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MORE secrets from The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual



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dumpFace it, it’s no fun, and we’ve all been there… unless you’re one of those who’s married your elementary school sweetheart and have no experience whatsoever with the words:

“It’s not you, it’s me…”

…which everyone (except you) knows actually mean: “It’s not you, I’m an asshole.”

There are a zillion different scenarios, which I won’t delve into here. For instance, the kind where you see it coming: he’s phoning less and less. Your stomach lurches every time you look at your cell phone and notice all the little green arrows. Huh. Every time you see his number, YOU called HIM.

Bad. Bad sign.

SO…. you start getting a little pissier each time you DO talk. HE doesn’t want to call someone who’s always pissy. Would you? Things spiral downhill from there… yet somehow… when the big fat DUMP comes…

Surprise! (was it me? what did I do? why doesn’t he want to have babies with me? wait – I don’t WANT babies. wait – was it me – wait. WHAT?) All you say, however, is just a quiet, emotionless: “Okay.” Sometimes your back stiffens and you get a little formal, and you might give him two whole words: “That’s fine.” 

The big fat LURCH in your stomach comes up– and sometimes, later, even the contents of your stomach itself.

The point is, he or she doesn’t want you anymore, despite all your brilliant qualities, your sparkling conversation, your cool emoticons, nifty predictive texting, and the Brainbone Awards gleaming on your Facebook Page.

So you’ve eaten three and a half Ben & Jerry’s Rainforest Crunch tubs. And the Family Size Bag of Fun-Size Snickers. And the loaf of toast, with Thousand Island dressing dipping sauce, when everything else was gone.

You’ve called in sick, so you could surf the Web all day. You’re struggling to resist e-mailing him, and as you’re trying to distract yourself, you find yourself on WikiHow.com, seeing if you can teach yourself how to pull off a Denial of Service Attack Hack on his web site, or if you would get caught if you learned how to program a Trojan Virus that would wipe him out of existence, or at least write your name over and over on his screensaver.

But you know, from the Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual that you were handed in the cigarette-smoke filled bathrooms in school that you will not do any of these things.

It’s okay to fantasize epic revenge, of course. In fact, now’s as good a time as any: Here, I’ll help you: 

Go ahead, you can’t be judged by your thoughts, only by your actions; let’s get it out of your system, and then you’ll be free. C’mon, you can do it. You know you want to. Yeah, see? I see you smiling. 

You see him, don’t you? Old, and alone. Your picture, clasped in his bony, fragile hand, his other hand, trembling and thin, raised to his sobbing, thickly creased face. Your young, beautiful face is partially obscured by his many past tears, it is obvious. The room he is in is dark and cold, and an old, tattered blanket rests across his wheelchair. You can just barely hear his voice call your name, in a throaty voice profound with regret – then you hear the nurses behind him, whispering more loudly amongst themselves: “Poor bastard. He’s been like this for years. All he’ll ever say is her name.”

There, now. Don’t you feel better? Now, get over yourself.

NOW:

You WILL:

Stoically behave as if you do not care; it’s not as if anyone can actually HURT a superwoman such as yourself.

You WILL:

Casually toss your hair back, as if moving onto the next dance partner at the waltz, your crinoline waving around you in a graceful cloud.

You WILL:

Gently (so as not to further damage the delicate skin under your eyes) clear those dark smudgy puddles of mascara and tears, and max out your cards at the Esteé Lauder counter so you will look even MORE fabulous. You are allowed to get your eyebrows waxed, perhaps a mani-pedi, but you are NOT allowed for the next four to six months to cut your hair. You are WAY too vulnerable.

You WILL:

Embrace “THE CONCEPTS.”

  1. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
  2. He doesn’t deserve me.
  3. I was too good for him.

You will NOT:

Wander aimlessly through the 7-11, absently muttering “ASShole,” loudly enough to offend innocent passersby.

You will NOT:

Jam your car into Drive, or into Park, hard enough to do enough damage to cost you actual money, because it will most certainly not be said asshole who will be paying for it now, will it?

You will NOT:

Get dolled up and go alone to a fancy bar – or worse, a dive bar – just for the comforts of flirtation or free drinks. Do I really need to explain why THIS is a bad idea?

Don't let this happen to you.

Don't let this happen to you.

And, this bears repeating, because you WILL be sorely tempted: 
YOU WILL NOT, I repeat, NOT, CUT YOUR HAIR. Maybe – and only if a unanimous decision is approved by your closest friends – consider a color change or highlights, but ONLY IF DONE PROFESSIONALLY. 

YOU WILL:

Recall that as The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual gets scribbled over during your lifetime with jotted notes, footnotes, and Post-Its, it evolves, somehow, into the Not-So-Fucking-Secret-Mutually-Supportive-I’m-Here-For-You-Sister-Woman’s Manual, and you learn:

THE CONCEPTS are actually TRUE.

There ARE plenty of fish in the sea. The thing is, those fish are the people who really DO love you: your family, your kids, your friends – your guy friends, too, who come in really handy at a time like this – and your best girlfriends, who are AWESOME, and to whom you CAN mutter “ASShole” as loudly as you like, and they will set up a cheer squad for you, complete with pyramid.

If he’s foolish enough to dump you, he probably DIDN’T deserve you, and you WERE too good for him, so do YOURSELF a favor, and move on – it’s actually the best thing for you, because moving on, having no revenge at all, ironically turns out to be the best revenge of all –

… because men always want what they can’t have.

If you move on, have yourself a good old life, happy with yourself, you just MIGHT haunt them forever as the one that got away.

It won’t bother YOU.

You’ll be too busy fighting the rest of the fish off with a stick.

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The Top Five Lies an Honest Person Should Tell



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Lies, Lies....

Lies, Lies....

 

Consider yourself an honest person? Well, bully for you. That’s a very fine quality in a person – especially in a person who meets me, since I can typically spot a liar at twenty paces – moreover, I myself never lie as a general rule, since I have a memory like a broken sieve. To lie would be to deliberately place myself in harm’s way, since I would trip myself up too easily.

Did I say Greece? I meant Ireland. Yeah, that’s right. I was in IRELAND last Thursday. THAT’S why I couldn’t make your party. Yeah, big bagpipe convention. What… oh, yeah, I mean SCOTLAND.

See? I SUCK at lying. No, wait, that’s a lie right there. I’m actually a stellar liar; I could make you believe you were an alien from space, if I really wanted to, but I’m a sucky rememberer. You’d come to me, later, all wrapped in tinfoil, and when I laughed at you, you’d go all crestfallen on me: “But… but… you said…

Then I’d remember and go: “Oh, yeah, Andromeda Galaxy, that’s right. Whoops. Eh-heh…”

HOWEVER (I’m also a terrific digresser) to get to the main point here: SOMETIMES, it’s important to LIE. Because the worst kind of mean-hearted bully is the kind who tries to use “honesty” to hurt other people, to wit:

“I’m just being honest here. You DO look fat.”

Now come on. Is that EVER necessary? No. Lie, people, lie your asses off. If some friend of yours is stuffed into something that makes them look like Jones Pork Sausage, what the hey? They’re already out and dressed. It can’t be helped now. What they need NOW is CONFIDENCE to pull off the look.

Lies, delivered in the spirit of loving dishonesty, do just that.

#1 Your Haircut Looks Great.

Even if you can barely look without flinching, even if your eyeballs start to tear, you MUST manage this, because hair only grows so fast, and your friend/acquaintance/boss/mother now must live with this horror for at least a few long and terrible weeks.

“Is it bad?”

“NOOOOOOhhhhh,” is your answer, as enthusiastically as possible. Add a little primping touch of the hand, as if you can’t resist the touch of the prickly mess, if you can bear it. “It’s terrific. Only YOU could pull it off. It suits you so well!”

#2 No, it SO wasn’t you, it was them!

Your friend is devastated by the loss of a significant other. Perhaps, you, who have followed the drama and the saga, know for a fact that his or her giant chasm of need DID in fact, drive the poor bastard away screaming and babbling incoherently.

NOW is not the time for a personality review.

BAD: “Yeah, sweetie, it WAS you. Poor schmuck couldn’t take you following him to work, calling his cell every ten minutes, texting him every five, I mean, think about it, hon.”

GOOD: “Sweetie, he didn’t deserve you. You’re better off without him. Here: have another pint of Chunky Monkey.”

Later, perhaps, you can suggest counseling, or a good lawyer to deal with the Order of Protection.

#3 How old do I look?

Hang on, here, I have to stop laughing so I can type. Do I really need to spell this out for you folks? Is there anyone out there who really thinks they get some kind of cosmic points for guessing RIGHT?

I’ve seen this – mostly guys – smiling, as if someone’s going to hand them a fluffy carnival toy when they see a woman’s mouth drop open. “I got it, didn’t I? I’m right, aren’t I? You’re 40.”

I have actually said to guys that have done this: “Asshole.”

They’re completely oblivious to the idea that the woman with the mouth agape is struggling NOT to knock the block off the self-satisfied jackass.

Two very good rules to follow here.

Number one: refuse to guess. Claim it’s a policy of yours. This is, in fact, the safest way to go, and if you have the balls to ride it out, you’re good to go. 

Number two:
Part A: If, say, an obviously 50-ish person asks (and stupid, by the way, to ask in the first place), don’t be stupider and say “21.” Why is this stupid? Because it’s so clearly not true, it makes them think YOU think they’re SO old that you have to guess WAY too young to flatter them. It ends up insulting.

Hey – I didn’t say it made sense. I’m just giving you the skinny on how people think.

Part B: Instead, if you think you’re ANY good at guessing – and you best be DAMN good at guessing – take THAT age, and subtract 10-15.

THAT will make it seem real that you guessed wrong – and way under.

The very BEST way to flatter people about their age? If and when they mention the ages of their children, look SHOCKED and say: “I can’t believe you have kids that age. You don’t look old enough to have kids that age.”

That’s believable – and flattering. And it comes up naturally in conversation, and can make somebody’s DAY.

# 4. You’re right.

My grandfather used to say: “A man convinced against his will remains of the same opinion still.”

It’s up to you, here, folks, but personally? I don’t give a rat’s ass about whether most people KNOW I’m right, as long as I do.

For instance: you come across some hardcore goofball on the sidewalk – maybe wearing a sandwich board, proclaiming that he’s a taco.

You know, of course, that he is NOT a taco. Tacos, for those who do not know, don’t have faces, for one thing. Neither do they argue on streetcorners.

Believe it or not, there are some people who will waste valuable moments of their lives they will never get back, trying to convince the buffoon that he is, in fact, NOT a taco, but actually a living human being, and inedible for the most part, outside of a few cannibalistic rainforest dwellers. (Who probably will not wrap him in Mexican breadlike outer coatings and hot sauce.)

Why bother? You KNOW you’re right, he’s wrong, go on your merry way.

It’s so totally okay to be right and have no one know it but you. Even if said Taco Dude has a band of merry Taco Followers mocking you, calling you Dufus. Shrug, and move on to the next street corner, where perhaps you’ll find someone who thinks they’re a hamburger.

#5 This is delicious.

Even if what you’re served tastes like Dog Turd Pudding (see earlier post), if you’ve been the lucky recipient of free food and the free hospitality at someone’s home, however humble, you are unfortunately obliged to eat it.

Tip: your olfactory sense – that is, your nose – is connected to your taste buds. So if you can’t smell, you can’t taste. So breathe through your mouth and choke the Cream of Whatever down. Somehow.

BONUS LIE:

“Everything is going to be all right.”

Actually, this one isn’t a lie. My grandmother – the wife of previously mentioned grandfather – had a good saying, too: “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” So: no matter what ever happens to you, no matter how shitty, everything DOES end up all right in the end. The wheel turns, and daylight breaks again. So this one, once the cosmic shit storm passes, is the truth.

Keep it in mind. 

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose. Duh.



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The evolution of... us.   

 

 

 

The evolution of... us.

Naturally, when I can hear Panic! At the Disco as clearly out of my daughter’s headphones as I can as if it were coming out of the CD player speakers, I turn around and nudge her –

All right, rewind (hey, rewind – that suits our topic – back to that later) since this IS a blog about reality, I’ll tell you “the reality.

First, I will hopelessly raise my voice, even though the “any reasonable person” test would fail. Duh. Why would I even think she could hear me?

Then, despite oncoming traffic, and my meager driving skills, (having spent WAY too much time in NYC, where a car is actually a burden, unless you’re my grandmother, and you have a summer place AND a suburban house – oh, wait, she had drivers, too, scratch that – back to the fact that I SUCK at driving)  I will turn around and raise my voice again, in the incredibly stupid hope that the louder I am, the better she will be able to read my lips.

This is fruitless, because she is not only rocking out, but also poring over the densely-packed Panic! At the Disco lyrics I printed out for her from the Internet before we left, so she’s bobbing her downturned head.

Is her little sister helping me out, with a nudge, or a shove? No. She is observing, amused, because SHE is intelligent enough to see the futility of my behavior, but not the danger — until I turn back to face the windshield and turn the wheel back so that we’re back on OUR side of the highway, thank you very much.

“Mom!” they join in chorus as the van whips them both suddenly sideways.

“Ah,” I say smugly. NOW I have their attention. And: enough with the volume. Turn it down or go deaf.

Personally? I feel completely hypocritical.

I myself blasted music in my own ears as a kid.

No headphones in MY house, though. Headphones were inherently rude. Want to sequester yourself from the family? You’ve got a room for that, dear.

So I’d go. I’d face the speakers toward each other, with room just enough for my head, lie down between them, play my music as loudly as possible without disturbing everyone else in the house, and achieve maximum eardrum damage at the same time.

When CDs first came out, I remember hearing someone tell someone else in our house: “I’M not going to replace my record collection. These compact discs are just going to be fad, like 8-Tracks or Betamaxes.” (Always a lurking observer; like “Harriet the Spy,” I was always listening, and if I was not heard, I was seldom seen, even in plain sight.)

A comment all but forgotten until I stumbled upon a very old cassette (it was Junk Week in our neighborhood) of Jesus Christ Superstar. Thinking my daughter, who is obsessed with Andrew Lloyd Webber (why, heaven only knows; I really have to turn her on to Puccini, from whom the man steals everything), would be interested, I scrounged up a cassette player somewhere and pressed PLAY.

What a tremendous drag, having to rewind and fast-forward to the spot you want to hear!

My youngest was baffled at the clunkiness of the technology, repeatedly asking me: “What… what are you DOING, Mom? Can’t you just FIND it?”

As if she didn’t remember me having to rewind all her “Big Comfy Couch” VCR tapes.

Change is frightening when it comes barging rudely into our lives. We, in this age of technology, are constantly being thrown new ideas, and having to catch them or feel bypassed.

Even TV commercials mock us: “26 million people just Twittered this. Another 26 million don’t know what that means.”

My daughter begged me for an EnV phone, with a keyboard for texting. At the time, I thought it was a ridiculous splurge. Now she texts me so often I want one myself, just to keep up. People text me more than they talk to me.

“Google” is now a verb. MS Word has destroyed my spelling skills, because my brain works like this: if I don’t HAVE to store it, it gets dumped, to make room. Now I know I can Google something, or have Word spell it for me, or my little calculator do math for me.

When my Internet goes out, I’m lost.

But when I first got online, I couldn’t imagine what I’d ever do with it.

Now I can’t live without it. Well, okay, I could. But I sure would miss it.

Still, as different as all this seems: what’s really different?

I use Google the same way I used to call the reference desk at my local library.

I use MS Word the same way I used to use my College dictionary.

I use Twitter the same way I use the world: I’m gregarious to the point of ridiculous; I can hardly leave the house without making a friend, and my house is usually full of people to the point where I wonder sometimes if I’m a magnet and they’re all iron filings.

In a good way.

The French have a saying. (Actually, practically the entire language is sayings; it’s mostly the reason they’d just rather speak your damn English.)

Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Hmmm….

But things DO change. And if you’re looking for a very good, commonsense approach to dealing with change, here’s an excellent article on The Huffington Post from a correspondent/acquaintance of mine: Tom V. Morris – from Twitter, of course.

But remember: they stay the same, too. So relax. 

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