Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has loaded up ONE JUST FOR FUN! She writes:

As I say periodically in this column, many of my columns are Tirades of Terror about the headlong race toward the abyss for our beloved country. (Well, truthfully, we do not HAVE a “country” currently, as countries without exception have BORDERS…and we don’t. BUT I’m already headed for another tirade…so, never mind.)

While many columns are screams into the void, others are Nostalgia Walks many of my regular readers seem to enjoy. In still others, I strive simply to amuse and entertain – the cheery, morale-building clown. This will be an example of that kind of column.

I am irrationally devoted to the check-out lane staple Women’s World Magazine and its cousin, First for Women. I have read both for at least twenty years because I am a founding member of its key demographic – high-strung, overweight lady hypochondriacs. I would be shocked if ANY male person, straight or gay, has ever read a word of either magazine, because, as Dave Barry has said in his brilliant Complete Guide to Guys, men ignore medical issues until wives drag them to the ER and guys proclaim every injury including severed limbs to be “probably just a sprain.”

Women’s World has its formula down so pat that readers even know on exactly which page to find beauty tips that usually involve smearing smushed fruits and vegetables on various parts, vital, highly-suspect health information, stories about angels, and the all-important Diet of the Week. It’s all wonderfully predictable in a chaotic world. And wonderfully specific as well. We are constantly assured that (following example typical but made up…) eating just two cups of mangoes a day will lower our Blood Pressure 37 percent in three months.

The headline on the magazine’s cover is simply irresistible. At least to me. When it comes to those headlines, I am like the poor trusting dog who doesn’t really WANT to go downstairs to bed but is lured every time by a doggie treat and then thinks, “Gadzooks! Snookered again!”

Because every headline on every issue’s cover goes something like this: LOSE 45 LBS BY CHRISTMAS WITHOUT DIETING!! (This in the last week in November issue!)

We will return to Women’s World in a minute, but first a word about First for Women. It is glossier – Women’s World is a tabloid — but the first 30 pages or so are filled with lady celebrities, many of whom I can’t stand and the others I have no idea who they are or WHY they are celebrated. The slender young celebrity on this page is modeling a dress that you, a short pudgy senior, could order to “steal Jen’s style!” Yeah, I think the only reason people routinely fail to confuse me with Jennifer Aniston is that I’m not wearing that dress. Where’s my VISA?

Then we have hairstyles – also of celebrities – in which I usually like the “before” style better than the “after.” Sometimes this magazine reports a groundbreaking survey, to wit: “74% — the number of people who eat the ears first on chocolate bunnies.” Now there is news you can use. I’m guessing they asked four random women in the office and three of them said they eat the ears first. Done and done: Science!

Another encouraging piece of research concerns Macadamia nuts, of which I am very fond. I will quote it for you: “Munching on ½ cup of Macadamia nuts daily can put slimming on auto-pilot, speeding belly-fat breakdown by 62%, trimming up to 6 inches off your waistline in 6 months!” I am so ordering a new belt for Chanukah! “Auto-pilot” weight loss – the Holy Grail of weight loss attained only with a select few wretched terminal diseases.

Of course the brand of Macadamias I like best cost $11.89 for a 6 oz. jar containing two servings. (Double that cost if you are eating out of the mini-bar at any major hotel.) I’m not prepared to spend around $200/month just for my Macadamia budget. Not that long ago, $200/month WAS my grocery budget!

And who in this whole wide world could you guess did this “research”? If you guessed University of Hawaii, give yourself that “okay” sign that we are now told by deranged race hucksters means White Supremacy! Shocked I am, as shocked as gendarme Louis who found gambling in Rick’s Bar. A state whose major cash crop after tourism, marijuana and pineapple is Macadamia nuts wants you to think you should eat a LOT of them? Surely not.

Next, I suppose we’ll hear from the University of Idaho that if you eat 15 lbs. of potatoes a week you will cure migraines. Or research will emerge from the University of Georgia that a crate of peaches a week can double your biceps in just 6 weeks, especially if you work out doing curls WITH the crates full of peaches before eating them.

A comic friend of mine named Sid Youngers from 40 years ago had a great bit (I hope and trust he isn’t using any more) about how the Baking Soda People figured out a way to use up their entire product: “Put an open box in your refrigerator!” Brilliant – but they went one step further. “Pour a box down the drain!” Now, THERE were some genius marketers! Hey, Gulf Coasters, buy hundreds of Max Cossack’s and my books to make a floodwall when you expect a hurricane!

But my very favorite feature in Women’s World is an inane “Personality Insight” test that asks a question of the reader and then PSYCHOANALYZES that reader based on her answer. Move over, Joyce Brothers AND Dr. Phil!

Here is an example: “What’s YOUR favorite Thanksgiving side?” Choices are Cranberry Sauce (Get serious…), Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole. Since picking them ALL was not an option, I picked Stuffing because my Cornbread, Hot Sausage, and Pecan Stuffing is to die for. And I learned that I am “a creative adventurer.” Pretty pathetic guess for someone who prefers not to leave home or even my recliner, except to go into the kitchen to cook or my office to write. Once every two years, we go on a long road trip which is planned out by me to the smallest detail to Joe’s dismay. Some adventurer.

My bestie, Angela, would probably pick Mashed Potatoes and by gosh, they are right on the money with her description: “You embody values that make you a cherished friend – grace, gratitude and generosity”! Huh! The “analyst” gleaned all that just from her picking Mashed Potatoes – who knew?

In another issue, the all-important question was “What’s YOUR dream trip?” The choices here were Tuscany, Paris, Australia, Iceland, and Hawaii. I picked Hawaii and learned that I am “A nuanced visual thinker.” Dang. My thinking is so “nuanced,” I don’t even know what that MEANS. If only I had picked Tuscany I could identify as a “complex idealist.” I have been to Paris, which would have earned me the designation “resourceful free spirit.” If “spirits” are free in Paris, they are the only thing…25 years ago we paid $9.00 for a Coke at the Louvre.

You may notice that, much like astrology or Chinese fortune cookies, you never get an analysis like, “You are a lazy loser with inconsistent hygiene.” Or “You are a bitter, divorced wine woman that nobody likes, even your cats.” There ARE no right or wrong answers! It’s all good. We are ALL awesome and get Participation Trophies!

It reminds me of a “Self-Esteem” exercise our son brought home in about third grade. A paper went around the class with the student’s name at the top and then each classmate had to write a nice sentence about that student. Our son got many compliments from his friends – “Jacob is very smart,” “Jacob is so funny,” etc., but one person apparently struggled to come up with a compliment. He or she finally left it at “Jacob has nice pants.”

We Vasses take our strokes where we can get them. I just recently organized my Master Closet and realized that I have TWENTY pairs of jeans in many colors and even more sizes, many of them “nice.” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

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