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Showing posts from December, 2018

Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot?

In the Scottish dialect of the old New Year's Eve song Auld Lang Syne, the composer posits the question: Should old acquaintances be forgot?

The short answer to this is "Sometimes."

One example will suffice. A "friend" of mine emailed me the other day and although she is not a writer, her words spoke plenty. Her first rebuke was that I don't answer her calls, and this is a claim I cannot deny. But the accusation was caustic, mean-spirited--it was as if I had neglected to visit her in the hospital, that's how grievous my omission was. She insinuated so much by those few harsh words.

Why did she call? Purportedly to inform me of her physical status and that of her dog Murph. Being the obedient child I still am, I did call her afterwards, and we spoke. Mostly S spoke of her new illness--osteoarthritis of the spine--and her dog's possible diagnosis of valley fever. I listened and listened and listened until I just couldn't take it any more. There we…

We're All In This Together: Maybe or Maybe Not!

Don't you just love it when people let go with the expression "we're all in this together." Generally speaking I hate this cliched phrase. I feel like saying, "What exactly do you mean by this?" Of course what they mean varies according to context.

If they're using the expression to comment on politics, it probably is valid. After all when officials are elected to govern, they're there for the duration unless they commit treasonous acts or collude with Russia. In short we're stuck with them until we vote them out. And all of us--white and black, stupid and smart, democrat and republican--are going to have to struggle with a national catastrophe (if the government officers suck) or celebrate with a Klondike bar (if the officers do beneficial things)..

However if people are using the expression to comment on a social problem, say like the recent news story that kids are turning to suicide more than ever before, then I beg to differ. No, we are not…

Deconstructing My Neurosis

Your psychiatrist will never require this of you, but at some time in your checkered career of anxiety and depression management, it would be wise to deconstruct your neurosis--that is find out what exacerbates it and what diminishes the symptoms.

I'm deconstructing on a regular basis because it helps me to place blame where it should go. Blame is a big thing in my world because unless I examine the genesis of it, I tend to wallow in it. Yes, self-blame can whittle me down to the equivalent of a toothpick. And we all know where toothpicks end up, right? Yes, dear, it's in the circular file along with my self-respect and self-image.

Let's start with genes. My genetic inheritance could be better. First off, my dad was a piece of work. He criticized everyone and everything. Once during a nasty interchange with my sister, she thought she'd hurt my delicate ego by stating that "Dad never liked your husband." This, of course, was no surprise to me. My rebuttal: &qu…

Stupid Stuff I Don't Need to Know!

The holiday season is the time for lists: You make lists of gifts you need to give and ones you'd like to receive, you make lists of New Year's resolutions; and you make lists of future Christmas card recipients.
Truth is I don't make any of those lists. There's one list I do make but up to now I've never put into writing. It just floated aimlessly in my brain and once in a while pressed a few buttons and girded me into action.
Did you ever realize how much stuff is shoved in your face--stuff you don't need to know? Well, when I hear a fact that has absolutely no relevance in my life, I try to banish it from my mind. Usually I fail because once I hear something, it lingers. For a while. It filters into a brain lobe, curls up in my grey matter and sucks the life out of other data I'd like to store.

In retaliation for this gross negligence here are two lists. The first one is Crap that I Can Live Life Without Knowing; the second, "Stuff I want to Remembe…

Have I Told You About My Aunt the Witch?

Once upon a time in a far-off land called New Jersey, a young girl was fortunate to have a middle-aged aunt who was a witch. She was neither a good witch nor a bad witch. She was like a real person only with magical powers.

She had the ability to cheer up people with just a well-placed comment or quip. She was not obsessed with her children--in fact she treated them like adults (which actually they were). She was a whiz at card games. She flirted with every man she could--the girl's mom even accused her sister (secretly) of trying to steal her husband while she was in the hospital recuperating from surgery. She rarely cooked. She had an extensive network of friends, preferring them to family members. And she had a tragic loss--her first husband died of heart ailments.

The above attributes only added to her mystique and intriguing personality. The young girl really liked her aunt, mostly because she was the only aunt her family was speaking to during her impressionable adolescent y…

You Better Not Pout!

I''m not a big fan of this time of year. Hanukah, Christmas, New Year's. There are some logical reasons for this. When I was freelancing for magazines, I hated this season because I swore no one was reading my queries, they were being tossed in the circular file, and every editor was enjoying vacation days. So nothing got done as far as I was concerned. Also, if I had to interview people for an article, chasing them down and scheduling them for a phone interview was an iffy business. They were either crowded from work deadlines or like editors, busy shopping and making merry.

Now that I'm not freelancing for magazines, I still get the blahs just thinking of the holidays. The first sign of my malaise usually comes when someone in the neighborhood puts up his Christmas lights. This year someone dared to  put them up BEFORE Thanksgiving. That really pissed me off--that someone had broken the implied contract that all decorations would be delayed until at least Black Frida…