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Fri, Nov. 22

Column: Silly lawsuits, marriage reviews and selfies are the week's hot topics

There has been some pretty weird news lately. A welcome relief from all the mass shootings, war stories on ISIS, refugees from Syria, politicians acting badly and other terrifying topics. I was enthralled with the report this week that a lady in New York sued her 12-year old nephew because four years ago at his birthday party, he ran to her and exuberantly hugged her, breaking her wrist. Ouch! So four years later, the young boy is hauled off to court when "Aunt Jen" filed a lawsuit requesting $124,000 in damages. This young boy's reckless act has evidently caused a whole lot pain and suffering. Aunt Jen sobbed on the stand that she could no longer hold a tray of hors d'oeuvres.

The tragedy!

I do understand. I have broken my right wrist twice and left wrist once. Come to think about it, I could be rich for all the "pain and suffering." One grandson accidently tripped me while I was on roller skates. One time I fell off a horse (and I definitely should have sued that wild beast) and the last time was when another grandson ran into me with an ATV. I do have trouble holding a platter of appetizers so I sympathize with Aunt Jen. Of course, I don't really ever walk around with a tray of food. And since my grandsons don't have much money (and the horse has since died) I guess I will have to carry on with weak wrists.

If Aunt Jen teaches us anything, it is that we live in a litigious society. Oh, it did take the jury all of 20 minutes to deliberate and rule that "no harm was done." Maybe the moral of the story is that sometimes hugs can be dangerous. But do NOT sue a child.

Speaking of hugs, the newest idea among marriage and family therapists is for married couples to sit down and give each other a "performance review" once a year. You know, just like a work-related review. I brought this up to my husband, Doug, and he couldn't stop laughing. He said "only a fool" would do anything like that. Really? Low marks, Doug, on communication! Couples are supposed to freely and openly rate and discuss "how things are going" so improvements and adjustments can be made. Unless you are in my house, because Doug isn't going for it!

Okay, so I asked my girlfriend, Joy, who lives in San Francisco, because she is very smart and a licensed psychologist, what she thinks of couples having performance reviews. She said it is "brilliant" and a perfect way of "bringing up issues" of concern in a non-threatening, helpful manner. Joy even sent me a form and I looked it over very carefully.

Sadly, I think Doug is right. Because in scoring myself I realize that I do sometimes interrupt Doug's train of thought and he is a big procrastinator, and that's just the beginning. Dear Readers, if you are happily married, do not take a performance review!

Oh, but a life well lived is one full of self-reflection. In fact, so much "self" that the biggest reason people are rushing to get plastic surgery today is because of the "selfie." Yes, researchers claim that the need to take a "selfie" (those annoying self snapshots taken with a smart-phone) and then post it on Facebook for the world to see has caused an uptick in the number of plastic surgery procedures. Among people aged 26-35! Okay I get it. You are at a party and the selfie you posted shows your eyelids are a bit puffy (maybe get more sleep) or you have a frown line (perhaps smile more) or your lips are just too thin and it becomes obvious that the photo you posted is "not perfect." And once your face is plastered all over the internet - you can never take that image back.

So for the first time in recorded history, the motivation for plastic surgery is not due to the ravages of the aging process - but the desire to "improve." Well, I am aging and need improvement, but those two facts alone are evidently not reason enough to see get a nip and tuck! It is the selfie (which I have never taken but must try it) that is making plastic surgeons very happy.

Speaking of selfies, did you know that some National parks have had to close because too many of the visitors were taking selfies with wild animals in the background? I am not making this up! It seems too many people (nuts) have been snapping selfies with a bear standing (ready to attack) in the background and when park rangers started seeing this new phenomenon they actually closed down several parks, as a safety measure. People - do not take photos of yourself 10 feet away from a grizzly bear!

News sometimes teaches us a few things. Like that posting your beautiful face on Facebook is not the same as living a beautiful life! Take hugs when you can get them. There are worse things than broken bones, such as broken relationships. And the best part about a marriage is in the "performance" and not the "review." And if you see a Grizzly, run! That is not the time to snap a photo! (Unless, of course, you have just had some Botox).

Until next week, Dear Readers, be safe and love yourself(ie).

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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