buying and the commercial jingle lyrics that go with them. Tell him to enjoy the show.

Babysitters: Go to the babysitter’s house while she’s watching your children and eat all her ice-cream, view an R-rated DVD, and rummage through her dresser drawers during the boring parts.

Psychics: Call up the medium and tell her you’re canceling your appointment because you’re getting a strong message from the other side that something very bad will happen if you see her today.

Hairdressers: Sit in the chair and stare in the mirror at the reflection of their hairstyle behind you, asking nosy questions like “Is that your natural color?” and “How often do you condition your split ends?”

Schools: Send your child’s teacher a note saying, “Hi! I’m so glad my child is in your classroom this year. In recent months our household budget has been drastically cut back and we appreciate you sending the following items home on Back-To-School Night to help our family run smoother during the school semester. 1. Five boxes of tissue 2. Six Printer cartridges, color only please 3. King size sheet set, floral pattern in shades of blue 4. Gain Laundry detergent, 42 oz size, original scent 5.  Dozen yellow roses, long stem. 6. Three boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut flavor.

Telephone Sales: Answer promptly on the first ring when you see their number in your caller ID and say, “Surveys R’ Us. I’m ready to answer all your questions and accept your free vacation to Cancun. My consulting fee for marketing research is $125. My travel fee is triple that and on weekends I require my family accompany me. Which credit card will you be using today?”

Publishers: Send a gentle but firm rejection letter stating, “Gentlemen, I’m sorry but at this point in time your publishing style does not suit my particular needs as an author. I’ve decided to pass on letting you consider putting my novel into print. This is not to say you don’t have potential and I encourage you to keep hoping that I’ll send some of my writing your way — because you never know what the future might bring!”

God: Instead of praying for help, better opportunities, or for the things you need, pray to be of service and to get more opportunities to help those in need.

 

Interview With a Real Live Mean Girl!

Welcome readers! Today I’m conducting an impromptu Q & A with someone I’ve known for many years and always had a lot of respect for. She promises to be open and honest with all my straightforward inquiries, so what more can we possibly ask for? Oh! You may have met her once before when I allowed her to guest post on this blog right HERE. But that was four years ago and it’ll be cool to see what’s she’s been up to recently.

As always I’ll shorten Little Miss Menopause (that’s me!) to LMM. And we’ll shorten her name to GM because she goes by Genie Meanie nowadays.

LMM — Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do this. I know your actual appearances in print are rare and you prefer to work behind the scenes when you converse, so I’m truly honored.

GM — No prob. I knew you’d never get anybody else to interview on this trivial little blog you do so it’s no skin off my teeth. Speaking of skin and teeth….yours look like they need some tightening and whitening. Oh! Would you look at that? I rhymed. I knew I missed my calling as a writer. I became an editor instead.

LMM — Oh!  An editor?  Is that what your official title is? I always thought of you as sort of an oddly negative Muse. But now you call yourself an Editor. Have you seen any of my recent writing on Huffington Post or Aish?  by the way?

GM — That’s not writing!

LMM — I know, I know.  And forgive me — this is about you, not me. Let’s talk about some of your latest accomplishments.

GM — Well as I just mentioned, I’m very active in the Author community. I’ve convinced hundreds that they’re hacks and quite a few others to throw in the towel completely. But my latest achievement has been to get you to delete everything you type for let’s see over a month now, right? And I’m dabbling a little in advertising and marketing. Remember that mantra I taught you that seemed to stick so nicely?

LMM — Oh yes.  Do you mean, “I suck!”

GM — That’s the one, Sweetpea! I’m looking into getting that on coffee mugs, tee-shirts, and bumper stickers for cars, which I like to call bummer stickers. LOL.

LMM —  Hmm. Wait, I know! Maybe “I suck!” could go on straws and vacuums too?

GM — Shut up. Remember what we agreed on? You’re no longer funny.

LMM — Right. So aside from the writing community, are there other areas where you’ve had great influence.

GM — Interpersonal Relationships. You might say that’s my specialty these days. Break-ups are gratifying to instigate, but I’m actually going back to school to major in “Settling.”

LMM — Settling? That sounds intriguing. Can you elaborate?

GM — Oh you know, Settling!  Here, lemme read you the first paragraph of the start-up guide for this particular discipline. “You’re not getting any younger. Look at those wrinkles and puffy bags under your eyes. But those bags are nothing compared to all the real heavy baggage you have in your life with your teenage kids, your finances, your co-dependent sister, not to mention your severe mid-life crisis. So what if there’s no real passion with this new guy? So what if he talks down to you and sometimes doesn’t show up after you’ve cooked an elaborate dinner? Do you really want to die all alone?

LMM — Oh! I didn’t realize there was a career path for that kind of a skill set.

GM — Oh Lordy, yes! You’d be surprised what niche jobs are out there these days.  Since you evicted me recently, I’ve been redoing my resume, but off the top of my head I’ve been directly responsible for the implementation of depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and even suicide once in a while.  But my proudest moments of glory have been in a large, growing industry which I’ve had so much experience in that now I’m being approached to mentor others.

LMM — What industry is that?

GM — The Onset of An Eating Disorder. But you should know that, Silly. Remember how we’d dialogue? Let’s show your readers how our talk would go — just for old times sake?

LMM — Okay. But first I’m a little hungry.

GM — Hungry? You’re not hungry. You ate a huge lunch five hours ago. A lettuce salad and a mozzarella cheese stick. You’re just bored. Go to the gym.

LMM — Really? Because my stomach is growling.

GM — Drink water then. You’re always mistaking thirst for hunger. Drink water and then weigh yourself.

LMM — Gosh, that seems kinda backwards. I’ll weigh myself first.

GM — Whatever. Different strokes for different folks. But all strokes lead to you being obese!  Ohhh! I like that and think it would do well on a placemat or as a screensaver!

LMM — Guess what? I lost a pound since yesterday!

GM — Time to celebrate!! I think you’re right, you ARE hungry. In fact, you’re starving you poor, disciplined little thing, You! Go eat a grilled cheese sandwich, frozen pizza, Oreos, Nutella, chips and guacamole, Rocky Road ice-cream, and then open that new bag of trail mix which you bought because I told you nuts are healthy but because there are M&M’s thrown in there and it’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty — I like to call it “Dieter’s Crack.”

LMM— Really? I have your permission?

GM — Girlfriend, you have my BLESSING. And bonus! Because you’ll have already blown it for today, you can take the rest of the night off as well and eat whatever you want.

LMM — Thank you so much!

GM — Tomorrow you’ll fast with just water and vitamin C, cuz ya gotta keep your energy level up so you can run up and down your flight of stairs two-hundred times, walk eleven miles, and do 5 hours on the elliptical. Deal?

LMM — Works for me.  But that will be the last time for that routine, I can promise you that!  So Genie Meanie, tell my readers who else has hired you as their coach in this particular eating disorder field?

GM — Your two daughters.

Readers: Please beware of Genie Meanie trying to seek employment in your mind or rent out a room in your head — she’s armed and dangerous. She also has a macho counterpart who lurks in male brains, so if any of my guy readers want to locate him for an interview, please post your link in the comments section.

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?

 

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!”

 

Should You or Shouldn’t You Have a Gift Closet??

If People Behaved In Real Life Like They Do On Dating Websites . . .

“I just found the Skipper’s profile online at “Plenty of Fish!” I don’t think it’s a little pond anymore — it’s a big swamp.”

 

PART ONE

“I love online dating,” said no one ever. My recent foray into internet matchmaking was shocking in many ways, but mainly because I couldn’t believe how much the virtual anonymity afforded people permission to do and say things they could not normally do (or never would normally do!) if they’d met someone “live” out in the actual world.

Let’s start with the actual profile. The very first impression you’ll give, and also an “advertisement” that’s supposed to not only entice someone to “pick you” but should illuminate your potential compatibility.

Let’s examine how an online dating presentation might translate in real life, shall we?

YOUR NAME

Online — This is a screen-name representing how you wish to be publicly known when you come up in search engines — most people don’t use their given birth name. Instead they get uh, rather original. Or just the opposite — they could care less about this aspect and let the website generate any old number for them. In my case I got creative and put down, “MissWriteRight4U.”

Real Life — “Hi, I’m EatPrayLoveSex — so nice to meet you.” OR  “Allow me to introduce myself, my first name is Size Truly Does.  And my last name is Matter. But you can just shorten my first name to STD.”   OR in the case of a random number, “Hello! I’m #24601. Seems like we’ve met before . . .  like in the musical Les Miserables, perhaps?”  OR in my particular case, they’re in for a  2-for-1 — “Hey there! MissWriteRight4U at your service. Wanna hire me to write an article for your website, or get married on your wedsite?  It’s all good!”

TAGLINE

Online — This is a phrase following your name that’s sorta like a pick-up line. Currently (for reasons totally unknown and extremely baffling to me, except they think they’re being cute n’ clever) everybody seems to use this one, “Seeking a Partner-in-Crime!” (My female friends tell me they all just swoon for that one??)

Real Life — “Hey baby, wanna knock off a bank on our first date? You be Bonnie and I’ll be Clyde, and we be digging our own private crime scene. Then later on in the jail cell, you can drop the soap in the shower. Heh heh heh.” (Where’s your fainting face now, ladies?)

PHOTOGRAPH

Online — Photoshopped, bedroom eyes, shirtless, muscles flexed, not from this decade.

Real Life — “So I know we’ve just met here in this grocery store and I’m pretty disheveled, but imagine this 5 o’clock shadow gone, my hair combed back, I won’t look so hungover, zero holes in my shirt, and I’ll smell like I own a bottle of cologne. Whadya say?” OR “Come over my place right now and I’ll take a bathroom Selfie in my mirror with a strategic bulge. I’ll even break out the Windex for a spotless shine.”

STATISTICS

Online — With a few quick keystrokes, it’s easy to falsify your age to become younger, your height to become taller, your religion, location, education, career, smoking, drinking, all modified in print.

Real Life — “Alright, so here’s my passport and driver’s license. (From 1988) And a Harvard diploma. (My father’s) Will you be needing any more documentation as proof that I’m a very thorough liar?” OR “This cigarette? Haha, someone asked me to hold it while they went to the bathroom. Personally, I NEVER touch a cancer-on-a-stick.” OR (Standing on tippy toes) “You betcha I’m 6 ft tall, sweetheart.” (Google for stores selling elevator shoe lifts.)

INITIAL MESSAGES FROM MEN

Online — Hey Gorgeous! OR Hey Sexy! OR Hey Beautiful! OR Hey Adorable! OR Hey Pretty Lady! OR Hey Hotness! OR Hey Lil’ Darlin’! OR Hey Cutie Pie! OR Hey Good-Looking! OR Hey Glam Girl! OR Hey Stunning! OR Hey Wonderful Woman! OR Hey Delicious Dame! OR Hey Ravishing Raven-Haired Rebel! (last one should only be sent to a brunette like me)

Real Life — “Hey uh . . . Striking, Savory, Sweet, Special, Scrumptious, Stylish, Savvy, Satisfying, Splendid, Spectacular, Sassy, Scintillating, Sophisticated, Seductive, Sanctimonious Starlet!” (Quickly hides book titled, “Thesaurus For Bedding Women Who’ve Heard it All Before Online — Alliteration  Addition  Edition”)

SECOND INTERACTIONS FROM MEN

Online — “Everyone else is a Suspect. But I’m a Prospect. Thought you’d appreciate the wit!” OR  “If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable! Get it?” OR “Hey Baby. To B or Not to B? That is the Question. And please let your answer be Double D!”

Real Life — (Gosh so she’s a real author. She likes wordplay. I like foreplay. There’s gotta be some common ground to be found there.) “So can you guess what’s on tonight’s menu?   ME  N’  U!”  OR  “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘I’ and ‘U’ together.”  OR  “Honey, if you were words on a page, you’d be fine print!”

Okay, okay . . . so there is absolutely ZERO difference between online and real life second interactions once they find out you’re a writer. Both are cheesy to the max!

Stay Tuned for Part TWO  “Taking Online Dating Offline! (The First Meeting)”

Readers: Can you think of any other ways that online dating behavior would be preposterous in real life? Please comment!

A cute profile pic that also screens out allergic guys!