Saturday, July 25, 2009


I wonder if there are statistics on how much time people spend wondering. Admittedly, we’ve really cut down wondering time what with cell phones, e-mail, infrared night vision cameras, miniature magnetic-mount motion-activated weatherproof GPS devices, fish-eye peep holes, caller ID and audio monitoring kits . We really don’t have to make Aunt Gert wonder where we are when we can just call or send an e-mail with a photo attachment of our recent visit to Woo La La Chinese Cafe.
I heard somewhere that genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger. Well, let me tell you, with all of the negative things I was told while growing up, my mental firearm is far more dangerous than any M16 assault rifle and should never be given too much time to wonder. Still, mild wondering is something I do enjoy; at least until it becomes unstable and someone gets hurt. It starts something like this.
I wonder where he is? He isn’t answering his cell phone. I’ll bet he forgot to charge it again, or maybe it’s off. Hmmm.
Maybe he e-mailed me. I log on and scroll through the offers to whiten my teeth by 7 shades and pills that will correct my erectile dysfunction. I look briefly at an approval for government funding. But then, who isn’t being funded these days? Still another one catches my eye. This one is for pomegranate juice that promises to cleanse 15 lbs of undigested food from my intestines. I’d love to lose 15 pounds. I wonder if that detox foot patch really extracts deadly toxins from your system.
I check my cell phone. No voice messages or texts. I look at the clock again and wonder if it’s right. I call for the time. Maybe he thinks I’m still at work. I access my work voice mail and the only message is from my boss wondering why I left early.
What a fool I am to believe he would follow through. As if I’m the only girl in town. I’ll bet he collected several numbers at that party we were at last week-end. After all, an attractive man like that doesn’t need to be accountable to one girl and believe you me, that darn redhead went for him like a duck on a junebug. I anxiously picked up the phone to check the dial tone. I call my girlfriend, Cindy, “don’t ask me to explain, just call me right back.” I hung up. Seconds later, my phone rang. “Hello? Yes, I was just wondering if my phone was working.”
He spent a long time talking to that tart, Pam at the party too. I could picture him at her place right at this very moment, sitting with her on the couch and talking about how I squeezed in between them on the leather sectional sofa. I swear, I thought the other end would lift up with all of us huddled together like that. I’ll bet they can scarcely contain their laughter. I scroll through my cell numbers and select Pam. She answers. “Hi Pam, I was thinking of having some people over on Saturday. Are you available? Yeah, it is short notice. That’s too bad. Okay, well how about tonight? Are you doing anything tonight…with anyone? I mean I was wondering if you are with anyone. No? Okay, thanks.”
I suddenly remembered my locker-mate at the gym. Marcia was one of those addicted to working out, and purging every last calorie of her uncooked plant food. He mentioned how good Marcia looked when he met me at the gym earlier this week. I wonder if he’s there with her right now. I call the gym and ask them to page him. He’s not there.
I went to my closet and dug out my poster of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and put it on the wall next to the front door, yes, it’s a well-placed reminder for him, if he ever comes back. There are sooooo many whacko’s out there. One glance at this picture is equivalent to at least ten sessions of couple’s therapy.
Maybe he was trying to call when I was checking to see if the phone was working or when I called Pam, or the gym. I wonder if I missed the call waiting beep.
This wondering is getting absurd! Who does he think he is anyway? Making me wonder like this! Now I’ve wondered out too far and made myself miserable.
I don’t care if he ever calls again! I’m just going to go about my normal evening routine. I fixed myself a sandwich and ate in front of the TV. I washed my hair and put on some densifying treatment for fine and limp hair then coiled some plastic wrap around my head. I was just getting interested in my TIVO recording of Dexter when my doorbell rang.
I looked through my fish-eye peephole to see him standing there with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. He had a bottle of wine too. I wondered what crappy thing he had done that he thought a handful of daisies and a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck would make up for. I yanked the door open wide so he could see the anger on my face. He jerked back when he saw me and the poster of Glenn Close. He glanced at his watch and frowned.
“Am I early? I thought you invited me for dinner at seven.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm Driving Me Crazy

I’ve always prided myself on being an honest person, for the most part. I mean, there are those little white lies you tell, “sorry I’m late, I forgot about the time change,” or, “my, that dress makes you look ten pounds lighter.” I like to think of it as being thrifty with the truth. Whatever.
Last year, I was notified that I would need to report to the DMV, to renew my driver’s license. I was a little perturbed by this because they had been renewing it through the mail for twelve years. I was perfectly content with keeping that particular photo, no matter how old I had become.
So, after waiting over an hour in a long line, listening to sighs and complaints, I reached the clerk at the counter. She looked at my application and asked, “Is all of your information the same?”
I was about to say yes, but some unseen force commanded me to say, “No.”
She looked up. “What has changed?”
I hadn’t changed my weight from the time I applied for my very first driver’s license, at age sixteen. My license claimed I was a lithe, one hundred and fifteen pounds. I figured if I ever had an accident, they would be looking all over for me, underneath the fat woman.
"My weight."
She blinked, and stared at me for a long moment. “What weight should I put down for you?”
“145.” I lied again! I had actually topped my single birth maternity weight, and was pushing for twins.
If the DMV were smart, they would have a scale with a billboard-size display. You would be fined for every pound exceeded on your driver’s license. Not to mention, everyone in the building could see what you weigh. It sure would take care of the state’s financial deficit. And obesity would be a thing of the past.
Of course, I had to pose for a new photo, damn it. I’ve always wondered why they don’t offer finger-size peanut butter sandwiches before they take the shot. This way, when you’re sucking in your cheeks and using your tongue to scrape the peanut butter off the roof of your mouth, they could get an even more attractive photo than they already do.
Know what’s ironic? My doctor finally convinced me to lose weight by threatening me with cholesterol medication. So, now I’m down to one hundred and twenty pounds. That’s only five pounds away from the original weight on my license. Just goes to show, you should let sleeping dogs lie.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Touring the Brain of an ADD writer

I’d like to walk you through uncontrolled and dangerous territory. No need to fasten your seatbelts, or keep your arms and legs confined to a specific area before the tour comes to a complete halt. Just sit back, in the comfort of your own thoughts, and know that you are safe, secure and protected.

Directly in front of you is a cranium that contains a bizarre collection of, linear vs holistic, logical vs intuitive, and reality-based vs fantasy-oriented processes, that are overly ripe for picking. On the left, you will find the region that functions as a splitter, it’s logical, sees cause and effect, and responds to verbal instructions. On the right, is a lumper. It sees the big picture. This region prefers open-ended questions, is fluid and spontaneous, fancies illusive and uncertain information, and would rather have a hot poker shoved into its soft gray flesh than to follow any type of instruction.

Notice the lush vastness on the right, as opposed to the miniscule, desolate, terrain on the left. This harsh difference is most commonly found in the brain of a fiction writer. Of course, there are unique occasions, where small as it is, the left region will rise up in ambush-fashion, and arrange what the right region considers a brilliant idea into logical, and sequential order. Crap, reality intrudes.

Please proceed to the collection of ideas located in the right hemisphere. Notice how random they are, how they flit from one tack to another.
Let’s observe a few:
Never store nuclear waste in a shoe box. Even if you're not arrested, it will stink up your clothes.

When driving away negative energies, make them buckle up in the back seat while you chant, "I want to be judged for my unseen intentions." Your problems will soon disappear.

Never whack a family member in the head with a 5-iron. It will definitely throw your game off.

Why do they make magnifying mirrors? Aren’t we scary enough without exaggerating facial blemishes?

It’s best not to dwell in this region too long or operate heavy machinery for at least one hour after your visit. An overextended stay may produce unwanted side effects such as, rawness of throat, nausea, fever, giddiness, headache, severe stomach cramps and sharp pains in the neck.

Let’s move on to the left region, the master planner and scheduler.

Don’t let the coffin lid hit you in the face on the way down.

Okay, that’s enough out of the right side. Pay no attention, if you don’t encourage it, chances are, in seconds it will forget you were ever here.

As I said, the left side is responsible for logical, concrete processing. Let’s have a look at the approach it uses for writing:

Everyone dies.
No one knew that better. He had seen first-hand the unyielding power of the reaper’s will. It wasn’t the reaper who tugged at him now, however. It was the deadly toxin that was rapidly being absorbed into his digestive tract.
The cold wind flattened his pant legs against his shins. An icy ache rankled his teeth. He jerked the edges of his coat tightly around his middle. His heart battered a rabbit-quick rhythm against his chest. Pain ripped up through his abdomen and brought him to a standstill.
With panic stricken eyes, he looked around for help. It was ridiculous to think anyone would be on the street at this hour. Nausea overwhelmed him.
He pressed his hand over his mouth. He couldn’t feel it. He couldn’t feel anything. His fingers were numb. He retched twice and then compelled himself to keep moving, feeling only a great sense of revulsion and wrongness.
Trees loomed, posing black and claw-like as he passed beneath. Swaying in the gale, they seemed to mock him as he reached out to them for support. He thought he heard them rustling their leaves, whispering, “Poor tiny man. Foolish little man.”

Always keep your pockets free of any flavor pudding.

Uh-oh, the right side has become bored. It would be useless to continue once these types of intrusions begin. Please exit in an orderly fashion, and return soon, as ideas are updated regularly. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again. Oh, and don’t forget to tip your waiter on the way out.

Excerpt from, 'Initials For Murder', by Venita Louise, available at, The Authors Lounge.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Meditation For Dummies

We all know the damage that can be caused by stress. I read about an obscure study conducted several years ago, that just by saying the words, "Mother-in-law", to couples in counseling, caused measurable tissue damage. I can only imagine the devastation that could be caused by coming into contact with the real thing.

I've decided to practice daily meditation, to counterbalance the increasing amount of anxiety and stress that everyday living continually piles on. Unfortunately, I'm finding there are vast, conflicting opinions and methods of meditation. Now I've started to develop anxiety about which type of meditation to practice. Let's see, so far my list includes, Zen, Buddhism, kundalini awakening, chi, chakras, paranormal metaphysical, and just plain relaxation. I wish there was a particular meditation to deal with this type of indecision.

Investigating deeper, revealed things that I have never really connected to my neuromotor activities, as well as my sensory and motor functions. The breath, for one, I often take for granted. In, out, in, out. But that isn't the half of it. It seems the nostrils influence the body chemistry. The right nostril is solar, or heating, and the left is lunar, or cooling, increasing alkaline secretions. It just keeps going, and going, and going...Ah-hem. Anyway, the nose is an instrument for altering brain activity. So, okay, I'm having a difficult day, putting me in an emotional state. All I have to do, is alter the flow of the nasal breath, or breathe through the more congested nostril. Simple. There also seems to be a relationship between the nostrils and the lunar cycles. This means, my right...or masculine nostril will be the dominate one on Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday. My left...or feminine nostril is the dominate one for the remaining days of the week. This is interesting. Why does the feminine nostril have an extra day of work? How can I be sure the nostril of the day is performing to its full potential? I have learned that this can be accomplised with a bimonthly nostril check. Left undetected, a low performing nostril can cause all sorts of nasty physiological or psychological problems. One should become alert and act according to the operating nostril. It may be necessary to change nostrils.This can be accomplished by plugging the dominate nostril. I recommend the oak cork over the rubber cork. It just smells nicer. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to change nostrils before job hunting or going on a first date. No sense risking an embarrasing episode.

I plan to begin my new regimen just as soon as I am able to decide if I should start immediately or wait until the nostril changes. In the meantime, I will practice my dad's meditation. It's called the corpse posture. Settle back in the living room recliner, turn on the television, allow your jaw to drop and breathe in through the mouth, and out through the mouth, breathe in, breathe out. Such a relaxing noise.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fear of the Day

Newspapers, television and radio bombard us daily with tales of disaster, destruction and disease…the three D’s. I’m not the suspicious type but I sometimes wonder if terror, the goal, is being created by the day after day bombardment of the media. Terrorists, yes that’s the word. It’s as if they believe we need detailed instruction in how to create first-class anxiety because the normal, basic worries we all experience are just not promising enough to produce the sensible panic-making state of mind we are being taught to live in. Let’s face it; worrying about noises in the night, buying the right gift for someone, getting a speeding ticket, making a first impression or whether your breath is bad just doesn’t create the optimum trepidation necessary to survive in the twenty-first century.

The secret of being truly fearful is tackling the front page, the top of the hour or the CNN morning news. The Feds are trying to prepare for the imminent bird flu disaster, millions will die, NYC officials prepare for subway attack, thousands will die, countless illegal immigrants continue pouring over the borders leaving us more vulnerable than ever to terrorists entering the country, hundreds will die. On a personal note, if you haven’t arranged to have a full-body medical scan you are most likely suffering from an undetected terminal illness, and you will die. And in case you’ve relaxed a little more than you should have during the day, there’s always the eleven o’clock news edition to reestablish the imperative massive flood of adrenalin that your vital organs marinade in.

Can we safely assume that we are receiving the proper doses of apprehension to maintain the phobic qualities that are so prevalent today? Let’s turn to a publication of The Journal of The American Medical Association to find out. About fourteen million Americans had a serious depressive episode in the last year. Thirty five million have experienced such depression over their lifetimes. Many people worry about the rapid growth in psychiatric medication of Americans, especially the young. The increase in Americans receiving treatment for depression is striking.

In my opinion, as we age, our bodies show the classic effects of long-term exposure to Adrenaline. The older person has developed a feeling of detachment from reality, as if observing but not participating in life and it’s as if everything is happening in slow motion. The trouble is, young people do not understand what is happening to them. They start thinking something is psychologically wrong with them. The adrenaline cycle makes them think they are going crazy. Adrenaline can produce some very unusual effects, and they are natural. The mechanisms are there to help you survive in dangerous situations. Could having a constant supply of Adrenaline be a stumbling block to our biological defenses?

I’ve decided to provide a service for those who find it necessary to remain in a continuous state of angst and supply a Fear of the Day; which will supersede the need for turning to the media terrorists to provide fodder for daily doses. Of course, the Fear of the Day will lower the amount of Adrenaline the normal person is accustomed to in the hopes of offering a small, but constant amount of rehabilitation. Expect the typical symptoms of withdrawal from dread. Don’t let this deter you. Just look at the list provided and pick your favorite….

Fear of the Day:
1. Someone at the office has come across your personal ad on an Internet Dating Service and tacked it up on the lunchroom bulletin board.

2. The laughter you hear behind you is definitely directed toward you.

3. Your company is advertising in the help wanted section of a trade paper for your position.

4. Your phone line is tapped and everything you’re saying is being recorded, and will be used in court against you.

5. Hardly anyone is going to be foolish enough to like you.

6. The bland smile offered by the grocery checker is masking their craving to wrench a plastic bag over your head.

7. Your therapist shares your secrets with other patients. They laugh.

8. Your Accountant is planning on retiring and moving to South America with your money.

9. Remember…you’re always the one who gets hurt.

10. The waiter at your favorite restaurant secretly despises you and spits in your salad at every opportunity.

11. Microwaves emitted from ovens produced prior to August, 2005 are destroying thousands of your brain cells each second.

12. Think of all the things you could buy with what you pay in taxes each year. Your taxes will be more this year due to the audit.

13. You know who you are. Everybody knows. They’re all looking at you.

14. The office bathroom has a two-way mirror.

15. Why on earth would anyone want to talk to you?

16. That red car you see each morning on your way to work is driven by the murderous stalker that has evaded the police for the past six months and now has his sights set on you.

17. The poorly sealed windshield on your car may implode, enveloping you in shards of glass.

18. Every minor infraction of the law that you have ever committed has been posted on the Internet.

19. Soon, everyone you know will be younger and more successful than you.

20. Your spouse thinks sex with you is totally unsatisfying.

21. The few acquaintances you know are determined to brainwash you.

22. Your best friend thinks you are evil.

23. That creaking noise you hear in your bedroom at night is an escapee from an insane asylum hiding in your closet.

24. The possibility of being sexually assaulted increases in the late evening while watering your lawn.

25. You bore people to death with all your problems.

26. You were mixed up with another baby at the hospital. That is not your family.

27. You didn’t forward that chain letter. A hideous-looking zombie is going to rape and kill you.

28. You forgot to turn off a drippy faucet and now the water is running over the sides of the sink and drowning your carpets and furniture.

29. The airbag in your car is defective and will deploy, breaking your nose.

30. It’s not who you are, it’s who you don’t know.

31. That’s not really whipped cream the kid at Starbucks puts on your Frappuccino.

There. That’s enough to keep you busy for a whole month. Enjoy!