I know it’s a little late in January to be doing this, but I have decided to share with you, my three faithful readers, my most shameful and disgusting secret of 2009.  Are you ready?  Better buckle up for this one:

I bought an O–as in Oprah–magazine.

In my defense:  see my Standard Line of Defense (i.e., It Really Wasn’t My Fault.)

It was two weeks before Christmas. I was making fresh salsa to give as gifts to my friends and neighbors (if you didn’t get any from me, it’s because I knocked and knocked and nobody ever came to the door.) Mid-salsa-making, I ran out of peppers and had to run to the corner grocery store to replenish.  Due to its sinful markups, I generally avoid this particular place unless I am in dire need of just a few essentials, as was the case this cold winter’s day.  I entered the warm little market and my tired, overshopped back and feeble, overspent mind instantly succumbed to the cozy market’s dim lighting and rotisseried chicken aroma.  (Do they make candles in this odor?  They should.  Let’s shoot Scentsy an email.)

Compared to my standard back-breaking, bulk-buying expeditions to Wal-Mart (please don’t judge, especially if you live in Portland or voted for Obama), setting foot in that store was like walking into a spa.  It was clean, it was pretty, and everyone was superduper nice.  The least I could do was buy something from these good and gracious people.

Caught in this dreamy holiday bubble of warmth and good cheer, the latest cover of O caught my eye, all silvery and smooth, with a glimmering Oprah sitting at her table, sipping what I could only presume was a fifty-dollar cup of organic green something-or-other that adds a decade to your life and eliminates the need for mammograms.  Add to all this that she promised me with her eyes–Oprah promised me, I’m telling you–that if I only opened that magazine, this year I would finally get what I really wanted:

1.  Rich.  Thank you, Suze Orman.
2.  Skinny. Thank you, Bob Greene.
3.  Perfect relationships. Thank you, Dr. Phil.
4.  The secret of life (by going on vacation for a year.)  Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert.
5.  My own way (by putting-my-own-needs-first-for-a-change.)  Thank you, Martha Beck.
6.  My Best Life. Thank you, Ms. Winfrey.

As I picked it up, the shiny pages fluttered to the opening editorial– How to Stop Spending–nested gracefully between the Gucci and Prada ads.  Like a zombie on the holiday episode of “My Favorite Things,” I shelled out $4.95 (that’s a lot of peppers) and held the cool, slick volume close to my body, a little giddy over this uncharacteristic impulse buy.  I tightened my hold on the glossy and glanced around quickly as I beelined for the car.  No one was going to steal this moment from me.

Later that night, soaking my jalapenoed skin  in a well-deserved jetted bath, I finally sank into the riches I had been saving all day long.  I eagerly flipped through this iconic tome of American femaleness but, as you may have gathered from  my subtle forshadowing, I did not learn how to get rich, skinny, validated, enlightened or fulfilled.

Bummer.

I did, however, learn two rather significant pieces of information from this vault of info-tainment:

#1:  “Living My Best Life” apparently means living any other life than the one I’m living now.  My current life, it would seem, remains a problem to be solved.  By Oprah’s staff.

#2:  Elizabeth Gilbert is the single most annoying person on the planet, with Martha Beck in a close second.  (Oprah, of course, remains in a cosmic league of her own.)  And yet they all made a few bucks off of my back.

Are you as disappointed in me as I am in myself?  I’m sorry to have burdened you with this confession, but doing so has made me feel a bit lighter, kind of like when Bilbo gave Frodo the ring.  And now, my friends, you are at liberty to cast off your own cares of 2009.  What was your lowest moment this holiday season?

Come on.  Let’s talk about it.
Oprah would.

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