A few years ago I discovered the secret of life while waiting on a supermarket checkout line.
I was standing third on line, behind a woman who appeared to be doing her final shop before global warming ends life on out planet. She had 10 of every item in the store in her shopping cart.
Behind her stood a mean-looking 300-pound woman who was twice the size Rosie O'Donnell but looked only half as mean. She had her basket filled to the brim with God knows how many quarts of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
It was going to be a long haul. So my eyes wandered over to the selection of available checkout-counter reading material. That's when I spotted it on the rack, between a tabloid that was promising me news of a new miracle pill that could melt my cellulite overnight and a booklet titled "The Miracle of Garlic and Vinegar."
The booklet that caught my eye said nothing about a miracle. It simply was titled in big bold red letters:
"STARTING OVER: How To Begin Again After Breakup, Divorce or Loss of a Loved One."
I reached for the book and what happened was not unlike the scenes in that horrible television show of the 90s, "Touched By an Angel," when the hero finally reaches heavenly stardom. The blinding supermarket florescent lights (which we will someday find cause skin cancer in mice) prevented me from seeing the heavenly glow that had engulfed me the second my fingers touched the booklet. But I know from what followed that I was bathed in celestial light.
The little teenage checkout girl, who looked like she had lost a wrestling match with a bottle of Clearasil, saw it first and said, "That's a wonderful book. My mother just read it."
Miss "I have to stock up on food because when the world comes to an end I'm going out with a full stomach" gave me a shy smile that said, "You poor dear, I know how lonely you must be."
Then this Rosie O'Donnell look-a-like turned and sweetly whispered, "Sometimes a book like that can make all the difference in the world." The invitation to have a sexy Rocky Road or a Cherry Garcia nightcap was dancing in her eyes.
What a discovery! I realized that had I been available I could meet thousands of women who would take the "Starting Over" title as an invitation to start a relationship. Best of all, I would never have to open the book and read a word of the feel-good tripe inside of it. There's something about the title that gives total strangers permission to hit on you.
Take the book to a park, to a beach, read it on an airplane. I tell you, it works every time.
I've thought about building a website called Startingover.com that would give Match.com and all those other "Meet the person of your dreams" sites a run for their money.
The fact is that both sexes are looking for any sign that the person they have just met is alive and eligible. When a woman meets a man the first thing she does is look at his left hand to see if he's wearing a wedding ring. When a man meets a woman the first thing he looks at are her breasts. Therein lies the difference between men and women.
The wedding ring is not an effective barrier to deter men who want to deceive. I've known hundreds of men, maybe thousands, who have, with a little practice, been able to carry on a conversation with a woman at a bar or cocktail party while removing a tight wedding ring from their finger, with the same hand the finger is on. This is done while the left hand is casually resting in a pants or jacket pocket. I've known men, albeit extremists, who have carried bronzers on business trips merely to color that tell-tale part of their ring finger where the sun never shines.
I can't help but think if I had found the book "Starting Over" 30 years ago I would be dead of exhaustion now. Dead but very, very happy.
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