Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Great Escape

It occurred to me early this morning that life is a series of escapes.  When we're kids, we can't wait to escape into adulthood.  We think grown ups have it going on.  Then we get to be grown ups, and we wonder what the hurry was; this grown up thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.  For starters, you have to pay for stuff.  Where's the fun in that?  So we long to escape back into childhood, when it was simple and easy and all we had to do to get money was make the bed and do a few chores and our parents handed us an allowance every Sunday.  But we're grown ups now, and without a workable time machine, we can't escape into the past.  We can try, but the thing is, we're grown ups with responsibilities.  Then we take it up a notch.  We have kids of our own.  They're so adorable and lovable and we can't wait for them to go the eff to sleep so we can escape for a while.  Then we take it to the next level.  We go on quests to find the perfect babysitter so we can escape for a few hours.  Getting out of the house becomes a mental health requirement.  We beg our parents to "watch the kids" so we can sneak away for a few nights and remember why we got married in the first place. "Oh, yeah.  Hi.  You're nice. It's all coming back to me now."

And then our kids become teenagers and can't wait to escape from us.  They stay out all night and worry us sick.  They enroll in colleges that are far, far away.  They don't get in, necessarily, but it's healthy to dream.  Maybe they only escape a few hours away, but they're out there in the universe, aren't they, pretending to be grown ups for a while. It's a dress rehearsal. They're not adults yet. They're emerging into something else.  And then they graduate college and all that escaping leads them right back to the beginning.  They move back in with us and plan their next big escape into the real world of employment and paying the rent and all that fun stuff we've been handling for them since birth.

These days, I'm trying to escape from reality, a few moments here, a few moments there.  Every day, I'm collecting my frequent flyer miles, planning my next big escape, even if I don't leave the house.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fastest Way To Drop 10 Pounds

1.  Stand in front of a bookshelf.  You still have one, don't you?  Or did you turn it into a wet bar?
2.  Find all the diet books that never helped you shed an ounce.    
3.  Remove them, one at a time, for dramatic effect.  All that bending and yanking.  Already, you're burning calories and feeling better about yourself.
4.  Make a nice stack on the floor.  Pile 'em high, girlfriend.
5.  Run upstairs and find the scale you hid behind the laundry basket.
6.  Run downstairs.  You just burned another 2,000 calories, give or take.
7.  Run back upstairs again.  You forgot the scale, silly.  I know, I know. It's a lot to remember.
8.  Come back down.  See?  You're so good at following instructions. Now weigh each diet book on the scale.  Total it all up.  Heavier than you thought, right?  Maybe the books are retaining water.
9.  Go outside and dump all the diet books in the trash bin.
10. Bam!  You just dropped 10 pounds.  Wasn't that easy?   I'm here to help.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Will You Shlep To Prom With Me?

Don't ask again, you're embarrassing me.
(Breaking News) A Sherman Oaks student is in deep doo-doo for asking the Short Jewish Gal to prom during a question and answer session at Haftorah High. Eighteen-year-old Shlomo Abramowitz received a three-day in-school Suspension of Disbelief for Uncontrollable Chutzpah. The senior stood up and popped the question, then walked to the stage with a slice of kugel.  "I made it just the way you like it," Shlomo said.  "I followed your recipe and everything."  "I'm already kvelling," the SJG said.  "So, will you shlep to prom with me?" Shlomo asked. "It's at the Wailing Wall this year.  I can get us a deal on Expedia like you wouldn't believe.  Say yes, SJG." The audience cheered and clapped and broke into a spontaneous hora that lasted 10 minutes.  The SJG joined in, of course.  It would've been rude not to participate. Post-hora, the internationally-acclaimed blogger and occasionally-employed TV writer told Shlomo, "Listen, honey, I'm flattered. My own sons never asked me to go anywhere that didn't involve the drive-thru at In-N-Out. But I came here to plug my blog, not score a date."  "Can't you make an exception just this once?" Shlomo begged. "Well, I'll have to check with hubby first." But before the SJG could call her husband and get the okay to shlep to prom with Shlomo, school officials carted the boychick away.  "Sorry for this epic shanda," Principal Moses Bupkis told the SJG later.  "Shlomo is obsessed with you.  We warned him not to bother you during the Q &A, but he ignored us."  "Don't be too hard on the guy.  The heart wants what the heart wants.  The stomach, that's a whole different organ."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chaim The Bunny

Chaim the Bunny couldn't wait to compete in the SJG's Annual Egg White Scramble, but he wasn't sure if he was up for it.  Lately, he'd been feeling a little schva, a little schleppy. God forbid, he should drag his tail while the other Jewish bunnies were hopping their tushies off. So Chaim's mommy Chana took him to get diagnosed.  Dr. Krolik took one look at Chaim and said, "Someone's been over-thumping with the tootsies. You've got bunions. No wonder you don't feel like hopping." "But Dr. Krolik," Chaim said," "the Egg White Scramble's on Sunday.  I can't miss it." "Well, I'm afraid this situation calls for a specialist." He gave them a nice referral, and off they went to see Dr. Fuzzy, a fancy orthopedic surgeon in the hutch down the hall.  Dr. Fuzzy examined Chaim's back feet and said, "I've seen worse.  But listen, you're in luck. I've got an opening in my schedule right now."  Quick like a bunny, Dr. Fuzzy rushed Chaim into surgery, removed his back bunions, and he was good as new, more or less.  That Sunday, he took second place in the Oy Vey Relay.  "I probably could've used a few more days to recover," he told his mommy on the way home.  "But it was worth it just to see the look of misery on Yossele's face when he came in fifth."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Signature Scent

I got the call while I was outside watering my bone-dry begonias. Naturally, I was honored, not to mention surprised. When a top perfumery asks to bottle your scent, it’s nothing to sneeze at.  Every celebrity on the planet has a signature fragrance. It’s about time a major non-celeb such as myself got a crack at that multi-billion dollar market.  I’m still not sure how the folks at Odeurs Unlimited got wind of me, but clearly they smelled a winner from afar.  “I would like so much to spend zi day with you,” declared Madame Pheromone, Senior V.P. of Toiletry.  "You want to come here?” I gasped, imagining the hellish hours of housework ahead of me.  “Mais oui,” she answered Frenchly. “How else can I collect your essence?”

I pinched myself. Could this really be happening to moi? Giant dollar signs swirled dizzily before my eyes. Lost in reverie, I tripped over the hose, drenching myself in H2Eau.  As I toweled off, I offered Madame P. directions from LAX. I assumed she was jetting in from Paris for our meet-and-greet.  "Non,” she corrected me, “Simi Valley.”

I told her which off-ramp to take and spent the next twelve hours scrubbing, sweeping and dusting. At noon the next day, I opened the door to find a petite, tres chic woman carting a leopardskin satchel and matching notepad. Immediately, she commenced sniffing and scribbling.  “Coffee grinds … dog hair … burnt bagel … fabric softener … dish soap… cucumber-aloe body lotion … with a hint of … how you say … college boy.”

Two seconds inside and she’d nailed my personal aroma with frightening accuracy. “Wow,” I said, bowing my head in awe. “You’re good.”  “C’est vrai,” quipped Madame Pheromone, immodestly. She didn’t reach her lofty status in the toilette zone by accident. Her nasal gifts are legendary in an industry that stinks of nastiness.
After Madame P. assured me that no animals would be harmed during the production of “We're Not Sure What To Call This," we got to work conjuring an exhilarating concoction of flowers, grasses (basically, everything I’m allergic to), fruit, wood, crunched leaf and the calming bouquet of familiar household cleansers.

Hours later, we arrived at an intoxicating blend of jasmine, gardenia and a trace of doggy chew toy left out in the rain. Next came the bottle. Agreeing on the shape brought out the worst in Madame P. She wanted Watering Can, in tribute to my amateur gardening skills. I wanted something more inclusive. Laptop I Nearly Destroyed was one suggestion. She shook her head violently.

“Flip Flop?” I threw out.  “Non! Non! Non!” Madame P. hollered. “Eco-friendly Grocery Tote?” I tossed out. “Peut-ĂȘtre,” she conceded in exhaustion.  I sent the senior v.p. on her way back to Simi Valley, and waited anxiously for the results. A few weeks later, a package arrived, special delivery. Poking out of the box: A bottle in the shape of a Jewish star. An homage to my heritage? Or just a clever, Hanukkhah-tinged marketing device? Either way, it smelled divine. I started shrieking with joy. The name was equally thrilling.  “Short Jewish Gal In A Bottle.”
I’m told the mavens at Odeurs Unlimited are planning an all-out holiday assault. They’ve priced it right, too. Only $250 an ounce. Come December, I’ll be part of the national promotional push. So look for me at your local supermarket, synagogue, PetCo and Starbucks. Stop by and show some love. Pick up a bottle or two of "Short Jewish Gal." I might slip you a discount when Madame P.’s not looking. Then again, I might not. Hey, we’ve still got a son in college. Every dollar counts. Ca-ching! Oh. And check out my upcoming body soufflĂ©, portable potion solid, fragrance roller ball and lip gloss duo, due out next spring. Merci beaucoup for your support.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Say It With Shmaltz

Dear SJG,
What should I do with the the leftover gelfite, brisket, charosis and chicken soup crowding my fridge?
Had It With Horseradish
Dear Had It,
"Plant your leftovers in the garden, get a fresh crop of guilt next spring." It sounds better in Yiddish.
You're welcome,
Dear SJG,
The dry cleaner destroyed my favorite Easter Yarmulke.  Any idea where I can get another one before Sunday?

Dear Egghead,
If I knew I wouldn't tell you.
You're welcome,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Hairdresser Is In

(Photo courtesy of John Starr) 
Tired of worrying about how your hair looks?  Who isn't.  Sure, your hair might look okay in the moment you're standing in front of your mirror.  You might tell yourself, "Damn, my hair looks bitchin' today." I love that about you, the self-delusion, the complete denial.  And yet, what happens to your hair once you step outside? Nothing good, that's what. Unless you step outside in a protective hair bubble, you're screwed. Unless your hair is linked up to a Satellite Selfie Service, allowing you a global view, you really don't know how your hair looks at any given moment, do you?  Hey, I'm talking to you.  Why let life be one endless Bad Hair Day?  Why not let someone overly sympathetic since birth take charge of your 'do and oh-no-you-didn't?  At Carol's Hair Fashions, I'll tell you how your hair looks for reals. I'll give you the encouragement you need to get through the day.  I'll tell you whatever lies you need to hear, and you'll believe me.  I'm that good.

I'll give you that spritz of confidence you can't get anywhere else.  I'll tell you to take your hair back to bed and call in sick.  I'll even write you a doctor's note.  Better yet, I'll call work and pretend I'm your doctor. "Trudy can't come in today.  She's come down with the Follicle Flu.  It's very contagious. Trust me, you don't want her around."

What are my qualifications for opening my no-frills Salon de Sassiness? A lifetime of haircare disappointment. A sink full of tsouris. A cabinet of useless products. Ten photo albums of Horrible Hair Choices.  You don't need a license for this sort of expertise. You need a hair therapist. I'm your gal. I'll analyze your needs in two seconds flat and send you on your way. It'll be the best $300 you've ever spent. Too much?  Fine.  Bring a coupon, I'll give you 50 percent off.

So please, stop by Carol's Hair Fashions for an overpriced, but then, what isn't, assessment of your personal hair mishegas. Walk-ins welcome. And remember, it's not just what's inside that counts.  That's a lie, my friends.  First get your outside in order, then we can volumize your baby fine psyche.