Why I Can Deal With 56

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Why I Can Deal With 56

Tomorrow’s my birthday! Remember how delightful that phrase used to be? (Assuming you are past the age of looking forward to growing older…21? 40?) I used to lie awake nights and calculate how long I would need to wait until turning one year older. I still lie awake, but in a “holy crap! Has it really been 40 years since I was allowed to date without my husband’s permission?” way.

Back when The Beatles roamed the earth, (together, engaging in cheeky banter), I used to begin looking forward to my birthday on the day after my birthday. Then I went into labor on my 30th birthday which made the whole agitation about turning 30 a pain glazed, surreal blend of terror and amazement where I discovered that I had really constructed an entire human being from materials I had around the house. The doctors told me this would happen, but these were the same people who said I needed to exercise, so I was skeptical.

But there he was, a mostly blue individual who apparently was under the impression that I, a very young person, was his mother and who was I to tell him differently as he didn’t speak English or tell time, if his sleep patterns were any indication. They handed him over with not so much as a owners manual and I learned that my birthday would be, heretofore, a day of preparation for his birthday and because I grew to think of him as the greatest person in the world, I went along with it.

Eventually, my birthday began to climb out from the rubble and became the most important day in everyone’s life once more. You’d think this would make me happy, but like Captain Hook, I was beginning to hear the ticking of blue hair and orthopedic shoes, or what ever sound terror makes.

That was stupid. I was still young in my thirties. Same goes for my forties, I’d like to go back to my forties and kick myself in my still firm flesh. I’ll probably feel the same in my sixties about my fifties, but thank goodness, that’s really far away.

Only it’s not! I’ll be 56 tomorrow, November 11! 56! That makes it fifty years since I couldn’t wait to get my drivers license and gas cost 47 cents a gallon and I used to return bottles to get the money! (That last sentence was brought to you by “In My Day,” the reality show only old people engage in, although most of us are unaware.)

Which reminds me, I am so old that I feel compelled to tell young people how things were in my day, which can only mean this is not my day! When did it stop being my day!?

Was it when I stopped wearing high heels because they hurt my knees? Was it when a late night out meant I could still be home for prime time tv? Was it when I stopped using pliers to pull up my zipper on my pants, not because they were too small, but because they were just right?

Yes, yes, yes, and so much more, most of which doesn’t bother me, because although I have grown older, my immaturity has remained intact. In fact, I recently took a Facebook quiz which tagged me as a 19-years-old, which doesn’t make me immature so much as the fact that I took a quiz, written by 14-year-olds, which placed me as one of their contemporaries and I was happy about it. My goddaughter, who is, by virtue of the year of her birth, actually a contemporary of the authors of the test, came out as 39, because she is an adult.

Despite the downside, which some would characterize as still being alive, but I prefer to consider as being victimized by gravity, I like most of the aspects of November 11. For one thing, I always got the day off of school because, aside from the day honoring my birth, it is Veterans Day. But mostly, if I were asked what three things are most important to me in life I would say world peace and next, that all the people—-(sound of record being removed from the turntable in a less than careful way). Presents, attention and cake, that’s what I live for, oh and love, of course. I live for the people I love giving me presents, attention and cake. (I’ve included a picture of me at last year’s celebration. Yup. That’s me, blowing out my candles. Sad, isn’t it?)

So, tomorrow, just when I got used to saying 55 with a grimace when asked my age, I will begin saying 56 with a grimace and cake on a day which so far as I’m concerned, is all about me…and presents and cake. And when it comes to making a wish, I’ll probably wish for more cake because the rest of my life is pretty good and after all, I’m 56. It’s not like I’m 57. Holy crap.

Why 312 Months is a Difficult Age

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Why 312 Months is a Difficult Age

Parenting is a challenge. Just about the time you realize what your 12-month-old means by geya, (read a book) your 312-month-old moves out of the house.

I know what you’re thinking, “Did you count to three? Because the book says counting three will nip unwanted behavior in the bud”. I did and it didn’t.

I threatened to ground him, but he openly defied me as he packed about 500 of the 1200 t-shirts he owns, along with some guitar picks and was out the door with everything he would need to be a guy in the world.

I wasn’t too worried at first. You know what they say, he’ll get to the end of the block and change his mind and they were right, except about the changing his mind. Apparently, he got to the end of the block, went onto the next block, eventually got on the expressway and forgot the saying entirely, which is not as cute as my friend’s son’s story. He ran away from home on a tricycle dressed only in his mother’s filmy pink nightgown. This would be less cute and more creepy if the son in question was 312 months old, but, luckily, this youngster was a mere lad and therefore only raised a few eyebrows and instead of the suspicion of the neighborhood watch.

It’s going on two months since my son became room mates with two women and had to pretend to be gay so as not to raise the suspicion of their conservative and clueless landlord and that, of course, was Three’s Company. My son has become room mates with two women and two men, none of which pretend to be gay, except maybe their cat, who is suspiciously drawn to Broadway musicals.

Still this doesn’t mean hijinks and shenanigans don’t occur on a regular basis. It just means there’s no laugh track and none of the girls are dingbats or future spokespeople for the thighmaster.

The entire situation has thrown me through a loop, but I’ve always been pretty clumsy. On one hand, I want my son to live in the basement of my house and be at my beck and call when it comes to going out for breakfast or watching cat videos on youtube or just so I can mock him in person, but on the other hand…to be honest, there is no other hand. I just want him to live in my basement.

I suppose if he actually considered this his best option, I would doubt my fitness as a mother all the while we were going out to breakfast and I would, most certainly, be making fun of him for his lameness as it pertains to basements. Still, there would be the youtube sharing, but I guess that’s not enough to make life decisions by unless you want to make your mother happy and guilty at the same time, and who doesn’t?

His departure has made me question a number of things in my life. I wonder if I should have had a second child, a girl, maybe, with a sweet manner and the desire to make me happy at all costs. Then I look at the ghosts of their former selves, which are my friend with daughters, and realize that sugar and spice and everything nice business is crap, at least till the daughters move out of your house.

Still, as my friends with daughters sip their crack cocaine in the morning to prepare themselves for the eye rolling and lip curling which is female adolescence, I kind of envy them and wonder if it’s better to wish your child would hit the tricycle trail then to wish they would sit on your lap beyond the time it’s physically, psychologically, and socially a terrible idea for them to do so.

Other vital questions: Now that I’m no longer the mother of a child, does that mean I should stop signing him up for tee-ball in the spring? How many times can I tell the story of him saying “a little bite of Jesus” rather than “a taste of heaven” before the cashier at Jewel quits her job to become an inner city cop? Should I buy groceries for him to stave off scabies or let him eat globs of grease until he learns that Crisco is not a food group?

All in all, it’s part of the evolution of parenting from holding your breath in hopes that he’ll fall asleep so you can finally catch up on the four months of sleep you’ve missed since the introduction of baby monitors in your life, to holding your breath in hopes that he’s happy and safe and, to tell the truth, I still like the breath holding better than not having someone in the world that you made from scratch who may or may not cure cancer or write the next million selling record or introduce you to Chris Martin when that happens, so it’s all good, except for the fact that someone in that apartment is bound to write an wacky sitcom about his or her time living with these room mates and I’ll probably be played by Roseanne Barr as the overbearing, manipulative, nosey mother of the Jesse character, let’s call him Jorge Ponyboy, who barges into the apartment at the most inopportune times and hollers, “Don’t worry about me, I’m just a mother!” each time I arrive.

(The preceding run on sentence was brought to you by Nike.)

In real life, I have tried to control my urge to rent an apartment in the area where my son lives, mostly prompted by the order of protection he took out and I only considered calling my son Jorge Ponyboy for a brief time when he was about ten and discontinued the idea when I found out the amount of paperwork it takes to rename your 120 month old son.

Most of the time, I find better things to do than listen to this song and weep into my chocolate, and when I miss him too much, I drive the 45 minutes to his apartment and take him out to breakfast at Beatles and Bianca, (that’s an inside joke) because I’m glad he’s moving forward and enjoying his freedom and I hereby promise, if Jesse let’s me get away with this one last ode to missing him, I’ll find something else to talk about on my next blog. Maybe something new and surprising like how Chris Martin’s mom must have felt when he moved out.

What I Forgot to Tell My Son

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What I Forgot to Tell My Son

Whilst checking out at Target, I inexplicably shared with the woman ringing me up, that my son was moving out that very day. She peered at me like a small hen who had just rang up all of the ingredients for my world famous fried chicken minus the chicken and then asked if I left my son with anything.

I thought she might have meant torn towels and cracked dishes,license-plate

but she soon clarified she meant advice on how I expect him to behave.

What I should have said was I expect him to behave like he always behaves,

like an enormous galoot that trails coins, socks and guitar picks wherever he goes, but instead I told her, my son is 25 and if he hasn’t figured out what my life lessons were, it’s a little late to start now, although I still call him baby and occasionally try to pick him up, which is beside the point, but absolutely relevant when I visit the chiropractor.

She went on to discuss why teenagers can be assholes, advancing a theory which was neither relevant to our conversation or more than 10% true, but I thanked her because that’s how you get people to stop telling you things, and rolled my cart out of hearing. For all I know, she is still discussing the topic with confused replacements of me, but who can replace me, so never mind.

While driving home, I wondered what he’d say if asked about what I taught him over the time it was my chance to espouse philosophies and demand compliance. One thing’s for sure, it would be quite different than what I think I told him, so I thought I’d try to advise him one last time (kidding! I’ll never let up on him. Poor kid is an only child).

After a great deal of deep thought, here’s what I came up with.

There are seven deadly sins; sloth, envy, gluttony, anger, Curly, Larry and Doc. Try them out, pick which one you like and stick with it. My favorite is sloth, but you’ll need to figure this out for yourself.

Try not to be swarmy or smarmy.

Don’t wear white after Labor Day…or ever. I’m the one who did your laundry so, trust me on this.

Do not befriend or fall in love with anyone who can’t name The Beatles by their first and last names. Only marry someone who can tell you Paul’s first name and Ringo’s given name. The Ringo point is less important, naturally.

Try to be kind. Yes, even to the guy who argues that Yeti’s are eating his potato chips while he sleeps. There’s no need to jeer him unless your friends do and then, of course, join in.

Watch out for women who ask; Notice anything different?

Do your damn homework. Even if it’s irrelevant, like Algebra or Physics.

Even though you will always love me best, you probably shouldn’t tell women this on the first date…or the thirtieth. Maybe just keep that our little secret.

No one is better than you and you are not better than anyone else. Except for people who leave clothes on the floor is store dressing rooms and people who leave their shopping carts in handicapped parking spaces. These people are stupid and evil. Avoid them.

This is not 100% true, but people who use mustache wax are clinically insane 90% of the time. Approach them with caution.

When deciding whether or not to participate in an activity; ask yourself, will this make a hilarious story to tell my mother? If the answer is yes, do it and try to take videos. If the answer is no, move on to the next ridiculous activity you are inclined to participate in.

Never end a sentence with a preposition. (Do as I say, not as I do. Doobie doobbie doo.) Make of that what you will.

If anyone wants to fight you, seem to happy about it and they’ll wander off.

Finally, become a rock star so I can meet Paul McCartney and Chris Martin. I’m sorry but you just don’t meet enough people I want to meet as a Forensic Psychologist. (I know. I just can’t remember the title you’re aiming for.)

Wait. Don’t forget to tell me you miss me with a fiery passion, even if you haven’t given me a second thought in days.

Oh, one more. Lie.

Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

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Why You Should Shut Up and Why I Already Have

The act of being alive affords many questions which will, if history is any indicator, never be adequately answered. Questions like: Why are we here? (on earth, not the Internet. We’re on the Internet because there’s nothing on TV. The End.) What is the meaning of life? (and I’m not talking about the Monty Python movie) and why do so many people fail to understand that Cilantro tastes like feet?

shut-up

All of the preceding questions will, no doubt, plague the thoughtful denizens of humanity until Kansas is the last ocean front property or until we run out of Oreo’s, whichever comes first, but as far as I’m concerned, there is one question that supersedes the others, one question that is so deeply mysterious that no amount or quality of think tanks will ever be able to even crack the surface of this mystery inside an enigma. And that question is: What the hell is Gwyneth Paltrow thinking?

I kid, of course. The real mystery of the ages is why do people go to musical performances to have conversations? Have they not heard of restaurants or even living rooms or cars?

Since every written question is rhetorical, by virtue of the lack of human give and take, known as conversations, I will answer for all of you who do not talk at performances. No, they have not heard of these places, nor have they heard of grassy hillsides, sidewalks or the library, where apparently talking is now considered in vogue and-spoiler alert!-the topic of future rant.

Maybe talkers, (who will be heretofore referred to as Yapsters) think people wander off of the street, decide to become musicians and begin to make a pleasing sound (unless they’re Yoko Ono) with no forethought or sense of accomplishment, when, in fact, they start picking out tunes on the piano as toddlers, tenderly banging their fists against the ivories looking for that next new sound, which will most likely be, “Go to bed, I’m tired”, which will not make sense to them until they’re old.

For the next ten years, aspiring musicians will be forced to attend lessons, ignoring the pleading teachers and parents who warn said children, if they don’t become rock stars they will have no way of earning a living. (At least that’s what I told my kid.)

Finally, after many student musicians who aren’t meant for the stage have drifted off to concentrate on their acne, those who remain will realize that musical instruments attract members of the opposite sex (or same, not that there’s anything wrong with that Trademark: Jerry Seinfeld,) and will pour their hearts and souls into learning to play, sing and move around the stage without tripping or looking like Joe Cocker (unless you’re Joe Cocker, in which case, have you taken your medicine?), finally rising from their basements and garages to take the stage in some dingy bar or coffee-house, throw back their heads and let their dreams spew out (this is only for metal heads and those band members who accept every drink bought for them,) only to find that the majority of patrons have attended, not to hear the artfulness of the performers musical expression, but because they’ve left their home in order to start a thousand sentences with the word, “Dude.”

This isn’t only the case with rockers or folk singers, but Barbershop quartets and opera singers, although those at the opera start conversations not with “Dude”, but “My Good Man”. In any and all cases, Yapsters not only feel free to gab, chat and generally exhort one another, much to the dismay and/or indignant fury of those who did or did not buy tickets (me), but did leave the house in order to hear the wonder of a human being with the ability to use the same 8 notes (except, once again for Yoko, who has apparently discovered her own musical tools, hitherto unheard by man nor beast) to make a myriad of melodies with instruments and vocal performances, that are so pleasing to the ear as to soothe the savage breast. (Yes, its breast. You have the quote wrong and, once again, the soothing part doesn’t apply to Ms. Ono, bless her heart.)

These talents, and I’ll give you that the word “talent” can be used very loosely in some cases, are every day occurrences to Yapsters. After all, music plays while they ride in elevators, shop in malls and watch Honey Boo Boo, so what’s the big deal, seems to be the “thinking”. The world owes them a soundtrack and they have no sense of reciprocity. So I will explain this in a patient and respectful way, so that, once and all Yapsters will understand. (They won’t, but since I’m here…)

Here’s the deal: Shut the hell up. When you’re in the elevator, shut the hell up. When you’re watching TV, even if it’s something so f!@#cked up that somewhere Shakespeare is weeping into his hands, shut up! Give yourself the chance to intake rather than output from time to time, or at least at the local bandshell when groups of bent old men, who look as if they’re concealing backpacks by wearing them under the fronts of their shirts, have been practicing for a year for this night where they can achieve warm applause for singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” mostly on key in three and 3/4 part harmony.

Shut up at orchestra presentations and piano recitals. Shut up for the ballet and they young man who only knows three chords but is trying his best on open mic night. Shut up for Yoko. You heard me. You knew what you were getting into when you came so shut up and take it.

And while I’m at it, and this is for your own good, shut up for Stand Up Comics because they make a living with their mind and they will not fail to use it against you in the most tortuous way. Think Braveheart but painful.

Make your kids shut up at the movies. When they ask why they have to be quiet when all the other kids are yapping, explaining that the parents of the other kids are Yapsters and Yapsters are the only group it’s ok to throw things at, then proceed to demonstrate this.

Shut Up! Be Quiet! Pipe Down! Zip your Lip! Shut you Pie Hole! Or Your Cake Hole (Your preference) Dummy up, Dummy!

Pretend you don’t have anything earth-shattering to share (and you don’t. Let’s just face facts), until the lights go up and the applause goes down and then you can alienate your friends and family with your constant chatter on a one-on-one basis which is how nature intended, where face to face, we can all contemplate the age-old questions, such as Why Are We Here?

Answer: Because no one publishes my blog posts so you have to be here in order read them. Next question? Ask me when the show’s over.

Why I’m Sharp as a Tack

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As we age, we’re told that stimulation of the mind is a necessity if we want to keep up with the likes of Pat Sajak, which doesn’t seem  to be setting the bar very high, but one can only hope.

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

With that in mind, I’ve developed a few hobbies to keep my brain power in tip top shape, or at least hovering above the where-are-we-going-to-put-mom level.

A few years ago, my personal mother demonstrated this level while visiting my home. While sitting on my deck deciding which plant she would trim into oblivion as soon as my attention was diverted, she reported back to me that she was worried about a particular bird which hadn’t moved for hours. I explained that the bird was painted on the side of a bird feeder and thus far had never moved and proceeded to mock her for the rest of her visit.

Because I am weird enough without the benefit of older age, I’ve decided to take up some hobbies which will keep my brain running on as many cylinders as it takes to at least recognize painted birds from the able-to-fly-away kind.

One of my favorites is throwing out the caps to bottle and jars which are still in use. The idea is to toss the lids to say, olive oil into the trash while cleaning up the kitchen and then, when you get to the putting stuff away portion of the evening, wondering where the hell the lid to the olive oil is.

This exercise necessitates two things: the decision to search through the leavings of a family meal in order to retrieve the cap or to create a substitute from items you have around the house. For extra points, don’t use bad language.

Another brain power enhancing activity requires that you never return anything to where you initially found it. This exercise is particularly helpful if you have a spouse who returns things to their proper place, thus alleviating the participant of the arduous job of finding the keys, purse, glasses, remote control or life saving medicine in order to begin the brain stimulating activity of finding necessary objects. Once again, extra points for not swearing or accusing your family of moving the objects in order to make you feel like you’re losing your mind, (which you are).

The next example requires family members to talk in a normal tone of voice. You are only permitted to ask for a repeat one time, after that you will need to guess what the family member is trying to convey. The bonus is that, often what the family member is saying is hilarious and nonsensical, although these same people are required to pretend that what you heard was not even close to what was actually said. For instance, your husband can turn to you while watching television and say: I saw Bob today, to which you would correctly reply, “This show isn’t even about pandas!” Once again, bonus points are available for not accusing said loved ones of speaking softly.

Try getting a crush on a 36-year-old rock star. Although these activities are more geared to keeping the mind youthful and not revisiting immaturity, done right, this activity can stimulate the brain, etc. Here’s what you do; attempt having a sexual fantasy about say, Chris Martin. Now try to imagine an outcome in the real world that wouldn’t include the words, “I’m very flattered…really…but…” This takes some serious brain power.

Nearly everyone I know over 40 plays this next brain buzzing game, but if you don’t remember when MTV had videos 24/7, here’s how it’s played. You wake up injured and your job is to guess exactly what happened while you were asleep which would result in a sprained head. Or, you reach for your babushka, (Old lady for scarf,) and you suffer an attack on your shoulder which can only be described as !@#$! !@#$%^&! Your job is to come up with a more fascinating, yet still believable story which precludes old age as a factor in your injury. For instance, despite her claim of “conscious uncoupling” Gwyneth didn’t take well to my greeting her husband by winking and saying, “Hey Good Lookin’! What’s Cookin?” So she twisted my arm.

There are those who prefer crossword puzzles or trivia, but these activities necessitate items which, as a person of years, will always be missing when the mood to poke at the recesses of your brain arises. Yet, at any given moment you can strain a muscle while fantasizing about Chris Martin as you throw important items in the trash, in the midst of finding you…your…what was I looking for?

Why May and I are BFFs

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Why May and I are BFFs

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of winter as an old man. First of all, old men seem to focus on their lawns and that’s seems

Springless than possible when any semblance of green grass is destroyed in November and only begins to moan about being in a coma in March.

Winter, to me, is an old woman who will not turn the thermostat up, despite the blue hue of her fellow dwellers, which is a good name for a folk band.

She gives the cold shoulder to those of us who like to know our fingers and toes are stil attached without visual assurance. “When I was a girl,” she’ll screech, “There was constant snow! We didn’t have any mamby pamby sleds, either! If I wanted to slide, I’d let my ass freeze over in the outhouse and trip on my way back to the unheated hut that I called home. You didn’t hear me complain! I loved it! Why, when April came around, I’d chase her away with a shovel!” (April being the delicate flower of a girl who had the nerve to want to wear her Easter Sunday dress without a woolen overcoat.)

I spend most of my time in the winter, cursing this evil doer, but usually the cold sucks the breath from my mouth, freezing the words, and letting them drop into the snow, never to be heard again until I slam my finger in a window come screen cleaning time.

Spring in Chicago, on the other hand, is very hard to differentiate from winter. Same snow, same cold, same growling, teeth chattering from me, but the blue in my fingers begins to turn toward mauve and when I see April skip around the corner for the first time, I secretly hate her, because, let’s face it, she’s a bit of a tease.

40 degrees is all we ask and she gives it to us, before smacking us in the face with plastic flowers and running inside to bake cookies with Winter for another several weeks.

By the way, cookies are part of the distinct misery that is winter, although they are not thrust upon me, I feel compelled to overindulge. There is a scientific reason for this, but I don’t care because my pants don’t fit. However, for those of you who like the intricacies of science, here it is: Before Marshalls and TJ Maxx, humans needed protection from the cold and fig leaves weren’t cutting it. So, because they weren’t thinking of how this would affect me, they ate enough to fill a black hole, if a black hole get’s hungry and let’s hope they don’t.

Back then there was little need to get in shape for bikini weather because razors and waxing weren’t invented yet and also because laying on the beach with your friends constituted a buffet for those higher up on the food chain. Also there were no fashion magazines, so women didn’t know that they should be ready, at ever given time, to model for osteology classes.

So, they ate. A lot. And I kind of envy them, because there was no downside. No one sobbed over last year’s wardrobe because only a tube top and you husband’s gym shorts still fit. No one worried about muffin tops, double chins and thunder thighs as that meant less time poking a fire in the cave.

I suppose the fact that they ran from whatever meat-eater found them attractive, thus getting their cardio in every day, kept them in shape, but unless a bear chases me up the block on a daily basis or I chased something desirable, like cheesecake or Chris Martin (for those who have written demanding more Chris Martin blogs, this will have to do for now and you’re welcome,) there will be no running for me. It’s been written into law by my knees.

Anyway, with no thought for the future, Evolution and Calvin Klein did away with the need to eat cupcake and cookies and donuts to keep warm, so why, once September turns a cold shoulder to me, do I feel the need to bulk up from Halloween through Easter and why do these holidays focus on candy? And why aren’t philosophy majors working on this? After all, it’s not like they have jobs.

Despite my less than ideal appearance once Sprinter (Some Spring but mostly Winter) rolls around, May is my favorite month, like a friend who lives far away and I only get to see once a year. You don’t have to dress up for her, she brings fruit, she smells nice, she likes to sit on the porch and watch it rain and she never mentions the fact that you’re wearing a tube top and men’s gym shorts.

Even when May slips up and snows, (yes, it freakin’ snowed in May this year) you have to forgive her because you know you’ll miss her when she’s gone.

Some people don’t appreciate May like I do, however, hence the following conversation I overheard in TJ Maxx recently:

“Wasn’t last weekend hot?”

“Yes, it was. I told my daughter, that’s enough summer for me!”

“I know and it’s going to get cold again this weekend.”

“Awful.”

These women should be deposited in a the bleakest of Canadian back yards where, every year, fossils are discovered one the snow melts in August. (These fossils are called friends and family).

May has come and gone now and I miss her already, although I also enjoy her slightly hotter sister June. I try not to be a glass half frozen girl, but I start dreading December in July to beat the rush, so I’m going to make June count. After all, as the the song from Carousel goes, June is Bustin’ Out All Over, so she has no room to talk.