Beware — The Vulnerable, Vacillating, Vanishing Valentine Villain!

 

 

It all began on February 1st because I went to see my therapist for ideas on how to feel closer to my neighbors and become a bigger part of my local community.

Therapist: How can I help you?

Me: Every day I walk exactly 11 miles before 11:11 pm on the clock and…

Therapist: So you’re here to address your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Me: No, that’s just my lucky number. The point is I encounter tons of neighbors on my walks but nobody says hello or acts friendly at all. And if I wave, they just ignore me.

Therapist: So you have a fear of rejection and a wounded child syndrome.

After I convinced her I was emotionally healthy, we decided the approaching Feb 14th holiday was the ideal opportunity for me to foster a more neighborly attitude. I would bake heart-shaped cookies and leave a sweet message on nearby front porches. Perfect. It would be a “Love Thy Neighbor” type of deal. Hey! Maybe I’d even start a new trend like that “Pay It Forward” kid did and become famous!

Then came all the trouble over “LOVE.” Because it was centered around the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, of course I wrote “I Love You!” on a sticky Post-It and attached it to the plate. Hallmark says it and so do those putrid conversation heart candies — why can’t I?

The next morning my neighbor confronted me at the mailbox with raised eyebrows and asked me what exactly I meant by that? I assured him I’ve lived here for nineteen years now and had just grown fond of his entire family. He frowned and hurried away, issuing a warning about mounting one of those video surveillance cameras on his front door.

I consulted my therapist who advised me to omit the “I” from “I Love you!” It was too overt and felt threatening to people, she told me. “Besides if you’re signing your name, they all know who you are anyhow,” she further explained.

Okaaaay. Cookies went out again, this time with a card that simply stated, “Love You!”

That afternoon, I overheard two neighbors talking in suspicious tones underneath my window.

Neighbor #1: What’s up with this Stephanie chick and those weird, mushy sentiments?

Neighbor #2: Yeah! Why can’t she just wait until Halloween and leave the normal, “You’ve been booed!” scary anonymous goblin note with treats instead?

So essentially I live in an area where people would rather be spooked than loved!

My therapist next recommended I try a different cul-de-sac of homes and dial it back even more. She suggested writing “Luv Ya!” because that was somehow more appropriate. Why I had to intentionally misspell words didn’t make any sense, but if that’s what it took, I was on it.

My children were annoyed that I kept baking heart-shaped cookies around the clock but not a one was for their consumption. Nevertheless I was determined to make this plan a success. The next batches went out late at night and I felt really good about it — plus my signature was now, “From Your Secret Valentine Vixen!” so it would be completely anonymous like the Halloween ghost thing they mentioned.

I was confident my neighborhood would now be a much nicer place to take walks in! But that was before I ran into five women standing in a huddle and looking disturbed. I moved in closer to hear what all the fuss was about.

Neighbor #1: There’s a Valentine Vamp after our husbands!

Neighbor #2: Yes! And she’s also a Valentine Vandal. There were cookie sprinkles littered all over our brand new front doormat.

Neighbor #3: Plus she’s undermining our parental authority because we don’t allow sugar anywhere near our children.

Me: (enthusiastically joining in) The sheer audacity of this woman. Let’s intercept her mail!

And that’s how I hit on the best way to get close to all my neighbors . . . I would bond with them through everyone’s anger and disgust over me – the loving Valentine cookie baker!

But for good measure, I left a plate of exactly 11 heart-shaped confections on my therapist’s office door with a note that said, “Wuv U!”

She called me immediately. Her voicemail said, “We really must work on your OCD and that neglected Inner Child of yours!”

 

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Paying It Forward Backfires!

photo-167Disclaimer: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It all started with an innocuous online message.  “ 1)  Make a list of five people and do an act of kindness for each.   2)   Ask each of them to pass it on to five more people.   3)   Enjoy making the world a better place!”  Simple, yes?   Oh right, there was a fourth step.   4) “Now you’ve seen this message and cannot Unsee it!  If you break the cycle of good deeds – – bad things will happen!”

This was “Pay It Forward” Damien Omen style!

“Unsee it??”  My  OCD  now  properly  activated,  I decided to keep a carefully detailed journal for proof and safety documentation.

        1st   Act  Of   Kindness:  Sent My Mother Flowers

       Result:

Mom:   Got your flowers. This  your way of saying, “the bloom is off the rose?”

Me:   Ma,  Nobody says that anymore.

Mom:   But you’re thinking it!

Me:   I just wanted you to have some grace and beauty.

Mom:   Some Grace.  I dropped a glass pitcher trying to water them. And in a few days, I’ll have a dead bouquet. There’s your Beauty.

Me:   Okay nevermind.  But do me a favor, do something nice for five friends, ok?

Mom:    I should do YOU a favor and do something nice?  You want something nice done, do it yourself.

Me:    Alright.  I’ll do kind deeds in your honor.  And put your name on them.

Mom     Don’t do me any favors!   Better you should  sign it, “From Your Secret Pal.”

Me:    Nobody has those anymore.

Mom:    My Mahjong ladies are here.   I have to defrost the water.  It’s  still  frozen.

Me:    Ma,  That’s  called  ice.

Me:    (into dial tone)   Be careful.  There’s a cycle of goodness that shouldn’t  be… Hello, hello  Mom?  How’s your rheumatism?

2nd Act of Kindness:  Put Chocolate Heart in Son’s School Lunch.

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            Result:

Son:   What’s with the candy?  One of your nags to see Dr. Tartar  for my cavities?

Me:   Not at all.  Just conveying love.

Son:   Well, now Savannah is jealous.

Me:   And you’re absolutely positive she wasn’t born in Georgia?  Maybe  conceived?

Son:    Seriously?!   It’s called a Destination Name.  Very popular.

Me:   Okay, okay.  So your Resort-Style, Vacation Girlfriend is jealous because your own mother loves you?

Son:   Hell,  I  couldn’t  show  her  that  Lame-o  note of yours.   So she thinks the heart  is  from Madison,  (who was not born OR conceived in Wisconsin)  but who beat her out of head Cheerleader and now she hates her guts.

Me:   Sorry to hear that.  But please abide by the rules and pay it forward.  I have this cycle…

Son:   Why do you always have to bring your monthly friend into everything?  Maybe after my Physics finals.

Me:   (swallowing hard)   Uh   oh.  You’re  in  the  middle  of  finals??   (Secret Pal better strike again!)

3rd Act of Kindness:  Left a Water Bottle for the Mailman

generic water bottle: no trademark infringement!

generic water bottle:
no trademark infringement!

       

           Result:

Mailman:   I’m sorry Little Miss Menopause,  but  I  gotta  issue  you a citation for using marked US Postal Service property as a trash receptacle.

Me:  (batting lashes)   It was  terribly  warm out.  I thought you might be thirsty.

Mailman:   It’s 62 degrees out.  Are you having one of your Hot Flashes or Confusion Episodes,  Miss  Meno?

Me:    No,  I  am not.  Clearly,  I  was  NOT  littering.  There was a “Pay it Forward” note that was attached.

Mailman:     I’m  returning  your note,  postage  due.

Me:     You don’t understand.  We mustn’t break the chain.

Mailman:    Chain letters are illegal to send through the mail.   I’ll have to report that too.

Me:     Okay, okay.  But please, when you get home – – can you just cook your  wife  a nice dinner or something?

Mailman:   That’s  very  unlike  me.  She’ll  guess  you and  I  are  having an affair.  Plus she’s about to have a baby, remember?

Me:  (swallowing harder)   OMG,  Rosemary’s  Baby!!!

Mailman  (pats  my  hand)     It’ll  all  be okay once  your  Xanax  gets  bumped up.  See you at 11 pm tonight when  I’ll  make a delivery  with  “the complete package.”  I’ll knock three times.

Me:   Shouldn’t you ring?  Doesn’t the Postman Always Ring Twice?? (Note to self: Write a blog about people conversing using only Movie  Title  dialogue)

4th Act of Kindness:  Bought  Random  Buff  Guy  a  Coffee  at Starbucks

Forget Trademark infringement. Maybe they'll sponsor my blog!

Forget Trademark infringement. Maybe Starbucks will sponsor my blog!

        Result:

Guy:   This  some  kinda  sick  joke?   I’m on a health kick.  I just gave up caffeine a week ago.  It interfered with my steroids.  I’m  only  here for  the  chocolate crumb cake.

Me:    Oh, sorry!  Could you pass this coffee to the cute, elderly lady behind you, then? But say it’s from you.  I’d like you to take the credit.

Guy:   Oh  man  Gramma!  Is your tongue ok?  This crazy broad  in front of me  made me  give you scalding coffee.

Me:   (leaning)   Sorry,  Gram.  But  did you see that movie, “Pay It Forward?”  With Helen Hunt?

Guy:    Hard of hearing.  She’s looking around for  Candid Camera.

Me:     No,  not  Funt,  Dear.  Hunt.  Hunt.  HUNT!

Guy:    Now she thinks you’re calling her a female body part.

Me:     Naturally.

5th Act of Kindness: Go to Stationery Store and Buy a “From Your Secret Pal” Stamp and Send Blank Checks To…(deep breath)

1. My Mother’s entire Mahjong group  2. Her Rheumatologist  3.  Son’s Physics teacher  4. Our dentist,  Dr. Tartar  5. Son’s girlfriend Savannah  6. All her Timeshare cheerleader friends:  Madison,  Brooklyn,  Tallahassee,  Seattle,  Massachusetts,  &  of course, Mt. Kilimanjaro  7.   The Mailman’s Wife,  8.  Their  OB-GYN,  9. Starbucks Staff,  10.  The Buff Guy’s Grandmother’s Hearing Aid Salesman, 11. Helen Hunt  12.  Alan Funt  13.  (and for good measure) Emily Blunt & Bonnie Hunt.

Oh and what the hell,  send Steven Spielberg the ominous “Pay It Forward” note.  (Evil laugh)  Let him be the one to worry about “Just when you thought it was safe to go to your mailbox!”  He could use a Prequel.

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Hum the Theme from Jaws starting now…..