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  • Writer's picture Renee Wertz

When All Else Fails, Smell the Roses;

or how to impale yourself with style

Hi everyone! It’s been a while. How are you?

“How are you, Renee?” you ask.

I’m a hot mess! But, thanks for asking.


Why aren’t you posting on your blog?” an encouraging friend asked.

“I miss your blog,” a well-meaning acquaintance said.

“You should be writing your blog,” a third person insisted.

“But I’m a hot mess!” I explained to my cheerleaders.

The truth is, I have tried numerous times to write a post. Writing block isn’t my problem; I have a trillion ideas.


Two months ago, I planned to immerse myself in Mother Nature and compose an Annie Dillard style rambling on the wonders of perception. Five seconds into my nature meditation, a Himalayan-sized tarantula jumped on my head — That was the end of that.


I started a blog about how, after fifty-two years of starvation diets, the Initiative Eating craze was finally going to give me that perfect physique. What a great idea I congratulated myself. I will eat whatever I want and write an inspiring article about how my life turned around, and I am now the healthiest and fittest I have ever been eating muffins.

Two hundred ninety-six pounds later, I realize that was a failed experiment.

Let me be clear; I have no intention of putting down my muffin. I like muffins—and tater tots—and macaroni and cheese. Yum!

Unfortunately, nobody will want to emulate my newly acquired fluffy figure, so my blog post on Intuitive Eating died with my desire to eat kale ice cream.


I studied articles and videos about how to organize my life. Okay. I thought. This is great. I’m going to organize my life and brag about it in an earth-shattering article.

What another fabulous idea—A blog post and an organized life—A two birds with one stone kind of thing.

I stared at my piles of clothes.

“Where are all the clothes hangers?” I asked my family.

“We don’t have hangers anymore,” they informed me.

“I'm doing this,” I yelled. “Five dozen purloined hangers can’t stop me.”

“You are crazy, Mom. I didn’t steal your hangers,” my seventeen-year old-daughter told me.

“You weren’t using them, so I donated them to an indigent family who cleans,” my husband said.

No hangers. No organizational bins. No Lysol. No problem. I don’t need that cleaning crap to write.

I THOUGHT about cleaning and organizing, as I wrote a fantastic piece.

Unfortunately, I lost the rough draft under a pile of dirty socks.

Since I have no desire to wade through mountains of smelly underclothes, that post has been canceled.

It was a stupid idea, anyway.


I considered writing about how my life coach saved me and how you, my dear reader, can also be saved. Julie Lonkun, my coach, is the best; if you have a pulse, she can fix you.

Since it is 1:55 p.m. and I haven’t yet brushed my hair or teeth, and I’m still in the same pajamas I put on on March 13th when I was sent home from school to quarantine, and my shelties are licking cheese curl dust off my toes, I hardly think I’m the poster child for what a life coach can do for you. Sorry, Julie, I’ll go back and delete your name, so no one associates you with me— just let me put that edit on my to-do list right under lose fifteen pounds and match seventeen laundry baskets of socks.

I thought I had a pulse. Oh well... More on this in a moment:


Moving on.

I’ve written three novels since the world went to hell in a handbasket. Yep! You heard me — three! Two hundred forty thousand words of carefully edited artistic perfection. Arnt, you impressed?

Maybe that’s what I should write about? I told myself. I defied the odds of a global pandemic and crazy political pandemonium to live out my dream of becoming a published author!

Okay, I should tell the truth. I’ve received two hundred forty thousand and one words of rejection from publishers and agents:

“Great writing. Not my cup of tea.”

“Why’d you waste my time, lady?”

“You suck!”

“Please, check your mail frequently. I’m sending both the sword and detailed directions of how to impale yourself with style!”

“Ms. Wertz, you are fat, and your feet stink.”

I suppose I haven’t defied any odds, and instead of pursuing that blog post, I should check the mail then take a shower.


Back to my missing pulse.

I bet people would love to read about how I came back from the dead, I thought. So, here goes:

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Doctor.

“I don’t feel good, Doc,” I said. “I’m choking on my food. I can’t keep anything in my belly."

“That’s unfortunate,” said my doctor.

“By the way. I’m not sick. I’m a hypochondriac,” I explained.

“Yes,” the pretty lady said. “Sounds like you might be crazy. But before we strap you into the straight jacket, let’s run some tests.”

“Okay,” I said. “Sounds good.”

“Okay,” my doctor said.

“Okay,” I said.

“It will be fun,” she promised. “You are going to have a nice nap. Then I’m going to push this mile-long hose through your innards. Don’t worry. You won’t lose any teeth because I will put this wooden wedge in your mouth; it will also keep you from eating your tongue. Just think of this as a party with lots of people visiting your intestines.”

“Woohoo! Let’s do this!” I said.

“By the way, do you have a living will?” My doctor asked.

“What?” I tried to jump off the table but three nurses wearing evil grimaces held me down.

“Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the experi--!” My doctor said as I faded into oblivion.


“Did you enjoy your nap?” My doctor asked.

“I’ll let you know when I stop vomiting,” I told her.


“You are a hot mess!” My doctor said. “You should be face-up under the dirt. No idea how you are still breathing.”

“Yikes,” I said.

My doctor continued. “Let me show you these pictures. They are still shots from the Alien movie. Aren’t they fascinating? Picture the most hideous creature in the greatest horror movie ever made—then add hundreds of big bloody sores all over the monster. Can you picture it? You can! Good! That is your digestive tract.”

“Wait. I’m not sick. I”m a hypochondriac,” I reminded her.

“You died five minutes ago,” she informed me.

“Hmm. That explains a lot,” I said.

Since a dead woman can’t write a blog post, please forgive me for baling on that topic.


In conclusion:

My doctor says that for now, I have to give up my life as an overachieving, professional Belly Dancing, New York Times best selling, marathon running, Pulitzer Prize-winning, high school teacher. I get to stop and smell the roses.

You may be asking yourself, is there a point to this fat, disorganized, hypochondriac’s musings?

No. No, there isn’t.



My bloody boil-covered body has been quarantined for over eight months. I’m not currently teaching school, no literary agent in the solar system will touch me with a ten-foot pole, and my fat-girl pajamas no longer fit. Shouldn’t I be aching to run myself through with that hari-kari sword gifted to me?

Oddly, I’m happy. I don’t know; perhaps slowing down is doing me good. Besides, I feel victorious because I think I wrote a blog post. Pretty impressive for a dead woman!

If you will excuse me, it is one o’clock in the afternoon and my favorite time of the day.

“Your favorite time of the day, Renee?” You ask.

Yes, dear reader. It is time for a hot cup of tea, a chocolate brownie, and an hour of I Dream of Jeannie reruns.

Talk about smelling the roses!

Special thanks to Julie Lokun for not abandoning me if I forget to take her name out of this rambling.

Thanks to Creative Writing Teacher and Columnist Dave Fox for inspiring this mess.

And, thanks to Moxie and Shelby for keeping my toes clean.

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