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>> Joycets, who invited me to join the Fool, has said that you are like sisters separated at birth. I can easily see why she thinks so.


Yes, Joycets is one of my favorite Fools.

Any friend of her's is a friend of mine. Of course, I was liking you already.

In your first post you mentioned about saying the wrong thing -- repeatedly.

I once bought a T-shirt that read, "I'm talking and I can't SHUT UP!" I wore it to group therapy and asked fellow group members to signal me when I was getting out of hand. I found that to be a great help. I can catch myself sometimes now, based on the practice I had there.

I have a wicked sense of humor that often gets me into trouble.

Here's a story you'll love.

Living a chosen single life since I was 30 seems to be a huge concern for so many people. Over time I built up a comedy routine of sorts to help gently remind people to mind their own D--- business. I don't want to be mean, and a few innocent questions is friendly and a problem. But, there are those people who just can't or won't stop.

Here's the worst case I ever encountered.

I was on a tour to a local mountain retreat to beat the heat here in Tucson, AZ. The group was larger than one lunch table could hold, so when we settled in for our meal the group divided itself by gender. At the ladies' table, my friend started passing around a photo of her first great-grandchild. He's a real cutie, and the "ooh's and ahs" travelled around the table with the photo. Eventually the photo got back around to me, and I passed it over to the gentlemen's table as there was some interest there. More "oohs and ahs" and then the fun started. One fellow asked if it was my grandson, and I explained it was my friends GGson. That seemed to me to be a great place to end the conversation, but no.

"Can we see pictures of YOUR grandchildren?"

"I don't have any grand children." Another great place to stop asking questions.

"Oh! You've got to tell your kids to get on the stick! You're not getting any younger, you know."

My fuse was lit with the age comment, but I tried to remain calm. I have a pretty long fuse. Besides, I was only 42 and he had a couple of decades on me, so he should talk.

"I don't have children, so there aren't likely to be any grand children."

"Oh! Then you've got to get your husband moving! You're no spring chicken, you know!"

So, did I mention my fuse? He just cut it shorter and relit it. Deep breath.

"I don't have a husband. I'm happily single and have no need to get married or have children."

The guy started really getting upset!

"You aren't married? At your age? What's wrong? Can't you find a man?"

Enough with the age comments! Breathe, breathe, ...

"I'm twice divorced, I wasn't blessed with children in either case, and I have no intention of marrying a third time. I'm happy to be single."

"You married TWICE! What went wrong?"

Like it's his business?

"I got my marriage license and my fishing license mixed up. I thought it was a catch and release program, so I returned them both back into the wild."

He looked confused at this, then dismissed my answer and continued forward. Most folks realize they've over stepped themselves, and they change the subject. Not THIS guy.

"You were married twice but you didn't have any children? What's wrong with you?"

Can you believe this guy?

"I guess I just don't breed in captivity."

By now the rest of the folks at both tables have moved beyond embarassment to amusement. The last thing anyone should do is give me an audience when I'm on a roll like this. By now, I just can't hold it back. Humor is better than anger in my book, at least dealing with these irritations that aren't life threatening. Besides -- one of my hobbies is giving people extra rope to figuratively hang themselves.

He couldn't relate to that answer either, so he backed up and started again.

"You've got to find a husband and get a move on, Honey. You're almost too old now!"

OK. Now I'm hacking off chunks of fuse and relighting it. Luckily, I'm having too much fun to really be angry.

"I don't think you're hearing me. I'm single by choice. I like my life just the way it is. I don't NEED to have kids and a husband to feel like a complete person. I'm very happy with my life."

Why is it that some people take great offense when I say I'm happy with my life as it is? Does my joy in being single in some way invalidate anyone else's marriage?

As you may have guessed, he came entirely unglued at that point. Froth formed at the corners of his mouth, and he stood up to get good leverage behind his extended claw of a finger.

"Young lady, you have a duty to society to marry and have children. If you don't live up to your obligations, society will SHUN you!"

OK -- now I'm a young lady? I thought I was getting too old. (wink)

That's when I made my last move.

"Shunning ... shunning ... hmmmm ..."

I tapped on my forehead and then on the table as I pondered this out loud. I did my best to look like I was seriously trying to remember this word. I continued repeating the word, then finally snapped my finger and came to my excited realization.

"Oh! Shunning! Isn't that when narrow minded pin headed people VOLUNTARILY keep their f***in nose out of my business?"

I stood up and signaled him to "bring it on", saying encouragingly,

"Shun me! Come on, SHUN me! You can do it! Shun me!"

At this point the audience lost their ability to hold in their laughter, and pandimonium broke out. The poor victim was shocked as he returned to himself as though I'd slapped him, finally realizing that he's badly over stepped his bounds. Either that or he decided I was a shameful person and might contaminate him if he stayed any longer.

The fellow didn't seem to be breathing well, and his face was quite red by then. He wiped the froth from his lips, shut up, threw away his uneaten lunch, and stalked off to wait in the tour van.

And I have a comedy routine to repeat whenever I like. Doesn't seem fair, somehow. I should be paying him royalties! (wink)

Yes, my behavior was greatly out of line, "but he started it!" (grin)

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