May 15, 2005

Self-Help Books - who reads them?

Isn't it so strange how self-help books are often read by the people who need them the least? I recently took the book "Keep Your Brain Alive" to my friend Kathy T. We were waiting for her daughter to give birth. I reminded her she would be over 70 when her granddaughter, Emily graduated college so she should keep her brain in shape! During the day, I saw her other daughter Amy, 25, reading the book quite intently. Later Amy whispered "I just showered with my eyes closed!" one of the many neurobic exercises suggested in the book.

When I first got my hands on the "Side-Tracked Home Executive" I laid for hours on the couch laughing hysterically, while my family walked by thinking me crazy or wishing they were enjoying a book as much. The two authors, incurable slobs, developed a plan to organize their lives. It involved a card system, dividing tasks into daily, monthly seasonly and yearly assignments. The book was so hilarious and delightful, especially for a bag lady like me. (i.e. a person that quickly cleans up by stashing everything in a brown grocery bag.)

Word spread, soon friends and especially my sister Barb and I were discussing it ad nauseum, laughing our sides off. Great entertainment for home-bound moms who sould have been cleaning!

Our older sister June inquired about it, overhearing our rambunctious laughter. We rolled our eyes and said, "Oh please, you've got to be kidding!!" June was and will always remain the most organized, proficient person I ever knew! She was a woman with lists that got checked off, with every task accomplished. Unlike myself who just looses every list I write! June once told me she even studied her Sunday school lesson (she was a teacher) while bathing every afternoon. Being a 50's mom, wives looked pretty when their hubbys came home. Unlike myself who tried to always be out of my nightie and into my sweat suit uniform before my husband hit the door.

We probably hurt her feelings, middle-school exclusion of another because you are actually just jealous of them. Anyhoo...we soon bored, not only of the conversation but the whole thought of organizing our homes. Oh yes, we bought the cards, I even have the metal box I bought to organize them in. I even tried following those wild side-tracked women's plan for a month or two. But like most things, it soon became passé for me and I was on to something else.

June never asked again but we all knew she had bought the book. Years later before she died I spent the month caring for her. One day. days before she died, dosing on her bed, small and weak, she asked "Gin, what are you doing?" While returning a vase of flowers to the dresser I noticed it was getting a little dusty. "Oh I'm dusting the dresser a little, June." Without a moments hesitation she weakly but firmly called. "No! Don't do that! Dave dusts in here on Thurs.!"

I wonder if Dave still dusts on Thursday? I doubt it. But I bet Amy will have a sharp crisp mind at 95, unless she falls in the shower!

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