By Stephanie Lewis
After our long absence during Covid, most of us are back to running errands, keeping appointments, and visiting public venues. There’s talk of a “New Normal” and that’s just dandy! Allow me to outline how I think things should be done from now on. It involves turning the tables on everything we do. Don’t balk! Now’s the perfect time to start this new precedent since most people have forgotten our old protocols and routines, and thus will be more accepting.
Dentists: Send them weekly postcards stating, “Friendly Reminder! It’s been two years since you cleaned my teeth. Why won’t you schedule me? Please call my home – awaiting my next visit with bated breath!” (They’ll give you some mouthwash for that.) After your appointment, as they offer you new dental hygiene accessories in a festive party favor bag, hand them back a zip-lock baggie containing your old toothbrush, used dental floss, and a flattened toothpaste tube minus the cap. Gestures of goodwill work both ways!
Restaurants: Bring a little rectangular tray and when the server sets the check down, slyly hand her your tray with a wrapped red peppermint candy and a bill that says “Seat-Warmer Fee $25. Without my presence at your table, this joint would go under. Gratuity not included. Thank you for your patronage!”
Doctor’s Office: Welcome the receptionist, then pressure her to “Please sign in” your wedding guestbook. Give the bookkeeper a little cup and insist she leave a sample in the bathroom. Tell a nurse to step on the scale, but don’t allow her to remove her shoes first. Catch the doctor off-guard by knocking three times loudly on his office door, then startle him further by shouting, “Hope you’re decent? Coming in now!” But first make him wait twenty minutes. Upon leaving, force all you’ve met to sign forms protecting their privacy, acknowledging new HIPAA laws.
DMV: Distribute a Scrabble letter tile to all employees and announce through a megaphone, “Now serving Letter R.” Snap their photo with a Polaroid camera while they’re blinking and not anywhere close to smiling. Shame anyone who’s not an organ donor.
Theaters: Holding a tiny flashlight, greet the usher to check his ticket and verify he’s in the correct cinema. Showoff the mini concession stand you smuggled in your purse and explain why your tuna on Rye Crisp is healthier than popcorn and candy. Charge him five times what it cost you to buy. Remind him to enjoy the show.
Babysitters: While she puts your kids to bed, go to HER house and eat all her ice-cream, and only the M&Ms from her trail mix. View an R-rated DVD, then rummage through her nightstand drawer to see which brand of underwear she wears.
Psychics: Phone the Medium to say you’re canceling because you’re getting a strong message (from the other side) that something very bad will happen if you see her today.
Hairdressers: Sit in the swivel chair, staring at the mirrored reflection of their hairstyle and ask nosy questions like, “Is that your natural color?” and “How often do you condition those split-ends?”
Schools: Send the teacher a note saying, “Hi! Glad my child’s in your classroom this year. In recent months our household budget’s been drastically reduced and we’d appreciate you sending the following items home on Back-To-School Night to help our family run smoother during the semester. 1. Five boxes of tissue 2. Six printer cartridges, color only please 3. King size sheet sets, floral pattern in shades of blue 4. Gain Laundry detergent, 42 oz size, original scent 5. Dozen yellow roses, long stem. 6. Three boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut flavor.
Telemarketers: Answer promptly when you see their number in your caller ID and say, “Surveys R’ Us! Ready to answer your questions and accept your free vacation to Cancun. My consulting fee for marketing research is $325. My travel fee is triple that and on weekends I require my family accompanies me. Which credit card will you be using today?”
God: Instead of asking for help, miracles, or things you want, pray to be of service and for more opportunities to assist those in need. Those are mitzvahs and that’s the Jewish way … and some things should never be changed!