Have No Fear, Toilet Paper Is Here!

Are you panicking? According to the media, we are only one step away from being mysteriously infected with Ebola tainted bodily fluids. If not sickened with this hemorrhagic disease, then an ISIS terrorist lurking in our hedges could be the cause of our demise. Yet, if we manage to survive these tragedies, we are still left to grapple with the horrendous U2 album iTunes downloaded on our iPhones.

It’s enough to drive anyone off the deep end. How are you coping? At first, I was a mess. I was losing sleep. I was up all night, pacing the floors (while periodically checking my forehead for a fever and my body for bleeding – the telltale symptoms of Ebola). Every few minutes I would peek out behind my curtains for an ISIS member prowling the neighborhood. Until I had to use the bathroom. Then all my fears and anxieties came to a screeching halt.

The bathroom? You say. Yes. The bathroom. Charmin toilet paper now comes scented. That’s right! This bath tissue smells like chamomile.

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There I was, worrying about coming into contact with the body secretions of an Ebola patient while I’m at the airport when suddenly, I felt so … relaxed! I wasn’t exactly sure what the source of this new found serenity was, until I realized it was coming from my toilet paper! Ebola what? ISIS who? By Charmin simply adding a fragrance to their toilet paper, my life has suddenly become easier. Thank you, Charmin!

The problem is, the scent is so lovely that I don’t want to use it for its intended purpose. Instead, I place the rolls around my home in lieu of potpourri.

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When company arrives, they sniff the air.

“What is that beguiling scent?”

“Oh, that,” I say modestly, “that’s just my chamomile scented toilet paper.”

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“I’m kind of embarrassed,” one friend admitted, “your bath tissue smelled so divine, like … flowers, I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. Do you have anything else?”

“I don’t blame you,” I say, “and you can actually remove that roll and put it right on the shoe rack in my hall closet.”

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Now, my hall closet is infused with the scent of chamomile.

Whenever I feel tense, I now have to whip out a roll of chamomile scented toilet paper and take a nice, long sniff in order to calm myself.

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Ahhhhhh! So what if I’m late for my appointment?

Perfume? Shmerfume! Why would I choose to wear perfume when all I need is one roll of scented toilet paper? I stick a roll in my purse and out the door I go, the aroma of chamomile scented bath tissue trailing behind.

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“Excuse me,” says the woman in the store, “do you know you have toilet paper hanging out of your purse?”

“Oh, yes! And this isn’t just any toilet paper. This is Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet paper.”

“Scented toilet paper? Now they scent toilet paper? When we go and wipe our -“

“But doesn’t it smell lovely?”

“I don’t care what it smells like! Toilet paper isn’t supposed to smell, period. That stuff isn’t for smelling! It’s for wiping!”

And like that, the magic is gone. While driving home, I sniff the roll of Charmin but instead of calm all I hear is the woman’s voice saying, “It’s for wiping!”

That night, I’m back up, pacing the floors, wondering if the CDC will create an Ebola vaccine since two people in our country now have the virus. However, if they do quickly make a vaccine, will the vaccine be safe? Sadly, I am no longer calmed by my toilet paper. I realize Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet tissue is simply toilet paper that smells weird.

**Author’s Note: The toilet paper rolls used in these photographs are not actual Charmin products, nor are they affiliated with Charmin. Any resemblance to Charmin chamomile scented toilet paper is purely coincidental, because why would anyone want to use scented toilet paper??** 

As President …

President Underground Writer: I sit before you today as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. Members of Congress and Senators, I look forward to working together in unity as we face and successfully address the daunting issues that stand before us all.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: We look forward to working with you as well, President Underground Writer.

President Underground Writer: Why, thank you, Representative Liza Lott. Okay, first things first. The most pressing issue I feel this country needs is a Silver Head Lane. This will be shovel-ready, putting thousands upon thousands of unemployed people to work –

Senator Les Abel: Um … excuse me, President Underground Writer, but what exactly do you mean by “Silver Head Lane?”

President Underground Writer: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads, of course. What do you think it means?

Senator Les Abel: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads? You mean, old people?

President Underground Writer: Sure. They would have their own lane. Like truckers have on the Jersey Turnpike. Just think of it! Their own lane, where they can dawdle safely, unharassed by people tailgating them. Then the rest of society can get to their destinations on time.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: President Underground Writer, not only does that sound discriminatory, but it also would be extraordinarily expensive. Also, I don’t remember you saying anything about this Silver Head Lane during your campaign for office.

President Underground Writer: Well, sure I did! Didn’t you listen to those annoying prerecorded robocalls that called your house every night? Or what about the dozens of flyers that filled your mailbox every day? Both of those stated I had a plan to improve our country’s infrastructure.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Wait. Your plan to improve our country’s infrastructure was by building Silver Head Lanes? How come no one knew this? (Looks around room.)

President Underground Writer: I may have been a little vague. Okay, next on my agenda to help this country is texting.  I want a federal law that will make texting while driving a criminal offense.

Senator Les Abel: A criminal offense? That seems a bit much. I mean, haven’t you ever texted while driving?

President Underground Writer: I can’t recall.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: You can’t recall? Did you, or did you not text while driving?

President Underground Writer: I may have typed some words, but I never actually sent the text. Therefore, it doesn’t count as a text since it was never sent. Okay. Transportation has been addressed. Now, last on my agenda before I leave for Camp David –

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Leave for Camp David? But it’s your first day in office!

President Underground Writer: … is to get rid of Columbus Day. Wasn’t Christopher Columbus a big, fat jerk?

Senator Les Abel: A big fat jerk?

President Underground Writer: Yes. Didn’t he lop off the hands of people? And he never actually discovered the United States. He just bumped into the Caribbean with that old fashioned boat of his. And even then he thought it was India. Some explorer he was!

Congresswoman Liza Lott: So, you would like to abolish the federal holiday altogether?

President Underground Writer: Not get rid of it, exactly. More like tweak it, so we can acknowledge another explorer. Like … Juan Ponce de Leon.

Senator Les Abel: Ponce de Leon … didn’t he discover Florida while searching for the fountain of youth? Why should we have a federal holiday named after him?

President Underground Writer: Since this county esteems youth so much. Look at all the anti-wrinkle creams out there. Instead of Columbus Day, it should be Ponce de Leon Day. That would be more fitting with our country’s values. Now, let’s see … I addressed transportation, infrastructure and a federal holiday. I think that does it for today. If there’s an emergency, I can be reached at Camp David.

Senator Les Abel (rubbing his temples): President Underground Writer –

President Underground Writer: Oh! That reminds me. I would like to be addressed as “Your Majesty.” How come Great Britain gets the Queens and Princes? Huh? That’s just not fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Cancer?

You notice a pain in your left elbow. Now that you think about it, the pain has actually been there for a few days. Maybe even weeks. You don’t remember hitting your elbow, or doing anything to injure it. What could be going on?

You Google “pain in left elbow” during your lunch break. The selection of websites that flash on your computer screen are overwhelming. You had no idea the subject of elbow pain was so important. You click on a link, one that has the word “medicine” in its web address. According to this website, your elbow pain could be due to anything from bumping your elbow, to arthritis, to cancer.

Cancer? Your fingers freeze, suspended over the keyboard. You are absolutely certain you did not bump your elbow. In fact, now that you think about it, you’re very careful with your elbows: tucking them in when you walk through doorways, never resting your hands on your hips so your elbows aren’t protruding like wings. And arthritis? Bah! Just yesterday you carried a laundry basket overflowing with dirty clothes up the stairs and never broke a sweat. You’re in your prime.

It must be cancer. You can’t recall anyone in your family history battling elbow cancer, but isn’t everyone getting cancer these days? Because of the food we’re eating … or not eating. And doesn’t cancer spread? You sit back in your chair. Maybe your elbow cancer has spread to your shoulder and now you have shoulder cancer. All at once your left shoulder seems achy.

You need to have this elbow (and now shoulder) examined immediately. You call your doctor to schedule an appointment. After listening to the options in the prerecorded message, you accidentally hit the wrong option and get the medical records department instead of the scheduling department. The medical records person transfers you, only you’re disconnected and need to call back and start all over again.

After choosing the correct option you are put on hold, though a friendly recorded voice reassures you that your call is very important to them. (So important that you are made to wait several minutes.) Finally, your call is answered. You inform the receptionist that you need to see your doctor as soon as possible for serious elbow pain. She tells you that your doctor’s schedule is booked. You feel that making an appointment with your doctor is some sort of race and you have lost.

The receptionist manages to “squeeze” you into your doctor’s busy schedule, making it sound as if it’s a favor and you should be grateful. You are, because since you’ve been on hold your elbow pain has grown worse.

The two weeks until you see your doctor seem endless. Mentally, you have decided who will inherit your most valuable assest. You wonder if you should make amends with the cranky neighbor you haven’t spoken to for three years. Or better yet, wait until he reads your obituary. How you died from elbow cancer. Won’t he feel bad then!

When you finally see your doctor, he seems rushed.  You remind yourself that you were inconveniently fit into his schedule, after all.

“Does it hurt when I do this?” he asks, bending your arm at a ninety degree angle.

“No,” you say sheepishly.

But it had hurt when you did this same movement five hundred times the past two weeks to verify if the pain was still there.

“How about when I do this?” he asks, moving your arm in a different direction.

“That’s okay too.”

“Everything seems alright to me. I don’t see anything to be concerned with. Maybe you just whacked it.”

“I’m certain I didn’t hit it,” you say.

But he’s not listening. He has written in your chart and left the room to see a patient who was not squeezed into his schedule.

That night you tell your friend about your elbow pain, and how you fear it is cancer that has now spread to your brain. She commiserates, and recommends you see her doctor. But her doctor is a holistic doctor, not a medical doctor.

Your friend’s holistic doctor answers the phone on the first ring. Not only are there no phone trees or being put on hold, the holistic doctor will see you first thing in the morning. When you arrive at her office, there is music playing. She smells of patchouli oil. The holistic doctor takes your elbow pain very, very seriously. She explains that discomfort in any part of the body indicates inner pain … as well as a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

When you leave her office, you have spent two hundred dollars on a monthly supply of vitamins and minerals. You have also bought a manual that will guide you towards inner peace, and a packet of tea bags whose name you can’t pronounce. The holistic doctor promises that, in time, these will heal your elbow and shoulder pain.

As you drive to work, you think about your elbow and how it used to not hurt. Then suddenly you realize it is no longer hurting, as you remember hitting it on the banister while you were carrying that load of dirty laundry up the stairs, without breaking a sweat.

 

Charlotte

Charlotte was dark with large eyes and long legs. When she walked, she held her head up high. She was also fiercely jealous – becoming enraged whenever anyone came into close proximity to my father. When my parents went for walks and held hands, Charlotte would barge between them, causing their fingers to separate. She would proceed to press her body against my father’s leg, pushing him away from my mother.

Charlotte was a Nubian goat, the kind with long floppy ears. She was actually very pretty … for a goat. Her coat was made up of blacks, browns and whites. When my father brought Charlotte home to our little farm, my brother named her Charlotte after his favorite book Charlotte’s Web.  

But our Charlotte was nothing like the kind, demure spider E.B. White created. She was aggressive with a rather sadistic streak. Whenever my father would let Charlotte out of her pen, she would scan the lawn for me, lower her head and charge. More than once I had been obliviously playing, minding my own eight year old business, only to be whacked by Charlotte ramming her head into my body. (Thank goodness she was de-horned.) Another time she sniffed my hair before proceeding to grab a mouthful and pull it out by the roots. I was scared to death of her.

When not occupying herself with terrorizing me, Charlotte enjoyed showing off for my brother. It was as if she sensed testosterone was near and was suddenly overwhelmed with circus-like energy. Charlotte would run up the side of the barn and do a backwards flip, which resulted in much clapping and yelling from my brother. This would encourage her to do more tricks.

As much as Charlotte adored my father, her sentiment was not reciprocated. Her purpose was for breeding and not as a pet. This meant she was loaded into our Jeep and we drove her to a farm where she could have a “date” with a male goat. This did not go over well. Even though Charlotte was technically in heat, (meaning, she was fertile and should have been in the romantic mood) she did not approve of the male goats that were presented to her.

The male goats did their male goat thing: peeing on themselves. Snorting. Charging. These wooing tactics usually work like a charm for other female goats, but not our Charlotte. Her standards were higher. She wasn’t interested in any of the huffing, strutting, urinating bucks. For an hour we watched Charlotte dodge one frustrated male goat after another. Even I – who truly had no affection for Charlotte – felt bad for her.

In one last ditch effort, my father tried having a male goat visit Charlotte’s pen. Like a horrible blind date who just won’t leave, Charlotte had an obnoxious suitor in her pen for two days. This was also a disaster. Finally, the rejected buck was sent back to his farm and my father decided Charlotte needed to find another home as well. If she wasn’t breedable – he had no use for her.

Finding a home for a female goat who wasn’t interested in male goats, and could be aggressive, was difficult. But after several weeks, Charlotte was loaded back in the Jeep and we drove her to her new residence. I sat in the back seat, terrified she would rip more hair out of my head. The ride seemed endless. At last, we pulled into the driveway of Charlotte’s new home: a farm that used animal’s blood for medical research. Every day, someone would take a vial of Charlotte’s blood and use it to develop medicines.

I watched as one of the lab personnel attempted to drag Charlotte away from my father. She resisted – her long ears standing parallel to her head. Suddenly, she looked up at the man who was pulling her and all at once she relaxed. Without giving us another glance, Charlotte walked alongside the man, her head held high. She had replaced my father … or she was eyeing this new guy’s hair and planning her next scalping.

 

 

 

Milk is Ruining My Life

I pour the creamy, white liquid into the glass. I’m just about to take a sip, but then freeze. Wait. Wait, just one minute. Did this milk come from a cow treated with artificial growth hormones? Is this milk lactose free? I wonder if the cow was injected with resistant building antibiotics. Was the cow humanely treated? Did it enjoy being milked – or did it feel violated?

How did such a benign substance become so risky all of a sudden? When we were children, we were told to drink milk because it was good for our teeth and it kept our bones from snapping in half. But now everything seems so complicated! Fat free milk, skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk. Milk with DHA added.

Should we drink pasteurized or unpasteurized milk? Supposedly, unpasteurized milk has not been meddled with, and contains more nutrients and healthy fat than pasteurized milk. On the flip-side, because of the pasteurization process, pasteurized milk doesn’t harbor pesky deadly bacteria that is more likely to be found in unpasteurized milk. Hmmm … healthy fat verses dangerous bacteria …it’s a tossup.

I grab my keys and drive to the grocery store. I’m relieved to find they have an entire section devoted to milk substitutes. Thank goodness! Problem solved! Or so I thought.

The first option is rice milk. This looks like a great choice, until I remember it was just all over the news that arsenic was found in rice products. (I need to consume arsenic like I need a hole in my head.) And rice is a grain, right? Isn’t there this whole paleo diet movement? The diet rage that says we shouldn’t eat grains because our ancestors didn’t eat grains and they lived to be nine hundred years old, so we should abstain from grains too, so we can live to be nine hundred years old with no teeth and incontinent and yell at our children because they never visit us.

I scan the shelves. How about soy milk? Oh. Estrogen overload. Well, then. What about almond milk? Hmmm … Not only am I not a fan of almonds, but what if I develop a nut allergy? What if I’m standing in my kitchen, enjoying a nice cold glass of almond milk, and suddenly my throat swells shut? There I am, gasping and writhing for breath because I need an epi-pen in order to breath. (Which I don’t happen to own since I’ve never had a nut allergy prior to this whole milk dilemma.) I drop dead on the floor all because of a glass of stupid almond milk.

There’s coconut milk, but isn’t that high in fat? Or is coconut fat considered good now? I keep losing track. I’m fairly certain that coconut fat is considered healthy fat … or was that avocados? Maybe avocado fat is good to consume – and not coconuts – but I can’t find avocado milk. Maybe they’re making that next month.

On the shelf under the coconut milk is … hemp milk. Hemp milk? Hemp milk? Is that even legal? What would hemp milk even taste like? Sucking on a wet, burlap bag?

Not to mention, all of these non-milk products come in a variety of options. Organic, non-organic. No-sugar added. Sweetened and non-sweetened. Vanilla. It feels eerily similar to when I’m in the milk aisle.

I storm out of the milk substitute aisle and pass the frozen food section where gallons of milk sit innocently lined up for those who don’t know the dangers of drinking milk from another mammal (and yet another issue). I grab a bottle of soda – suddenly the safest choice – and head towards the cashier.

 

 

 

 

 

Inappropriate Family Photos

Several times a year my grandparents would pack up their RV (including their toy poodle with rust colored fur and chronic bad breath) and travel across the country. We’d learn of their whereabouts from postcards that would arrive periodically in our mailbox. Their destinations were an odd assortment of common tourist attractions and strange places off the beaten path: the Ozarks, Grand Canyon, Virginia Beach (we received a postcard declaring that Virginia is for lovers with my grandmother’s frilly handwriting, “That’s Us!” inside the heart).

Their travels were documented in a photo album that was displayed on the coffee table in their living room. My mother and I would languidly flip through the album when we visited. The photographs were fairly repetitive: my grandmother standing in front of some touristy sign or statute, clutching her purse and smiling as my grandfather snapped her picture. Or the two of them together, their smiles frozen as they waited for a kind stranger to figure out how to work their camera and take the picture.

My mother and I swallowed yawns as we leafed through the pages of this album. My grandparents seemed less interested in taking snapshots of their surroundings and more interested in pictures of themselves.

Especially when they visited the Poconos.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Poconos, it is an area in northeastern Pennsylvania that is known for its mountains and romantic getaways. During the 1970s – 1990s, resorts popped up like gophers catering to couples who were just dying to relax in heart shaped jacuzzis, circular beds and gigantic, seven foot champagne bubble baths. Competition between resorts was fierce. They battled to outdo one another for the most “alluring” room names: Paradise Stream, Cove Haven, Fantasy and Garden of Eden are just a few of the names given to some of these horrendously gaudy rooms.

While we never received a postcard from the Poconos, evidently my grandparents sojourned in one of these atrocious hotels, because they documented it in the photo album they left on the coffee table in their living room.

Nestled between the pictures of my grandmother wearing her floppy sunhat and standing outside of the Alamo, was a photograph of her wearing a blue negligee and kneeling on a white furry rug. Next to this photograph was my grandfather, donned in blue Speedo underwear, sprawled on the same furry rug and smiling mischievously at the camera.

Thankfully, the pictures stopped there. (And thankfully, they didn’t ask some stranger to pop into their hotel room – which was probably named The Love Nest – to take pictures of them together on the furry rug.)

My mother and I saw these Pocono pictures at the same time. My mother recoiled, as though she had seen something strange and hideous.

“Good heavens!” she said.

I let out a whooping holler of laughter as my mother snapped the photo album shut.

“I think we’ve seen everything we need to see.”

But there are certain things you can’t … un-see. My grandparents racy Pocono photographs are forever burned in my brain. Why they would choose to place those salacious photographs in the album is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they viewed them no differently than the other innocuous shots: saying cheese in front of the Liberty Bell, posing next to a palm tree in South Carolina, scantily clad and smiling seductively from a shag rug in a Pocono hotel room.

Or perhaps they snickered conspiratorially as they slipped the risque photographs in the plastic sleeves.

“Just wait until the kids and grandkids see these! And they think we’re just visiting places like Strubridge Village.”

 

 

A Strange, New Form of Home Security

Residents across the nation have turned to a new type of home security: surprise parties. As with many inventions, the creation of Surprise Party Theft Deterrent was accidental. John and Linda Sandford of Marietta, Georgia hosted a family birthday party for their four year old daughter. That night, an intruder broke into their home.

“I thought I heard someone,” Sandford said when interviewed, “and when I went downstairs to investigate, there was a man standing in our living room! The bizarre thing was, he saw all the party decorations that were left up from my daughter’s birthday party and he thought they were for him! He forgot all about stealing our stuff.”

The Sandfords proceeded to wake up their children and defrost leftover birthday cake.

“It turned into one big, happy event,” Sandford said, “we decided to leave the decorations up in case it happens again.”

Initially, police were skeptical of this rather unorthodox home security system.

“Honestly? I thought they were all a bunch of nut jobs,” Lieutenant David Jefferson of the Los Angeles Police Department said, “but then I heard it started working. Don’t get me wrong – I still recommend a traditional home security system over this surprise party thing.”

Surprise Party Theft Deterrent can also be a rewarding experience. The Sanfords formed a relationship with their home invader and have since invited him to family dinners and holiday gatherings. Aside from a missing laptop and some “misplaced” silver, their home intruder is like a member of their family.

“Sure, we don’t leave him alone near the checkbook .. or let him borrow the car … but he’s like family to us!” Sandford states.

One criticism of Surprise Party Theft Deterrents is the possibility of the home intruder being armed with a deadly weapon – and using this weapon if startled by the surprise party.

“I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind every time I crouched behind the sofa, waiting to jump up and yell, ‘Surprise!'” Peter Anderson of Mesa, Arizona confessed, “but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

“Especially when you see the look of astonishment on their face,” Esther Anderson chimed in, “why, after a rash of break-ins in our neighborhood, one intruder started to cry when he climbed through our den window and was welcomed with noisemakers and Peter and I yelling, ‘Surprise!’ He said no one had ever thrown him a surprise party before.”

While the expense of maintaining traditional home security systems can be what drives some people to use surprise parties as theft deterrents, others do so for different reasons.

“Personally, I find home security systems a bit … alarming with their obnoxious sirens. It could easily disrupt an individuals inner chi.” said Destiny Light of Woodstock, New York.

Surprise parties were the perfect solution for Light – even though crime is rare in her neighborhood.

“Never the less, it is simply delightful to have my kitchen decorated for a birthday party every day, said Light.

There are some downsides with Surprise Party Theft Deterrent. Having your house decorated for a birthday party year round can be a hassle. It’s also confusing for children.

“Every morning when my son woke up, he kept thinking it was his birthday,” Heather Burns of Grand Rapids, Michigan said, “and when it finally was his birthday, well, the birthday decorations didn’t excite him anymore.”

Sagging crepe paper and deflating balloons can not only be a nuisance, but also an additional expense. But not nearly as much as the monthly fees charged by home security services.

Reactions of home intruders to this new form of theft deterrent vary.

“At first, I be like, ‘whats that?” Larry Johnson of Southtown, Illinois said when interviewed in the Greater Illinois Detention Center, “they all be going, “Surprise and sh-t! I there to rob a house, ya’ll. If I wanted a party, I’d go to a party! So I say, “Gimme that flat-screen! Gimme that Macbook!”

The result?

“The old lady? She starts bawling. She starts saying, “He was supposed to like the party.” What do I look like? A four year old? Like I say, If I wanted a party, I’d go to a party. I there to get stuff!”

Andrew Anderson  had a different response.

“I loved it! When I pried open that screen, and climbed through that window, and there was a party waiting for me? And not the police? I’d have to be crazy not to like that family.”

Party City stocks have soared since the introduction of Surprise Party Theft Deterrents.

 

The Underground Writer Reporting

 

Fight Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee?

According to the article Can This Marriage Be Saved? sixty-nine percent of marital conflicts are never resolved. Sixty-nine percent! This is an alarmingly high number, and it sheds some light on why forty to fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. But the question still remains: why are all of these marital conflicts not being resolved?

Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist quoted in Can This Marriage Be Saved?, attributed unresolved conflicts to communication, or lack thereof. Dr. Gottman states that couples who resolve arguments tend to communicate nicely. They deliver their complaints with less of a blow (think flyweight boxing verses heavyweight). Meanwhile, couples who don’t communicate never resolve their discrepancies, thus leading to the eventual demise of the relationship.

While Dr. Gottman clearly pinpoints the main ingredient (communication) for relationship longevity, I felt it needed to be expanded. Why, exactly, are these couples not communicating? How are they fighting so that nothing is being resolved?

I took to the streets, pen in hand (and depending on the neighborhood, mace can in my other hand) and began surveying married couples. The question posed: when you and your spouse fight, how does he (or she) act?

A surprising discovery was not simply the lack of communication. Most did indeed communicate. However, they all had unique fighting styles. The categories are listed below.

The Convincers – also known as Verbal Gymnasts, the Convincers have the innate ability to convince you that you’re the one who is wrong. They stop at nothing to convince you, so arguments generally last for hours. Whether it is pure exhaustion – or they are finally persuaded – spouses of Convincers usually throw in the towel and eventually declare they were wrong.

The Clammer Uppers – these spouses stop talking because they are so overwhelmed with emotions they simply shut down. (Or they fear saying something they will really regret.) Some people call this  “the silent treatment.” Did she hear you apologize? Your guess is as good as mine, because if she did hear you, you would never know. Convincers love Clammer Uppers because they can continue to convince with no interruptions.

Taker Offers – similar to the Clammer Uppers but with more energy. The Taker Offers will physically leave the premises of the fight. This may mean storming out of the house or restaurant. If enclosed in a car, Taker Offers have been known to shove the offending person out of the car and drive off, leaving the spouse stranded.

Reactors – you’re mad because she’s mad.

“Now I’m in a bad mood too. Here I was, just watching the game and enjoying my beer, but now it’s ruined because you’re mad at me again.”

The mood of Reactors seems to be contingent upon the mood of the spouse.

Directors – tell their spouse what she or he needs to do to end the fight. Apology insincere? Who cares! Fight is over! Let’s go out for dinner already! Convincers and Directors could NEVER be married to one another. The Convincer would be too busy trying to convince the Director, while the Director would be too busy telling the Convincer what he needs to do in order to conclude the argument.

Moper – a personification of Eeyore, the Moper will throw the biggest pity party of the century. The Moper has a fighting style similar to that of the Convincer, but much more pathetic.

 “I know I forgot your birthday again. I’m so dumb. I’m the worst husband ever. You should never have married me. Other husbands would have remembered your birthday. You can go marry them. I deserve it.”

Mopers and Directors make great couples. A Director would simply tell the Moper what needs to be done to soothe things over.

“You’re right! I should go out and marry someone else. Now, let’s go shoe shopping because you’re buying me five pairs of shoes and you’re going to love every second of it. Got it?”

Conversely, Mopers and Reactors would never make it. Once the Moper turned all mopey, so would the Reactor.

“You’re right. You are so dumb for forgetting my birthday again. And I’m dumb for marrying you. We’re both two dumb people. And now I’m too depressed to go find another husband.”

The last fighting style identified was the Rehasher. During an argument, a Rehasher will suddenly bring up issues (issues you thought were resolved) from the past. Similar to Mohammad Ali’s famous phantom punch that abruptly ended the boxing match with Sonny Liston by knock out, the Rehasher will verbally strike their unknowing spouse, leaving them stunned. Bewildered. Speechless.

“I forgot to take out the garbage? Well! At least I didn’t back the car into a telephone pole.”

“That was five years ago!”

“Maybe it was, but my not taking out the garbage didn’t cost us a $500 deductible, now did it?”

To take Dr. Gottman’s expertise a smidgen further, it appears couples may not be communicating because of their fighting styles. How can a Moper talk things out with a Reactor when both turn sullen? Or a Director communicate with a Convincer with they are talking over each other?  As Leo Tolstoy said, “what counts in making a happy marriage, is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”

References: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Do I Know You?

You notice him in the checkout lane at the grocery store. He looks vaguely familiar. His hairstyle is one you know you could never forget. Did you sit next to him at last week’s board meeting? Or was he your waiter at that French restaurant you took your mom to for her birthday? Wait. You went to high school with him! No. That’s not it. Was he the guy from Sears who sold you the leaf blower you still haven’t used?

He has now noticed you’re staring at him and is looking at you out of the corner of his eye. You can’t tell if he also recognizes you, or he is slightly concerned that you’re watching him. You start rearranging the groceries in your cart while frantically trying to place his face. Is he the father of one of your daughter’s friends? Should you know this person?

Suddenly it dawns on you. You don’t know this person at all! He simply resembles Lord Farquaad from Shrek – just taller. You exhale, relieved the mystery is solved.

How often have we seen someone who looks familiar, only to realize they’re not someone we know, but rather they resemble a character from a cartoon or movie? Recently while I was in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, a patient sat down and removed his shoes. The fact that this man felt the immediate need to take off his footwear didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact there was something strangely familiar about his face. I was certain I had seen it before, but where? All at once I realized he looked exactly like Lew Zealand. Who is Lew Zealand? The Muppet who throws the boomerang fish while proclaiming, “I throw the fish away, and they come back to me!”

LewZealand_Large

“I love taking off my shoes in public places!”

There is also a man who frequents the gym I go to who looks exactly like Lloyd Christmas, the character Jim Carey played in Dumb and Dumber. Making this connection took several minutes, and unfortunately my glancing at the man while trying to place him resulted in him attempting to make friendly conversation.

image

“Don’t know why that girl keeps looking at me. Must be my bowl haircut. I better go talk to her.”

 

And who would have ever thought I would come home to find Miracle Max, from The Princess Bride, in my living room? Well, it wasn’t the real Miracle Max. Just an ancient locksmith who looked exactly like him. As I entered through our back door I could hear Miracle Max (also known as Lucas Locksmith, Inc) saying to my husband,

“There. Now that the deadbolt is fixed, you can lock the wife out!”

I burst into the living room and shouted,

“Aha! No he can’t! The door to the back still works!”

Shockingly, I found myself staring into this face:

Miracle Max

“There! Now you can lock your wife out!”

Perhaps we look like a character in a cartoon or movie, but people are polite enough not to tell us. For all I know, after I meet someone for the first time, the person could be thinking,

“Where have I seen her before? I could never forget a face like that…”

edward-scissorhands

“Was she at the last PTA meeting? Or maybe she works at the car wash …”

 

 

Photo Credits:

Lew Zealand – http://www.muppet.wikia.com

Miracle Max – http://www.fanpop.com

Edward Scissorhands – CBS

Express … Or Just Less?

Many businesses now seem to have the word express in their title. While the definition of “express” can mean precise and exact, the word is more commonly used to imply speed. (Take the “express lane” for example.) As schedules grow busier and people have less time, the idea of getting things – even difficult things – done quickly is appealing. The result of this is “express” being inserted into the names of certain businesses. But let’s stop and really ponder this idea of having services done expediently.

There is the Holiday Inn Express*. What makes this Holiday Inn different from the other Holiday Inns? Are their patrons awakened at 5 am by a Holiday Inn employee banging on their hotel room door shouting,

“Wake up! This is a Holiday Inn Express! If you wanted to sleep in you should’ve stayed in a regular Holiday Inn. Up and at ’em! Let’s move it along!”

Express Scripts is another well known business with express in its title. For the costumer, this name should evoke the idea of receiving your medicine quickly. No waiting. However, I can’t help but imagine a room full of pharmacists frantically filling little prescription bottles.

“Uh-oh.”

“What?”

“Did you just drop Omeprilstatin?”

“No. I just dropped Methatrypophane. Why? Did you drop Omeprilstatin?”

“Sure did.”

“Crap. They look exactly the same. They’re both white and round. I can’t tell which is which. Now what?”

“I dunno. But the buzzer is about to go off any second and we need to have these boxed up. This is Express Scripts you know. ”

“Eh … what does it matter. It’s Express Scripts. NOT “You’re Getting The Right Medicine Scripts”. Let’s just pick them up off the floor, ship them out and hope for the best.”

Massage Express or Express Massage businesses have been popping up in various cities (typically in malls), which are basically poor quality massages given by individuals who have zero massage theapy training. What better way to relax, heal and unwind than to have a speedy massage given by a person who has no idea what they’re doing. But hey, it’s express!

On a local level, there is a business around here called Express Pools. I assume this is geared for people who – in the middle of August when they can not stand one more second of New York humidity – decide they want a pool and they want one now. Based on its name, I’m guessing a pool is quickly installed in your yard. However, haste makes waste, and I can’t help but picture people frolicking in their pool before pausing and saying,

“Wait. Wait just one second. Is it me, or does there seem to be less water in here?”

Express may mean fast, but it doesn’t necessarily mean quality. McDonalds or Burger King can promise you food quickly, but you’re not about to have them cater an important event. Five million tourists stare in wonder at the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling every year. Had Michelangelo been slapdash with his paintbrush,  it wouldn’t be considered the magnificent work of art it is.

Certain businesses know not to use the word express in their title, despite how much business it may potentially garner. Thankfully, I have yet to see Express Cardiothoracic Surgeons. I certainly wouldn’t want to drive over a bridge constructed by Express Bridge Builders, or fly on an airplane made by Express Made Airplanes. Lastly, call me picky, but my children would never attend Express Elementary School.

 

*So what exactly is the difference between a Holiday Inn Express and a regular Holiday Inn? The Holiday Inn Express is geared toward business travelers and has fewer amenities, such as an in-hotel restaurant or spa. They really don’t wake guests up at 5 am because it’s an express hotel (unless, of course, you want to be woken up at 5 am with a complimentary wake-up call).