Monday, February 25, 2013

An Essential Motto to Live By

My dad the reptile, or more specifically the tortoise, is a pretty wise little guy. He told me once, after I came home terrified from a nasty encounter with a mean creature at school, that there was an essential rule to life by. I thought that it was pretty profound and damned brilliant, so I want to share it with you here.

Each day, be less afraid than you were the day before. Each week, be less fearful than the week before. Each month and year and decade, be more brazen than the time before. Forgive yourself when you fail, because fear is basic to every creature on earth, and you’ll never be completely free of it. Ninety nine times out of a hundred- a stick in the grass is just a stick - but one time, it’s a rattlesnake ready to strike.”

You see, dad the tortoise was born with a major league fear factor and a lightening quick withdrawal reflex. So he’s had to practice this motto of his very diligently. And as far as I can tell –except when mom the tiger confronts him about one of his idiot-syncracies (as she calls them) – he’s a pretty serene and cool about life.

I fail the fear test often and have to forgive myself about my anxieties at least once a week. But I keep pushing my limits of tolerance and keep taking risks. So I’m getting better. Bravo, bravo to me, and to you as well for trying to live gracefully in this sometimes cruel and insensitive world.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Paris, Diversity and the Sorbonne

I’ve been contemplating the idea of college lately, and when I thought about my options, one stuck out as the obvious choice - the Sorbonne in Paris.

A few years ago, my parents took me on a trip to the marvelous City of Lights. I’ll tell you what, that’s one incredible, lively and, yes, friendly city. Somehow the French got a rep for being haughty, aloof and rude. That must be a truth from a distant past because they treated us like royalty. And remember, we weren’t exactly the most typical tourists - a tiger, turtle and their hybrid kid.

They say that the Eifel Tower is the number one tourist attraction in Paris, but don’t believe it. As far as I could tell from walking miles around the big city and taking the metro, the number one attraction has to be, well, cleavage. Everybody seemed to have it. Not the men of course, but young, middle and aging women showed their stuff and were proud to do it. Mom even got in on the action and displayed some major tiger cleavage. Unfortunately, I’m very limited in that department so I just enjoyed the sightseeing.   
Speaking of the Eifel Tower, you can see a thousand pictures of that mammoth structure, but when you experience it in person, believe me, you will cry. I was rather blasé about visiting the iconic structure, but when I saw it for the first time - the lights sparkling over  that magnificent city - my tears flowed like the Seine.

Tortue, my dad, had one request for our visit to Paris: “We must walk through the campus of the Sorbonne”, he pleaded. Tortue had an American friend who studied French at the University who had recently passed away. She was a Francophile if there ever was one, a true lover of all things French, a teacher of the language and culture. Dad’s wish was to place a bouquet of flowers in the campus courtyard in her honor. And with the help of some gracious French students who showed us the way, that’s exactly what we did. Yet another episode of flowing tears among all of us.

That cinched it for me, along with the vastly diverse culture I experienced in Paris. Here’s the way I  wrote about myself in the e book, Lessons of the Wounded Warrior.

The city has dealt with the likes of Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, not to mention Mr. Bonaparte. And the Moulin Rouge is there as well. Really, Parisians have seen it all, if you know what I mean. I should be just a tiny bleep on their emotional radar, which is perfectly fine with me.

For more about embracing diversity and coping with prejudice, intolerance and bullying, visit and check out his free e book on these issues. And for a bonus, you get a more in depth look at moi.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life’s a Bitch and Then You Have to See a Shrink

Eventually, I had to look at myself in the mirror and admit: “Face it kid! You’re a hybrid – and a good looking one at that. Yet, you need some help coping with the minuscule minds and habits of ‘the mean ones’.”
“Here’s the deal,” I continued talking to moi. “As long as they make you miserable, they will keep on trying…damned them!”
So it was time to check out Dr. G, the towering guru who helped my parents, Cat and Tortue. He turned out to be a pretty cool guy – not the stereotypical flat, unemotional shrink who sits back, rubs his chiny -chin-chin and repeats that nauseating query, “And how does that make you feel?”
Nope, Dr. G was more irate than me about these bullies. Here’s a sample of his tirades from Dr. Parrino’s e book, Lessons of the Wounded Warrior.  
“Disgusting!” he spewed. “Those cruel ones, they create emotional havoc throughout the animal kingdom. Some say it’s the devil’s work, and evil in the world. I say evil, smevil to that. They are a bunch of cowards…yes? Always picking on the tall, short, yellow, green, fat or lean.”  
“And further, my tender child, they crave and achieve great joy from chastising the anxious, melancholy, OCD, ADHD, PTSD and many other vulnerable animals. Those who are coping with bad memories, emotional or physical challenges, or creatures who are just plain introverted. Yes, the cowards choose to prey on the sensitive ones.”
“Ask yourself why? Why would they want to do this?...I could scream at the top of my very long lungs, but that might rile Siggy, so I will just explain their pernicious motives.”
(Siggy is his able assistant, a mynah bird that reminds him of his perfectionist tendencies.) 
“You must understand, my little student, they are full of fear - the darkest, deepest terror known to animals. Yes, fear that if they lose control and power over others, they will be abandoned. Excuse my jungle tongue, but when those who follow their dictates stop caressing their hairy buttocks, they always disintegrate. The cruel ones then regress into a puddle of poop.”
There you go, a super regular creature just like the rest of us. So if you need help (and who doesn’t these days), don’t be afraid to give the ‘shrink job’ a try. It’s a gift to your ‘self’, and a kick in the you-know-whats to your nemeses. And don’t be shy about further inquiries at