Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Kelly's Kaveats

Poor Richard had his Almanack; Emily posts her rules of etiquette; Heloise has her hints; even I had its Ching.

Well, I happen to be afire with some practical wisdom myself, and it seems the only right thing-goodness, the only moral thing-to do would be for me to stop hoarding it. Share the wealth and all that.

So, considering the fact that every breathing resident of this planet is bent on naming things (Even Sean Puff Daddy Combs, a semi-literate earthling, as evidenced by his "I Be Missing You" rip-off, er, "sampled" treatment of Sting's "Every Breath You Take," wasn't content to call his ex-girlfriend by her Christian name. She's now known as "J-Lo." And we all know that acutely-literate terrestrials are prone to attach "gate" to everything that even PORTENDS to whiff of malfeasance.), I propose that the following be called "Kelly's Kaveats." (Hey, I'm fond of alliteration and "Kelly's Blue Book" was already taken.)

  1. Fanatics eventually ruin all grand ideas.
  2. Graduating high school a year and a half early does not automatically confer wunderkind status. If you're still cocking your ear expectantly at parties whenever you hear the term-foolishly thinking your name will follow-stop it at once. Attack the canapés and hog the karaoke mike instead; if you really were a wunderkind, you wouldn't be sucking down Smirnoff billed as Stoli and still insisting that the SATs were rigged. You'd be home alone with a weird haircut, trying out new twists on the theory of relativity.       
  3. Never be the King's Taster. In a parliament-less society, this means: Do not be the first on your block to try out LASIK, Phen-phen, tattooed eyeliner, or even an IUD. His extra-dark trademark specs served severe myopia, but Roy Orbison's legend was founded on the misconception that he was a blind crooner. If, like me, you're sick to death of looking for your glasses in the middle of the night-as if seeing a suspected intruder clearly would better help you slay him!-and if, again, like me, you're sick to death of hearing yourself chuckle about the irony of it all-"I wouldn't be spending so much time LOOKING for my glasses if I didn't NEED glasses"-try radial keratotomy instead. The kinks have been sufficiently ironed out of that procedure. I haven't done so myself, but that's probably because part of me secretly likes roaming my halls in a visual fog. (Things look so much cleaner!) And Phen-phen speaks for itself; even the FDA probably now classifies it as "badly cut amphetamine." About tattooed eyeliner, well, you'd best consult my mother. Initially, she was quite excited about shaving precious minutes off her morning beauty routine (minutes, for example, that could've been much better spent fricasseeing an omelet for her Yorkshire terrier), but now all she does is wail about the fact that she ALWAYS looks like Liz Taylor, and the CURRENT Liz Taylor, to boot. As for newfangled devices-designed-expressly-for-purposes-of-maintenance-free-birth-control, hear this: I was a young bride when I got such a device, my only short-term and long-term goals at the time being college graduation and facile cooking skills, respectively. (Though I mean not to appear glib, the devastatingly heartbreaking results of my "goals" meant that, when we wanted to, my husband and I couldn't make a baby on a bet.)
  4. A "ma'am," no matter how politely intended, is never well received by women of a certain awkward age, i.e., too young for Morley Safer but too old for MTV. (This is actually a two-part caveat, the second part being: Just because you still fit into your bikini don't mean you should wear it. Things get, shall we say, "redistributed.") Consider a recent excursion I took with the kiddies to the beach. After getting them settled with snacks and flippers and pails, I thought I'd catch up on some reading. Midway through my Good Housekeeping, I thought to check the time, then realized with a start I'd forgotten my watch. Hmm, a buffed Adonis three towels down had one on, as did a grandmotherly type one towel to the right. I opted for the former, figuring it would do my legs good to stretch and my eyes good to window shop. But after kindly giving me the time, the Adonis solemnly added a "ma'am." Jeez, I skulked back to my towel, feeling like Mrs. Robinson at Elaine and Benjamin's baby shower. One would think I'd learned my lesson; one would be wrong. In Myrtle Beach last summer, I figured taking the hotel pool by cover of night would be both "inoffensive" and relaxing. My oldest son joined me. But just as I emerged from the pool, a Marine on leave walked up from the adjoining public beach. "Uh, oh," I arrogantly thought. 'Arrogant' because it turned out the Marine was interested in my SON. We beat a hasty retreat back to pay-per-view.
  5. Cream cheese is rarely invited to any of the parties thrown by the four major food groups. This isn't trivial data, believe me; some of my chubbiest friends have Ph.D.'s and don't realize it; they still maintain that cream cheese is a dairy product.
  6. When rounding up laundry, always assume your kids' underthings are dirty. In fact, just assume anything that didn't quite make it to the hamper is dirty. The minutes you think a sniff test will save aren't worth it.
  7. God would never have Call Waiting. And I doubt if he'd wait patiently on the other line while you check to see "if this call's more important."
  8. Try not to suffer the indignity of dying on the same day as a really famous person. Unlike birthdays, which you can remind people about, death days' remembrance are solely the responsibility of the survivors. My poor friend's dad passed away the same day John Lennon was killed and now, even one of my friend's own-admittedly shallow-sisters forgets to commemorate her dad's memory. She's always too busy playing "Strawberry Fields."

That's about it...for now. ("Forewarned, forearmed" - Cervantes, Don Quixote)

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