Nobody’s Perfect

Baby, you’ve got tons of potential.

There’s always room for improvement, right?  But I worry about the state of humankind every time January 1st rolls around.  People begin compiling lists of New Year’s resolutions, and that gets me to twitchin’.  Whether or not I’m a little bit psychic is debatable (see: Madame Fortuna Knows All), but I bet I can predict the Top 5 resolutions on most people’s lists, and in order.  Ready?  Here we go:

  1. Lose weight/get in shape/go to the gym (all basically the same thing)
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Get organized
  4. Be the best _______ (parent, spouse, taxidermist, etc.)
  5. Be happier

If you need assistance achieving these goals, should you remain steadfast in your convictions for longer than a week, there are plenty of resources out there.  On Amazon.com, there are no fewer than 214,733 self-help books and 38,311 self-help videos.  At my local Barnes and Noble, the self-help section consists of 3 huge bookcases, 5 shelves each, packed with titles on being better, getting better, having better…  By my count, that’s a total of 100 million-trillion guides for improving ourselves.  [Full disclosure: I’m no math whiz.]

I’m all for good health so, if you want to get in shape or quit smoking, you have my blessing.  As for the rest of those resolutions, I would suggest you ask yourself the following questions before you start sweating over them:

  • “Am I really disorganized, or is my chaos a representation of my under-appreciated whimsical genius?”
  • “Do I really need to be the best ­­­­at everything?  Can’t I just be good enough?”
  • “Do I really need to be happier?  What is happier, anyway?”

Personally, I resent the self-help industry for its relentless badgering.  Aside from my “being” being nobody else’s bee’s wax but mine, all this focus on our shortcomings, and the efforts to correct them, are counter-productive, in my opinion.

For example, let’s say I’ve convinced myself (through the encouragement of lifestyle gurus on the radio and television) that organizing my clutter will make more time for me (me! ME!), thereby allowing a stress-free life with more opportunity for the pursuit of enjoyable and fulfilling activities (such as cooking classes, Pilates, and navel gazing), all of which will add to my overall general bliss.

Now, how am I supposed to be become more organized if I add gym visits, meditations, and Fondue 101 to my schedule? And won’t gooey, melted cheese make my ass fat?  And when will I get around to reading all those other books about everything else that’s wrong with me?  Can you imagine the amount of time and organization it would take to make more time to organize my organizational meditative happiness?  Um…what?! 

We have become so convinced of our hapless under-achieving, that rectifying our faults and foibles is now big business.  Well, I’m not buying.

If “fixing” each and every person would really make the world a better place in which to live, then let me offer ten self-help tips that will truly improve the quality of this life.  They are easy and don’t require any time commitment:

  1. Hold the door for the person behind you.
  2. Treat waiters and waitresses with respect.
  3. Don’t fart in elevators.
  4. Chew with your mouth closed.
  5. Promptly return what you borrow, particularly money.
  6. Use your car’s horn to alert others of danger, and not as a tool to express your negative emotions.
  7. Eat a salad once in a while.
  8. RSVP for cryin’ out loud!!!!
  9. Keep your promises.
  10. Be kinder…to everyone…especially yourself.

I observe these tips and I’m pretty satisfied with the way I am.  Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting more from me.  This is State-of-the-art Anita.

So, I hope you take comfort and joy in knowing that you don’t need to be perfect, your house doesn’t need to look like a page from Architectural Digest and even the Victoria’s Secrets models don’t look like Victoria’s Secrets models.  So, you don’t have bother trying to either.

And as you embark on 2014, here’s wishing you a perfectly adequate New Year.

Happy New Year from SNORK!

Patching Things Up

Have you ever used a transdermal patch?  It’s like a George Foreman grill for the body: Set it and forget it!  When you slap on one of those babies, you can passively self-medicate for hours or even days without a second thought.

If you’re not familiar with them, here’s how they work…gluey plastic patches, laced with substances (medications, hormones, vitamins, etc.) slowly release their contents through the skin and into the bloodstream.  You can patch it and forget it.

I have had two experiences with transdermal patches.  The first was 10 years ago; I bought nicotine patches to help me quit smoking.  The warning label was very specific about two things.  First, users are strongly cautioned against smoking while wearing the patch.  Second, users’ sleep might be “disrupted” by wearing the patch to bed.  However, this could be avoided by removing the patch at night and reapplying it in the morning.  Hmm, I wondered.  What’s that all about?

NIGHTMARES!  That’s what.  The first night, I dreamt that I was on a chain gang working the coal mines.  There I was, shuffling along, covered in soot, chipping away in the gloomy, soul-sucking blackness.  But that wasn’t the scary part.  In the dream, the light from my miner’s cap revealed that I was smoking!  The directions clearly stated that you must not smoke while wearing the patch.  As an obsessive rule follower, this transgression made me more upset than being forced to labor in a dark and toxic mine shaft, shackled to the dregs of society.

Never one to give up easily, and not wanting to take my patch off (lest it not work as well), I wore it to bed on the second night.  Also, I am stubborn and sometimes not too bright.  This time, my dream turned me into a remorseless monster.  I stood over the dead body of a complete stranger, a smoking gun in my hand. “Dream me” didn’t feel one bit sorry that I’d taken a human life.  But I was all in a tizzy over flouting the rules again; a cigarette dangled from my gun-moll lips.  I awoke in a panic.  What a relief to discover that I hadn’t actually smoked.  Oh yeah, I was also glad I hadn’t actually killed anybody.

For the record, the patch worked for me, and I successfully kicked the habit.

My second encounter with patches is much more personal, but I will share it, because we are friends…

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As we all know, there comes a time in a woman’s life when things begin to change.  The medical community calls this menopause.  Women have other names for it: mean-o-pause (because the mood swings are swift and legendary), men-on-pause (because the only thing less interesting than sex would be sitting through a Steven Seagal film retrospective), mental-pause (because you find yourself staring into an open refrigerator until you remember you’re looking for paper towels).  Me?  I called it total and utter living hell (no explanation necessary).

I was still in my 30’s when the process began, so none of my friends could relate.  Some actually thought it was funny, while others suggested I was exaggerating my symptoms.  Well, now they are all relating (not so funny anymore, is it ladies?).  The hormone replacement patch was the best thing I did for myself (way better than cranking up the air conditioning in December or storing my jewelry in the freezer until it was time to wear it).  Those little sticky squares saved me from going off the deep end.  By the time I stopped using them, the worst was over.  The patch had gotten me through the hardest part.

That made me think, what if there were patches for getting over other hard parts of life?  Break ups.  The first year of marriage.  Your children’s teenage years.

Those patches don’t exist, but there’s always duct tape.

So, when someone breaks your heart, you can maintain a healthy weight (by taping your refrigerator shut to prevent eating raw cookie dough in your pajamas at noon).  Or use it to maintain positive self-esteem (by covering the buttons on your smartphone.  You won’t be able to obsessively stalk your ex on Facebook or drunk dial).   When your teens turn on the sassy backtalk or complain about nothing to eat in the house, you can patch out (by placing tape over your ears).  And that first year of marriage?  What can stop you from saying things you don’t mean, while your buttons are being pushed or your last nerve is being pinched?  Yup…duct tape.  And you know where to put it.

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