Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two Left Feet

My Christmas shopping was unexpectedly interrupted today as I walked past the window of a popular dance studio. Couples gracefully dancing the Tango caught my eye. I stood on the sidewalk for quite some time just watching them. 

Their bodies were plastered against one another as they performed elegant dips, walks and quick turns. Where did the idea that two people clasping hands, arms slung around shoulders and waist; gyrating to some kind of rhythm come from? And why? It was fascinating but confusing.

My father always told me I had two left feet. His words rang true which always made it difficult for me to feel comfortable on a dance floor to wait for the inevitable, repeatedly stepping on the toes of my partner.

I walked through the door, watching the dancers a while longer, and then slowly wandered down a hallway gazing at photos of dancers arranged side by side. There were couples of all ages and sizes, beaming with pride at having won trophies or ribbons. The Las Vegas, World-O-Rama, The Miami Superama. 

Couple number 146 was having a blast on the dance floor, at least that is what the caption said. The position their bodies were in would suggest otherwise. The champs, another first place finish for East Coast Swing. Awards, awards, and more awards. 

The photos, like arrows, drew me down the hall until I found myself in what seemed to be a salesroom. I gazed around, blinking dumbly. I suddenly realized that had been lured into the marketer’s lair.

One by one, like mushrooms under a shady tree, svelte dance instructor salesmen appeared, smiling brightly and smelling of aftershave. I was cornered. Questions were aimed at me from every direction. Did I want to have more self-confidence? Did I want to meet people and make new friends? Did I want better health and social ease? Did I want to stand out on the dance floor? Not really. 

I felt like I had developed mental paralysis. After forty-five minutes of high density charming, and persuasion, I understood, there was only one way to get out of that office. I would have to dance my way out.

“Slow…quick, quick…slow,” my dance instructor chanted. Thank God my Peripheral Neuropathy wasn’t acting up.
“Don’t look at your feet,” he ordered. His breath mint made my eyes water. “Make a frame with your arms and let me drive.” Now I was confused. I looked around at the other dancers for help. My movements seemed unnatural and my breath came out in short huffs.  It felt like my pantyhose were on backwards. Was the Foxtrot really the missing ingredient in my life? 

“Dancing gives you a sense of well-being, doesn’t it?” he asked.
I smiled stiffly, wondering if I was the only one in the room who was worried about the perspiration circles growing under my armpits. I glanced into the wall-sized mirror; my efforts were looking less and less like the Foxtrot and more and more like a backward death march.
“Isn’t this normally performed to music?” I asked. He didn’t respond.

I looked up in time to see him exchange a goofy expression with a fellow instructor. What did that mean? I knew it. I was one of those hopeless beginners, doomed to roam the earth without rhythm, without dance shoes.

After twenty minutes of me framing and him driving, he stopped. I watched him walk over to select some music and suddenly the whole studio was full of Moonglow.
“Shall we?” he asked with an extended hand.

I took a deep breath and placed my hand in his. He swung me around; forcing me to cling to his shoulder then he began to chant again.

“Slow…quick, quick…slow.”
I had to check the mirror again to make sure, but it was true. I was smiling. Now I get it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Evil Eye

I have a Facebook friend who suggested that I try an exercise used as a technique in actor training. It’s called, Synergenis. 
He explained the idea is to get your body sense memory, imagination and emotions to work together more effectively. For instance, when you’re happy, you smile. If you smile, you will automatically feel happy inside. Make sense? He instructed me to sit in front of a mirror and smile at myself for ten minutes and then post my results.

It took me well over two weeks to get up the courage to stare at myself that long…let alone smile. Ten minutes is a lot longer than you think when you’re staring at yourself and smiling, or even trying to. What finally compelled me to try the exercise was my online horoscope. It said, ‘be seductive when it comes to expressing your passion for others today, dear Leo. There is more to your glance than meets the eye. The untrained prey has no chance against your hypnotic stare’. How could I go wrong with a forecast like that? I gave it a try.

Since that fateful day, I have begun experiencing things, little things that most people wouldn’t give a second thought to. They were just things that might be attributed to changes in the weather or an unexpected adjustment of plans, such as a bad sinus headache or finding that the Dill Weed in my cupboard which I intended to use in a new recipe had the expiration date of 1982.

Last week, I left a message on a friend’s cell phone. After I finished recording, I was curious about the direction given by the perfunctory voice that I have heard hundreds of times. “For more options, press one.” I pressed one, but there were no more options. It was ominous. I felt an evil presence that seemed to cast an eerie shadow as from a dark cloud. It drifted above causing a chill to run through me.

I began to notice other things too. My online grocery purchases were delivered straight to my neighbor’s door. I certainly hope it was a mistake but after several calls to the grocery store and to my neighbor, my articles were returned with several slices of the Orowheat cracked wheat bread missing from the loaf, two sleeves of crackers were absent from my Fresh Stacks Ritz crackers and what remained of an Otis Reddenbacker microwave sack with a few kernels of unpopped corn.  What was causing me to experience such a sudden patch of bad luck?

I stumbled across an article on the Internet that may have solved the mystery of why things aren’t going so well. The evil eye is to blame. Yes, it’s true. According to this article, it is quite possible to inadvertently bring the evil eye, hairy eye, stink eye, whatever you want to call it, on yourself.  I knew I was vulnerable to negative energies but I never dreamed that I could sabotage my circumstances with my own powerful hypnotic stare.

Unfortunately, the spell won’t just go away, it must be removed by burning rare seeds or hanging a plant called, Camel’s Needle, at the front door. I could gather uzarlik to burn but I have no idea of how to get to the Khizi mountains, but I do know it is north of Baku on the road to Guba.

I started to panic. How could I remove my evil eye spell and what if I couldn’t get my hands on the proper remedy? My neighbor observed my agitation and after pouring out the frightening details of my dilemma to her, she said I could call her grandmother who lives in Mexico. 
I called her at exactly 6:48 pm as I was instructed. A feeble voice answered and with a thick accent she said, “Take the right eye of a hyena and put it in very strong vinegar for seven days. Then boil it. Take it to a remote place, where a rooster’s crow cannot be heard and bury it next to a cactus plant. Your spell will be broken.”

I think it might be easier to avoid mirrors.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Full Monty

I went to the mall yesterday, to get a jump-start on my Christmas shopping. As I pulled into the driveway to get to my favorite parking structure, I found the cars were being detoured to other parking areas. There was a long line of people standing behind velvet ropes, waiting for something to happen or someone to arrive. 

I drove past fire trucks, police cars and a bus, big enough to transport the entire Ducks hockey team. Ah-hah, that must be what it was, they were going to sign autographs. Security guards motioned the cars entering the driveway to park several miles from where I happened to be going, but I wasn’t about to let this get me into a holiday funk, so I smiled, grateful for the unforeseen exercise.

My purse, overstuffed with non-essentials, bounced heavily against my ribs as I power-walked around the corner to the front of the mall. My Rebok Lifestyles skidded to a halt against the sidewalk. I was greeted by a group of long faces. It was the mounted police! Okay, so the horses were the ones with the long faces. 

The officers were just sitting there, smiling; all decked out in their uniforms, positioned on gleaming, official, government-issued saddles. I didn’t know they still had mounted police. As I walked past the herd, the hairs on the back of my neck rose. What was I afraid of? They all seemed to have control of their mounts. I passed them as quickly as I could and crossed the street.

As I stood on the corner, the deep roar of Harley-Davidson’s came from behind. I turned to look. Now, I don’t know motorcycles, but these bikes were beauties. There were four of them. They had custom yellow pearl paint, really king of the road looking, with tinsel-decorations and lights around the gas tanks. The riders were wearing Santa hats and waving to the spectators. They were leading the way for a white, 2012, Lexus Luxury Coup convertible. The driver was wearing antler ears and a big red nose. Cute. Who was sitting up high on the back of the car?  It was, none other than, Santa Claus! 

My heart began to race as he waved to the crowd, with that parade-like hand motion. Something about this was really bothering me. It could have been the fact that Santa was arriving in a Lexus, and being escorted by burly bikers, or it could have been that I can’t remember the last time Santa arrived before December, or in a luxury Lexus for that matter. Why, dammit, why? Times must be good for the North Pole.

Suddenly, in a Mel Brooks, high-anxiety, sort of way, childhood memories began flooding back. It was a parade, and I hate parades. No wait, I fear parades. I’m sure there is a phobic term for it, like Promenadephobia. The irrational fear of cavalcades of oddly clad marchers, clanging cymbals and blowing whistles, followed by horses. Yes, horses. 

All my parade fears date back to when I was three years old. The one and only time my parents took us to the Rose Parade. We were positioned well, right at curbside. The morning was crisp and cold; we could see our breath. High school bands began marching by, while playing their brassy toned renditions, and beating on bass drums. I was so excited. Rickety floats made entirely of flowers I couldn’t pronounce passed, playing shaky music while threatening to implode. I couldn’t have been happier.

The morning was warming up, so I asked my mother to hold my coat. I remember I was wearing my little pink chiffon dress with the short puffy sleeves. My socks matched my dress. But, it was the shoes I loved the most. Black, patent leather, and shining like mirrors. 

It was meant to be an exhilarating thing for me, but the next parade participant was the one who scarred me for life. His name was, Monty Montana, and he was riding a beautiful pinto horse. My father leaned down to tell me the horse’s name was, Rex. Monty was swinging a lariat around his head. I was hypnotized by the look of intention he had on his face. Suddenly, the rope left his hand. I stood in frozen anticipation as I watched the rope heading my way. It was the knot in the rope that I felt first. It hit me on top of the head, hard, like when those mean kids thump you while you’re standing in line at the movies. The rough, hemp encircled me, and then drew tight around my tender skin. The crowd cheered as I struggled, like a calf in a rodeo event. The more I tried to escape, the worse the rope grated against my skin. 

I heard my parents laugh behind me, as Monty rode forward to claim his prize. Why didn’t they try to rescue me? Too bad, that I was too young to realize how fortunate I was to be singled out, mindfully selected to be given a fabulous memory of my first Rose Parade. He dismounted to retrieve his rope. I didn’t care that he was wearing a fringed outfit louder than the screams in my head, or that he was a cowboy actor, or even if he was a champion yodeler. The damage was done.

I have steered clear of parades ever since. I shy away from the color pink as well. Of course, avoiding parades and shades of pink hasn’t really interfered with my life in radical ways. Tragically, I still get that same sick, empty feeling when confronted by a parade, like the one at the mall. 

Perhaps one day, I will seek therapy to reverse the parade paranoia. Or, maybe I’ll just give my fear an acquiescent nod and save my money. Either way, I don’t care if it rains on my parade.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

As We Celebrate Thanksgiving...

I’m no historian and this is not intended to be humorous but I do cheer for underdogs and I respect the will to survive, but most of all, I admire those who are willing to forgive the wrongdoings of others and share their precious experience, strength and hope.

Tisquantum was born a Patuxet Indian in the late 1500’s and known as Squanto. When he was a young man, he was kidnapped by Thomas Hunt, one of John Smith’s lieutenants, and sold to Spain along with other slaves (20 pounds a piece) along with fish and corn.

Local friars discovered them and took the natives in order to teach them the Christian faith. Squanto studied hard and then convinced the friars to let him try to get home. He did reach London but his plans fell through and he was made part of an Indian Exhibit on a London stage. He worked as a servant and then for a shipbuilder and learned the English language along the way.

By the time he located a ship captain who would agree to take him home, twelve years had passed. The captain was John Smith. When he returned home, there was no trace of his family or friends. They had all been struck with a great sickness, most likely smallpox or leptospirosis. Native Americans had no natural immunity to European infectious diseases.  Everyone he knew and loved had died. He was the last one remaining of his tribe.

Squanto finally settled with Pilgrims at the site of his former village, which the English named Plymouth. He showed the Pilgrims how to build warm houses. Then, taught them when and where to plant. He showed them how to plant and use fish for fertilizer to grow corn faster. He taught the women how to cook the corn. He acted as an interpreter, guide, and gave advice on bargaining with the natives. Without him, the pilgrims would never have survived another season. In fact, half of them had already died in the harsh winter weather.

Squanto was captured by Wampanoag natives and it was feared he had been killed. Myles Standish led a ten-man team of settlers to avenge him. Squanto was found alive and well. Welcomed back by the Pilgrims at Plymouth, he continued his vital role as assistant to the colony.

Although he worked at alliances, Squanto ended up being distrusted by both the English and the Wampanoag. The Wampanoag’s assigned, Hobamok (his name meant mischievous) to watch over Squanto and act as a second representative.

On his way back from a meeting to repair damaged relations between Wampanoag and Pilgrims, Squanto fell sick. Fever ravaged him and he began bleeding from the nose. Some historians have speculated that he had been poisoned. Squanto was buried in an unmarked grave.

On a lighter note, peace between the two groups lasted for another fifty years.

So as we sit today, over filling our bellies with food that doesn’t even resemble a feast nibbled on by the settlers, we give thanks to those who persevered, withstood unending hardships and endured to give us what we have today. Thank you, Squanto. Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Everything I needed to Know I learned in Farmville

Dr. Weakly, my psychologist, has been studying my mind diligently for several years, and has decided that it may be interesting enough to write about. He says if I am willing to participate there is a good possibility that he will be nominated for the Distinguished Scientist award. The annual conference will be held at Minneapolis City Center Marriott. I agreed to participate immediately, if only to visit an exotic location like, Minneapolis, and I hear the Marriott’s are fantastic.

This week, our study was narrowed down to researching insight as the product of internal processes. Doctor Weakly is determined to find out if some of my bright ideas are inspired by cultural artifacts, external objects or perhaps secretly implanted by aliens while I am sleeping.  

 I told him that the alien theory is not possible since, for the last ten years, I have been sleeping with a thought screening helmet that I fashioned from a 1920’s flapper hat and lined it with Velostat. I found instructions on an Internet website that provided potential abductees sorely needed defense against telepathic wars being waged by evil doing aliens. I agreed to bring my helmet to our next session so he could examine it.

Dr Weakly also asked me to sit in a darkened room, actually I think it was his broom closet, for an hour, which was the length of an entire session. I sat in the straight-back wooden chair and stared into a 60 watt light bulb hanging  at eye level. Dr. Weakly explained that the light bulb is an external object that is imbued with meaning. He gave me a pad of paper and asked me to attempt to answer an unsolved mathematical question, do odd perfect numbers exist?

I stared into the light bulb for a full fifty-eight minutes before writing this sentence; Since it is people who have determined that numbers are even or odd, all numbers are perfect. We must not allow other people’s opinions to color our self image. Numbers needn’t feel as if they are odd just because they have been labeled as such. They are not odd. They are just numbers.

My confident smile disappeared when Dr. Weakly’s eyebrows flew up after reading my answer.  He glared at me and explained that the mathematical  question he gave me involved positive integers, restricted divisor function and proper divisors. 

“The first few perfect numbers are, six, twenty-eight, four hundred ninety-six and eight thousand one hundred twenty-eight,” he said. “Anyone with half a brain knows that.”   

I willed myself to stop crying once he had finished his twenty minute lecture on comprehending the English language.  At least he was kind enough to drive me home. It took a full three days for my retinas to recover from the experience. Thankfully, the blob I was seeing has gone from forest green to cyan and I have assurance from my Ophthalmologist that my color blindness will correct itself in time.

I woke up early this morning and was excited about an insight I had received during my REM cycle. It wasn’t alien in nature, and it seemed to agree with Dr. Weakly’s theory about cultural artifacts acting as a catalyst for insight. I realized that everything of value that I have learned is due to playing FarmVille!

FarmVille has taught me that you can’t put two bulls in one dairy farm. Helping your neighbor often brings gifts.  Never plow and plant at the same time, it takes too long. With experience come large tanks of gas. Just because I never heard of Patty pan Squash doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Manuel harvesting can lead to index finger cramping from clicking the mouse.  If you don’t set your livestock to ‘stay’, they will run away. Too bad there isn’t a real setting for children and husbands. You can mute the farm noises if they make you crazy. Again, wouldn’t this be a nice feature to use on the neighbor’s barking dogs and annoying people? Make the most use of the size farm that you have, parcel constraints must be considered.  It doesn’t matter how many houses you own, you will still be standing in the middle of your crops when you return to the game.  It’s much easier to plow, plant and harvest if you use the proper equipment. Putting all your chickens in one coop will save you loads of time when collecting eggs. Stabilizing your horses is a good idea. Dairy farms bring in big ‘Moola’. Pea crops are the most lucrative. Peas on earth is the lesson here. Holidays in FarmVille last much longer than one day. Something we should all practice. Always honor a neighbor’s request. You can find just as much fertilizer on your Facebook home page as you will find in FarmVille.

And last, but not least, I have found a wonderful secret for leveling up faster. Sorry, I will keep that one to myself. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Art of Animal Twaining

Recently, The Associated Press, reported a donkey who was jailed for acting like an ass. It seems that, Blacky, was incarcerated for three days for biting and kicking two men near a ranch in Mexico. There was no mention of how far he had kicked them. The men said all of a sudden, the donkey was on top of them like it was rabid. What the story neglected to say was what the men did to provoke the poor Equus Asinus. Really, what would anger a donkey to the point of needing a half-dozen men to control him? Maybe Blacky is just in need of some training. Obviously, the men were ignorant of the importance of treats in training.
I grew up in a farm atmosphere, not in the mid-west, but  in the San Fernando Valley. When people ask me if I was raised in a barn, I can proudly say…yes. We had a goat that would dash into the house when  someone opened the back door. He would race to the living room and jump on the couch. My mother would scream,“get that goat off my couch!” I don't know why she got so upset.
I had a pet chicken named, Pee Wee. She snuck in the house whenever she had the chance too. Although they were not house-trained, heh, they were like family and I took pride in my training techniques. I was quite proficient in the reward technique and was an expert in handling excitable livestock.
Not once, were any of our animals jailed although we did have a dog who loved to kill chickens. My father had a fail-proof training technique for AJ (short for alligator jaws), even though some people might think it inhumane. He tied one of the dead chickens to the AJ’s neck and left it to rot for a few days. Sad to say, AJ just ended up being a stinky chicken killer. Then came that sad day when AJ was taken to live at a chicken-free residence a few blocks away.
I used to walk the long way to school just to visit him. I would pet his short black fur through a chain link fence and he always seemed so happy to see me. For months I would take him a few doggy biscuits and tell him how sorry I was that he couldn’t live with us anymore. That is, until the day I was horrified to see the dead mailman tied to his neck.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Four Birds, One Stone

Everyone I know complains that there isn't enough time in the day to get important things done. I'm no exception. In the future however, I think I will be a little more selective with things I combine to save time.

I brilliantly arranged for two medical exams to be done on the same day. It was my perfect time-saving plan. I would get my eyes examined, including pupil dilation, in the morning and my annual mammogram in the afternoon. Believe me, as usual, I tried every which way to get out of the latter, reasoning with Dr. Rodriguez that an ultrasound would reveal every bit as much as the procedure of using hydraulic pressure to painlessly compress objects from four inches to five centimeters. Of course, my lack of medical knowledge revealed itself, and he won out. Quesadillas again!

The eye exam went well. Do you know they have a tool that's made specifically for covering one eye? It's a circle on a stick. Wish I'd thought of it. You just hold it in front of one eye and ta da, you can only see out of the unobstructed eye! It's even better than placing one hand over your eye. The doctor gave me a funny look when I told him it would come in handy when drunk driving. Instant relief from double vision. Anyway, I read the chart and endured the bright light. He explained that my iris is like the shutter on a camera, the pupil becomes smaller when the light shines in it. After the dilating drops took effect, I resembled one of those characters in a horror flick where their eyes are just one big, black, pupil.

Naturally, I forgot to bring my sunglasses so after trying to pay for my exam with my Starbucks gift card, the receptionist gave me a pair of disposable sun glasses...the ones that resemble 3D glasses that you use in the theater. Little good they did. I'm sure everyone in the waiting room heard me scream when I stepped out the door into the sunlight.

I looked at my watch, but only saw the vague outline of it encircling my wrist. I judged by the position of the sun, directly over head, that it must be close to noon and I would have time to return a book to the library and have lunch before my next appointment. I guess I will have to go back to the library tomorrow, to claim my organizer, and pay the late fee for the book still sitting on my back seat.

The waitress at the coffee shop was nice. She read the whole menu to me. Twice. It didn't occur to me that after my appointment I wouldn't be able to do anything that required crisp vision. Blinking didn't help, it was frustrating, but I was thankful that I was wearing my temporary sunglasses so as not to scare the other customers.

I remember wondering if it was taking an unusually long time for my eyes to return to normal as I blindly turned the pages of a magazine at the imaging center. I groped my way to the dressing room after my name was called, and put on the brittle paper vest that opens in the front. The technician led me to the x-ray room and prepared to take the slides. She seemed to be very amused when I told her the reason I was wearing the paper sunglasses. She asked me if I could fit a bit of shopping in my day to save even more time. I told her I actually was going to stop at the mall before going home. Her laugh was contagious.

I really shouldn't have been driving but I'm proof that God really does look after drunks and fools. I made it to the mall safely, bought a skirt for work (I had to ask another customer to read the price tag to me) and even found the courage to go into Victoria's Secret for a new bra. After all they had been through, they deserved to be swaddled in silk. The salesgirl was very helpful, bringing me several different styles, sizes and colors and even helped me try them on. She didn't say a word about the strange looking sun glasses I was still wearing.

It wasn't until later that night, while in the tub, and my vision had returned, that I reviewed my day. I had learned a lot. Mostly, what not to do, no matter how much time you save. Informative though, how your eyes work, what technicians do to provide reference points on x-rays. I looked down and saw that the metal Bb's the technician had scotch taped to my nipples were still there.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Art of Delagation

I’m so very excited to have discovered some new opportunities for managers to design programs for unique ways to motivate employees to step up and take on more responsibility. I have to say, I believe this will be fabulous trend-setting methods and have no doubt they will earn me an award. 

I think other managers will begin to see the merit of my new procedures and follow suit. Of course, having an award-winning team will possibly cause team envy within the company. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I have wrestled with delegating duties for quite some time now. Often, the decision to delegate certain duties can have a company-wide impact on morale. To eliminate conflict, I thought I would get employees in sync with my ideas by starting each morning with a group chant, “Every day in every way, I think I’m such a prize. And that is why I’m here to work or at least to improvise.” I made that up myself and I have to say, it has done wonders for team spirit.

I needed to find someone within my department who is optimistic by nature, would anticipate when something unexpected could happen, and accept the fact that just because you are in charge doesn’t necessarily mean you are…in charge that is. Resilience is crucial and the best candidate must have a knack for setting realistic goals. In order to make the best selection, I had to create a robust testing procedure to choose the right person who would assume additional duties freeing me up to focus on the bigger picture.

I began with a simple ‘Facial Feedback’ study. I had my department line up, and one by one, I stood in front of each employee and smiled, then frowned, and finally produced the most hideous grimace I could. I have to say almost all employees mirrored the smiles and frowns. However, there were two that ran away screaming at the sight of the grimace. I shouted a threat that the boogeyman would be waiting for them by their car at the end of the day. Not only did they run faster but they were also eliminated from the pool of hopefuls.

The narrowing down process had begun. Next, during the work day, I snuck up behind each of the employees and surprised them by blowing an air horn behind their head. There were only three who did not jump high enough to have both feet off the ground at the same time. I decided I would be able to delegate duties to one of these three employees, two women and one man... my finalists.

The last thing I did with a magic marker is draw a six foot by six foot box on the floor of the lunch room and request that the three competitors stand in it. I asked them mathematical questions such as what is twelve, minus one? And what is eight divided by two? History questions included when was the war of 1812? And who was the Lincoln memorial named after? Clearly, they all were equally qualified. Their answers were correct, that is, until I asked them to step across the line. They gave me blank stares when I asked them to explain the corpuscular theory of light. They were stumped when I inquired about their knowledge of the origins of Greek mathematics. I felt frustration begin to set in. Clearly, none of them could think outside of the box.

I have decided to abstain from delegating any of my duties for the time being. At least until I find a more suitable aspirant.  Until then, we will continue our morning chant, “Every day in every way, I think I’m such a prize. And that is why I’m here to work or at least to improvise.”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Writing on The Edge of the Bed

With prices soaring for the mere necessities, I realize there are more and more people who are turning to second jobs to make ends meet. It used to be called moonlighting, working in the evening in addition to one’s full time job, but more and more it requires more than a second job…it demands starlighting (my own word for more than two jobs).

A job for a technical writer was recently posted at one of the major starlighting agencies. Since I am a writer, I thought I would apply. I sent my resume and quickly received a reply. They requested a sample of my work in the form of bed assembly instructions. It seemed simple enough, how hard could it be?  I began to write.

Things you will need.

Old blanket (optional) Please don’t use the dog’s bed, they don’t like it and you run the risk of them swallowing essential washers.

Philips head screwdriver. (2 jiggers of Smirnoff and 6 oz. of orange juice is not a substitute but will make the project more fun)

Box spring or slatted bed base. You can usually find one of these tossed along the side of a road by people who are too lazy to dispose of them properly.

Mattress. You may see one of these on the side of the road as well but it is best to buy a new one if you want to avoid bed bugs.

Box of bed assembly tools.

1. Open the box and take out the pieces. Place them on a carpeted surface or cover a hard floor with a blanket. Carefully open the bag that contains the screws and other tools.  I say carefully because if it is anything like opening a bag of potato chips, the bag may burst apart and kablooey, pieces go everywhere. Sometimes a small screw will wiggle its way deep into the carpet. While on your knees, firmly skim the surface of the carpet with the palm of your hand in the area you believe it went.  Sometimes this takes a lot of patience. Always keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy for those nasty punctures that occur when you discover the screw pointy end up.

2. Use the small wrench included. By the way, I have never found the tools described in instructions to be included. It usually requires a trip or two to the hardware store but at least you will own the tool for the next time you are assembling something where it is required.

3. Use the wrench you just spent the last hour driving to the hardware store and back to screw the double-sided metal fasteners into the second hole down on each side of the headboard. I guess the headboard is something that should have been listed in things you will need.

4. Turn the headboard and foot board so that the bottom faces up. Oops, the foot board should have been in the list as well.

5. Attach the rails to the head and foot boards. Position the rails so that the flat side is inside the bed. Slide the metal threaded fastener on the head and foot boards into the hole in the middle of the dowels on both sides of the rail.  

Now my husband is reading this over my shoulder. He says number 5 is cryptic and I should include a sketch. He is also wondering where my nipple washers are. In the beds he has assembled, nipple washers were included in the assembly pouch.

“I don’t have a pouch, I have a bag of assembly parts, and nipple washers are not required,” I replied tersely.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah.

His entire body jolted and he turned to take her in his arms. He kissed her hard and pulled her across his chest to feel her nipple washers flatten against him.

His hands trembled with anticipation as he undressed. He paid no attention to the blanket, the tools or the screws poking into his back, just the two of them and a craving neither one ever felt before.

6. Balance the thin, expandable metal rails on the two lower holes on the metal plate. Screw into place using the too tiny to hold screws included in the assembly pouch.

7. Screw a teensy weensy screw into the hole in the center of each expandable rail to hold it in place.

8. Place box springs and mattress on frame and, Voila!  Your bed is made. Now lie in it.

I just know I will get this job. It’s in the bag.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Are We There Yet?

There are a lot of jokes, even blogs about back seat drivers, the eternal irritant who is determined to tutor the driver with unending advice ranging from directions to safety tips, yet I don’t think there is enough said about the driver who feels the need to remotely correct the bad habits of fellow drivers on the road.  I’m not talking about the aggressive driver who deliberately behaves in such a manner as to risk an accident. No road rage or challenging other drivers to get out of their car to duke it out. I’m referring to drivers who feel it is their responsibility to report their observations to their passengers regarding the careless, ignorant, reckless, inconsiderate and unfit maneuvers of fellow drivers.

My husband, Captain Kurbash, as I refer to him, is one of these expert analysts. Strangely, I have never found his announcements irritating but rather a source of amusement.  It’s almost like listening to a sports commentator. I know that no matter how short or long our driving distance, I will be entertained.

It usually begins at the stop sign at the first corner.  Since it is a four way stop, drivers are hesitant to proceed or they simply don’t know the rules of such an intersection.

“While we’re young,” he says as he pulls up behind someone. “Are you waiting for a green light?” This one puts a smile on my face because I actually sat at a stop sign once, deep in thought on other things, expecting to see a go sign.

“Don’t even think about it,” he warns through clenched teeth to stop drivers from entering the freeway out of turn.

“Incoming,” he looks into the rear view mirror and glares at a passing speeder changing lanes every few seconds. “Really?” He asks the driver who just pulled into the lane in front of him. “There’s no exit. Why is it so important for you to cut me off?” This is usually followed by his compulsion to go around the driver and give them a look of disgust along with a slow shake of his head. This would be my cue to say, “You showed him, and I’ll bet he’ll never do that again.” He ignores my remark.

“Look at this genius.” He points to a driver who can’t seem to decide which lane to drive in. “It must be nice to own the road.”  The sigh he emits equals the sound of air being released from an accordion’s bellows.

“Nice move,” he says to someone who crosses three lanes to exit the freeway.  In the next moment, “it’s the peddle on the right,” meant for the driver who doesn’t adjust their speed when getting on the freeway. “You’re not going to tip over if you get on before the ramp ends!”  He lets off the gas and furiously waves (with all five fingers) to the driver to speed up and merge onto the freeway.

“First solo drive?” is usually reserved for the slow driver.  “You think you’re invisible?” A quick toot of the horn announces his displeasure and usually startles the other driver.

Sometimes we come across someone who is looking for an address. “Sightseeing or just stoned? Get a GPS!”  This remark comes just before speeding around them.

“Dial that big round ring in front of you!” He believes this actually helps a driver make a turn faster. “That’s it, I knew you could do it.” He gives them thumbs up.

If he happens to see someone roll through a stop sign, “No, that’s ok, don’t stop, I’m sure you have real important places to be.” Sometimes he turns to me and says, “he probably has to drop the kids off at the pool.” I have learned that he means he has to go to the bathroom.

In a traffic jam, he talks to the rear view mirror. “Yeah, keep honking and I’ll blaze a trail just for you.”

What do I do while all of this driving education is going on?

One of my favorite comedy movies is, Galaxy Quest (1999). It is a spoof on Star Trek and even if you aren’t a Trekkie, you will laugh.  It stars Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver.  There is a scene where the ship’s Beryllium Sphere is fractured and they must visit a mysterious planet to obtain a replacement. Tony Shalhoub plays Fred Kwan, the engineer tech Sgt. As they make this very dangerous trip to the planet in the small shuttle, being bounced around by turbulence and pelted by space debris, Tony sits shotgun, smiling with amusement as he eats a snack of cheese and crackers.

I think of Tony’s amused expression and I smile.

We have reached our destination. As we walk though the parking lot my husband finds at least one crooked car.
“Nice parking,” he says sarcastically.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Smell Only A Mother Could Love

Y’all know I’m a sucker for studies, and for me, the stranger the better. Yesterday I found an article written in July of this year for HealthCare News. I don’t think I could find a study any stranger than this one but I promise I will keep looking.

This article states that science may have confirmed that when a woman smells her   baby’s farts, large areas of her brain activate and this stimulates happy feelings. Fascinating. They haven’t had the chance to study the effects on fathers and I’m certainly not surprised about that.

While we are all running on a hundred forms of fear about the welfare of the nation, the department of pediatrics at Benton College of Medicine in Henderson, NV, is hard at work to unravel the chemistry of baby farts and the mother-child farting relationship.

I’m a skeptic at heart so I decided to conduct my own study.  I was curious to see if this cosmic fart bond is still present even after the child has grown up.  I asked my mother-in-law to help with my study and she naively agreed. 

I asked her to sit in her favorite recliner and get comfortable. I wasn’t able to get an electroencephalograph from the local Rite Aid, so I fashioned a rudimentary EEG by connecting wires to large metal washers that I placed on her scalp with low adhesive craft glue. The residue left in her hair should wash out after a few months.

I connected the wires to a family heirloom, a vintage Hickok Model 533A Dynamic Mutual Conductance Tube Tester and set it up on the TV tray next to her. I was able to get definite brain wave readings. It took a few minutes to get the short light to go off and I was guessing as to where to set the BIAS and the Filament knobs, but it looked like it would serve its purpose.

While she was settling in, I asked my husband to come into the room.  I thought it best not to tell him the nature of my study. His jaw dropped when he saw his mother all wired up. “What the hell? Is that a bomb on her?” He appeared to be a bit angry. 

I assured him that she was fine and that I had done my homework and from a medical standpoint knew exactly what I was doing. I skimmed over the technical explanations to ease his mind and picked up my clipboard. 

“It looks as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.”
I ignored his comment, looked up at him and smiled.
He frowned that all too familiar way with the big vertical crease down his forehead.
“Go ahead,” I said with a hand on my hip. “Fart.”
“You want me to…”
“Yep, that thing you do everyday. In the car, in the supermarket, on the couch and especially in bed, and you know how I hate that. Now I’m giving you permission. “Fart.”
“Why? ”
“I want your mother to smell it.”
I don’t ever remember seeing that expression on his face before.
“It’s okay sweetheart,” Mom said. “It’s a noble cause, it’s for science.”
“I can’t fart on command,” he said a little louder than he needed to which brought his brother into the room.
“What’s all this?”
My husband shook his head and pointed at me. “She wants me to fart for science.”
His brother looked at mom, gave me a strange look then burst out in laughter.
I turned to my husband. “I want you to fart for your mother.”
“I can do that,” his brother said.  I believe it was the sibling double dog dare ‘ya glare that challenged my husband and in the next moment I heard from both of their posterior cheering sections.

“Oh my God!  You’ve ruined my experiment!” I quickly backed away holding my nose.  “She will never be able to segregate samples from both of you!”

I waited a full twenty minutes before re-entering the room. I’m not sure how the recliner fell over or how the tube tester wound up on her back. My husband and his brother were trying to help her up while laughing hysterically.

“Mom, are you okay?” I asked. “How do you feel? Do you feel happy?” I checked the meter on the tester and the needle was flat pinned to the green side which  measured 15K of something which seemed good.  “This machine is definitely registering quite a bit of brain activity so I really need to know if you were comforted by the smell of your son’s farts.”

The last thing I remember is mom running toward me holding the tube tester up over her head.  The rest is a blur.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Filet O' Feet

I know it’s been around for a while but, did anyone ever think people would be using ‘Doctor Fish’ to exfoliate the disgusting crusty skin from their tired feet? I sure didn’t. Yet, in Europe and Asia, that’s exactly what they did. Of course, it didn’t take long for the procedure to become trendy in the US, so now we have people paying to dip their feet in fishbowl spas. The small Garra rufa fish begin to suck away the dead skin cells revealing the fresh new skin beneath.  Never mind that it is considered unsanitary and illegal in 10 states but you can still find salons in California that will allow you to offer your feet to the little suckers. Ew. If you try this, just make sure those aren’t piranha you’re offering your tootsies to.
Why should we stop here though? There are so many creatures that snap, squirt and absorb. Surely there are other species that might be beneficial to the all-too-consuming desire to be beautiful.  Take the sea cucumber for instance. All it would have to do is extend its stomach into a chubby buttock and begin digesting the fat. Natural liposuction! Octopus ink could substitute for hair dye and the neurotoxins produced by a starfish could be used to purge even the largest meal. What bulimic hasn’t claimed to have had food poisoning? And to think, it’s all organic. Puréed Jellyfish can make a lovely collagen for the skin and hand harvested (as opposed to other harvested) seaweed can be used to remove cellulite.
 I thought these suggestions were absurd until I did a little research.  How about a bird poop facial? Yeah, you read right. Bird poop! In Japan, they have been using this facial for centuries.  They breed and raise Nightingales on farms. They are kept on a strict diet of organic seeds. The poop is collected and sanitized with UV lights and then ground into powder.  Nightingale excrement contains a natural enzyme said to lighten, soften and leave the skin radiant.  You can pay anywhere from $150 to $450 per treatment.  Huh. It has the power to take the paint off my car so why wouldn’t it purify the epidermis?  
And what about snail slime cream? Why should we only eat snails? Yuck! Still, the slime is rich in protein, glycolic acid and elastin, the kinds of things that assist in skin regeneration.  Go ahead and laugh but people are paying good money for this stuff.  If you want a free facial, you could always collect snails out of the yard and put them on your face to leave the beneficial trails.
How about just drinking water? Studies have proven that it detoxifies and is better than any cream on the market. Too simple I guess.
My grandmother would just be rolling on the floor laughing if she were here and I do wish she was.  As for me, I’ll have my fish on a bun with a slice of cheese and lots of tartar sauce. And the only bird poop that possibly makes contact with this face will be accidental.

Monday, September 3, 2012

About Face

Ever have one of those days when everything looks just the way you like? Your face powder doesn’t settle into last year’s worry lines, your eye shadow blends seamlessly from lid to brow and your lipstick stays glossy all through mealtime? Well, yesterday wasn’t one of those days for me.
Let’s start out by asking, why do they call it make-up anyway? Isn’t that something you do after a particularly destructive occurrence?  Is that what we’re starting out with?  A negative event?  I do battle my tendencies for self-criticism, which often border on torture, but I don’t need anyone else chiming in.  
Yesterday I woke up with bags under my eyes big enough to handle a ten-day cruise. After splashing cold water on my face and gently dabbing it dry with a towel made of long-staple, Egyptian cotton, I noticed that not only had the bags not reduced in size, but my crows feet had turned into a wrinkle fest. I quickly seized my natural, anti-aging, soothing, soft, firming, daily moisturizer, promising to banish eye bags; I pumped a large glob into my palm. After working it into the combat zone, I noticed that the wrinkles had truly vanished but now it looked like I had a copious water balloon beneath each eye. Damn, why did I stop doing my yogic eye exercises? I began to squint and release and did ten sets of ten. I ended by squeezing my eyes tightly shut and counting to forty, but before I could open my eyes, my husband walked in. I heard a deep belly laugh that is usually reserved for the Jackass movies. I’ll allow him to make-up for this later.
The loose powder I applied clung to the, way-too-much moisturizer, and I was left looking like Mr. Magoo gone geisha. I had to keep moving. I applied my sunbaked brown eye shadow, using the applicator like a mason’s trowel.  My lids ended up looking like painted cement. I ignored it. 
 I only had twenty minutes before I had to leave. I quickly opened my cheekers blush compact and the brush slipped out and fell into the sink. Know what happens when you apply blush with a wet brush?  Raggedy Ann! I was on a roll. Now I applied my midnight-black, waterproof, lengthening, volumizing, maximizing, mascara. I had just finished the last touch when without warning, I sneezed. Now I looked like I had spiders splayed on both eyes.
I was stymied. No pun intended. It only took five minutes to remove the mascara, wash my face, and pull my hair back into a ponytail. Days like these are why God made designer sunglasses.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Killing the Pain or Tourettes?

I like reading articles about studies that produce statistics. Statistics that don’t mean anything, or how to apply the findings to your own experiences.  When this happens, I am forced to come up with a few of my own worthless findings. I wonder if anyone has made a study of those who are fascinated by studies?

I read an article the other day about the discovery of a natural painkiller. Swearing. Really. Swear words can actually produce an opiate effect. It seems a professor of a prominent UK University discovered that students could plunge their hands in buckets of ice water and keep them there longer if they swore. Turns out it was an average of 31 seconds longer.  He also found that the more his subjects swore in everyday life, the less strong the pain relief effect was for them.

This made me wonder again, how much swearing is too much? What if we are actually allotted a certain amount of swear words when we come into the world? Do different swear words produce more opiates than others? Who keeps track of how many times we utter a profanity? Does the Thalamus keep a tally or are they just recorded in the Akashic records? Are swear words more potent when used around other people or while you are alone?

When I get up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen and I whack my toe on one of the end tables in the living room, I generally use the same nine curse words delivered through clenched teeth. What if I change the order or add new ones to see if I am happier with the results? What if curse words in different languages are more powerful than English swear words?

More study was needed. I asked my husband to be my subject. He reluctantly agreed. He’s such a good sport. The bucket of ice water didn’t produce enough pain because he is hot blooded so he didn’t feel the need to use an obscenity. He just wiggled his fingers and smiled. Another test perhaps. I tapped him on top of the head with my Cuisinart waffle maker.  He instantly felt the urge to curse. Only one four letter word though. When he came to, I asked him if it helped to swear. He just gave me a snotty look. 

I was only able to perform one more test because he was close to escaping from the duct tape I had wrapped around his ankles and wrists. I had to make this one count and apologized profusely just before I used a Truemark slingshot to shoot his foot. Don’t worry, I didn’t use glass or steel ball bearings, nothing like that. I love my husband. I used an unshelled walnut.  This produced an array of naughty words in English, Spanish, Italian and I think it may have been Farci, but I won’t swear to it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Some People call it Culture. I call it Sore Throat

I went to my doctor last week to be treated for a chronic sore throat. He said he would need a specimen which by the way was obtained by sticking a three foot long Q-tip into my mouth and swiping the back wall of my throat. Yeacck! My gag reflex was in good working order.

Now he would grow a culture and let me know what was found in order to prescribe the proper antibiotic. As I left his office, I imagined a glob of fuzzy throat bacteria growing in a petri dish, dining off some gelatin-like protein substance. Eew.

He called yesterday, and I found that this was not the case at all. He began describing a fascinating abundance of cultural features that had emerged from my test.

The uppermost region of the dish offered everything you might think of for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Sunshine, white beaches, clear water and warm climate. Just adjacent to that was a colony that offered cheap handmade articles such as crochet works, knitwear, pottery, wood-carvings and paintings. A little further down were imperial palaces, gardens and temples. A river flowed through it which led to magnificent views of rock formations and forests and into a teeming metropolis with exceptional architecture and pulsating with life. The crowning glory of the dish was a gigantic metropolis chock full of activity, tall buildings and an endless sea of lights.

I was speechless. To think, all this was taking place from a minuscule daub of my phlegm placed in a petrie dish just a few days ago.

“This is miraculous!”, I said. “Who can we report this to? World Magazine? Newsweek? Time? Maybe U.S. News and World Report?”

There was a long silence before he answered. “We can’t report it to anyone.”

“Why not?” I whined. “I’ll bet the Enquirer would pay thousands for a story like this.”

“Well,” he began. “I offered the dish a stimulus package to encourage growth but inflation accelerated above comfort levels. This caused residents to pass laws regarding global food prices and create policies on subsidies and price caps. This in turn contributed to about ten percent of unemployment.”

“What does that mean?” I huffed. “You’re beginning to sound like CNN”.

“I can only do so much”, his voice filled with impatience. “Bailouts and grants were limited and I had to take into consideration the lack of side lanes, paved shoulders and uncontrolled development of roadsides causing low travel speeds, poor level of service and less long-distance traveling. Without transport services, the culture was doomed.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about dish collapse! Financial crisis! Debt! Predatory Lending! Conflict! Collapse of the housing bubble! Famine!  Systemic Crisis! Flood! Destruction!
“What does it all mean?” I was trembling with fear.

“It means I am calling your pharmacy to order you 500mg of Amoxicillin three times a day for ten days. Isn’t it nice to have a doctor with such a great sense of humor?”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good to the Last Drop

Recently, The Associated Press reported that Australian doctors plugged a vodka drip into a poisoned Italian tourist after running out of medicinal alcohol. Not only is this a bizarre and striking image but, I had no idea that pure alcohol was used to treat any sort of condition aside from a nasty hangover.

The story stuck like Velcro to my mental sweater. It seems the undisclosed 24-year-old Italian, had ingested a large amount of ethylene glycol. Anyone knows that ethylene glycol is a clear, colorless, slightly sweet and syrupy (yum) liquid at room temperature. It can be used to make antifreeze, de-icing solutions, polyester compounds and photographic developing solutions, hydraulic brake fluids and inks used in stamp pads. It can also be turned into a vapor by shaking it briskly. For this, you would need a cocktail shaker.

The story described the treatment to prevent renal failure in detail, but never revealed how the man had ingested the substance. Was he drunk? Ill? Did he fall asleep under a leaky car? Was he suicidal? Blind? Cold? Stupid? Playing a practical joke on himself? What? Without more information it’s difficult to say. So, if only to ease my vexation for not being given the details, I decided to fill in the blanks myself.

Prudenzio, (Latin, meaning cautious) had studied the culture and history of Australia all of his life. He was particularly sympathetic to the Aboriginal people, who had been run off their land in the late 19th century by white Europeans. He had always dreamed of going to Australia to protest their plight. Following five years of working as an au pair for a mafia family in Naples, Prudenzio had finally saved enough money to carry out his vision.

After spending only three weeks among the Aborigines, Prudenzio was found at the bottom of a three-hundred-foot cliff, trapped near the car he had been using. Under multiple layers of gold chains, his naked chest sported hundreds of images of ink-stamped Crocodiles, presumed to make him appear to be more native-like. The polyester pants he was wearing were drenched in photographic developing solution. It seems, he had been side-swiped and the car careened off the edge of a cliff, rolled down several hundred feet to crash through the roof of a 24 hour photo shop.

Authorities learned that despite his many attempts, Prudenzio fell short of being able to perform the authentic dances of the Aborigines and had grown despondent. Traces of antifreeze were found at the corners of his mouth which would explain his erratic driving.

The Brisbane doctor said they quickly used all the available vials of 100 percent alcohol. The next best alternative would be vodka. Prudenzio was hooked up to a nasogastric tube and drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days. The stuffed olives must have been excruciating.

Prudenzio made a successful recovery. The incident occurred several months ago, though the hospital just released the information on the case. I’m sure they wanted to make certain that the rehab treatment would prove to be successful as well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Revenge of the Unsane

Recently, as I walked out of a well-known restaurant, I realized that I had left my favorite pair of sunglasses on the table. I quickly went back into the restaurant and rushed over to the table where I had been sitting. A busboy wearing a name tag that said, Chico, was clearing the dishes and wiping the table with a damp rag. I asked him in my best Spanish, “ha encontrado un par de gafas de sol sobre la mesa?” He turned, smiled and replied, “No, Ma’am.” 

For some reason, when anyone addresses me as Ma’am, it causes me extreme anxiety. All my joints suddenly ache, I see age spots before my eyes, my short-term memory is compromised, and I experience an intense urge to host a Botox party. Chico and I were off to a bad start.

I looked down and noticed a slight bulge in the pocket of Chico’s busboy jacket. My keen instincts told me that I would have to use a little finesse to win him over enough to give me back the sunglasses. I began using the few Spanish phrases I thought would gain his trust, que passo being one of them. He gave me a quirky expression. I did mistakenly use the word, aguebado for ambia, so instead of close friend, I think I called him an idiot. 

He turned to me, sighed, and in perfect English said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry but I haven’t found any sunglasses today.”  Involuntarily, my voice raised an octave. “I really need those sunglasses, they belong to my husband!” 
“You might want to ask the cashier to check lost and found.”

I stomped off toward the cashier thinking about how there hadn’t been enough time for someone to find and turn in a pair of sunglasses and just how much I detest thieves. The cashier didn’t seem to be any more helpful than Chico. She left me standing at the register as she seated what looked to be twenty members of a networking organization. I looked at my watch and tapped my keys on the counter to signal her that I was in a hurry then turned my attention to Chico. He had just finished clearing a second table and was carrying a tub of dirty dishes to the kitchen. I couldn’t keep from staring at the bulge in his pocket and how disappointed my husband would be when I told him Chico had stolen his sunglasses.

Before the cashier had completely returned to her station, I was already explaining that Chico sent me and she needed to check the items in lost and found.
“Ma’am, no one has turned in any articles today but you are welcome to check.” She brought up a box that was kept under the counter. There were pens, lipsticks, a black address book, a cell phone and a screwdriver.  I raked through the items and shook my head. I looked up and gave her a direct stare.
“What do you know about Chico?”
She frowned. “Excuse me, Ma’am?”
I felt my face flush. “Do you trust him?”
“He’s been working here about six months and we’ve never had a complaint.”
“Well, there’s always a first time. Do you know who his supervisor is?”
“Yes, of course, just a moment, Ma’am.”

My jaw ached from clenching my teeth. If I heard the word, Ma’am on more time, I was going to scream. A short, stocky, middle-aged bald manager appeared at the counter. “Hello, my name is Paul Davis. Can I help you, Ma’am?”
I ground my teeth to quash a scream. “Yes, you can. I believe you may have a toxic employee.”
“Excuse me?”
“Do any of your workers complain of feeling confused, angry, betrayed, anxious, fearful or filled with self-doubt? You may have heard of the book, Toxic People, most managers have.”
“I’m sorry Ma’am, we are not interested in hiring an outside EAP counselor.”
“I’m not selling EAP services. I’m talking about respectful behavior, personal responsibility, integrity and honesty among your workforce.”

Paul hesitated several moments before speaking. “I was told you want to make a complaint about one of our employees.”
“Yes, I do. I believe you have a thief in your midst and his name is Chico.”
“Chico? I don’t believe he would ever steal, he has been employed here for a few months and has earned my complete trust.”
“Maybe you should check his pockets! That is unless you wish to continue being co-dependent and become his benefactor, further allowing him to remain on his path of wrong doing. Erich Fromm, a well-known psychologist said that not just individuals, but whole workplaces, even whole societies may be lacking in sanity. It’s called, consensual validation. It’s a condition that is not exactly insane but not quite sane either. Is that what you want for Chico? Unsanity? Do you really think you are doing him a favor by protecting him? Is this whole world blind to dishonesty?” I spread my arms wide to emphasize my point. “When are we going to wake up and expose the ones who debilitate organizations? What happened to respectful behavior, integrity, honesty, communication and objectivity?” I was nearly panting from emotion.

“Ma’am, maybe if you told me what it is you suspect was stolen, I could help.”
“A very expensive pair of sunglasses, that’s what!”
He stared at me for a long moment. “Are the frames silver-green in color with a leather brow bar?”
“Yes! Did Chico have them on in the kitchen?” I stood on tip-toe trying to see into the kitchen.
“No Ma’am, you have them on your head.”