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December 14th, 1999

Issues - and I'm not Talking Readers Digest

I am deeply concerned today that I must be avoiding something. I "punched the monkey" and then spent about an hour randomly clicking the loot tree. I'm weak. Clearly, I have issues.

My parents left yesterday for Florida. Mom and Dad are spending the next few weeks with my brother for the Holiday.

On Sunday morning I went over to Mom's for instructions on how to care for her house. Forget that I have been caring for my own home for years now. This is a whole new kettle of fish. Well, in all honesty, mom has seen my house. No wonder she's worried I'll screw this up.

#1 - Check the mail every single day. She's expecting a very important check. I imagine it's from my birth-father. My dad insists every visit that I'm really the milkman's kid. Those milkmen must make a lot of money for my mom to be this excited.

#2 - Plants. It is imperative I keep the plants alive.

This is going to be a problem. When I was a single girl living alone all of my plants had big notes taped to the front of them in bright, fluorescent marker. "FEED ME!" "WATER ME!" "I'M DYING!" It was the only way I could keep them from withering into sticks.

So, I walk into my mom's home and on her table, in a huge elaborate pot, is a gigantic plant that looks like a cross between a Venus Flytrap, a Bonsai tree and a flowering Redwood. Mom then tells me this miracle of nature needs such and such amount of light and also regales me with a tale of this fauna's heroic struggle to survive. It was all weeds and close to dead a year ago. Mom moved it inside. Mom moved it outside. It slept in between Mom and Dad in their bed. They showered with it daily. I MUST NOT LET THIS WONDROUS FLOWER DIE!

Oh my God, this plant is so dead. I can only say I am glad that Mom plucked it from the shadows of doom once before, because by the time she returns I quite expect it will be a briar patch. On the flip side, though, she'll have a project for next year. That's good. A busy mom is a happy mom.

On an end note, today I received another chain letter in my mailbox. It made me think of this.

The chain letter. I cannot believe, in a world as enlightened as ours, that these things still manage to exist. They are the equivalent of cockroaches on paper.

Who really believes in this stuff, anyway? If the secret to true happiness were to be found in these documents, I'd quit my job and invest all my money in parchment and quill pens. I would pen them all day long and, when my hands finally got tired, I would do it with my toes.

I imagine the same people responsible for these letters are the very people who sit behind closed curtains in the dark all day. They dutifully log television commercials and then run out to buy Hi-Karate and Colgate by the truckload. The mere fact they now possess these items will surely bring incalculable amounts of joy to their lives!

Sure, go ahead and laugh. Now come take a look at the eight hundred boxes of Calgon I keep in my shed. It can happen to the best of us.

I got another chain letter yesterday afternoon. A coworker tracked me down and stuffed into my hands while I tried to masquerade as a potted plant behind the water cooler.

"What is this?" I screamed after him, as I spit a leaf out of my mouth.

"Instructions for Life" it said:

#1 - Trust in God but lock your car.

What kind of oxymoron is that? I say let your paint job fade to primer gray and fill your car with enough gardening tools, drive-through refuse and assorted trash so that you will impede theft but not vision. No one is going to want a car like that. God has enough things to worry about. I trust this way I can leave my vehicle unlocked and not have him fretting over my MiniVan

#2 - Share your knowledge -- it's the way to achieve immortality.

Obviously the wise sage that penned this down never had children. Here is what happens at my home if I attempt to share my knowledge.

"Honey, a penny saved is a penny earned."

"Mooooooooooooooom. What the heck do you think I can buy with a penny? You are sooooo dumb!"

Immortality. Ha ha ha.

#3 - Once a year go some place you have never been before.

The only hope I have in ever achieving this grand life instruction is to begin shopping further and further away from my home until I am eventually at a Mini-Mart in Alaska wrestling my Twinkies from the angry mouth of a Polar Bear.

#4 - Believe in love at first sight.

This one is right. I should be married to Antonio Banderas.

#5 - Don't trust a man/woman who does not close their eyes when you kiss them.

Okay, does this not mean you are opening your eyes to see if they are opening theirs? I think that's cheating.

#6 - Mind your own business

Ha ha ha ha <chortle> Hee hee hee <copious amounts of giggling> That was a good one. I'm not sure if I can even go on now. My ribs ache.

#7 - Spend some time alone.

Well, this one has some merit. I am moving back into my closet.

The letter went on to advise me that, in direct proportion to the number of people I intended to forever alienate from my life by passing these instructions on to them, things would improve for me on many dramatic levels!

I'm sending mine to Ed McMahon. Just because I might already be a winner.

I think I shall make my own list of instructions for a happy life.

#1 - Move to Borneo.

Change your name, disconnect your phone and alter your perfume so they can't track you by smell. If you don't do this, they will find you and make you sew that button on.

Unless otherwise specified, all material
Copyright 1999 by
Marijke Hildreth



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