Narrow Escapes

I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Thank GOD I don’t believe in hell (it’s the long-forgotten Jewish in me, hip with the devil but not hell and, as I understand it, Lucifer’s like some bureaucrat. You know the sort, he doesn’t really WANT to cut the funding for the library, but his boss- God- told him he had to, so he’s putting forth the effort because he has a great deferred compensation plan, Mrs. Lucifer and the little Satans at home to think of, and, well, his boss is God and all. But I digress; a semester of writing well -or at least attempting to do so- has turned my writing skills to finely ground corn. As I was saying…) because if I did I’d be in BIG trouble.

I love Hotmail. OK, really, I don’t, but it does let me have an e-mail address apart from my work inbox. I use that address on web sites (this one included) and when registering at new sites; it keeps my Mac’s inbox relatively clutter-free.

Problem is, I’m really bad at checking it, so when I remember to do so, I have to filter through a LOT of junk mail (I really, really, REALLY don’t need a “bigger” penis, thanks, though). I was doing just that earlier this week when I ran across an e-mail from an ex. I did not answer it; things with us ended poorly. Couple that with my last few interactions with high school chums not ending well, either (oh, you know, the usual, one owes me over a thousand dollars, another had a bit of a breakdown at my house… do I really need a third?), and you can understand why I tell my three remaining friends that I’m all full up with them right now. I have what I can handle; I’ve caught my limit. I specialize in low-maintenance friendships. I have to; I lack the gene or ability (or both) for anything else. I don’t want relationships where we “talk about where things are going” or “reassess our lives” or any of that Dr. Phil self-help crap. I believe that true self help comes assisted with the aid of the Universe and without a book or talk show host. I believe that “self help” doesn’t need to be called such; it just exists. I believe that if you trust in the universe and ask it to guide you it will put things right. Those closest to me agree with that as well.

Jimmy Buffett wrote a song about a pirate 200 years too late. I fear I am a hippie 40 years too late. All I need is something made of hemp. Oh, wait…

ANYWAY, that whole self help diatribe comes at you at lightning speed because I had heard murmurings from a former colleague about editing a book for someone who had a very similar name (and I’m not going to give it, not because I’m not that much of a bitch- I am- but because I really don’t want the noise that would go along with it) and after I got this e-mail, I googled the ex (love that “google” is now a verb) and found…

He is a self help guru. Seriously. He has web published articles about keeping romance alive (including such gems as telling your “lady” that “I hate to see ya go but I love to watch ya leave!”) and self-improvement. Everything I’ve read- and I couldn’t read much, forgive me, I could not stop laughing. It’s like when I’m at the bookstore and have to go to the self-help section. I just stare at it in amazement and think “do people actually buy, read, and believe this shit?”

See, I dated this guy for over a year in college and knew him in high school, and I would no more take life advice from him than I would let JFK Jr. take me for a moonlit flight. Of course, I don’t really take life advice from my mother, so maybe I’m not the best benchmark for who to listen to. But really, folks, that’s my point. These self help gurus parade their books around, publish on the web, have talk shows, all that crap, and you have to remember this: most likely, at one point or another, they got dumped for throwing their girlfriend against a car, or always wanted a get-rich-quick plan, or whatever, and now they’re giving you advice. And you’re taking it? Really? Have you ever considered that these self help people are possibly even MORE messed up than you and I (I know for me that’s a stretch, but stick with me here) but they have the entrepreneur gene that lets them understand what bizarre suckers humans are and how badly we want an easy answer to put our lives right? So they offer it, in the form of a book or a television show or a podcast or seminar… and we pay. But please, trust me, this guy is smaller scale than any of the daytime talk hosts, but I don’t think he’s that different. He’s not a bad person, he’s just ordinary. He has no real training for this sort of thing. He doesn’t have the secret answer, or if he does, it works for him. You have to find your own answers; you don’t find them in a book.

Look, I wish this guy well, I do, but at real life, not whatever motivational stuff he’s pushing. I read his stuff and wonder how I ever dated him for as long as I did.

And then I can laugh, because I feel like I made a narrow escape.

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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.