Stop right there. There is no reason for you to read any further than this. What, you donít believe me? You need specific reasons? Youíre rather persnickety. But okay, I suppose I can give you, say, 7.5 reasons.
(1) You have better things to do. Unless youíve already alphabetized your spices, synchronized your clocks, and cleared your cabinets/closets/garage/attic of every item thatís been gathering dust for the last five yearsóif youíve already done those things, then never mind and please enjoy this here bottom of the barrel.
(2) The fame is going to my head. When I started writing this column 3.5 years ago, I knew that along with the fame and fortune might come the loss of my privacy. Since Iíd already been publicly writing in detail for some time about my cervical challenges (and other such high-minded matters), the privacy loss was negligible. But in my latest self-evaluation, when calculating the size of my melon, the measuring tape was solidly within the danger zone. However, having neglected to take a baseline measurement before starting this project, itís possible my head has been this big since birth. Or at least since sixteen.
(3) I use too many words. In the fifteen minutes before bedtime on Wednesday, I fielded my kindergartenerís serious life questions about: why her classmateís cousin died at birth; what cremation is, how itís done, and whether, if she has me cremated, she can keep me in a jar forever; why we canít take a family shower and what specifically are the anatomical parts that make boys different from girls. She likely is now as overinformed from, as I am scarred by, the conversation. Similarly, you probably only needed two, maybe three, reasons not to read this column. Or maybe just number (4), to wit:
(4) I have nothing to say. Well, nothing of lasting importance anyway.
(5) You canít complain. If youíre an aficionado-cum-participant in the Facebook-forum-skewerings of the local newspaper because of its purported irrelevance in your life, then most definitely, you shouldnít be here. Protect your credibility! Stop reading this! (Just kidding, come back.) (No, never mind . . . go on.)
(5.5) Rest in peace, numbers (7.5)-(10). This isnít a reason so much as fluff because lists with fewer than five items verge on being too short to be trustworthy and Iím not allotted enough column inches for a list of ten reasons. The editress-in-chief would cut me off somewhere in the middle of item number seven, so I just deleted two-point-five of my reasons to save her the trouble.
(6) Headlines and titles with numbered lists are annoying. Have you noticed the increasing prevalence of articles with a numbered list for the title? If you hadnít noticed, you will now. Itís an irritating psychological ploy: you give the author the 5-10 minutes you could be using to alphabetize your spices, and sheíll give you, for example, the definitive 7.5 reasons not to read her column. Donít buy into it. Next time, I mean.
(7) We deserve better than this. I do things that I know are annoying. My title proves it. But then, you ignore perfectly sound advice, like ďthere is no reason for you to read any further than this.Ē So maybe we donít deserve better. Maybe you and me, weíre perfectly matched. Maybe we should go synchronize our clocks together.
Shelby Slawson, attorney turned mommy turned writer on a quest for trophy wifehood, authors the blog ďOther SuchĒ at www.othersuch.net. She is also a member of the E-T's community columnists. She can be reached at email@example.com.