3.20.2009

Self-help yourself to a new self

Recently spied on my Internet service provider’s home page: “Best Swimsuit for Your Horoscope.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, may be the ideal headline for our times. If only they could’ve worked in the word “rehab” somewhere, it would’ve been perfect.

What in blue blazes could horoscopes have to do with bikinis? I don’t know. I tried to go to that page, but I got one of those “Error: Page Not Found” messages, which means it was busy because everyone else on the planet was looking at that page right then.

Anyway, the content doesn’t matter (and that’s another lesson for our times). What matters is the beauty of that headline, which manages to stir several of our darkest fears in a mere five words. Genius.

In women, especially, nothing stimulates the “fight or flight” response like the word “swimsuit.” Flashbacks of dressing room disasters are enough send most folks into a whinnying panic. And, oh, the horror of “horoscope,” the thought that our actions are governed by the alignment of distant stars rather than random human stumbling. As if the stars would allow us to be this messed up if they were in charge. As if they’d concern themselves with swimsuits.

We face a blizzard of self-help tips every day. Everywhere we turn -- TV, Internet, newspaper, so-called friends, every magazine under the sun -- we’re shown ways we should improve. These articles and ads and advisements become a steady drumbeat of criticism, telling us we’re too fat, unhealthy, boring, short, shy, predictable, lowbrow, high-falutin’, clumsy, drunk, fat, shallow, rude, vain, weak, small-breasted, big-boned, curly, shemp, fat, happy, grumpy, dopey, stressed-out, sleepless, fat, crazy, lazy, hazy, prone to making lists, etc.

There’s such a flurry of self-help that disparate bits of advice are bound to collide into unlikely pairings such as “Best Swimsuit for Your Horoscope.”

Here are some more possibilities:

Best Automobile for Your Cottage-Cheese Thighs

Lose Weight the Black & Decker Way

Kicking the Rehab Habit

Your Child and the All-Cabbage Diet

Best Negligee for Halftime

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nuns

Grapefruits and Gunpowder: The Diet With Kick

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Thumb Disease

Exercise Your Right to Make Lefts

Nude Gardening for Seniors

Oprah’s Hardware Helpline

Best Wurst for Your Waistline

Celebrity Dating Secrets and Your Front Lawn

Two Syndromes: Irritable Bowel and China

Are Obscure Movie References Right For You?

How to Stalk Paparazzi

Best Underwear for Schoolyard Wedgies

Internet Romance Cures Eczema

Gum-Cracking for Amateur Astronomers and Their Moms

The Rehab Diet: Lose 20 Pounds While Getting Some “Me Time”

Sleepwalking Through Wal-Mart Fights Heart Disease

Do-It-Yourself Plastic Surgery

Worst Pickup Lines by “Poets” Who Wear Sunglasses Indoors and Who Should Really Go to a Tanning Booth or Something. Duh.

The Tarot of Plumbing

Never Show “The Buddy Holly Story” as the In-flight Movie and Other Airline Secrets

Wok This Way: Cooking With Aerosmith

Wardrobe Tips From the Patients of Ward “B”

Bird-Watching for Dollars

Improve the Feng Shui of Your Office Environment With Sod

Lovemaking Secrets of Civil War Re-Enactors

The Summer Quilting Diet

Best Chia Pet for Your Limo

Packing to Leave: Divorce, U-Haul and a Chainsaw

What to Do If Your Date Emits Greenhouse Gases

Driving Tips From Dieting Celebrities Who Survived Ugly Divorces and Adopted Homeless Pets, All While Remodeling Kitchens in the Nude

And, finally, of course: Best Horoscope For Your Swimsuit. In Rehab.

1 comment:

poodleland said...

Saw that link in one of my newsletters and couldn't resist clicking on it. You should be glad you dinn't get to it!