Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

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Very SNEAKY speakerphone crimes are on the rise these days and even Yours Truly is guilty of a few. See if you’re the victim of any of the ones I’ve made up names for below — or if gasp….(be honest now!) you’re actually The Perpetrator!

  1. THE BRAG — Being around other people and expecting a phone call you know will contain good news? Possibly someone is going to be praising YOU for a job well done? You answer the phone and say, “Gosh it’s so hard to hear you. Let’s see if you’re more audible on speaker. Keep talking.” Bingo. You’ve just modestly made everyone around you aware that it was your quick thinking and innovative talent that saved the day!  Look properly sheepish when hanging up, but don’t overkill by saying, “Awwww shucks,” if someone around you offers a high-five or a congratulations.
  2. THE JEALOUSY — Your relationship has just passed that two-year mark when people typically start taking each other for granted just a tad. You’re out with your girlfriend when the call comes through and you recognize the name/number as the young sounding female nurse from your doctor’s office, obviously calling to report your lab results from your recent physical. You answer the phone on speaker but as soon as the caller chirps, “Hi, it’s Katherine . . . ” you awkwardly (guiltily?) interrupt her and say in a lowered voice, “Hold on so we can uh, talk more privately,” and remove speakerphone. During your long silence (in which she’s reading your blood results) nod your head enthusiastically, smile a lot, and suspiciously doodle on a pad of paper — the initials that stand for bad and good cholesterol . . .  “LDL” + “HDL”   This works best if your name is Logan David Lewis and the nurses name is Hilary Denise Lawrence.  Then put a plus sign in between the two and for good measure, draw a cute heart around the whole thing.  (Don’t jot down your triglyceride levels, that’s not romantic at all!) Upon hanging up, chuckle nervously while announcing to your gal, “That? Oh that was just the doctor’s office calling. Heh heh.”
  3. THE BUFFER — Did you just crash the car? Forget to do something important you promised? Spend a ton of $$ on something frivolous? Are you afraid to reveal these things to a certain someone because they fly off the handle easily? Simply make the call and when they answer, casually inform them you have a little bad news, but to first say hello to some mutual friends. Have a few people shout, “Hi there, Tom!” Guaranteed your confession will be received calmly and serenely. They may even say, “Don’t worry about it, you know stuff like that never bothers me.”
  4. THE EMPATHY — Your best friend calls you once a week to read entries from a journal she keeps on her relationship. This week she suspects her boyfriend may be having an affair with the young nurse from his doctor’s office. You turn on speakerphone, but you employ the mute button so she cannot hear you doing the dishes and vacuuming. After she finishes (and your house is tidy) and she asks your opinion, you say “I’m just too stunned to formulate any words.”
  5. THE CHORES — Call the child who always loudly protests their responsibilities, from their best friend’s home. Proceed to tell them you’re having tea with the parent and how proud you are to hear they’re sooooo helpful and polite whenever they’re a guest in this particular parent’s home. Next, remind them to please walk the dog, empty the garbage, and make the bed before you return home. When they pleasantly agree, resist asking, “Okay, who is this really?” (This is my personal crime and it works like a charm.)

READERS:  Please comment on any other speakerphone abuse I may have omitted besides the obvious — not letting someone know when they are on speakerphone, and people who talk on speakerphones in public places. Poor chaps never had walkie-talkies as a child!

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Couple’s Conundrums Creatively Clarified! (How do little things get decided in a new relationship?)

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First of all, how do two people (who’ve been dating) even decide they’ve actually become a “Couple” unless they’ve had that specific, “Are we or aren’t we?” talk.  Instead everyone looks for telltale validating signs — the changing of the relationship status on Facebook, the deleting of a dating profile, or the specific way an introduction is made. (I’d like you to meet my…..my WHAT??) Some even view the ultimate official coupleship marker as meeting the other person’s family. But suppose within two weeks you just happen to bump into his awkward parents for the first time in the lingerie department of Nordstrom as you’re trying on a teddy that will hopefully captivate him? Does this mean . . . BOOM! You’ve now rocketed from a lowercase “we” to a capital “US!” (with an exclamation point) right in the fitting room? Nope, it simply means his nerdy parents also still like to have a little fun. Ew.

But that’s just one of the mystifying issues that may need clarifying in new relationships. Here are three other concepts that are intriguing to think about when everything is so brand spanking new. (And nope, spanking didn’t make this list.)

An Over-Thinker’s Guide To Couple’s Conundrums!

  1. WHO YA GONNA CALL??  — How are those special (and ridiculous) nicknames for one another originally determined within the coupleship? Does she just say, “Gee, I’ve always had a thing for ‘Kitten’ on the Father Knows Best series. From now on you call me that, ok? Meow.” (BTW, Kitten would be a true PET-name!) Or does one person think up two options and then invite the partner to give their input? i.e. One day he offhandedly says, “So yeah. Ya wanna be my ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Little Lolita?’ Operators now standing by for your vote!” Or do couples connect their terms of endearments to personal stuff that nobody else knows about. For instance, his first word as a baby was “Baa-Baa” (stupid, but maybe he couldn’t say bottle?) making him sound like a little sheep. Plus he’s a black belt in martial arts so of course you’re gonna try and work a karate move into his new name as well. Put both concepts together and whadya get? He’s now you’re little “Lamb-Chop!” Okay that particular example? Maybe not so much.i-shall-call-him-squishy-2-4558-1455894011-1_dblbig
  2. BEDROOM PREFERENCES? — It’s the first time you’re sleeping together (not actually hitting the sack, but you get the euphemism?) so how is it decided who’s gonna be on the bottom? Perhaps in prior relationships both parties preferred to be the one who looks down on the other person? But suddenly there’s an indoor wrestling match, jockeying for the top position before the bell rings! Really? Alternatively when it’s your very first time “sleeping together”  (And I mean actual “staying over night snoozing” this time!) how do you resolve who gets to sleep on which side of the bed . . . if you’re both accustomed to being on the side closest to the window? For efficiency sake, I suggest a little check-box notice left on the nightstand (much like hotels do with their complimentary continental breakfast room service door-tag which you hang outside to designate preferences for whole wheat over white bread, and orange over tomato juice.) So yours would say —   Circle Your Choices:  1. Sex Position:  Top/Bottom  2. Side of Bed Sleeping: (as per facing the foot of the bed)  Left/Right  3.  Lighting: Off/On  4. Snoring Remedy:  Shaking/Hitting/Shouting 5. Cuddling & Snuggling Duration: Part-Time/Full-Time/Roll Over Immediately After!  5. Linens: Extra Blanket/Just Sheet  6. Temperature:  Coolish/Cozy/Stuffy  7. Windows & Door: Wide Open/Slightly Ajar/Bedroom Gets Sealed Tighter Than a Drum In Case of Prowlers. 8. If You Awaken First:  Rinse & Repeat/Hands Off and Lemme Sleep In!21an8lv
  3. SOCIAL CONTROL? — Which one of you makes the plans now that you’re no longer formally “just dating?” (There are 52 weeks in a year and equality suggests an even 50/50 split in calendar calibration — so simply alternate who’s in charge bi-weekly? Think of it as sharing the custody of your Joint Fun before the actual divorce.) And for that matter, when does “going out” taper off and both people deem it cool to just spend Saturday night staying in just “hanging out?” (If you do this, consider inviting other “official couples” over and playing my version of The Not-So-Newlywed Game!)  And finally, if you officially declare Coupledom just before the holidays, how do you decide whose family you’ll be joining? (Note: This is where some people like to bring out the gender wars and say it should always be celebrated with the female’s family — citing that stupid old saying, “A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is your daughter for the rest of her life.” Having FOUR sons I’d like to say “Utter Nonsense!” and offer my own little saying, “Go to the holiday table that calls you by your new Pet-Names, promises calorie-free eating, and thinks of dish-washing as a New Year’s Day resolution to be broken by Jan. 2nd!)

PROBLEMS SOLVED!

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HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHO STARTS THE PILLOW FIGHT THE MORNING AFTER YOUR VERY FIRST SLEEPOVER?

 

Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

Breaking-the-Rules-in-Soulmate-RelationshipsHow will you know the difference between someone who’s supposed to be your partner for all time, and someone who’s just gonna be your partner in crime?

Some cultures and religions claim RIGHT HERE that you have only ONE SINGLE soul-mate out there because it literally involves the splitting of polarities from one intact original state of unity. I don’t write like that! What does that gobblygook even mean? In other words, the two of you were originally baked up together (but where? In some NYC bagel shop?) as one entire whole soul but upon birth, your soul was sliced in half (like an onion, poppy-seed bialy?) and you are therefore “incomplete” until you search far and wide for the one person in this world who possesses the other portion of your soul. And thus only when you both find each other (and a tub of cream-cheese!) will you actually feel WHOLE again.

I imagine going around town like the Duke in Cinderella, only instead of having every eligible fair maiden trying on a glass slipper to see if it fits, I’ll be awkwardly moseying up to strange bachelors, demanding they intimately press their half of their soul right up into mine (forget regard for personal space when soul-searching!) to see if our soul’s jagged edges align and interlock like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, and then exclaiming, “Hmmm, close but no cigar… Next?!”

Or instead you could simply pay more attention to my weird list of . . .

7 Extremely Subtle, Nearly Imperceptible Signs that You’re With the Correct Soul-Mate.

  1. NO MORE SQUANDERED FOOD! — You’ll suddenly notice nothing goes to waste because (since this individual is truly your other half) they’ll want to gobble up the other half of the morsels  you discard.  For instance, they’ll eat the yolk in the hard-boiled egg when you only like the whites … so the WHOLE egg gets eaten. They’ll eat the white meat while you prefer the dark meat in a chicken … so the whole bird gets consumed. Sensing a “wholeness” pattern here? That’s right, while you eat the banana, they’ll ingest the peel. (Or you could just be dating a human garbage disposal?)
  2. FINISHING JOKES! — Forget finishing each others sentences, that’s no big trick. But when you’re telling a really good joke (in front of your mutual friends you want to impress) and just as you’ve painstakingly outlined the entire set-up and have everyone hanging on the edge of their seat — in true soul-mate style, they’ll loudly chime in with the funny punchline, lovingly stealing your thunder. Then that’s your “better” half, for certain!
  3. INTENSE EMOTIONAL REACTION! — You cannot stand them upon your first meeting and never want to see them again. In fact you want to destroy them and wonder if their body might fit into a blender? This is because our higher selves know more than we do and can pick up the vital significance of this person before we’re even consciously aware of it. This triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response as we suspect there’s gonna be a very expensive wedding looming ahead, and we dislike someone shoving cake in our mouth while being photographed. It’s self-sabotage, baby! But this is your soul-mate.
  4. NEWLY ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE! — When you’re around this person you’re suddenly speaking fluent Egyptian, inexplicably knowing that apples are evil, or ascertaining how to crack open a bank vault. This is a sure sign you were both historical soul-mates in a previous life — Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Adam & Eve, or Bonnie & Clyde. Bonus: Your next Halloween costume is already decided.
  5. BOOKS! — Join a book club where you must all read the same inept, boring novel. When you can’t stand it anymore, put a bookmark in. At the next meeting, ask members, “So who stopped at the beginning of chapter two?” If it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, (and they’re literate folks) most everyone will nod their head. You’re getting warmer. But to narrow down your precise soul-mate, shout out, “Twenty-six, middle of the third paragraph?!” and when someone else raises their hand, you’ve found them! Everyone knows being on the exact same page is always a match made in heaven, or at least in your local library.
  6. THEY COMPLETE YOU! Or rather they complete important things for you. The last of your gallon of cookie dough ice-cream . . . gone! The crossword puzzle you started and meant to get back to . . . already filled in. You paused Black Mirror right at the most exciting part until you’re back from the gym . . . it’s been watched to its ironic conclusion and the free Netflix membership promptly cancelled. (But they won’t complete washing the dishes, your joint taxes, or the Christmas shopping list because they know how you like those things done your own special way. Bless your considerate soul-mate’s heart.)
  7. CLAM CHOWDER! And lastly and most importantly, if you ever share a hot steaming bowl of chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, or french-onion . . . Oh wait, that’s a blatant typo made when I couldn’t think of anything else to write and Googled, “Signs of a Soup-Mate.”  NEVER MIND!   (My best Gilda Radner impression below…..isn’t it amazing, the resemblance? She’s my comic soul-mate!)

Readers: Do you believe you have just one single, solitary Soul-Mate?

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Is THIS Really a Thing Now? Cuddle Up With My Blog and Find out!

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Hello Friends! I’m your Snuggler Buggler Cuddler Befuddler! Are you lonely? Do you suffer from skin-to-skin hunger? Are you in need of some Spooning Fine-Tuning? The answers to all your problems are just one touch away atop my cozy, comfy couch! Simply give me a call and for $80 an hour, we’ll laze around together on the sofa watching Netflix Black Mirror episodes. Benefits to you include lower blood pressure, reduction of stress/anxiety, as well as an instant mood boost. Requests for me to wear my Hello Kitty jammies will be honored at an additional charge.

That would be my commercial if I were certified in the up-and-coming cathartic career in caressing called a “Cuddle Collaborator.” Yes this really IS a thing, folks. And lest you think this is just Cuddling Camouflage for Coquettish Courtesans, let me point out that the Cuddling Code of Conduct constitutes a NO SEXUALITY clause. Yep, you can confirm all of this right HERE — as well as watch a humorous short video that consolidates and cancels all your cuddling concerns because cuddling calamities can cause catastrophes!

If you prefer your snuggling to take place in larger groups (just like litters of kittens, but not nearly as cute) with music and food, you should come to a Cuddle Party right HERE.

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These are my two professional cuddlers  (Ritz & Bits)  age 6 months!

Would I lie about this stuff?? I even ordered one to come to my house for an interview to see for myself.

ME: Come in, have a seat at my kitchen table.

PRO CUDDLER: Oh we need a horizontal surface. Chairs are bad Snuggle Feng Shui.

ME: Well the thing is, we’re gonna cuddle long distance– and by that I mean you’re not gonna lay so much as a finger on me, but I’m gonna ask you questions.

The Pro Cuddler left in a huff when I made ear-whispers, arm stroking, and hair ruffling also off limits.

By now it must be obvious that I’m absolutely incredulous this could be a real thing in our society. But no amount of coaxing, coercing, convincing, or cajoling will ever get me to do ANY of this touchy/feely stuff because my motto can be classified with MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This!”

However…..someone obviously put their thinking cap on and thought of ways to make money doing something that requires little training, effort, and investment capital, which in turn inspires me to brainstorm other easy career options as well.

A Nagologist — Oversleeping on weekend mornings? Forgetting to do those pesky chores? For $120 I will arrive at your home with lists of tasks in hand that you should be doing around your house and yard.  Just say the word and it can carry over into your personal appearance as well — because nobody is as highly trained as to when you should wear a jacket or get your hair out of your pretty face, as I am.

A Clockationer — Your time is valuable and I do things with clocks that are earth-shattering and life-altering. For $1,000 you’ll get my services year-round. Simply provide me with a key to your home and unbeknownst to you, I’ll occasionally sneak in and set all your clocks ahead by thirty minutes. Imagine arriving places with perfect punctuality, or even a few minutes early for once in your life! Conversely, when you’d rather skip an appointment you’re dreading, I’ll set your clocks back by two hours so you’ll have no chance. This is an idea whose time has come!

A Complimentician — Plagued by low self-esteem? Raised by overly critical parents? Feeling under appreciated at work or by your spouse?  I have 150 different ways of applauding you while saying, “Great job!” You’ll feel like a million bucks for just under 100.  Never again will you be taken for granted and my *gratitude for you (as a person!) will know no bounds. (*I’ll be extra grateful if you pay me under-the-table in cash.)

An Imaginarian — Feeling bored? Life too predictable? Yearning for the excitement you see in movies? For $99, I’ll bring my overactive imagination in tow along with my unique hypothetical scenarios that will make you feel young, vibrant, and alive again. Each hourly session starts out with me probing, “What if?”  For instance, “What if . . . you found out your committed, honest spouse was actually having a secret affair? Your child, (a straight A student) was good at covering up his cocaine addiction?  Your doctor’s blood pressure cuff hasn’t been calibrated in years and you really have 160/110? Just think! (No gratuity tips necessary.)

A Blogchiatrist — For $300, I’ll put your blog into psychoanalysis, specifying what your theme is covertly conveying, your language and vocabulary is subliminally suggesting, what gruesome thoughts your accompanying photo images are conjuring up, and report back with a thorough critique of the number one reason many of your readers are not returning for more. After you’re feeling clinically depressed about everything you’re doing wrong, I’ll give you a bonus complimentician and nagology session, followed up by an imaginarian and clockation hour. But wait, there’s more! I’ll take you into my figurative bed, wrap my metaphoric arms around your shoulders, and give you an all-day comforting symbolic cuddle at no extra charge!

Dear Readers: What jobs can you think up that nobody needs, but everybody wants to read about?? Leave one in the comments.

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Scary Relationship Terms — Ghosting, Haunting, & Zombie-ing!

unnamed-file-2447In honor of the month of October (and Halloween!) may I present some relationship/dating terms that actually are commonly used nowadays, along with some words I’ve just invented — because I cannot believe the real ones actually exist! Let’s see if you can tell which ones I’ve made up?

Ready to play??  Go!

GHOSTING — One who simply vanishes, never to be heard from again, instead of having a mature conversation about breaking-up.

WITCHING — Someone who casts a magical spell over you, keeping you strangly compliant when they steal all the covers on cold nights or devour the last pint of your favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. (Yes, the Chunky Monkey you were saving to break your diet with!)

COBWEBBING — One who lies about his whereabouts to you because he’s having secret affairs on the side. This is where we get the famous old proverb, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive!”

BROOMSTICKING— Someone who is terrified of flying so they always suggest a cross country road trip, playing up the potential to have a “great adventure” and citing, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey!”  You could get to Maine faster on a broomstick!

STEPHEN-KINGING — A tightwad with an elaborate DVD collection, claiming it’s so much “cozier” to stay in and watch a movie — which wouldn’t be so bad if it was Shawshank Redemption. (Hey, did you know Stephen King’s novella was the basis for that awesome movie??)

ZOMBIE-ING — After the person “Ghosts” you (see above) they suddenly return a few weeks later (back from the dead?) as if nothing has happened — sending a sly text, “Hey, how’ve you been? Wanna come over for some Chunky Monkey ice-cream?”

MASKING — A partner, (usually female) who will not be seen without any make-up on. She awakens at 4 am, sneaks to the bathroom to apply Maybelline rouge on her cheeks so she exudes a natural sex-appeal glow when her partner first opens his eyes and glances at the rosy-cheeked female on the pillow next to him. Why do you think Nars brand blush has a color called, “Orgasm?”

HAIR-RAISING — Someone whose tresses seem to grow straight up, like the author of this blog, who looks like she’s been frozen in time from the 80’s when hair was big and vertical.

Little Miss Menopause demonstrating “Hair-Raising” style.

 

JACK-O-LANTERNING — One who is overindulgent with pumpkin flavored products this time of year while expecting you to share in their excitement that pumpkin spice deodorant is now being marketed.

VAMPIRING — A woman who still remembers what it means to be on Team Edward and if you never saw the Twilight movies, you’re outa luck in the bedroom.

HAUNTING —  After someone Ghosts you, (but BEFORE they Zombie you) — they can HAUNT you by suddenly inhabiting your online world, such as following you on Instagram or friending you on Facebook. Constantly reminding you that, “I still exist!” seems to be the sole purpose of this particular spooky tactic.

BONE-CHILLING — This is when the chef of the relationship decides that the latest trend of making you eat daily bowls of Bone Broth would be enhanced by serving it ice-cold, straight from the refrigerator in gazpacho form.

DYING — One who relies on the excuse that their cell-phone battery is running out of juice to end conversations with you abruptly.

DEVIL-ING — The chocoholic of the relationship who chooses “the dark stuff” over having sex every time. Example: You shoot your mate that familiar “come hither” look and instead of responding, “Why you little Devil, you!” they reach for a slice of devil’s food cake.

TRICK-OR-TREATING — A generous date who treats you to a night out at the movie theater and then (as you eye the Hershey’s Kisses at the concession stand because you’re into Devil-ing!) proceeds to trick you into believing that all candy is pure evil. Don’t even get them started on what they put in the butter on the popcorn!

MONSTERING — This person drops subtle hints that once you marry them, you’ll have monster-in-laws — frighteningly loud, controlling and bossy. Get out while you still can!

ELVIRA-ING — A female who always dresses to show off her two prominent assets, even if you’re just bringing her home to meet your mom–Morticia Addams.

So how’d you do, Readers? Actually the only real terms are the ones in the blog title. Check out their legit usage right here.

I’ve made up all the rest to have a little pre-Halloween fun. Booooooo!

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Personality Practicality! (Can a 12 Minute Test Actually Peg Who You Really Are??)

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I’ve always known about the Myers–Briggs Personality test and thought it was just a fun little quiz like, “What Your Pasta Preference Says About Your Favorite Sex Position.” Certainly I put zero stock in the reliability or accuracy of it until a recent conversation with Bethany my bossy older sister, (never mind that my mother would name us Stephanie and Bethany!) during which she casually suggested I change the title of this blog to “Once Upon Your Grime” and give housecleaning tips.

BETHANY: Wow. Calm down. You’re so sensitive to constructive criticism. Does “INFP” mean anything to you?

ME: Is that the spin-off of the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati? Is Loni Anderson still blonde and perky?

BETHANY: I have no idea. And no, it’s the initials which I would stake my life on you getting if you were to take that famous online personality test.

ME: Really? INFP??  Lemme guess. That stands for Iconic, Naughty, Friendly, and Perfect? I always wanted to be termed as a little bit “Naughty.”

BETHANY: Err, not quite, Sis. Why don’t you take it yourself and find out. Here’s the link. But I’m absolutely certain I’m correct about you!

So I gave honest answers to all the official nosy questions and sure enough, (much to Know-It-All Bethany’s prediction!) I DID come out with exactly the initials INFP — which I read stood for Introvert (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Perception (P). Only mine had a little dash and another letter too. Like this:  INFP-T

Upon further research I found the “T” was for turbulence. Oh c’mon now. I’m not an airplane! So the implication was that I create Turbulence in life? Why don’t Myers and Briggs just come right out and say, “T is for Tasmanian Devil?”

I refused to be labeled as such and so I took the test again, this time choosing all different responses. And once again, within five minutes, my results INFP were emailed to me. But this time followed by another dash and two letters — TM (Test Manipulator!)

I took that darn test eight more times, completely switching out my answers, using different computers, wearing different clothes, and changing my hairstyles, not to mention while eating shiitake mushrooms — and each time my fate was sealed with those same four initials getting emailed back to me. Branded as a permanent INFP, I slowly began to accept my destiny (and order monogrammed towels!) while exploring what career choices were good for me and who my ideal mate should be.

Finding out I would make a superb Horse-Exerciser, a Bingo Caller, and an Elevator Inspector was not the worst of it. Far more upsetting was that I should never have walked down the aisle with the two men I had married. But the most devastating news of all? Apparently an INFP like like myself is biologically incapable of producing children with the different logical, (normal!) initials all my offspring have! So now I must question whether or not I am really their mother, or were all six kids switched at birth?

My obsession didn’t stop there. I wanted to know how the test could know I was someone who made up jokes with no punchlines to test people’s authenticity (if they still laugh at my nonsense, they’re insincere!) and that instead of buying whole bottles of perfume, I rub magazine pages (with samples of Channel #5 embedded in them) on my wrists and neck.

We’re not talking general everyday personality traits like when horoscopes say Pisces people are creative. (Duh!) No, this thing was eerily Twilight Zonish spot-on for me, and so I put in a call to Myers and Briggs immediately, wanting to know how they could figure this all out from questions like, “Do you prefer to stand in the center of a room or close to the walls in a crowded party?” I was told Myers and Briggs were a nice mother/daughter team who had passed away a long time ago.  Hmmmm.

Only when the I reread the end of my test results and it said, “Recommendation: Start a blog called, Once Upon Your Grime and offer cleaning hints!” did things start to come clear for me. It was Bethany sending me my results all along.

ME: Hi! I’m sure having fun with the “special” link you gave me. Good thing I don’t take it very seriously though. Just curious, what are your own initials?

TIFFANY: HTBW

HTBW = Hates To Be Wrong.  (Naturally!)

Dear Readers, Why don’t you take the test right HERE and see if you agree with the initials you receive and Bethany’s assessment of your personality! Post a comment about it so I can see what my busybody sister has to say about you! (Ps. If you’re an ENFJ male, supposedly you’re my best match.) 

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We Interrupt This Blog . . .

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There may be an official ordinance about posting unfunny things on a humor blog, but I’ll accept a warning citation. Ironic short stories are my original genre of writing and several readers have encouraged me to share more widely here. Back to regularly scheduled chuckles soon! Thank you.

Going Up, Going Down, Going Thru, Going Under!

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Wow, I’m really going under tonight.

I’ve seen this hypnotist’s show before and figure I can trust him just fine to put me under. The only embarrassing part of the act was when he made the women on stage believe they were doing a striptease for their husbands. But even that I can handle, I reassure myself. Besides it might actually help Dennis see me in a new light. Lately he’s been restless, telling me I hold him back, I’m too safe, don’t take enough risks, and I’m not living life boldly enough. “Carpe Diem,” he’ll say as if mocking Robin William’s character in the movie, only I know he really means it. So in less than one hour, I will seize the day, and the night, and my husband’s respect.

All by announcing I am pregnant when it’s my turn in the spotlight.

“The rabbit died,” said that nasally nurse with the goofy sense of humor on the phone yesterday, and it had taken me a few seconds to reconcile her morbid, archaic expression with the fact that I finally had wondrous life growing inside of me after three years of fertility futility. No more temperature taking, ovulation kits, semen analysis, uterine biopsies, and standing on my head after lovemaking.

Dennis pays for our two tickets with a credit card that I strongly suspect will be declined. It’s the third one we’ve exceeded our limit on since he lost his job at the architectural firm. But I’m right behind him, expediently holding two twenty dollar bills so his red-face embarrassment will be short lived. That’s what a good wife does after all. But it’s dark by the box office and so I miss his grateful expression as we’re unexpectedly ushered into an elevator behind two perfectly proportioned blondes. The more platinum of the two drawls, “Going up,” while pushing a button with her fuchsia fingernail.

Both young women follow us into the theatre and meld their lithe bodies into chairs directly next to us. I notice the taller one lets her high-heeled encased ankle graze my husband’s pant leg as she deeply crosses her exposed thighs. But I turn my attention to the overhead banner that proclaims, “The Hip Hypnotist. Is it your turn to surrender?” And another sign to the right that advertises, “Enjoy yourself at our show… you ARE our show!” I squeeze my husband’s hand with affectionate anticipation knowing how pleased he’ll be to see me up on stage as a vivacious volunteer. And the grand finale when the hypnotist asks each participant to tell the audience something they would never guess, something shocking…well, I can’t think of a more fun and bold way to break the news of the baby. I only hope I won’t be too deeply hypnotized to appreciate Denny’s pride.

I’m immediately reassured when a slide show flashes on a big screen monitor explaining that being hypnotized is relaxing, enjoyable, and further elaborating that the subjects will be alert at all times to what is going on around them. And how it only serves to bring everyone into a deeper state of reflection where inhibitions will be tempered. This sounds like exactly what I need. Denny’s biggest complaint? I’m too uptight, too in control, and far too anxious. To have any fun.

I’m not expecting such a frenzied rush to the stage when the MC invites people up and I’m nearly trampled trying to grab a chair in the line-up. I’m relieved to see that I’m seated between two conservative, stuffy looking gentlemen so I feel very at home even though the lights are painfully bright. I glance back into the second row, my hand shielding my eyes as they strain to seek out my husband from the crowd. I am rewarded to see him nod appreciatively. “Just wait,” I say silently, “if you think this is good, you just wait.”

I gently flutter my eyelids closed as instructed and feel a certain warmth radiating from my toes on upward. I speculate if this is the heat the Hip Hypnotist suggests I’ll be feeling, or if I’m just flushing with embarrassment wondering if people think my hairstyle is dated. “Don’t analyze,” I chide myself, “Just go with the flow.” But what is that soft background music? It almost sounds like the instrumental part of The Doors, Light My Fire. I love playing Name That Tune.

All at once, Hip’s voice seems to come to me from everywhere and nowhere, soaking through my ears, dripping into my mind’s eye where it paints delicate pictures with watercolor words. “A river of thought,” he murmurs. “A stream of consciousness,” the voice drones, “a trickle of trivia…” Did we pay our water bill this month I wonder, and visualize the online automatic withdrawal system that I recently activated. But Hip’s gentle touch on my shoulder distracts me from this mundane image as he calmly states that each time he taps me, I will be filled with a deeper and deeper sense of tranquility. I crack one eyelid partway open, then quickly admonish myself in my former preschool teacher’s voice, “no peeking.” But now Hip is counting backwards from ten to one and when he’s done, we’re supposed to open our eyes and find that we’re in a fantasy field of flowers.

Someone lowers the lights and fades the music and I’m horrified to realize I feel no different at all. I am exactly the same. Three, two, one. A panicky sensation grips my throat and I begin to sneeze in succession, four, five times, something I always do when I’m edgy. But nobody says, “bless you” and I realize everyone around me is probably too busy frolicking in their lovely imaginary meadows. And here I am, stuck — trapped inside the same old self-conscious, timid, awkward wallflower persona on this stage while Hip heads toward me with efficient strides, probably to test my level of hypnotization, if that’s even a word. To add to my mortification, the prim looking man seated on my left lowers his face with drowsy oblivion deeply into my lap. Obviously looking to graze in MY greener pastures.

Hip the Hypnotist seems entirely satisfied to raise my arm up and watch it droop down again, apparently checking the “floppy factor,” a true litmus test for hypnotists. He then nods approvingly, gesturing toward me and egging the audience into rapturous applause.

“One more thing,” Hip adds when the clapping dies down, “If at any time during our show, someone next to you in the first ten rows appears to have gone under, please raise your hand and one of our lovely assistants will escort them on stage to join our act. It happens more than you’d think!”

Still alarmed that I’m not under some spell or feeling any different at all, I think back to when I saw this show before. What’s next? What the hell is next? Oh, we stink, we really stink. That’s right. I can fake that. I quickly remember all the things I’ve pretended in my life. Pretended to be asleep when Dennis came to bed, pretended I liked his mother’s obnoxious perfume, and pretended I had my doctorate degree when I was around the snooty women at my husband’s X-mas party. I begin to hold my nose and fan the air, looking suspiciously at the man to my right as Hip insists our neighbor hasn’t showered in weeks. The audience barely chuckles and out of the corner of my eye I think I see Dennis yawn and glance sideways at Blondie next to him.

Next we’re given the choice to be jockeys or thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby and I have to make a quick decision which one would be less embarrassing. I’m self-conscious about my size so I decide to be a horse rather than a rider (don’t they have to weigh under 100 lbs?) but once again I’m humiliated beyond belief as Hip proposes that the horses have just done the unthinkable! All the jockeys hold their noses at our imaginary disgusting stench. What is up with this guy and his obsession with odors? But the audience seems to really enjoy this and so I play along, all the while planning my seductive striptease where I can more than likely redeem myself in front of Dennis before I broadcast that I’m the expectant mother of his first child.

It dawns on me that everyone else on stage seems to be genuinely hypnotized as they prance freely around and I can’t believe I’m the only one held prisoner by my inhibitions and hang-ups.

“What’s your name and where ya from?” Hip closes in on me with his microphone and I try to make my eyes appear dreamy and awestruck, the way I imagine they should look in a trance.

“Sharon Henderson from California,” I recite zombie-like.

“That’s a strange racehorse name,” Hip persists.

F*ck I think, I’m blowing it. I quickly add, “otherwise known as Lucky Lady from Laughlin,” I toss my hair like a Clydesdale mane, but decide that actual neighing noises might be too over-the-top. And that’s when I notice Hip’s eyes narrow at me just a bit before he moves on.

Next we’re skiing in the Alps, only we’re doing it barefoot. Easy. Just shiver uncontrollably. After that, we’re at the beach and one of us, (thankfully not me) has a hole in a prominent spot in their bathing suit. Another cinch. I fake a shocked expression while the crowd bursts into bawdy howls. But now I feel my whole body tighten because it occurs to me that after this, it will be time for all us females to become x-rated exotic dancers. I scope out my competition and that’s when true despair sets in. I didn’t realize there were so many beautiful young girls up here. Is that one even legal, I wonder, knowing that alcohol has been served all night long. I can only hope that afterwards, Dennis will be so ecstatic over my pregnancy announcement that he’ll make generous allowances for a clumsy, horselike, foul-smelling stripper reject. I let myself glance at him momentarily, but he seems to be staring down motionless at his shoes.

A sudden prod on my shoulder and I’m introduced to the audience as “Cherry Jubilee,” direct from Paris. I recognize the bump and grind music from some old Broadway production. Great, he has to go and make me a French girl, I lament. I flounce around on an elevated platform twirling my sweater, then sashay stage left because I know Dennis sits off to the right. Hips. Swivel your hips and get your ass into it, I encourage myself and now I’m swirling and swaying pretty good for someone who’s seven weeks along. But the audience starts to taunt, “Take it off Cherry, take it all off!” and I know Dennis would want to see me loose and carefree so I fling the plaid sweater at some man in the front row and start to undo the top part of my silk blouse. I’m indebted to Hip for stopping me mid-button, but not at all grateful for what he spits out next.

“Why, you big ham you! You’re not really under at all, are you? Thought you could fool us fools? But let’s give Sharon a big hand anyhow for her participation thus far,” he says and gives me a hard thrust toward my seat as people hesitatingly clap. As I stare in disbelief wondering what about my dancing could’ve given me away, I hear Hip continue enthusiastically, “But it looks like someone in our audience is highly suggestive and has gone completely under. Let’s bring him up here, shall we? Audience?” Everyone thunders away and I notice Buxomy Blondie next to Dennis wildly waving her hands and pointing fingers at my lethargic husband who appears drunk and perfectly content to be accompanied up the steps of the stage by a stunning red-haired assistant.

It could be my imagination but it almost seems like both the blondes stick their feet out in the aisle to trip me as I try to squeeze by and return to my seat with some semblance of dignity. “Going Thru!” I whisper to them.

All eyes are now on the intriguing newcomer in the spotlight, and I watch as my husband, (now seated in the exact chair I just previously sat in) gregariously introduces himself as ‘Dennis the Menace.’ Hip snaps his fingers and in response, Denny instantly slumps forward in a genuine daze.

I look at my watch and realize the show is nearly at its conclusion except for the ending stunt where everyone makes a single outrageous confession. I’m sad not to be able to blurt out my amazing baby news, but I still feel a few eyes on me so I chortle along with the rest of the crowd as one girl proclaims her bisexuality. Another man dressed in Walmart garb surprises people by declaring he’s a multi-millionaire. One of the younger girls admits being hot for Hip the Hypnotist and everyone shouts, “Go for it!”

Dennis greedily snatches the mic out of turn and leans closely in, characteristically clearing his throat before he talks. I almost think Blondie next to me blows him a coy little kiss, but maybe she’s only swatting at a gnat.

My husband hesitates one suspenseful moment before speaking…

“I don’t love my wife Sharon anymore. I’m having an affair and I’m leaving her.” His burning voice seems to come to me from everywhere and nowhere all at once, singeing my ears as the words blaze into my mind’s eye; an explosive inferno of divorce papers, wedding albums, and abortions ignite together as blonde looks of pity smolder in my direction.

Wow, I’m really going under tonight.

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Funky Facebook Friend Faye Fiercely Focused on Flaunting!

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Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Faye in my teenage years until she suddenly surfaced on Facebook, or rather “Faye’sbook,” requesting her entrance into MY WORLD. Noooooooooo!

Now whenever I post an update that’s a happy one, Faye immediately posts her own “Ecstatic” status. And being the type who detests people portraying their lives as all rainbows, butterflies, and sunsets, I’ll often type out something extremely honest but depressing. And in the blink of an eye, Faye will elaborate on some catastrophic personal tragedy on her own newsfeed. She keeps an endless supply of cousins with cancer for this very purpose.

So basically if I’m happy, she’s Happier and if I’m downhearted, she’s Fantine from Les Misérables. 

When I wrote about my daughter going to her first prom last June, Faye’s daughter went to her first prom AND was crowned Prom Queen. I got in a car accident and was taken to the ER in an ambulance? Faye was sandwiched by two semi-trucks and airlifted to ICU in a coma. I made a crème brûlée and caramelized the sugar with a cigarette lighter? Faye made baked alaska flambé with a culinary torch!

Doesn’t this chick have anything better to do with her life than to concentrate on outdoing me on a daily basis??

“Stephanie,” you might say, “Will you get over yourself and your big ego? It’s not always about you, you know? Sometimes it’s just pure coincidence.”

Oh yeah? I’ll prove it. Look at my Facebook from last night. It’s so utterly specific.

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Suddenly on her Facebook appeared this status:

Gosh, my husband (the most incredible ophthalmologist in the world) says the crazies are coming out of the woodwork after the eclipse, claiming they’re going blind. What are you gonna do? It puts our kids through the best Ivy league colleges!

 

Fluke?  I think not.

But just to be sure it wasn’t a chance occurrence, I found Faye on Twitter and clicked “Follow.” Then I tweeted this:

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And needless to say a new Tweet from Faye soon went out like this:

Daughter has Lice, Dog has fleas, Kitchen has Ants, Basement has Termites! #The10Plagues!

 

See, she even outshines me in pestilence. What petulance!

So I went to Instagram, searched for Faye there and was successful in locating her right away. This called for a new clever tact. A “fluffy strategy” to be exact, because I make the most adorable memes in the world, featuring my two kittens. Here’s my latest Instagram post:

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How can it possibly get any cuter, (or cleaner!) than two kitties in a sink?? Well not even twenty minutes later, her Instagram showcased her bathtub!

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Needless to say on Pinterest, I put up a bunch of pins on turning a spare bedroom into a movie theatre. Then I clicked on her Pinterest account and she’d newly added photographs of a long, narrow hallway, remodeled into a bowling alley!

After friending her on LinkedIn, I made sure that my title prominently stated I was a published author. And instantaneously she got promoted from a boring “Technical Writer” to “Award Winning Screenwriter!”

Alright, this means war! And that’s why I’m writing this WordPress blog and then I’m gonna find Faye’s WordPress blog and become a secret new follower. There’s only one problem, I just found out Fay is on the East Coast, where she’s apparently three hours ahead of me in everything she does. And so this is HER latest post on WordPress:

Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Stephanie (who now weirdly goes by “Little Miss Menopause”) in my teenage years but my mother insisted I find her on Facebook, so I grudgingly did so for old time’s sake. After that, she’s been stalking me on every social media in existence trying her best to upstage me. Can we say, “CREEPY??” Ewwwww. Get a life.

 

READERS: Do you have an online “competitor?” How about in real life….maybe at the gym?

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Be Careful Answering “Why Did Your Relationship End?”

break_up_ripped_photo_600X369Longtime readers may recall that I’ve had two marriages end, but they don’t know why. Actually nobody is EVER privy to the real reason(s) that a love relationship concludes — we only receive the limited information that the couple (one or both parties!) willingly imparts to us. And depending on which side of the story you hear, that will differ vastly!

The most accurate explanation is “I guess you just had to be there!”

Being acutely aware of all this, and also knowing that the question (“Why did you divorce?”) would be asked by future prospective partners once we were in the single world again, I tried to exert a little control during my split-ups. (Shocking, right? Me and “control” in the same sentence!)

ME: Let’s both be on the same page when our friends all ask us why our marriage failed.

HIM: Oh goody, let’s!

ME:  Alrighty, so we want something that’s not embarrassing or shameful for either of us…but it should be fairly compelling.

HIM: Okay so I guess, “She refused to pack my bento box for work even though she was already making our other children’s lunch-boxes for school, and besides what’s another turkey sandwich?” isn’t what you had in mind.

ME: That bento box was a fricking nightmare . . . since when is food so pretty?  No, I was thinking something more along the lines of The War of The Roses movie where both parties are equally at fault. But you never ran over my cat in your car and I never served you paté made from your dog. Ok?

HIM: Did we both end up dangling from our chandelier?

ME: Yes, that’s riveting!

So here are my suggestions for people who need to come up with acceptable justifications because the truth simply will not do.

WHY DID YOUR LAST RELATIONSHIP END?

  1. JOB RELATED — It’s pretty easy to dodge this question when a future employer inquires during an interview why your last position ended. So just borrow some basic terminology. “I was laid off when there was a merger and a major reorganization.” Or simply go with, “Micro-Management.”
  2. BLAME — Don’t be a finger-pointer. Own up and share responsibility equally like this: “He was a philanderer, an alcoholic, unambitious, and he beat me. Oh, but I had my part in it as well — I kept forgetting to pack his lunch.”
  3. LIFE HAPPENS! — For the kindly, romantic divorcing couple who sugarcoats. “We finally realized that Love just wasn’t enough.”
  4. CHEATING? — Just say this . . . “Being solely with one person is very unrealistic in this day and age when people live to be 80 years-old. Monogamy during caveman days? Piece a cake!”
  5. OFFSPRING — “He touched me first! She looked at me after I told her not to. He grabbed my ice-cream cone when I set it down but wasn’t finished.” No, that’s not your kids arguing. Those are legit reasons cited by parents (about each other) after they’ve endured having multiple children. (If you can’t beat ’em . . . )
  6. DIETING: No, don’t use the cheesy line, “I just shed 180 lbs by divorcing my husband.” Instead say how you lost 22 lbs in a month but unfortunately that triggered your spouse’s insecurities and . . . trust me you won’t get past that point because you’ll be so busy answering the question of exactly how you accomplished this incredible weight loss (carb cutting??) in great detail and nobody will ever even care about your split-up again.
  7. CANDOR:  Here’s my spouse’s phone number. I have nothing to hide. Ring her up and ask exactly why it ended. (sing to the tune of Ghostbusters…”Who ya gonna call????”)
  8. REFRAME: Again borrow the technique from job interviews when they ask you for a personality flaw and you say, “I am too perfectionistic and don’t know when to stop working.” So in this case you say, “Unfortunately my spouse had very low self-esteem and could never believe she deserved someone as awesome as me so she realized she had to leave.”

If all else fails, hold up a Bento Box (below) and say, “How’d you like to pack one of these every morning when neither of you is even Japanese?!”

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READERS:  How honest are you about why your relationship ended? Please leave me a comment responding. And if this subject interests you, I wrote more for The Huffington Post in their Divorce section right HERE.

Zuko Marriage Ending Faster Than Greased Lightning!

Drive-InWe join the famous pair during couple’s counseling:

Therapist:  Just a quick reminder that anything discussed in this room stays highly confidential.

Sandy: Tell that to Danny here.

Danny: That’s my name baby, don’t wear it out!

Sandy: OMG seriously? Did you even listen? He said no more bragging about our love life to that hoodlum gang of yours on the football bleachers.

Danny: Yes, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.

Sandy: Ugh. What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?

Danny: Well I do not know. Why don’t you take out a missing person’s ad? Or try the yellow pages.

Therapist: Mr. Zuko, you seem very concerned with appearing cool. Has that always been the case? (Tousles Danny’s hair with hand)

Danny: Hey! Would ya watch the hair? Ya know, I work hard on my hair a long time and then you just hit it. He hits my hair!

Therapist: I don’t think that’s the correct line for this. I’m confused.

Sandy:  He’s obsessed. (Wipes hand on husband’s oily scalp to remove her wedding ring) And you can take back this piece of tin (Throws diamond) Danny Zuko, you’re a fake and a phony and I wish I never laid eyes on you! (Stomps toward door)

Danny: Sandy! You can’t just walk out of a drive-in!

Therapist: Um, technically this is a shrink’s office. Wow folks, things sure escalated quickly. We don’t name-call in here. And we always use “I” statements. Danny, why don’t you tell Sandy how you’re feeling right now?

Danny:  I got chills. They’re multiplyin’. And I’m losing control. Cause the power you’re supplying . . . it’s electrifying.

Therapist: That sounds very familiar.

Danny: Music loud and women warm, been kicked around since I was born. Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive. Ever hear that before?

Therapist: Many times. Nothing shocks me these days. Even movie character swapping, which I see you like to do. It’s like wife-swapping, only more illicit. But let’s get back to your relationship. How deep is your love? I really mean to learn. Cuz we’re living in a world of fools, breaking us down, when they all should let us be. We belong to you and me.

Danny: You got it, dude. Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees rule!

Sandy: If you boys are quite finished? I’d like to say I knew right away Danny and I were not a good match from the moment we met. My parents invited him to tea. He said, “I don’t like tea.” I explained he didn’t have to drink tea. He said, “I don’t like parents.”

Therapist: Is that the only problem, Sandy?

Sandy: It’s Miss Sandra Dee to you. And there are other issues. He’s always crooning to his grease-ball friends, “Well she got friendly down in the sand!” I hate that expression. He’s got a one-track mind.

Danny: I did letter in track just to get inside her pants.

Sandy: Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers. Would you pull that crap with Annette? And how about that night you tried to feel me up inside your souped-up car!

Therapist: Well sex is a very important part of a relationship.

Sandy: Tell me about it, Stud.

Therapist: (Blushing) Uh, let’s hear about this souped-up car.

Danny: Why this car is auto-matic. It’s system-matic. It’s hyyyydro-matic…why it’s greased lightn….

Therapist: I get the picture.

Sandy: I wasn’t finished. There’s another woman. Cha-Cha Di Gregorio, a bad girl from a worse neighborhood with good dance moves.

Danny: Aw c’mon Sandy. We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

Therapist: Well said. Any other compliment you might give your wife?

Danny: Ain’t nobody who can mash a cigarette into the ground and then kick me in the chest with her high heel like Sandy can.

Sandy: That’s not going to excuse all your Scientology cult stuff.

Therapist: The what now? Did I miss something?

Sandy: And the cross-dressing. He’s actually Edna Turnblat!

Danny: You can’t stop my happiness, ‘cuz I like the way I am. And you just can’t stop my knife and fork when I see a Christmas ham. And if you don’t like the way I look, then I just don’t give a damn!

Sandy: You better shape up. Cuz I need a man. And my heart is set on you!

Therapist: Well you both definitely seem “Hopelessly Devoted.” But unfortunately that’s all the time we have for this session — so you should both fly off in that magical car of yours and everyone will live happily ever after. Except I do have one final word of advice.

Sandy: What’s the word?

Therapist: “Grease” is the word. That’ll be $150 please.

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