Sunday, July 16, 2017

Diagnosis: I’m A Shitty Sleeper

…I have the auditory capability of a fruit bat.  I can hear someone break a sweat or drop a hint from forty yards


It’s 3:43 a.m. and I am awake. 



I’m not a doctor on call with a patient in labor or a farmer with cows to milk and I don’t have a paper route.  Nope.  None of the above. I am awake because of an accurate diagnosis by my psychiatrist/sleep disorder expert who is also the Chief of Staff of a major psych hospital and a published expert on everything from bad moods to Double-blind Crossover and withdrawal of Neuroleptics in Remitted, Recent-onset Schizophrenics—one of many doorstop sized books in his office.

I am awake because this guy, Dr. Crazy Smart, says that I am, and I quote, “a shitty sleeper.”

This all started when I was about ten. My bedroom was right above the living room where my big brothers were watching TV switching between “Combat” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”  The screams of soldiers in battle would alternate with the bellowing of “Schhhhhullltzzz!” by Colonel Klink—all of it rattling the floor beneath my tiny twin bed.

Jarred from cozy slumber I’d shuffle across my bubble gum pink shag rug and park myself at the top of the stairs. Then in my best future-theatre-major delivery, I’d implore Mike and Bobby to  “Turn. That. TV. Down.” This would be repeated at higher and higher decibels until said TV. Was. Turned. Down.  

The TV really didn’t need to be too loud since I’ve been blessed with the auditory capability of a fruit bat.  I can hear someone break a sweat or drop a hint from forty yards—which is a great attribute if you’re training to be a guide dog or cracking a safe.  But when you’re just an exhausted human being trying to sleep— it’s a pain in the ass.

I mean it’s truly a pain in the ass. 


I’ve been known to dismantle a clock in 30 seconds if it’s emitting even the faintest “tick, tick, tick.”  I’ve buried my husband’s left arm under spare pillows to shut up his beloved Rolex which he only takes off to shower.  How can a watch that expensive be that loud?!!  I keep earplugs handy to mute certain inescapable rackets like the ear shattering explosions and roars of “Duuuddddde!!! You got so destroyed!” coming from my stepson’s Xbox game down the hall. 

I use earplugs to quiet the gnawing grind of leaf blowers erupting like a plague of mechanical locusts at 7 a.m. up and down my block. Heck, I use earplugs so I can’t hear myself think. Even that keeps me up at night.

I especially need earplugs to drown out my Labrador Retriever’s snoring.  Stogie has always snored, but now at 84 (in dog years) his snoring, as Spinal Tap would gauge, “Goes to 11.”  

Every night I’m jolted into consciousness by his strained, wheezy gasps for air followed by raspy choking noises and implosive sighs.  It sounds like someone being strangled and taking an inordinately long time to die.

Older dogs sleep in a semi-comatose state which means Stogie is now immune to the sweat socks I bean at him from across the room.  I’ve always kept a pile right by the bed for just these occasions.  The gentle “thwock” of the rolled up socks used to be enough to gently stir him.  He’d look up, slightly stupefied, then grunt and quietly go back to sleep.

So would I, until I married the above-referenced husband and had the added challenge of his snoring keeping me awake.  Something told me it would not be a good idea to throw socks at him.

Instead, I would gently nudge him. And, just like our dog, Bob looks up, a little stupefied, then defiantly grunts at me.  (Translation: “I wasn’t snoring.”) Husbands never do.

Light also keeps me awake. Even the tiniest glimmer.  Every night I black out our bedroom like a Vegas hotel, turn the alarm clock’s glow toward the wall and, as Bob settles in with his latest novel, I don my sleep mask since they have yet to design a reading light that only illuminates the damned book.

So, yes, my doctor is right. I’m a “shitty sleeper” and have been all of my life.  But, it used to be mild and occasional. 

Then, in my early 40’s I stopped sleeping. Period. This descent into sleep deprived madness was the result of personal and professional life traumas so overwhelming that I told Bob, “Sweetie, I know I promised to grow old with you.  I just didn’t think it was going to happen in three months.”

So here I was in the prime of my life being treated for major depression and sampling anti-depressants like Pez to see which one had the least disruptive side effects. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials rattling off a laundry list of symptoms that should scare anyone in their right mind from taking this shit.  But, ah hah!! I’m depressed. I’m not in my right mind. So, pop, pop. Happy, happy!! And…AWAKE.

Most antidepressants warn against “difficulty sleeping.”  Difficulty? Hmmm… I know difficulty sleeping.  But now, I simply don’t sleep. Dr. Crazy Smart thought it was anxiety so he prescribed some giant horse pill tranquilizers to down with my sleeping pills at night. Pop. Pop. Zzzz. Zzzz. Oh, what a relief it is!  I popped those puppies going to bed and again with my “Up with People” meds in the morning.  Suddenly I was Judy Garland— without the voice. But, now, life was good. No, not good. Tolerable.

These were the years I also got hooked on Law & Order.  Dun. Dun. Numb. Numb.  I’m pretty sure I watched every single episode of every single version which is approximately 6,382 shows, not including reruns.  SVU was my fave. I’m not sure why watching crimes that are “particularly heinous”  was a mood lifter.  Was it because it made me feel like my life was better than the poor prostitutes they’d find strangled and stuffed into Hefty bags? Or, is it because I loved staring at Christopher Meloni? 


Heck, I’m just grateful that eventually modern medicine, Dick Wolfe, and the healing effects of time and a new job helped turn my life around.

I finally crawled out of my black hole into the light of day, went off medication and awaited my new found slumber.  And I waited. And I waited. Usually while watching Christopher Meloni dig prostitutes out of the trash at 3:43 a.m. Dun. Dun. Numb. Numb.

Back I go to Dr. Crazy Smart… bleary eyed and haggard, but happy to be laying on his couch, or any couch for that matter. “Are you taking the Ambien?”  he asks. “No.? I whine. “I’m tired of popping pills.”  Not impressed he asked, “Quick question. Are you still a shitty sleeper?”  

I shot him a dirty look and held out my hand for the prescription.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Stop Calling Me Ma'am!!

Stop Calling Me “Ma’am!”

Because in Hollywood: 2 + 3 = “Sharknado 5.” Kate + 8 = “Television.” And… Actress + 40 = “DEAD.”

Stop calling me, “Ma’am!”

When I tell people how old I am, the common response is, “Really?” accompanied by a slight gasp and an eyebrow raised in suspicion.
Embarrassed, they quickly add, ”You look great!” as their voices trail off with that tell-tale (dot, dot, dot) which means I know what they’re really thinking, “You look great…for your age.”
They seem incredulous that someone “my age” isn’t lying prone on a Carnival Cruise deck chair recalling the revolutionary impact of control top pantyhose while eating a 7 course meal — through a straw. So perhaps hearing “You look great! (dot, dot, dot) should be considered a compliment. I’d raise an eyebrow in suspicion of that theory but I’ve had so much Botox I can’t move anything above my knees.
By the way, I’m 55. There, I said it. And there you are with your facile forehead saying, “You look great!” (dot, dot, dot) Thanks. I think.
An embroidered pillow on my bed reads “Aging Gracefully Is Overrated.” I believe that’s true. And, I believe I need to get over it. By “it” I mean my — and perhaps all of society’s expectations of where my life should be by now.
Let’s not get started on where my butt and boobs should be. If they keep sinking, I’ll need a Navy Seal to dredge them up. Hmmm…what a fantastic idea. “Hello, Sailor!”
So taking this all in I channel my 70’s inspired, yet delusional, Helen Reddy goals. By “this age” I was supposed to be roaring and soaring — managing my 401k, winning a 10k, all while maintaining a size six with bowls of Special K.
None of this has happened.
So, today my choices are to find a way to feel good about my accomplishments — or not. I can accept my life “at this age” while shouting “I’m 55 and Fabulous!” as I wave my AARP card for 15 cents off a McDonald’s coffee — or not. I can don stretch capri pants and let my hair go gray like Jamie Lee Curtis in a yogurt commercial — or not.
I choose “or not.”
I’ve lied about my age since I was 40, shaving off five years knowing I could pull it off which worked until I turned 45
Ageism hit me hardest at the gym when I found myself lying to the elliptical machine. It would prompt: Input program: (1) Walk in the Park — nope, too easy. (2) Run Up Big Hills — nope, too hard. (3) Lie Through My Teeth About My Age. Bingo! I press 3. Then it prompts: “Input weight.” I cover the LED with my hand like I’m shielding my pin number at an ATM as I enter the ungodly number.
Then it prompts, “Input Age.” What’s that got to do with bobbing up and down on a machine? By the time I pound the numbers 55 into the machine my time is up and another gym member is waiting. “Great workout! It’s all yours!” I say to Barbie as I mop my brow and collect my dignity — and my More magazine.
I stopped denying my age the day I found out I had a Wikipedia page. It was put together by some over-eager yet well-meaning cyber geek who’s apparently one of the six viewers of my TV host stint on Game Show Network. Right there on the World Wide Web is my birthdate glaringly displayed for the entire universe to see.
It’s not hard to edit a Wikipedia page — believe me it’s not if I can do it. But every time I went online and shaved five or six years off my birthdate, this unseen “Julian Assange” went back and restored it.
How does Mr. Wiki-Stalker know I’ve changed it anyway? And why does he care that I’m so emotionally immature I can’t bear to see the numbers 1–9–6–1 lined up in that order?
Besides, MY Wikipedia page is about MY life. I can fake, forge or revise my own damned history, thank you very much. Who is this basement dwelling Wiki-Weirdo? This pleather-belt-wearing, mouth-breather who’s cutting and pasting my life on some makeshift encyclopedia? Who has that kind of time?
Okay, confession. I do Google myself — occasionally. Maybe because it’s much easier to look at photos of my younger self than face the face I see in the mirror now — the one with the jowls of life.
It is really crazy how crazy I can let my age make me. And it is just a number, right? Which I’m sure is how my silent editor feels as he posts what he decides are “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
Stop calling me Ma’am!! Being called Ma’am is like hearing, “Hey, aging lady with a coupon for chocolate calcium chews who’s buying Fresca and writing a check, how are you today, Ma’am?”
I blame modern technology for making us all so self-aware and too self-important. Why else do we constantly check email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Wikipedia? Is it to reaffirm our existence and our worth? Or is it to find a Groupon coupon for half off some modern technology that can make us look half our age?
Is anyone else tired right now? I am. But then, I’m 55. I had much more energy last year. Yet, I so want the oomph to embrace my age, my aging and technology’s grasp on my truth.
Perhaps I should get rid of that pithy little pillow and learn to age gracefully because it is, after all, “Just the facts, Ma’am. Just the facts.”
Which I’m jiggy with it…on one condition... that you stop calling me Ma’am!

The Day My Therapist Fell Asleep...Should I Get a Discount or Get a Life?

Every April 15th, I, like most good US citizens, fill out my tax forms and list my occupation as “Entertainer.”

Unlike accountants, gynecologists or coal miners, being an “Entertainer” can mean having a myriad of careers as an actor, singer, dancer, comic, writer, artist or any hyphenated combo of those.

Entertainer also includes street performers like those freaky frozen living statues, chainsaw jugglers or city kids pounding out percussion on plastic buckets. Oh, let’s not leave out New York’s famed “Naked Cowboy” who struts around Times Square playing the guitar wearing only a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Call him crazy, but this crazy guy rakes in about $150,000 a year in tips from tourists who’ve only had, up till this moment, the excitement of getting their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at their local mall.
*NOTE TO READER: I have not included “reality stars” in the entertainment category out of personal disdain for their misleading oxymoron of a moniker. These stagnations of humanity, i.e. ALL the Kardashians, the Housewives, the Honey Boo-Boos, the Duck Dynasty Douchebags and ALL of the Duggers (and that’s a lot of Duggers), etc., do not exist in any form of reality in my world. They alone, and collectively, have no discernible talent to deign them a “star.” I hold the Naked Cowboy and his ilk in higher regard. At least he can play the guitar.

How is it then, that after 30 years of earning a living and paying taxes as an “Entertainer” that I can single-handedly lull my $150 an hour therapist to sleep?
No, he wasn’t just closing his eyes to better focus on my weekly “woe is me” diatribe and self-absorbed whining. This guy actually nodded off. I’m talking full chin to chest. Then I watched his lower lip, succumbing to gravity, fall limp. His pen rode a slow motion descent from his finger’s sleepy grip.
I had to assume he was in that first stage of sleep — which I Googled while he dozed.

It’s considered a very light sleep from which one is easily awakened. So I decided to blow my nose — gently. I just wanted to get his attention back on the task at hand…listening to my bullshit. But hey, it’s my bullshit. And, it’s real for me. Why else would I be blowing $150 an hour on therapy and not on the latest Nordstrom Rack deal?
My subtle nose blowing roused him. I pretended to be mopping up a case of the sniffles so he wouldn’t guess I’d witnessed his brief nap. He pushed his glasses back up his nose, retrieved his pen from the floor and jumped right back in, “So, how are you doing with your insomnia?”

“Not quite as good as you” started to form on my lips, but I controlled myself. Barely.

If this were the first time I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Dear God, if I had to listen to people like me all day I’d need a nap — or maybe a bullet in the head. But it wasn’t the first time. And I guessed that if I didn’t get more “entertaining” it wouldn’t be the last.

I remember going to the beach for a girl’s day with a friend who is a therapist. I was so proud of her winning struggle to put herself through grad school which landed her a job working at a prestigious celebrity-studded rehab.

Yet, on our beach day, there she was, unloading a tote bag full of tabloid magazines onto the blanket. There they were…the Kardashians, the Boo-Boos, the Housewives… all those “entertainers” I refused to acknowledge above.

“Are those for research?” I asked since her clients often graced the covers of these rags.

“God no! It’s my day off.”

“So…you’re going to read them…for fun?”

“Marianne, do you have any idea what I listen to in my office hour after hour, day after day? Yes, I know it’s my job. But you try listening to people whining about their problems and how tough their lives are. It’s exhausting.”

“Yeah, I guess that would be exhausting.”

As she thumbed through the “Mama June’s Revenge Weight Loss” issue of US Magazine, I asked, “So, have you ever, you know, dozed off during a session? I mean even for a little bit?”

“Oh, my god, yes! At least a couple of times — that I remember.”

“That you remember?!”

Now she was on a roll. “Once, I nodded off and only woke up when I let out one of those loud snorts. Wow! That snapped me back to life. It was embarrassing but pretty hilarious.”

“You were snorting? Actually snorting?”

“My client didn’t even notice. When I came to she was still ranting about her blackouts…didn’t miss my blackout for a minute.”

With this in mind, I arrived at my next therapy session determined to entertain Dr. Freud. Keep him fully alert.

I’d already decided it would be my last session and I wanted to go out with a bang.
So I channeled my inner New York Naked Cowboy. I entered his office wearing a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat — and, yes, donning a tube top to cover my backup singers. I strummed a kiddie guitar while I sang George Benson’s “On Broadway.”

I got a one-man standing ovation.

And, after signing my autograph on a check, I booked my next gig…on the couch… entertaining my therapist. (Note to reader: Yes, this was Photoshopped. Damn.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Blubber + Boobs = BLOOBS”
A Middle Ager Tale of Growing Older and Wider.
by: Marianne Curan



I’ve been avoiding my annual “Well Woman” gyno exam. Like most women I don’t like the exam (only a perverted exhibitionist would) but I don’t mind it. It’s quick, painless and protects my health. More importantly, they have candy at the desk when you check out. Plus, I really like my doctor. He’s gentle and kind. He listens to my whining, or pretends to, and I can usually make him laugh. These guys love hormone jokes.
   What I don’t like is getting weighed which is the very first thing they do. So I keep rescheduling, buying time to drop a few pounds.
   This all started a few visits ago when I was on the plump side–for me, and knew that stepping on the doctor’s scale was not going to be good news. I don’t have a scale at home for exactly this reason. I’m perfectly capable of perpetuating my low self-esteem by trying on a pair of old jeans. I don’t need the added humiliation of knowing how much I actually weigh.
   I was rescheduling for the third time when I was told I couldn’t refill my Ambien prescription without a checkup. Damn. They’d got me. So I sucked up my pride, sucked in my gut and went to the gynecologist.
   As soon as I arrived, Nurse Brenda, a cheerless and efficient woman in pink Panda Bear scrubs, grabbed my chart, grunted something that might have been “hello” and pointed to the scale. “Wait,” I said. “Don’t you need a urine sample?” figuring that would shave off a couple of ounces. She rolled her eyes and handed me a cup. “Make it quick.” 
   That done, I peeked out the restroom door hoping to make a run for the exam room. No such luck. My captor awaited me, tapping her pen on my chart. “Okay. Give me a second” I implored as I began to strip off my clothes next to the scale–which is in the main hallway. I figured we’re all women here, right? Sure, most of the doctors are men, but I’m guessing they saw a lot more than this in anatomy class. Off go my shoes. Belt. Jacket. Wrist watch. For a second I thought I was at the airport. 
  I was just slipping off my jeans when Nurse Ratchett squawked, “Other patients are waiting.” I looked behind me to see six half naked women shivering against the wall. One of them was trying to scrape off a tattoo. They all gave me a thumbs up–perfectly happy to put off their “turn.” I handed Brenda my wedding ring. “I’ll let you pawn that if you shave off five pounds.”
  The scale is one of those old fashioned clunky contraptions with the floating lever that slowly, torturously bobs up and down as you adjust the sliding metal bar to the correct weight. It’s like being in Vegas, waiting for the roulette ball to finally land on your winning number. “132! 132!” I shouted. All the women in the hall join me! “132! 132!” The bobbing slowed down, it was getting close and it was clearly not going to be 132. “136! 138! Oh-am-I-regretting-what-I-ate.” Nursey Dearest kept pushing the metal bar to the right. I’d push it to the left. She’d push it to the right. “Hey! That’s the wrong direction!” I squealed in protest. “It’s never gone that far before.” 
  I jumped off the scale and popped out my contact lenses. Brenda was not happy with my display. I stepped back up and she testily tapped the bar even further. “Wait!” I begged. “Got any nail polish remover? A lint brush?” She ignored me and announced the number for the whole hallway to hear. They let out a collective moan of empathy as she scribbled it on my chart. “Don’t worry” she snorted. “I’ve seen worse.”
  So here I am again facing my upcoming exam, wishing peanut butter toast didn’t taste so good at 10 p.m. and wondering how I’m going to lose 8 pounds in eleven days, 4 hours and 23 minutes.
   Oh, and by the way, they’ve modernized. Their new scale is digital so now my weight will be displayed instantly in red, glaring neon with nary a nanosecond to drop trou. I’m so nervous I’m hungry.
   Sigh. It seems I can’t escape reminders of those dreaded extra pounds. Like a news report I heard for a new plastic surgery to reduce “Bra Bulge”– or what is actually a combination of blubber (commonly known as back fat) and boobs. Blubber + Boobs = Bloobs
Where did these bulbous appendages squishing out the sides of my bra, these “Bloobs” come from?? I mean I get the concept of muffin top tummies and junk in the trunk, but fat boobs? Isn’t that a bit redundant?
For all my grown life I have been blissfully happy with my 34 B’s. They were perfectly perky and suited to my hip-less hips and my ongoing love affair with high impact aerobics. Even in V-neck sweaters they never distracted men from conversation but if I needed them to get attention, I could always push ‘em up, shove ‘em up in a Wonder Bra. My old boobs were accommodating boobs. Until that day I took them shopping at Bloomingdales.
   It was already a lousy day in the midst of a lousy couple of years. I was mired in a very deep depression after losing both my parents, losing my second lucrative TV job to cheaper, firmer talent, and being caught in the midst of my brand new husband’s salary-sucking custody battles with his deranged ex-wife. Between the meds, the stress driven binge eating and the onset of middle age I was rapidly gaining the pounds I had fought off since 1977 when I found out a mere 6 McDonald’s fries have a 100 calories–without ketchup. It seems I was not growing older and wiser. I was growing older and wider.
   Now I couldn’t wriggle into my size 6 jeans unless I was greased down like one of those fries. All my shirts seemed to have shrunken into size small midriffs when in fact they were still a medium. My midriff had become a large. And I’d gone up a bra size –to a 36B. “One size up, big deal,” I told myself. “And 36 B sounds sexy.” So I grabbed a couple bras to try on. They were snug, so I adjusted the hooks. Still snug. Uncomfortably snug. The sales girl brought me a 36C. My cups didn’t runneth over but the flesh wrapped around my torso and under my armpits did. I tried to smoosh it forward. No luck. Apparently cup size wasn’t an issue, my girth was. 
   A soul wrenching wail from my dressing room brought the salesgirl running. “Can you get me a thi-thi-thi-thirty, eight…” I said, hoping she might bring a revolver instead of a bra. 
   Of course it fit. I looked in the mirror and burst into tears. These were no longer my boobs. These were not overflowing globes of desire for my husband. These were fatty extensions of my overindulgence. They were Bloobs and they had to go. Newly determined, I slinked out of Bloob-ingdales and headed to the gym.
   Slowly and steadily I lost 10 of the 17 pounds I’d gained. It felt so good. I was wearing jeans I hadn’t worn in two years and I could almost get back into my 34 B’s…almost. Seven pounds to go, but I know I can do it. All I have to do is open my underwear drawer for a little inspiration.
   It’s now the day before my gyno appointment. I’m sure Nurse Brenda will be ready and waiting, tapping her pen on that clipboard and pointing at the Digital Doctor of Doom down the hall. But this time, I’m not going to turn my back on my Well Woman exam. I'm going to get weighed without undressing or exfoliating or doing anything else desperate and unflattering. I’m going to step right up on that scale. I’m just going to do it– backwards.
   There are certain things in life I just don’t need to know


###

Monday, May 1, 2017

I'm So Boring My Therapist Is Snoring





I’m So Boring My Therapist Is Snoring

by Marianne Curan


It’s Tax Day and, according to the IRS, my occupation is “entertainer.” 

Unlike accountants, gynecologists or coal miners, being an “entertainer” can mean having a myriad of careers as an actor, singer, dancer, comic, writer, artist or any combo of those.

Being an entertainer also includes street performers like those freaky frozen living statues, chainsaw jugglers or city kids pounding out percussion on plastic buckets. Oh, let’s not leave out New York’s famed “Naked Cowboy” who struts around Times Square playing the guitar wearing only a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Call him crazy, but this crazy guy rakes in about $150,000 a year in tips from tourists who’ve only had, up till this moment, the excitement of getting their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at their local mall.

*NOTE TO READER: I have not included “reality stars” in the entertainment category out of personal disdain for their misleading oxymoron of a moniker. These stagnations of humanity, i.e. ALL of The Kardashians, ALL of The “Real” Housewives, ALL of the Honey Boo-Boos, Mama Junes & their camouflage be-decked inbred kin, etc., do not exist in any form of reality. More simply put, they alone, and collectively, have no discernible talent to deign them a “star” —even with a small “s.”  I hold the Naked Cowboy and his ilk in higher regard.  At least he can play the guitar.

Moving on.

How is it then, that after 30 years of earning a living and paying taxes as an “entertainer” that I can single-handedly lull my $150 an hour therapist to sleep? 

No, he wasn’t just closing his eyes to better focus on my weekly “woe is me” diatribe and self-absorbed whining. This guy actually nodded off. He was full chin to chest. His lower lip succumbing to gravity was hanging slightly open. His pen was in a slow motion descent from his sleepy grip. 

I had to assume he was in that first stage of sleep— which I Googled while he dozed.  It’s considered a very light sleep from which one is easily awakened. So I decided to blow my nose not too loudly but just enough to get his attention back on the task at hand—listening to my bullshit.  But hey, it’s my bullshit. And, it’s real for me.  Not to mention that his hourly fee could nab me 3 pairs of shoes at Nordstrom Rack. Perspective, people!

My subtle nose blowing roused him. I pretended to be mopping up a case of tear induced sniffles so he wouldn’t guess I’d witnessed his brief nap. He pushed his glasses back up his nose, retrieved his pen from the floor and jumped right back in, “So, how are you doing with your insomnia?”  

The words “Not quite as good as you” started to form but I controlled myself. Barely.

If this were the first time I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Dear God, if I had to listen to people like me all day I’d need a nap—or maybe a bullet in the head. But it wasn’t the first time. And I guessed that if I didn’t get more “entertaining” it wouldn’t be the last.

I remember going to the beach for a girl’s day with a friend who is a therapist. I was so proud of her winning struggle to put herself through grad school which landed her a job working at a prestigious celebrity-studded rehab. 

Yet, on our beach day, she was unloading a tote bag full of tabloid magazines onto the blanket. There they were. The Kardashians, the Boo-Boos, the Housewives… all those “entertainers” I refused to acknowledge above. 

“Are those for research?” I asked since her clients often graced the covers of these rags.

“God no! It’s my day off.” 

“So…you’re going to read them…for fun?”

“Marianne, do you have any idea what I listen to in my office hour after hour, day after day? Yes, I know it’s my job. But you try listening to people whining about their problems and how tough their lives are. It’s exhausting.” 

“Yeah. I guess that would be exhausting.”

As she thumbed through the “Mama June’s Revenge Weight Loss” issue of US Magazine, I asked, “So, have you ever, you know, dozed off during a session? I mean even for a little bit?”

“Oh, my god, yes. At least a couple of times—that I remember.”

To which I thought, “That you remember?!!” 

Now she was on a roll. “Once, I nodded off and only woke up when I let out of those snorts. Wow, that snapped me back to life. It was pretty hilarious.”

“You were snoring? Like actually snoring?” I couldn’t believe it. 

“My client didn’t even notice. When I came to she was still ranting about her blackouts…didn’t miss my blackout for a minute.”

With this in mind, I arrived at my next therapy session determined to entertain Dr. Freud. Keep him fully alert. 

I’d already decided it would be my last session and I wanted to go out with a bang. 

So I channeled my inner New York Naked Cowboy. I entered his office wearing a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat—and, yes, donning a tube top to cover my backup singers. I strummed a kiddie guitar while I sang George Benson’s “On Broadway.”  

I got a one-man standing ovation. And, after signing my autograph on a check, I booked my next gig. On the couch. Entertaining my therapist.


###

Monday, April 10, 2017

I Don't Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.





I Don’t Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.

by Marianne Curan

Today is officially the 8th day of my Christmas “staycation” and I’m just now beginning to see my way to the other side of exhaustion. That’s what happens when you get up at 3 a.m. every day to do a morning radio show.

I know I’m “cry-if-you-poke-me” tired when I’ve been in bed for 10 hours each of those 8 days and I still wake up too fried to scramble an egg.  So instead of the back breaking work of whisking eggs into a frying pan, I’ve been eating leftover stuffing out of a Tupperware container. It’s much less tasking and, thankfully, I make damned good stuffing. 

Growing up it was a very rare occasion when my Mom, Saint Marge, would let on that she was so exhausted she’d groan, “I feel like I dug ditches all day.”  Well, if you spend 27 years raising four humans you’re bound to be pretty wiped. (Oh, I say 27 because that’s how old I was when I finally moved out.)

I cannot imagine how Saint Marge didn’t feel that exhausted every day after herding around four wetting, whining wee ones. I can’t believe she never actually dug a ditch and threw herself in it. That’s why Mom was a goddamned SAINT.

Look, I’m lucky I don’t dig ditches for a living. So why does hosting a radio show feel similar? I don’t literally use a jackhammer to pry open the earth but there are days when I’m so blotto tired I feel like someone’s used a jackhammer to pry open my head. 

I know my job isn’t rocket science or hard labor. And this deep exhaustion would make more sense if I was hosting an issue related talk show. You know the ones where bloviating hosts spend hours spewing about news and politics and then argue at full throat-ripping volume with incensed listeners who scream back even though they all actually agree on the same shit. Now that would be exhausting.

My show is a few hours of shoot-the-shit-chat and laughing with our listeners followed by a couple of hours figuring out what shoot-the-shit-chat we’re gonna talk about the next day—and the next day. That’s the gig and when the red light’s on and we’re live it’s a blast.

Unlike issue shows there is no screaming or arguing. (TO CLARIFY: that would be no screaming or arguing on air. There is occasional screaming and arguing off air because a) we’ve all been up since 3 am and b) my co-host is my husband.)

Another thing that sets us apart from issue shows is there’s usually nothing intellectually challenging. For instance, we recently talked about why I hate toaster ovens. “I have a toaster and I have an oven. Why do I need a toaster-oven?” You’d be shocked how many callers chimed in on that earth shattering conversation.

My show is the radio equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff…just a giant ooey, gooey jar of nutrition-free confection much like “Live with Kelly and Michael”— ooops,  I mean “Live with Kelly and “The Celeb Suck-Up O’ the Day.”  (Doesn’t Anderson Cooper have all the jobs he needs?) For the love of God, ABC, pick someone and move on.

However, there is a big difference between that fluffy TV show and my fluffy radio show.  According to “Good Housekeeping”—and they would know— Kelly Ripa gets up at 6 am, not 3. People love asking me, “How early do you get up?” My answer, “Well, I used to think I was a morning person. But now, I don’t get up early. I get up yesterday." 

This is how early 3 am is. Three a.m. is so early it can’t even be called the “ass crack of dawn.”  I don’t know what time is the official ass crack of dawn. I just know that at 3 am it is pitch black outside so there is no “dawn” and if there were an ass crack of something you wouldn’t see it anyway. 

On the flip side of career fate Ms. Ripa rolls out of her designer sheets at 6 am, then leisurely sips a cup of herbal tea and peels herself a grape (although she might have someone who peels it for her). She is then whisked to the TV studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe. She prances onto the stage at 9 for an hour of Marshmallow Fluff and is back in a limo on her way to a Pilates class by 10:01. 

Am I jealous of Kelly Ripa?  Of course I am.  She works one hour a day (or 44 actual minutes if you subtract the commercials.)  She’s a size “minus”— not a minus two, or even a zero, she’s just a minus. She’s too small to have a number. She makes about $20 million dollars a year, lives in a $27 million townhouse in Manhattan and has a getaway home in the Hamptons. 

Oh, and most importantly, she’s RESTED.  Hell yes, I am jealous of that.

As I finish up this little rant I realize I have one more day off before setting my alarm for work.—okay, not for work, not for digging ditches…for my show. 

So I’m gonna go get some laundry done, take the dogs for a walk and count my blessings.

Oh, and I better go grocery shopping. I’m almost out of stuffing.



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Saturday, February 18, 2017


Don’t Join Me, Won’t You?
…or Life on the Planet of “Me, Myself and “Why Just I?”
by Marianne Curan



In high school, humans are defined by their generation’s version of groups which, since the dawn of teenagers, has come down to The Jocks, The Geeks, and The Stoners… or more simply put, “The Cool People and everyone else.” 

On the whole, humans, unlike most other species, are undefined by a dedicated group. For instance, groups of whales are a pod. Groups of birds are a flock, sheep are a herd, etc.. Humans are…well, “humans.”

Animal groupings get more fun with the weirdly named “nuisance” of cats and an “implausibility” of gnus—well done, Science. I must say my new favorite animal groups are the ones ironically appropriate for our nation’s current state, like… a “congress of salamanders”… a species known to change its colors to reflect a current threat—or a CNN poll.  Then there is the aptly named “congress of baboons”   which seems should be interchangeable with a similar group, a “drove of asses.”  Here’s hoping they all end up on the endangered species list.

I have tried and failed all my life to be a joiner. I was a Camp Fire Girl who hated camping. Done. I was on a Swim Team but hated the choking chlorine vapors of indoor pools. Done.  I don’t know if my neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch and if it does, I say, “Go right ahead. I’ll take my chances.”

I loathe corporate “team building” b.s. and would call in sick to avoid things like “The Amoeba Race” (my top pick for “you can’t make this shit up” REAL team building idea) in which your “group” forms the three parts of an Amoeba: protoplasm, cell wall and nucleus.  Then the group travels, splits into two amoebas, and the amoeba have a race.  I would be the amoeba who “splits” and never comes back to work. 

One of the all time joiner opportunities is having kids. I always wanted kids (okay, “a” kid) but was certain that if I did have said kid there would have been no “Mommy & Me” classes. Oh, God. No. My goal was to sign up little Huckleberry or Katniss for “Nanny and You” classes. 

Is this beginning to make you wonder in which “species” I belong? Perhaps a “suicide of lemmings?”  After all lemmings amass in huge groups and, according to lore, unwittingly follow the pack before pitching themselves off cliffs to their death.

Politics (deep breath) is all about joining which is why I don’t belong to any particular party in the good ‘ol US of A. However, my X chromosomes did compel me to buy a Pink Pussy Hat in honor of the Women’s Marches the day after the Trump Inauguration —which I joined—sort of—from the comfort of my living room. Yes, instead of going to a march a mere 15 minutes away, I put on my hat and I watched it all unfold on TV. And you’re wondering, “Why did she even buy the hat?”  I get that and I wonder why as well. This goes into “Marianne Seriously Regrets Not Joining” file. 

It makes sense that humans join different groups throughout their lives. It’s how you fit in, enjoy life, explore, learn, make friends. I have had those experiences in small doses in so-called groups…but I don’t seem to find comfort in that joint effort for long.  

For many women joining a group starts with tiny tot soccer teams and tee-ball. Then it’s on to Girl Scouts and cheerleading; then it’s about becoming a leader of Student Government or The Spanish Club. Then in college, it’s on to sorority days at Kappa-Kappa-Kouldn’t-Kare-a-Lessa. Then when you’re a real grown-up you join the “Sushi and Chardonnay Singles” —which you attend while checking your phone for a Tinder Date so you can swipe your way out of that group.  Or you might find yourself more comfortable with a grown-up nerd group gathering for a workshop on “iWatch Updates” at the Apple Store. 

Once women get hitched they move on to Zumba classes, sewing circles, and book clubs. Middle aged women join The Red Hat Society and jaunt off in a big bus to see “Menopause the Musical.” Before they know it, these life-long joiners are mall walking with the “Silver Sneakers.”

Shoot me in the head. 

Okay. That sounds pretty harsh. So, instead, dress me in a lemming costume and let me pitch myself over a cliff. But, if I chicken out from jumping, then, please shoot me in the head!

There are days when I am truly perplexed why I don’t like being part of these things.  Forced into group situations I often blossom and have the whole room laughing and having a good time. Yet, it often feels forced…not organic. And, when the event is over and I should feel buoyed by the experience, I’m wondering if I ever want to go back. What’s that all about?

Of course, along this solo path my inherent “goodie two shoes” nature has made me worry about being labeled a “quitter”—which by nature I’m not.  I’ve always been that, “If you want the job done give it to Marianne” person. Where did she go?  Why does joining always feels uncomfortable for me? And more importantly why does NOT joining make me feel cowardly, stubborn…and apathetic?

As I get farther into middle age (gulp) I worry about getting farther into old age (bigger gulp)  and becoming a very lonely old lady—I really do. Will I be moved to become a “joiner” because I’ve got no other choice? Or will I do it because I want to embrace my life, find new challenges and adventures— and in some way make a mark in the world whether anyone knows it or not? 

Here goes. I’m going to don my freshly knitted Pink Pussy Hat and accept that I’m okay with my choices—for now.  I still embrace my mantra, “If I don’t join a group in the first place then I don’t have to quit.”  Small solace, I know, but that’s how my species, whatever that is, survives this joiner world. 

There is a group I’ve considered joining, Non-Joiners-Anonymous.”  But,  I hear they meet in groups.  Cue the lemmings.


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Sunday, January 1, 2017

I Don’t Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.

by Marianne Curan

Today is officially the 8th day of my Christmas “staycation” and I’m just now beginning to see my way to the other side of exhaustion. That’s what happens when you get up at 3 a.m. every day to do a morning radio show.

I know I’m “cry-if-you-poke-me” tired when I’ve been in bed for 10 hours each of those 8 days and I still wake up too fried to scramble an egg.  So instead of the back breaking work of whisking eggs into a frying pan I’ve been eating leftover stuffing out of a Tupperware container. It’s much less tasking and, thankfully, I make damned good stuffing. 

Growing up it was a very rare occasion when my Mom, Saint Marge, would let on that she was so exhausted she’d groan, “I feel like I dug ditches all day.”  Well, if you spend 27 years raising four humans you’re bound to be pretty wiped. (Oh, I say 27 because that’s how old I was when I finally moved out.)

I cannot imagine how Saint Marge didn’t feel that exhausted every day after herding around four wetting, whining wee ones. I can’t believe she never actually dug a ditch and threw herself in it. That’s why Mom was a goddamned SAINT.

Look, I’m lucky I don’t dig ditches for a living. So why does hosting a radio show feel similar? I don’t literally use a jackhammer to pry open the earth but there are days when I’m so blotto tired I feel like someone’s used a jackhammer to pry open my head. 

I know my job isn’t rocket science or hard labor. And this deep exhaustion would make more sense if I was hosting an issue related talk show. You know the ones where bloviating hosts spend hours spewing about news and politics and then argue at full throat-ripping volume with incensed listeners who scream back even though they all actually agree on the same shit. Now that would be exhausting.

My show is a few hours of shoot-the-shit-chat and laughing with our listeners followed by a couple of hours figuring out what shoot-the-shit-chat we’re gonna talk about the next day—and the next day. That’s the gig and when the red light’s on and we’re live it’s a blast.

Unlike issue shows there is no screaming or arguing. (TO CLARIFY: that would be no screaming or arguing on air. There is occasional screaming and arguing off air because a) we’ve all been up since 3 am and b) my co-host is my husband.)

Another thing that sets us apart from issue shows is there’s usually nothing intellectually challenging. For instance, we recently talked about why I hate toaster ovens. “I have a toaster and I have an oven. Why do I need a toaster-oven?” You’d be shocked how many callers chimed in on that earth shattering conversation.

My show is the radio equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff…just a giant ooey, gooey jar of nutrition-free confection much like “Live with Kelly and Michael”— ooops,  I mean “Live with Kelly and “The Celeb Suck-Up O’ the Day.”  (Doesn’t Anderson Cooper have all the jobs he needs?) For the love of God, ABC, pick someone and move on.

However, there is a big difference between that fluffy TV show and my fluffy radio show.  According to “Good Housekeeping”—and they would know— Kelly Ripa gets up at 6 am, not 3. People love asking me, “How early do you get up?” My answer, “Well, I used to think I was a morning person. But now, I don’t get up early. I get up yesterday." 

This is how early 3 am is. Three a.m. is so early it can’t even be called the “ass crack of dawn.”  I don’t know what time is the official ass crack of dawn. I just know that at 3 am it is pitch black outside so there is no “dawn” and if there were an ass crack of something you wouldn’t see it anyway. 

On the flip side of career fate Ms. Ripa rolls out of her designer sheets at 6 am, then leisurely sips a cup of herbal tea and peels herself a grape (although she might have someone who peels it for her). She is then whisked to the TV studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe. She prances onto the stage at 9 for an hour of Marshmallow Fluff and is back in a limo on her way to a Pilates class by 10:01. 

Am I jealous of Kelly Ripa?  Of course I am.  She works one hour a day (or 44 actual minutes if you subtract the commercials.)  She’s a size “minus”— not a minus two, or even a zero, she’s just a minus. She’s too small to have a number. She makes about $20 million dollars a year, lives in a $27 million townhouse in Manhattan and has a getaway home in the Hamptons. 

Oh, and most importantly, she’s RESTED.  Hell yes, I am jealous of that.

As I finish up this little rant I realize I have one more day off before setting my alarm for work.—okay, not for work, not for digging ditches…for my show. 

So I’m gonna go get some laundry done, take the dogs for a walk and count my blessings.

Oh, and I better go grocery shopping. I’m almost out of stuffing.


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