My Middle Name is Empathy.

Some days I really believe I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to people.

Last night, a woman came into the bookstore looking for a book called The Script: 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat. This woman, who I would estimate at at least mid-fifties, proceeded to tell me how her husband had left her for another woman he had gone to high school with. She had her sister with her, who seemed present for moral support and general egging on, and as the adulter-ee talked, did I feel feminine solidarity with her? Did I commiserate with her about how her husband was a pig and a liar? Did I even tell her I was sorry she was going through all this?

No, gentle reader, I did not. Shocking on so many levels, I know.

One: When you get to the point that you’re discussing your ex- (or soon to be) husband’s infidelities with a sales clerk at your local bookstore, it does kind of make said bookseller wonder if you, maybe, possibly, just a timy bit, MIGHT have some issues of your own that may have had anything at all to do with him leaving you.

Two: You are already starting to radiate “bitter, man-hating bitch” when you speak about men. I LIKE men, inasmuch as I like humans. I picture you in ten years, hating all men because you chose poorly once and never had the balls to choose again. I also picture your sister beside you, hating men just as much as you. I picture you protesting braless outside the capitol building while collecting alimony. It’s not a pretty image.

Three: Consider the book title, honey: it’s a classic case of barn door/cows OUT thing.

Four: Self help books are the BIGGEST MARKETING SCAM in the world… more so than Amway, more so than Herbalife.

So what do I do? I, being a polite, well-mannered bookseller (gotta love that term), try to help her find the book, which we do not have (score ten points for corporate America for NOT having this book). What do I do? I ask the woman if she’s planning on taking him back, and when she says no, I actually tell her not that while I could order it, she shouldn’t waste her money and that she should spend her money on a good romance or mystery. I actually offer suggestions.

Really, I’m amazed she didn’t complain.

And for all of you out there who don’t know, yes, I’ve been there. A book doesn’t help. Getting your head out of your ass, now, that helps. And for what it’s worth, if you need a book or a blog to tell you how to do that, it ain’t never gonna happen.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.