Apr 20

Dear Readers,

As we enter into ever more strenuous economic times, we find that the nickels just don’t stretch as far as we would like. And that’s expected, since they’re made from copper-nickel alloy, a material that does not stretch. We even find that no amount of penny-pinching will turn our pennies into a hundred dollar bill.

But, Readers, this is no time to invest in a giant magical money-changing machine invention that turns your pennies into impressively realistic counterfeit currency. (That was a bust.) Instead, try saving money on your next grocery trip, using a little something I like to call “free samples”–because that’s what they’re called.

That’s right, Readers, visit your nearby Trader Joes, New Seasons, and Whole Foods, and you’ll find a delectable variety of foods to meet your every food group need. All you need is to master the use of those itty-bitty plastic sample spoons, and you’ll be eating in (free)style in no time!

I learned this trick at a young age, when my parents would take my friend and I to Costco on the weekends, since we didn’t have the time or money for a real family vacation. But who needs one, because that giant warehouse is a little taste of Disneyland magic all by itself! Around every turn there was a new packaged food just moments from fulfilling its life’s mission of pleasing my mouth.

Even at a young age, my friend and I intrinsically knew that if one sample was good, multiple samples were even better. We needed to avoid potential detection on return trips to the same sample cart. So we disguised ourselves. We would switch it up with a quick hairstyle change, colored contacts, or a limp. Sometimes we even exchanged clothes until we were reported for streaking.

Now obviously, Readers, that stuff’s for amateurs. These days, if you’re going to do this right, you need to invest in the hard stuff. I’m talking wigs, multiple pairs of sunglasses (but don’t wear them all at once–that looks suspicious), and a trenchcoat in every neutral color.

Just remember, Readers, don’t fall prey to the classic decoy; that is, the apparently innocuous discourse with the provider of the samples. Once the provider connects your face to your voice, the threat of exposure surges exponentially. I committed this faux pas during my fourteenth trip—-in a day—-to Whole Foods during their recent annual coffee tasting event.

“Gee, this looks good,” I ventured innocently, “Can I try some?”

“Oh, I remember you,” the enemy replied, “You were just here! You sure you want more??”

As a person of integrity, I believe–much like the last administration–in coming clean, and acknowledging our more unscrupulous acts. So, with our former leader as my shining example, I did what any respectable person in my shoes would do.

“I’m a member of an elite central coffee consumption intelligence agency (CCCIA), dedicated to halting the practice of introducing harmfully addictive yet delicious substances into society. Our covert coffee company received a leak we had to investigate. Turned out it was the plumbing. We also received inside information that your coffee—-which is delicious, can I have another?—-contains caffeine, a highly addictive substance. I must now perform an official coffee confiscation procedure–an exorcism for the addict, if you will–and remove all traces of this coffee from the premises. And let me grab another sample for the road–I mean, to test for further caffeine contamination.”

I downed my sample, donned my wig and mustache, and was on my way.

Keeping my suggestions in mind, you can rest easy, Readers, knowing that your food supply will always be plentiful. You may lose your job, your house, your car, and your savings, but you will be well-fed and highly caffeinated as you contemplate your next sample stop.

–Troi out

Apr 11

Dear Single Ladies,

What is up with the sadness lately?! Everywhere I look, there are single women mourning the absence of life with a man, or what they deem the Better Life. You’ll notice, Readers (if you can count), that SINGLE is NOT a four letter word! If it were, it would be “sing.” *

*Which might be considered a four-letter word if you heard my version of “Material Girl” at the last Karaoke night.

Ladies, here are some four-letter words for you:


Ladies, do you see the word “single” on that list? I didn’t think so. Because “single” is a six-letter word. Here are some more six-letter words for you:


As you can see, all of the above words denote just how fulfilling the single life can be. I’m not speaking from a position of ignorance here. I also once felt incomplete without a relationship. I had just undergone a breakup and lost the very person to whom I wanted to give everything. And as you can see from my first four hundred and eighty three blogs dedicated to that relationship and breakup, it may have been marginally difficult for me to let that life and love go. I even boycotted the first Girls Night hosted by my girlfriends just a few short weeks after that breakup (I’m totally lying. It was months. That’s just between us), feeling alienated by the fact that every other girl who would be there was happily married.

Missing Girls Night is generally not considered acceptable in my circle of friends. So a few weeks later when I saw the Girls at the Superbowl party, I was cornered and criticized for my transgression. Under duress and with the only alternative being to actually WATCH the Superbowl, I confessed to the girls that my absence was due to the fact that I was painfully aware that I was the only Single Lady left.

“Are you kidding me?” said one of my best friends. “You’re our portal into the exciting single world! We’ll never have another first date; we’ll never have another first kiss. We live vicariously through you–We love** your stories about dating!!”

**They may have said “love,” they may have said “laugh at.” Hard to remember.

So they loved my stories. I had in effect become my own “Sex & the City” (minus the Sex, and minus the City). And it’s true, I do have an impressive knack for drawing the affections of freaks, geeks, stalkers, gawkers, and general maniacs. And I can apparently now engage audiences with these amusing tales, and they can go home and share with their loved ones my latest amusing dating escapade, neatly encapsulated into its own 30-minute disastrous episode, minus the nudity and New York backdrop. I should get paid for this service.

But telling tales so you can laugh at my expense is not the real reason to embrace the single life. (Although it IS the real reason to embrace my blogs.) The real reason is that we have to rid ourselves of the mindset that we accidentally slipped into the wrong life. Unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow on Sliding Doors, you didn’t narrowly miss your one opportunity for a happy life by missing the red line and having to wait for the blue. (If you don’t live in Portland, that reference may not make sense. Move to Portland.) You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. (Unless you don’t live in Portland.) And as I found out with my friends that night, just as I was longing for the security and stability of their life, they just might have been reminiscing about the zany unpredictability they saw in mine. So stop longing and start living. Because whether we catch the blue line or the red, we can still enjoy the ride.

–Troi out

Apr 1

Dear Readers,

I’ve always wished there were just one day in the world where we could just make a joke out of everything. Where everything we say could be sarcastic, and we would be celebrated for the outrageous pranks that we pull at work, instead of getting fired for them, like that one time.

I’ve always wished that this day were in the springtime. Perhaps in April, around Easter, so that the shenanigans could offset that Catholic guilt that soars around the Lenten season.

Early April would be best, because by the second day of April, jokes just get stale.

I’ve decided to call this day April Fools Day.

Readers, if you research the origins of April Fools Day on the Internet (which, incidentally, I also invented), you’ll find that I’m not always given my due credit for having invented April Fools Day. You’ll often find tales of its invention back in the 1500s, at the time of the switch to the Gregorian calendar, when January 1st replaced April 1st as the New Year. Forgetful people still attempted to celebrate the New Year on April 1st, and their minor oversight was allegedly met with innocuous teasing, such as flogging, hanging, burning at the stake, and other friendly jests.

These days, however, April Fools Day is more widely, and accurately, regarded as created by me. After all, I have a mind like a steel trapeze artist, and I had to do something to occupy my time after I invented the lightbulb, and before my invention of the telephone.

You don’t have to thank me for creating this day of joy you’ve come to know and love as April Fools Day. However, you do have to pay me. Due to recent approval of my April Fools Day patent, every time you utter the words April Fools Day, or any combination of those words, related words, words that start with those letters, or words containing one or more of those letters or letter combinations in any order, you will need to deposit money directly into my bank account.

And, of course, [happy] April Fools Day!

–Troi out