Who IS That Strange Old Woman??

She is Perfection!

Strange Old Woman

Courtesy of RMMula@aol.com

A very weird thing has happened. A strange old woman has moved into my house. I have no idea who she is, where he came from, or how she got in. I certainly didn't invite her. All I know is that one day she wasn't there, and the next day she was.

Old Lady

She's very clever. She manages to keep out of sight for the most part; but whenever I pass a mirror, I catch a glimpse of her there; and when I look into a mirror directly to check my appearance, suddenly she's hogging the whole thing, completely obliterating my face and handsome body. It's very disconcerting.

I've tried screaming at her to leave but she just screams back, grimacing horribly. She's really rather frightening. If she's going to hang around, the least she could do is offer to pay rent.  But no. Every once in a while I do find a couple of dollar bills on the kitchen counter, or some loose change on my bureau or on the floor, but that certainly isn't enough.

In fact, though I don't like to jump to conclusions, I think she steals money from me regularly. I go to the ATM and withdraw a hundred dollars, and a few days later, it's gone. I certainly don't go through it that fast, so I can only conclude that the old lady pilfers it.

You'd think he's spend some of it on wrinkle cream and topee'. God knows, she needs it. And, the money isn't the only thing she's taking. Food seems to disappear at an alarming rate. Especially the good stuff like ice cream, cookies, candy.  I just can't keep them in the house.  She really has a sweet tooth.

She should watch it; he's really putting on the pounds. I think she realizes that, and to make himself feel better, I know she is tampering with my scale so I'll think that I'm gaining weight, too.

For an old woman, she's really quite childish. She also gets into my closets when I'm not home and alters all my clothes. They're getting tighter every day.

Another thing: I wish she'd stop messing with my files and the papers on my desk. I can't find a thing any more. This is particularly hard to deal with because I'm extremely neat and organized; but she manages to jumble everything up so nothing is where it's supposed to be.

Furthermore, when I program my VCR to tape something important, she fiddles with it after I leave the room so it records the wrong channel or shuts off completely.  She finds innumerable, imaginative ways to irritate me. She gets to my newspapers, magazines and mail before me--and blurs all the print; and he's done something sinister with the volume controls on my TV, radio, and phone. Now all I hear are mumbles and whispers.

She's also made my stairs steeper, my vacuum cleaner heavier, all my knobs and faucets hard to turn and my bed higher and a real challenge to climb into and out of. Furthermore, she gets to my groceries as soon as I shelve them and applies super glue to the tops of every jar and bottle so they're just about impossible to open. Is this any way to repay my hospitality?

I don't even get any respite at night. More than once her snoring has awakened me. I don't know why she can't do something about that. It's very unattractive. As if all this isn't bad enough, she is no longer confining her malevolence to the house.

She's now found a way to sneak into my car with me and follow me wherever I go. I see her reflection in store windows as I pass, and she's taken all the fun out of clothes shopping because her penchant for monopolizing mirrors has extended to dressing rooms. When I try something on,  she dons an identical outfit--which looks ridiculous on her and then stands directly in front of me so I can't see how great it looks on me.

I thought he couldn't get any meaner than that, but yesterday she proved me wrong. She had the nerve to come with me when I went to have some passport pictures taken, and he actually stepped in front of the camera just as the shutter clicked. Disaster! I have never seen such a terrible picture. How can I go abroad now? No customs official is ever going to believe that old fart scowling from my passport is me.

She's walking on very thin ice. If she keeps this up, I swear, I'll put her in a home. On second thought, I shouldn't be too hasty. First, I think I'll check with the IRS and see if I can claim her as a dependent.

An Apology To Rose....

The item above was sent to me by a friend with Anonymous as the author! I published it and recently got a nice note from the real author... My apologies for using your great work!

I'm afraid your strange old man is the product of a sex change operation.  I originally wrote this piece about a strange old lady who moved into my house, as documented in my Writer Online article, "Beware the Cyberthiefs" .   (Article is below)

I'm sure you didn't intentionally "steal" it--I've found it on dozens of
sites.  If you would like to continue using it, however, I would appreciate your changing him back into a woman and adding my name as the author and, if possible, my e-mail address (RMMula@aol.com).  If you cannot do this for some reason, I would appreciate your removing it from your site.

Thanks. Rose

After decades of writing, with a few small successes, last fall I finally made the big time.  One of my articles appeared in a nationally syndicated feature.  Ann Landers  devoted an entire column to it.  She dispensed no advice that day—just shared my essay which she hoped her readers would enjoy as much as she had.  Friends in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C. phoned to say they had seen it.

I should have been thrilled, excited, ecstatic.  Instead I was furious, irate, frustrated.   Why?  Instead of carrying my byline, the piece was attributed to an unknown author.  The friends who had called had simply recognized the article as mine because I had sent them copies when I first wrote it two years ago.  My D.C.  “fan” who read it in the “Washington Post” gushed,  “You’re famous!”  Sure I am.  Famous anonymously.

My article concerned a strange old lady who had mysteriously gained access to my house when I wasn’t looking and just moved in.  For the most part she kept out of sight, but I’d occasionally glimpse her as I passed a mirror.  I then recounted the crone’s activities, which were ruining my life.  As you can imagine, it’s not easy for a gorgeous young woman like me to adjust to such eccentricities.  And now the old hag had found her way to Ann Landers without even telling Ann that I had discovered her.  The ultimate affront.  

In her column, Ms. Landers identified a cousin in Phoenix as the person who had sent her the piece.  I found said cousin with surprising ease through a Phoenix information operator.  I phoned.  Cousin raved about the article.  “Ann and I laughed and laughed!”  she said.  “I cried,” I told her; and explained why.  I asked where she had originally seen it.  “My son sent it to me,” said she.  “I think he got it on the Internet.   I’m so sorry.  Please give me your name and phone number, and I’ll certainly tell Ann.”  I did.  She did.  Later that day, Ann Landers herself telephoned me to apologize, compliment me, and offer to print an attribution soon which would acknowledge my authorship of the article.  She asked, “What else can I do for you?”  I quipped, “Well, you could put in a good word for me with your syndicate; I’d love to write a regular humor column for them.”  She chuckled.    I didn’t bother explaining that I hadn’t meant my remark to be funny.

I then donned my detective hat and launched a cursory Internet search.  Within minutes, I found my old lady on six different sites.   I e-mailed the writers of the offending web pages.  They responded with profuse compliments, apologies and offers to either remove the piece or attribute it to me.  I chose the latter since the old lady was already running rampant through cyberspace anyway.  Unfortunately, no one could lead me back to the culprit who originally kidnapped her.  All of the sources I was able to identify had received it from someone, who had received it from someone else, ad infinitum.  And each of these recipients apparently sent it to everyone they had ever known since pre-school. 

How was the old woman spirited away without my permission in the first place?  Over the past year I had sent the article to a dozen publishers, all of whom declined my generous offer to allow them to pay me big bucks for it.  I then sent it to my small hometown weekly, which was happy to print it (for no bucks).  Did a reader scan it, without my byline, and start the whole distribution chain by e-mailing it to a friend who decided to share it with other cyber pals?  Is that how my old lady got out the door without ever paying me for my hospitality?

My frustration mounted when another friend unearthed still another website which featured my unwelcome boarder.  As I had with the other sites, I e-mailed the owner and asked if she could let me know where she first found it.  Her reply:  “I’ve had the piece, for about twenty years now, and I didn’t get it from the Internet.”  Very interesting, especially since in the article I mentioned VCRs, which certainly weren’t prevalent twenty years ago, and—more important—ATMs, which didn’t exist back then.  

To add to the mystery, about a year ago the publishers of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books contacted me.  They had seen my old woman somewhere (before she lost her I.D. papers tying her to me, apparently) and wanted permission to consider including her in one of their upcoming volumes.  I have no idea where they discovered her and am now in the process of trying to track down their source.

It’s very disconcerting.  Because of the Internet, the world has expanded exponentially.  Consequently, keeping track of our brain children has become impossible.

By the way, it’s 11:00 PM.  Do you know where your children (and old folks) are?

(c)2000 by Rose Madeline Mula