Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for January, 2013

15 January
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It’s About Your Husband by Laura Lipton

New York City journalist Lauren Lipton seems to have taken a page from her own first marriage and subsequent divorce to create a farcical coming-of-age after marital separation novel. Iris, our protagonist, laughs at herself and the absurdities of her life, is insecure and honest to a fault, even if it means hurting others.

Having moved to New York to take a job, which she is promptly dispatched from, Iris is thrown her into stalking other women’s husbands for money to augment her meager unemployment checks.

Part novel, part self-help in regards to the things married couples find irritating with each others’ personalities, Lipton has created a fast-paced read that ends with an ironic twist. Its About Your Husband Cover

“Husbands and wives have problems. They all do. In the end each have to take responsibility for his or her contribution to those problems and to decide together, like adults, whether to keep trying or to move on.” Many a marriage counselor in real-life utter these very same words. They smarter the pages as shiny gold nuggets for all of us in relationships, married or not, to remember.

Iris Hedge seems an unlikely heroine with her consistently self-deprecating humor, martyr-like behavior and passionate dislike of New York. During the hot and muggy days of August when everyone in Manhattan flees the island, Iris hits rock bottom while watching her neighbor’s dog, Rocky.

Fortunately for Iris there is nowhere to go but up. She commits to return to the land of palm trees and spends her days visiting museums and the New York City Library. When her hair stylist neighbor, Simon, comes back from Fire Island, he gives her a stunning new haircut and she realizes that she’s survived New York and she’s going to be all right.

@krautgrrl says: Light-hearted and full of laughs Lipton is an exciting new fictional voice. Non-New Yorkers will especially like her tips and tricks for staying in the Big Apple. If you’ve lived in NYC, like I have, don’t bother with this book, it will strike you as silly.

Review originally published in Armchair Interviews in 2006, when I worked as a fulltime reviewer for them.

04 January
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An Open Letter to My Daughter

I realize now that I’ve been too lax when it comes to you wandering around, your face glued to a mobile phone. Your face has been glued to a mobile since Seventh Grade! I wish I had written these “rules,” instead of Ms. Hoffman.

I put them on your Facebook Wall, but you don’t answer my emails, nor do you comment to me about what I post on your FB Wall. Posting on your Wall is a PITA, I only do it because you blatantly ignore corresponding with me via email, unless of course you want money, food, care packages, some piece of crap you left in my house, that I probably own, because I paid for it, but you want it shipped to college, which I am paying for, I feel like: Hey, you can’t like, read my whole, entire email and then respond, but I am Daddy Warbucks?

Here’s the list, edited by me, because I’m a better writer than that Mrs. Hoffman woman who made the news, because it was a slow news day if an iPhone contract between a parent and son is a headliner on live TV.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. Even if the money came from Child Support, the State gave me the Child Support. I pay the FULL monthly bill more often than you do. Amortized over time, I’ve paid for a you and Simon to have a hardline and a mobile for you, and that’s at least 130 months of payments to a hardline I didn’t use, and a mobile for you alone. 130 months, two separate lines, added together, over the years. That’s a lot of money! Technically, I am loaning the iPhone to you.

2. I should always know the password, my willful daughter. But you speak shrilly and won’t give me the password because for some reason, Pops and I forking out $110/month for your phone is something we should just do. Because, what, everyone else has a mobile?

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Pops”. Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 1030PM every school night, and Midnight on week-ends. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s hardline, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. G-d help me on this one! This Number Five brings up a lot of stuff. Stuff like, people should always take the time to come in and say hello. Kindness fucking matters! [Dammit, now I’m crying, because my daughter, her boyfriend and her friends are so rude. But her father speculates it is her that is so rude, not them. Since her BF would hang out for-ever chatting us up. That makes me sad that my Pea would be rude! So rude! It pains me! A serious, physical pain.]

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8-9. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

10. No porn. That should include massively smutty texts to your BF.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

Number 11 is probably the hardest. I know I’m always checking in on 4sq like some celebrity, but it’s all part of my Marketing Campaign to get krautgrrl’s name out there like an STD. However, you are texting someone ALL THE TIME. The texting screen on your phone and your fat short fingers typing away on that minuscule keyboard drive me insane. I don’t think I’m alone here.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Look what happened to Hasselhoff and Hugh Grant. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO. Remember: YOLO!

Now stop complaining about Number 14 and just DO IT!

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. You will screw up. You have screwed up. I will take away your phone. I will do it again. You will scream at me. I will ask you to leave me alone. Then we, hopefully, will sit down and talk. Or I’ll write you a note about parameters for the umpteenth-millionth time and hand your phone back, contrite, because I despise conflict.

In life, especially right now, Miss 18.5 [that’s not 18 1/2, that would be 18.6] you and me, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together. I wish you’d work with me on so many things. Not just the phone. But a lot of other things.

The other day you were telling me that everyone tells you how great of a catch your BF is, and you said no one tells him that you are a great catch, but you know you are a good catch and you tell him all the time. It’s amazing and wonderful that you have such healthy self-esteem. I did too when I was 18.5, but have you ever thought that you toot your own horn so much that it doesn’t give others’ a chance to toot it for you? In other words, if you keep praising yourself, then we can’t praise you Pea. Think about that. Plus humility.