Success and Other Magic Formulas

“Success Kit. Your second chance in life just arrived.”

I was so excited when I saw this in my email. At last! Instructions on how to live.Success Kit It’s not too late! No more tedious decisions for me. The answers are all here in this handy kit.

Reading further, I see the sender is at Oh, okay. That kind of success. Making money.

I hit Delete. Not that I’m against making money. I like being able to support a roof over my head, wheels and shoes on the ground, the occasional flight to distant destinations. I have figured out a way, by trial and error and about 25 jobs, how to make enough money using my wits and writing ability. I don’t need a magic formula, which usually involves the slippery, hard slope of a pyramid plus multi-level slave labor.

I like to think of my work as making a living and money is just a part of it. There is so much more, from enjoying the small moments to undertaking huge new challenges, taking care of myself and others, discovering each day where I need to do more, or less.

Bikini Body  Sometimes this is not easy. My work changes daily and thus so does my free time for my own writing and other interests. I have to be flexible and grab moments while I can. And sometimes I admit I am tired. Tired of thinking and planning. Thus the appeal of instant answers, available at the click of a mouse. Some examples:

The seven behaviors of successful people.

How to be happy in five easy steps.

How to meet the man/woman of your dreams, not nightmares.

The six foods you must eat to avoid having belly fat. Or is it the six foods you must avoid?

Write a bestseller in 21 days.

The Plan of a Lifetime. Lose 20 pounds, zap up your sex life and make Alzheimer’s a distant memory.

Look 20 years younger with this simple ingredient from your kitchen.

As for the life of the spirits:

Make your own wine and prevent heart disease.

Or (and I am not making this up):

Hire a Certified Soul Memory Discovery Facilitator.

Or sign up for online therapy –

My mouse clicks don’t lead to easy answers. Maybe there’s a mental click if someone else’s success kit sparks an idea. But the brain and heart and gut must engage, chew, digest and even spit out if necessary. There are many, many chances in life, not just one or two. At some point, it’s okay to send these advice messages to the junk mail folder and rely on our own inner Inbox.Get RichLook Younger


Spam, Spam, Spam

Spam, spam, it’s been around so long I forget where the name came from. Oh yes, the semi-fake ham in a can that Monty Python served up in their 1970 Spam Sketch. That was 43 years ago, 33 years after Hormel invented their “spiced ham.”

I don’t eat spam anymore, but I feel as if I’m being force fed the online kind. It’s everywhere. No sooner do my gastric bypass filters get rid of some spam when more arrives.

Turning on my computer and logging into other worlds, I hold my breath. The Internet is slightly slower today because the spam creators and the spam fighters are battling it out, star wars in cyberspace. But soon the new spam arrives in my little computer world – by email and morphed into ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google (maybe a cousin of spam, like deviled ham?).

My email spam has evolved from earlier messages urging me to increase the size and performance of my penis and accept the lottery winnings in Nigeria. I guess they’re permanently relegated to the cyber dust bin.

So now some new and strange ones are sneaking through. Some in French! “Bonjour madam …” Porquoi? Is it because I’ve browsed Tahiti? Are all the bored Parisian marketers tired of their long lunches?

Messages from friends, supposedly through Facebook or Linked In. “Maryann has endorsed you.” Really? The real Maryann, or the web robot? What am I supposed to do with this information? Endorse back in a mutual endorsement frenzy?

Messages from strangers …

“Hey Stranger, a friend of mine told me I could find someone like you in the area for a discrete meeting …”

“Hey cutie, I’d love to meet you.”

“Hello from BOOBS!”

“I’ve lost my pussy! Can you help me?” I don’t know what to tell her. I haven’t seen it and I don’t care to.

Suddenly ads on my Google search and Facebook pages. I’m looking for something I’m researching or reading through political rants or photos of food and someone’s dinner and there will be an ad. Movies with flying or fighting characters. Pest removal, with bugs that scurry across the screen. (The first time this happened I, a bugphobe, almost had a heart attack.) Lotteries with bouncing balls. Peanut butter. And for Spam, of course, since I researched Spam for this essay.Spam Spam

It’s getting so I’m feeling bombarded with a cacaphoneous kalaidescope of colors and sounds. If they were 3-D, they’d be punching me silly instead of merely turnng my brain and eyeballs into tilt-a-whirls.

I know this is all part of the new marketing strategies using social media. As a marketing copywriter, I’m guilty myself of trying to optimize web copy using words that search engines will pick up. And in my own blog, the web powers that be grab some of my words and link them to ads.

The upside of all this targeting marketing and information gathering is that we often do see ads that provide helpful information. While we can protect ourselves with certain privacy settings and filters, we can’t expect total isolation unless we go offline. As long as we use computers, we are fair game.

Are these new hunter gatherers like the drones of the cyberworld? And how many messages do they have to bombard us with before our computers explode?

When that day comes, I’m moving to Tahiti and I’m not taking my computer or my iPhone.Spam Blue Balls