January 3, 2002
Self-Improvement for Dummies
Some of the letters we get here at the Jewish Journal are quite flattering. Some people relate that they find my biweekly musings to be pithy and funny (thanks, mom!). If these people can be trusted, they are laughing out loud, weeping with laughter, dying of laughter. I've killed six by the latest count.
It's not all good news, however. After reading some of the letters to the editor about this column, it is clear that I have a lot of room for improvement. I see these letters as constructive criticism, not only of my writing style and choice of subject matter but of me as a person, too. That time of year was fast approaching to make New Year's resolutions, so I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity to better myself.
This notion was in my head when I picked up a copy of the Learning Annex catalog from a yellow newspaper dispenser on a street corner. I was reminded that we live in a world of unlimited opportunity and in a country where every child can grow up to be president.
I signed up for every course they offer. I resolved to improve myself in every conceivable way.
The possibilities for self-improvement were astounding. I discovered my psychic gifts, protected my assets, took charge of my life and now live stress-free in Los Angeles! I've regained youth and vitality, I have mega-memory. I make sushi. I learned to speak French in only three hours! I lost my foreign accent.
Next week, I'm exploring fetishism, calligraphy, candle making and henna tattoos. I'm changing my identity.
Why pay a shrink $100 an hour when you can take a class for $40? I solved problems I didn't even know I had. I overcame anxiety, overcame phobias, overcame compulsive-eating disorders, overcame procrastination, overcame infertility, overcame my fear of public speaking. In all likelihood, I am coming to a theater near you.
My romantic life has changed forever. I'm not letting shyness stand in the way of my happiness. I'm socially savvy, assertive with style.
I'm letting go and moving on. I can talk to anybody about anything, make someone fall in love with me, impress my date every time. I learned how to seduce a woman, marry rich and reach higher levels of sexual ecstasy. I've stopped being nice.
Now I want to break into television, break into broadcast journalism, break into commercials, break into New York art galleries, break into stand-up comedy, survive and thrive after a breakup, break out of my box and learn to live.
People I've never even heard of are offering me life-changing advice. I now know how to use feng shui for wealth and business success. I've got a job teaching English abroad. I can turn any idea into millions of dollars. I've got all the latest information on prenuptial laws, which could come in very handy some day. I found corporate sponsors.
My financial picture is already brighter. I found my niche on the net. I've created a dynamic online presence. I'm using the Internet in my job search, setting up shop on the Internet, using the Internet for direct mail, becoming an electronic day trader, making a great income (at home) in the adult-entertainment business on the net. I can find out anything about anybody.
My spiritual side has undergone a complete makeover. I unlocked the ancient mysteries of the kabbala. It was pretty easy. Thousands of years of Jewish mysticism condensed into a two-hour lecture. I woke up with a hangover that morning, and by nightfall I was practically a holy man. Wow!
I learned to read the tarot, opened the psychic doors within, do past-life regression, summon angels and built a Native American medicine wheel. I perform CPR.
I'm igniting my inner healing forces using foot reflexology, practicing qi gong, discovering the healing properties of green tea. I improved my eyesight, enhanced my natural beauty and improved the sound of my voice.
I am becoming the most well-rounded person in the city. I belly dance. I'd love to tell you more about ancient African tribal wisdom, the art of erotic writing or basic medical billing, but I see that the UCLA Extension catalog has arrived in today's mail. See you around campus.
J.D. Smith is constantly improving @ www.lifesentence.net.