The Laugh Out Loud diet visits restaurants.

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Eating meals outside of your home can be a problem because most of what comes out onto your plate is in someone else’s control. We may order a named dish, but the actual ingredients are in the cook’s hands. It is important for controlling our weight to control the ingredients going into our mouths. According to Consumers Reports, “We spend $2,222 per year for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.” That’s $6 per day of food we eat where we have little control of the ingredients.

The Laugh Out Loud diet devotee when visiting a restaurant will pay close attention to the big four – sugar, salt, grease, and booze. It is the four basic food groups that restaurants cater to because they are easy to prepare, are cheap, and people think they taste good. Another people pleaser is super-sizing the meals because once they are putting food on the plate the restaurant’s fixed costs like rent and basic employee staff have been covered, so a little more food doesn’t cost much. The problem is that we don’t want to waste the money we spent on the meal, so we clean it up, much to the chagrin of our waist.

Some Laugh Out Loud restaurant chuckles.

  1. Seek places that actively promote healthy food.
  2. Go to places that feature salads.
  3. Avoid places with fat-boy icons.
  4. Avoid places with an abundance of flashing lights.
  5. Go to places that locals go.
  6. Avoid places that cater to tourists.
  7. Avoid getting the pancakes and syrup meals.
  8. Avoid the greasy meat entrees.
  9. Drink a cup of water before eating.
  10. Avoid the giant sugar drinks
  11. Get the real juice drinks.
  12. Drink coffee, tea, kombucha.
  13. Avoid beer, wine, liquor.
  14. Order for health rather than volume.
  15. Ask to hold the mayo, cheese, sauces to a minimum.
  16. Get roasted, broiled, baked, steamed, foods.
  17. Avoid creamy, crusted, sautéed, crispy.
  18. Get single servings and share with a companion.
  19. Order a takeout container early in the meal.
  20. Set the starchy stuff aside early.
  21. Get milkshakes split and give half away.
  22. Leave a tiny portion of food on the plate.
  23. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets.

Today we ate out and did most of the things listed on the chart. I even had the milkshake split in two and gave one of the shakes still in its steel mixer tumbler to a stranger in another booth. Our half of the milkshake was plenty, even shared between Debbie and me .

Get a set of Laugh Out Loud flash-cards. One card for every occasion.

The Laugh Out Loud diet is too easy.

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For the last three months, we have been developing the Laugh Out Loud diet plan and finding new and super easy things to do that will affect one’s bodily weight and general health. The only part of the diet that even vaguely resembles an ordinary diet is to not eat anything after 8 PM or anything before noon. During our meals during the day, we eat as much as we feel like eating with no attempt to control how much we eat. We are night owls and stay up until after midnight, so if you are more of an early bird it would make sense to shift the hours to an earlier schedule. Our first attempt was to not eat between 8 PM and 8 AM and then eat to our fill, but that wasn’t even interesting. So, we upped the challenge to not eating until noon. That is just enough to be happy when it’s time to eat lunch, so the only time we feel anything at all like it’s a diet is that last hour, and we usually take a twenty-minute walk just before preparing our noon meal. Our walking and conversation distract us from any possible hunger. I can barely remember ever being hungry for the last three months. We have both been weighing ourselves every day and there is a slight downward trend. I’ve lost four pounds. That may not seem like much but I doubt if it will come back and I only intend to drop about four more and then decide if there is any further need. Basically, I am in near perfect health already.

Now the problems. We have been adding fun little games to our diet. It’s the part that is the Laugh Out Loud diet plan, and that is doing our present pick from my several blog posts of lists of super easy things to do. For two months now we have been drinking a cup of water before starting our sit down meals. That is easy to do and the tiny little problem is that we sometimes forget and start eating before we drink the water. Never in my life have I drunk a cup of water before eating, so when I do sit down and everyone else is ready I start eating. No big deal, but for me it is important to do things I tell myself that I am going to do. If I don’t do what I tell myself I’m going to do I feel it is necessary to make immediate amends, somehow. Together, we manage to get those glasses of water onto the table. If one of us picks up their eating utensil without having drunk the water the other stops talking mid-sentence and immediately stares at the other. Uh-oh, and we laugh and drink our water. Somehow, drinking that cup of water makes it easier to stop eating at the end of our meals.

The other Laugh Out Loud diet technique I’m having trouble with is to intentionally not clean up my plate. The goal is to intentionally leave a small amount on the plate. This is strangely difficult for me to do because all my life I’ve been told to clean up my plate, and I did. I never thought about it as a problem, and there were lots of cute little sayings like, “Waste not, want not.” The point is to begin by intentionally leaving a very tiny amount, say a quarter-teaspoon quantity. That is, to leave an amount you consider so insignificant it isn’t worth bothering with, but after a week of doing that to up the ante a little and leave an amount that is bite-worthy. Maybe a full spoonful. Yes, it gets thrown away. And that’s the point, to develop a control over your food rather than it having control over you because of your guilt. Actually, it’s a small amount and within a short time you will be eating less, so there is a success there, and a success in your eating less.

Each of those Laugh Out Loud diet techniques is laughable, but they are so easy to do, and can be made into fun games, so they can be developed into permanent pleasant habits.

For a diet to succeed in the long run it must be fun, easy and automatic.

Be nicer to others than they are to you.

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In game theory, it works out better for everyone if the players treat each other well, but if you treat the other game players too well they will come to expect the good treatment and take advantage of you. If one’s life was only to maximize personal gain then that game strategy would be reasonable, but there is more to life than maximizing points in the particular game you choose to play, games like making money. In the child through sage steps of a normal life cycle, an individual moves through a stage of personal acquisition and learns how to acquire things, then as an adolescent to maximize personal gain but then if the person develops normally they move on to being helpful to their family and on to their community and hopefully on to all humanity.

One aspect of becoming mature is learning how to be nicer to other people than you are to yourself. When people go through their early life they learn the habits of the surrounding people and if they are lucky those people are kind and helpful to them. If that is the culture that is instilled into their character it is very easy, even automatic, for them to be kind to others.

Unfortunately, most people encounter adverse childhood experiences (ACE test) as is shown in the ACE test results finding that 87% of employed Americans with health care insurance had one or more adverse childhood experiences out of a possible ten points. The general public hasn’t been studied but is undoubtedly much worse because many people are not employed and have full health insurance. 12.5% of this select group have four or more of the ten possible problems examined on the test.

Nearly everyone you encounter has been abused as a child. It is difficult for people who have been abused to be completely trusting of other people, and yet we are all dependent upon others. Thus, there is a lifelong struggle to get what we need from other people and yet not be taken advantage of by them and be abused by them.

Most discover that if you treat people well they will treat you well. That is the reason the standard Golden Rule is effective, and the flip of that rule, called the Silver Rule, is effective too. Don’t be mean to others and they will not be mean to you. The implication of both those rules is that you can control others by treating them well, and it works most of the time. Society is dependent on everyone treating others reasonably well, and yet it is necessary to have criminal laws to protect us all from those people who can’t treat other people with this kind of basic respect. Most of us learn to spot trouble at a distance and simply avoid it, and that almost always works. Identify trouble early and simply walk away.

For those people who have been abused, it is more difficult to walk away when they are challenged and to be friendly because they feel they must defend themselves. For people with very little adverse childhood experience when they see trouble coming it is seen as something alien to their worldview and they can choose not to engage with it. These fortunate people have learned to be nicer to people than some of the people they encounter are to them. These are the people who will raise children with low ACE scores and these are the people we all should pay attention to. We should avoid identifying with troubled people and following their bad examples. The high ACE people may want to be nice to you, but life is difficult for everyone and especially difficult for them. They have unintentionally developed some bad habits.

Everyone, even abused people, can …

Make it a habit to always treat everyone better than they treat you.

Why you should be very kind to people.

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Humanity is such a wonderful creation and yet I often worry about us. I have written about how we came to be in the Eve theory of evolution. I see our species as a natural development of the natural processes of women selecting for the fathers of their children the best men available to them. What do women want? That’s a question that is often asked, but over a hundred thousand years of evolution we have become the aggregate of what women wanted. List out the qualities that humans possess that other creatures lack and that is what they chose to add to a human-looking animal.

That may sound harsh for a definition but we have many virtues. I realized this when I considered what I would be if all the rest of you humans hadn’t discovered and selected the qualities you did. What would any of us be if we didn’t have the huge number of genetic advantages built into our DNA? What would we be if the hundred billion previous humans hadn’t lived and given us not only our improved DNA but our vast knowledge, and built up infrastructure? Think for a second!

Consider what you would be if you, with your human DNA, were born into a society of chimpanzees. Assuming that they would accept and raise you, you would have very little of what makes us humans great because you would have almost no culture. If raised by chimps your language abilities wouldn’t develop, without language your culture couldn’t develop, without those you would have little ability to survive, even with the chimp family to help you. Without exposure to human technology, you wouldn’t be able to create simple tools. It took the whole of our fully intellectually human ancestors, and that means millions of individuals, tens of thousands of years to develop simple tools. We as modern individuals have been exposed to many things which living alone among chimps you would never think of doing. Our ancestors didn’t think of what we think of as obvious stuff for a long time. Which is proof that we wouldn’t either. Without culture, we are not smarter than our distant ancestors.

We can look upon our fellow humans as the reason we are not as dumb as our domestic animals. Without our human ancestors and their wisdom, we would be only slightly more capable of surviving in the wild than our dogs. Probably most domesticated dogs wouldn’t survive in the wild under natural conditions and neither would we.

Be kind to people because they have given you everything you value.

Meditating on the Laugh-out-loud diet.

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Here is a new way of approaching food. Think about eating when sitting quietly. Intentionally choose to sit in a meditative way and for a few minutes let your mind wander, and then bring it to an intentional focus on a bodily function like the air coming in and out of your nose. Don’t control it, just observe it. Then after several minutes, perhaps at a preset signal by a timer or a guru, intentionally focus your attention on eating. Imagine as clearly as possible the many things you can do while eating but always keep these things under your intentional control. Make it part of your basic habit structure, part of your long-term character that you are in charge of your food and not the food in charge of you. This thought should be an automatic idea that springs into your mind while you are halfway through the food placed before you. The goal of the mindful meditation is to place you in control of your thoughts; in this case the thoughts are about eating and when to stop eating.

Some thoughts to ponder during meditation.

  1. Put a smile on your face and say to yourself, I’m in control of food.
  2. Have fun rehearsing doing things that are good for you.
  3. I think of food as nourishment for my body, not as pleasure itself.
  4. Think fun thoughts about food and don’t get too serious.
  5. Reminisce over food giving you energy not emotional gratification.
  6. Imagine playing with food on the plate as fun.
  7. Potatoes and broccoli can make game pieces to move in your mind.
  8. Imagine, I am choosing to sit down at a perfectly sized meal.
  9. I am choosing to look at a menu and identify the healthy foods.
  10. I smile at the waitress and ask about the daily special.
  11. I ask in a friendly way what they think the healthiest item is.
  12. I imagine chewing on a celery, the crunch, the squirt, the strings.
  13. I feel the cool bubbly bitterness of a single beer.
  14. I watch the beer flowing toward me as I tip the glass up.
  15. I smile as I push away the half full glass and walk away.
  16. I notice when I am no longer hungry.
  17. I play the game with my companion of seeing strange things on the plate.
  18. I imagine saying, “Thank you very much, but I never have second helpings.”
  19. I practice excusing myself halfway through a meal.
  20. I walk away from giant buffet tables and talk with someone at the periphery.
  21. I think of situations and say, “I’m in control of food, it’s not in control of me.”
  22. Think about talking to the greengrocer about vegetable details.
  23. Rehearse rejecting food products with silly pictures and ads.
  24. Rehearse setting bottles down when you can’t see what’s inside.
  25. Think about talking about healthy eating restaurants versus cost.
  26. Think about walking through a store with a healthy attitude.
  27. Rehearse walking the periphery of grocery stores before checking an aisle.
  28. Put a smile on your face when opening your eyes.

These are some ideas to think about to cultivate as automatic habits. The idea is to never feel any anxiety about food, eat as much as your body needs and never starve your body.

Your body will fight back if you willfully try to starve it, and it will win.

 

 

Some ladders of potential human maturation.

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Natural maturation – Infant; Child; Adolescent; Adult; Mature; Sage. Grows from Pleasure; Control; Recognition; Choice; Helpfulness; Revelatory.

Erik Erikson – Trust v mistrust; Autonomy v shame; Initiative v guilt; Industry v inferiority; Identity v confusion; Intimacy v isolation; Generativity v stagnation; Integrity v despair.

Work – Shows up; Obedient; Value oriented; Team player; Confident; Job completer; Self-motivator; Creator; Innovator.

Achievement – I won’t; I can’t; I don’t know how; I wish I could; What is It? I think I might; I might; I think I can; I can; I will; I did.

The Beatitudes – Spiritless; Mourning; Whining; Hungry; Merciful; Pure; Peacemaking; Persecuted. Yields – In heaven; Comforted; Earthbound; Filled full; Receive mercy; See God; Child of God; Be God.

Walt Whitman Rostrow – stages of economic growth – Subsistence; Specialization; Industrialization; diversification; Consumer oriented.

Abraham Maslow Hierarchy – Physiological; Safety; Love/Belonging; Esteem; Knowing & Understanding; Aesthetic Needs; Self-actualization; Transcendence.

Lawrence Kohlberg – Punishment; Reward; Good intentions; Obedience; Justice; Conscience.

L. Ron Hubbard, Tone Scale – Apathy; Grief; Fear; Anger; Antagonism; Boredom; Contented; Conservatism; Cheerfulness; Enthusiasm.

Chris Argyris – Ladder of Inference – Observations; Selected Data; Meanings; Assumptions; Conclusions; Beliefs; Actions.

Charles Scamahorn – Probaway – Paths to Maturity  – Chart expanded

Many Pinterest charts of similar ideas.

This post is an outline for exploring human development and moving toward a more mature personality.

 

I went to New York for something new.

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13 March 2017 Dudley’s Bookstore writers group random prompt is from …

Tune Smith by Jimmy Webb, page 20, line 9

The prompt: “I had come to New York to try something new.” – Alexis set timer 45 minutes

It was July 1957 and I was just waking up as the truck exited Holland Tunnel into Manhattan. I had been hitchhiking from Pullman, Washington, to a summer camp event in New York, called The Encampment for Citizenship, sponsored by the Ethical Culture Society. But what’s an 18-year-old college kid doing alone on the highway for a whole week soliciting free rides from passing motorists? It sounds totally crazy! For example, my second ride was with a carload of drunk Indians at 2 AM near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Even a foolish kid like me must realize it is dangerous being out on a highway in the middle of the night; anything might happen.

Almost instantly, it seemed, there I was standing blurry-eyed thanking the truck driver and wondering … what’s next? That exact thought had no doubt entered millions of other people’s minds as they first set their foot on Manhattan island. It was obvious to every one of them, “I had come to this place to try something new.”

I knew from vague family lore that my first American ancestor Jacob Janse Schermerhorn had set his foot on that Manhattan island back in 1636 as a teenager. He had many adventures from there and from Fort Orange up the Hudson River and from Schenectady, of which he was an early resident. Over the years he developed a thriving fur trade and made several trips back to Amsterdam with beaver pelts. That was certainly adventuresome and every moment of his life was filled with potential disaster. Being out on the sea in a sailing boat is obviously a risk, and trading with Indians for beaver pelts for many years can obviously lead to complex interactions and some instant conflicts with the risk of sudden death. In 1690 his village of Schenectady was attacked by the French and Indians and many of the residents killed, but his son Simon survived and took the warning to Fort Orange some fifteen miles away. This is only two years after he wrote his last will and testament, but it isn’t known when Jacob Janse died.

One time Jan ended up in jail there in New Amsterdam, put there by the then governor Peter Stuyvesant. The charge was selling guns to Indians. The crime wasn’t selling deadly weapons, it was that it was an unwritten law that only Stuyvesant could sell guns to the Indians. That fracas turned out worse for Stuyvesant because the Dutch government said he didn’t have the exclusive personal right to sell guns, and thus his jailing of a Dutch citizen was a violation of his authority. He was recalled back to Amsterdam and lost his governorship.

I was vaguely aware of that history, but in an absolutely unexpected turn of events a month after arriving sleepy-eyed at New York I was talking to the former first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, at her home in Hyde Park when she said, “Charles you know we are related.” I almost fainted, and literally ran away! I had come to New York to try something new, but this was far and away too much.

Six decades later I still get the willies thinking about my New York adventure.

Sweeping the street with a broom.

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Today I added sweeping the street onto the list of sage-like work. The last few months I’ve been doing some noxious tasks that everyone else avoids. Chopping wood, carrying water, shoveling snow. They are the traditional things that the classic sages have been doing for centuries, and my simple idea is that if it worked for them maybe it would help me too. But, today out at the UU church all the snow was melted away, there was no wood to chop, and no water to carry. Actually, there is a large bowl of water that I always put out near the front door for the blind people’s companion dogs. I’ve done that for two years, since moving into our new building, but never thought of it as a spiritual exercise. Perhaps it is. Shoveling a half kilometer of snow several times was real guru work, but that’s all melted. What did appear was a lot of gravel that had been sprinkled on the roads and some on the paved walkways too. It wasn’t really a problem walking over, just a little crunchy, but it was irregular and looked messy. I was there a half hour early so I got the big steel bristle push broom and went to work. It turned out to be harder than I expected because some of the gravel had piled up to an inch thick and congealed and didn’t push around easily. I was still at work when the choir’s music wafted in from the distance. The gravel will still be there next week but their singing and today’s sermon won’t wait.

After the service, I gathered up an armload of decorative stones that I’ve been bringing to put in our labyrinth. It isn’t any sort of UU religious ritual, just a fun thing to go walk around and think about whatever comes to mind. I’ve brought one every week for the last two years, so that is approximately a hundred five-inch diameter stones that I have left near the entrance. Then every once in a while I carry some of them the hundred yards down the hill to where the decorative labyrinth is situated in a lightly forested area. Other people sometimes consider my stones litter and either carry them down to the labyrinth or throw them in the trash. I don’t know, but I don’t notice them filling in the gaps in the labyrinth’s decorative stonework. Anyway, the fact that my carefully selected stones seem to vanish gives me an opportunity to let the work that I do be just be the work that I do. It’s like Sisyphus the Greek guy who pushed a big rock up a mountain only to have it be rolled back down by a vengeful god. Sisyphus is working hard, and moving the stone up the hill is his job, so he does it. It’s there at the bottom to be done again tomorrow, so he does it again. It’s his job, and I’ve got mine.

Today I swept gravel off the streets and sidewalks. It’s a thing I get to do.

What’s sleep got to do with body weight?

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In Lolod (Laughing Out Loud diet) the goal is to make everything that affects body weight a fun thing to play with. Most other diets aren’t fun so people quit doing them, but the Lolod is designed to be fun so it is easy for people to continue doing it. For example, going to the grocery store is made into a fun adventure by playing funny little games with the things there. The usually onerous wait at the check-out stant is made into a Lolod diet game by placing a hand on the ubiquitous candies and saying, “I don’t need this candy!” At a sit-down meal a fun game is to make a point of leaving a bite of the very best food in the center of the plate. I make that just small enough that I can resist eating it, and instead, I can laugh at it. Why waste food? Because, I can think and say and integrate into my habits, “I’m in control of my food and it isn’t in control of me.” It is a trivial amount of food wasted, but a terrific mental success of saying no to good food. In the long run, I will eat far less food and even more important I will gain control of the food I eat that the pounds I weigh.

It has been shown in scholarly articles that poor sleep habits are associated with weight gain and obesity. How can we apply this laugh-out-loud technique to sleeping better and thus controlling our weight?

Before bedtime:

  1. Drink plenty of water all day and at night too.
  2. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  3. Just before bed play three minutes of a boring silent video game like solitaire.
  4. Avoid music that gets repetitive in your mind and hum anything else.
  5. Don’t drink coffee or eat chocolate after 6 PM.
  6. Eat a snack vegetable exactly five hours before bed. Leave a small bite.
  7. Just before bed rinse the top of your head with cold tap water.
  8. Warm your feet in bed with a microwave-warmed beanbag
  9. Give your troublesome thoughts silly names and laugh at them.
  10. Go to bed at an unusually numbered minute, like 909, or 10 10, or ???
  11. Watch the swarming dream patterns in your eyes and see them vanish.
  12. Make bedroom very dark with tiny night lights out of your pillow’s view.
  13. Turn off all devices that might wake you before getting-up time.
  14. Push a slight smile into your face with your pillow pushing your cheek upward.
  15. Tighten your right bicep for ten seconds and smile as you let it go limp.
  16. After a long time tighten the left bicep for ten seconds. Think limper.
  17. Find your perfect pillow. They vary a lot.
  18. Make your bedroom dust free.
  19. Have your sequence of favorite sleep positions.
  20. When you wake up, roll over to another position for ten seconds.
  21. Get up slowly and sit for a few seconds before standing up.
  22. Go for two twenty-minute walks per day.
  23. During the day get up at least once per hour and walk around for a minute.
  24. If an afternoon nap helps, do it; if it keeps you awake at night, skip it.
  25. Turn off your bright bathroom light and finish cleaning up with a nightlight.
  26. Soon after you get up look out the window and welcome the new day.
  27. Take a sleeping pill if necessary but only for a couple of nights per month.
  28. Have someone who loves you close by and treat them better than you treat yourself.

Doing some of the things on that list might not sound like fun but do the ones that appeal to you. The important thing is to do whatever is necessary to …

Get a good night’s sleep because poor sleep makes you grumpy and puts on weight.

Laugh-out-loud diet – Incorrect jokes, humor, lies – sad

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If you are going to get through the rest of your life on any kind of diet it must be automatic, easy, fun, and comic. Nearly all diets will fail because they require constant attention, are hard, annoying, and tragic. I use the quibble word nearly because to say “All diets will fail!” would chase people away from the laugh-out-loud-diet (the LOL diet, Lots of Love diet), and once you understand this lol diet is fun you can laugh at all those nasty diets for the rest of your life. With the lol diet you can easily stop and restart without a trace of guilt because it’s more fun doing the diet than not doing it.

To begin with, it only takes three days to reset your food needs if your body is willing to cooperate, but it will never reset if it thinks it is going to starve. With regular diets where you are forced to eat well below your maintenance needs for weeks, you may lose some weight, but your gut will think it is enduring a famine and will demand to eat voraciously when it gets the chance to bulk up in preparation for the next famine. So, the only shortfall of food even considered in the lol diet is sometimes doing a daily intermittent diet. That’s where you don’t eat until noon and then eat anything you like but taper off a bit until eight at night, then stop. If you eat enough to be satisfied once a day, about midday, your gut won’t go into a starvation mode. With a regular diet once you are in a starvation mode you will have to convince your gut there isn’t a famine coming soon. Your gut has as many “brain-cells” as your brain so it is difficult to intellectually outwit your gut. The more successful your brain’s willpower is at forcing you to not eat the more stressed your gut will be and eager to trick you into eating. Guess which one has more long-term motivation, a hungry gut or a willful brain?

At any moment day or night you can think for a moment about one of your comic diet actions and get a chuckle. You and only you are in charge of your thoughts; thus you can think about your funny little tricks, like leaving a tiny bite of your favorite food on the plate. You are in charge of your food, not your food in charge of you. You can intentionally choose to take a short walk right now, right past where you know there is some food. You can think about looking at some candy and ignoring it while a fat person eats it. You can imagine what it feels like when you are bored, anxious, angry, or distraught to go for a walk instead of eating, or go play solitaire, or go meditate. If you are really challenged, imagine walking right past the snacks and around the block, and after you have done that imagining routine three times, go walk right past the temptation.

Everyone looks okay in great clothes, but healthy people look fantastic without clothes.

Good food sticks to you in the right places; guess where bad food goes.

I like the checkout line at Safeway; it gives me a chance to look at all those disgusting candies I don’t want and to lay my hand on them and reject them.

Do the tiniest thing possible for coping with your big problem; do it now.