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Help, I Can't Stop Laughing!
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative,
a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
--- Franklin P. Jones
I refuse to think of them as chin hairs.
I think of them as stray eyebrows.
--- Janette Barber
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
--- Mark Twain
If Image Were Everything,
We'd Be in Big Trouble
Sleeping in --- an unknown luxury, a fairy-tale fantasy that inevitably dissolved in a shower of Cheerios and the wiggles and jiggles and messy, precious kisses of my preschoolers. Sleeping in existed in a different solar system --- or perhaps in a different galaxy far, far away.
But those thoughts evaporated as I lay in a bed I wouldn't have to make, savoring the ecstasy of a quiet --- yes, quiet --- sixteenth story hotel room. My husband had already left for his conference,
and I indulged in forbidden pleasures: a cup of real coffee (double cream) in bed, steaming hot from the first mellow sip to the very last; a television program in which most people already knew how to count to ten; and a long, sinful bath filled to the top, with no Mr.
Bubble or rubber duckies in sight.
After bathing, I ignored my ratty plaid bathrobe hanging on the hook. I didn't decide what to wear. Instead, I wandered around the room, carefree and content as Eve in the Garden of Eden, unhampered by diaper bags, car seats, nap times, or must-have blankies.
I pondered how I would spend an entire day without children or
Happy Meals. Intoxicated with my liberty, I forgot my mother's advice to always close the drapes and faced the room-sized picture windows. The panoramic view of city streets and smaller buildings far below dazzled my eyes, my soul. Embracing the endless azure sky, I sang, 'I'm free! Free!'
'Chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk!' A dragonfly the size of a sixties
Cadillac suddenly hovered by the window. I hit the floor as if attacked by enemy fire, yanking the bedspread (too late!) across my naked, prostrate form. The traffic helicopter pilot waved. Then he and his mighty machine swept off to corners of the universe where other derelict mothers in need of reform might lurk.
I pulled the blanket over my head and groaned. Mortification stuffed my throat like a giant spoonful of crunchy peanut butter. I
felt a hot strawberry flush from my toes to my eyebrows. Not counting
God, only my husband and my doctor had seen me in the buff;
now a nameless helicopter pilot in Cleveland shared that...er...privilege.
Him and who else? I grabbed my heart and my ratty plaid bathrobe and edged toward the window. Praise be. No Blue Angel precision jet formations screaming into view, scouting for the Miss Thunder
Thighs competition. I closed the drapes, then donned a pair of khakis and my highest-necked sweater. I started my makeup routine.
No blush needed today!
I didn't dare turn the radio on as usual. Couldn't bear to think of that friendly pilot's nine o'clock traffic report. 'Great view over the city,' he'd say. 'Why, I can see clear to next Tuesday. No accidents downtown, but hey, cover up --- er, buckle up! --- for safety, and slow down for those curves!'
Or maybe he'd give a few cute weather tips: 'Sunny, but chilly.
Dress in layers. At least one.'