The GRRR! Guide to Relaxation

Had a nice weekend, did you?

If you had a hard time relaxing on those two days off from the job, let me clue you in on why.

People stink.

It's pretty much the same all over the place. Your wife, your husband, your kids, your mother, your father, your in-laws, your neighbors, the snow plowers, the kids in the neighborhood who no longer earn money on the side shoveling snow, the people on the road, even the rude waitress at the diner down the street — eventually somebody's going to make you Grrr!

Took the family to the local diner on Sunday for breakfast. My daughter Maxine wanted pancakes.

"We're all out of pancake batter," the waitress said coldly. "The place is under new management, and we ran out."

Huh? What the heck does new management in a restaurant have to do with running out of what is — behind eggs — the number two most-requested menu item on a Sunday morning at a diner?

Just pancakes you say, right?

Yeah, you're probably right. I shouldn't let it get to me, but it took everything I had not to scoop up my family from the booth and go somewhere else. What stopped me?

Perhaps the fact down the block there would be something else to aggravate me.

Could be the crowds of unwashed couples and families who believe donning a baseball hat and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes is sufficient cleaning for Sunday breakfast.

Or conversely, could be the crowds in their Sunday best, who go from worshipping the Lord and giving thanks to Him for all earthly blessings to honking and cursing and fighting over the nearest parking spots at the pancake house

If you add a low blood sugar count to the already Grrring exercise of dealing with the general stupidity and the Oblivions we face day in and day out, then you're just asking to be arrested for some kind of disorderly conduct.

Better to eat fast, don't look at anybody else in the restaurant for fear of upchucking and hurry up with the check.

Check pads weren't something the new management ran out of, incidentally.

After such a relaxing breakfast out, we thought we might catch a movie.

"Bridge to Terabithia" was the closest thing we had to "family entertainment" — at least with a 3-year-old — but we decided it looked too violent for the wee little one.

But that's OK, with gems like "I Think I Love My Wife," co-written, directed and starring Laurence Olivier himself — that pillar to acting, Chris Rock, and the Sandra Bullock flick "Premonition" out at theaters, the Strakas were probably not the only ones avoiding the multiplex over the weekend.

As for me, I spent a good part of Saturday wondering where in heck are the teenagers with the shovels on their shoulders, going door-to-door looking to make a few bucks clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks?

Silly me.

What could kids possibly need their own money for, when everything they want is handed to them by Mom and Dad?

These days, Dad says "Here's a twenty, son. No need to go out and work for your iPod download money."

Which is bound to put Junior at a disadvantage when he enters the real world. These days, the backstabbers, the loafers, the ones who can politic up, are the ones who make it anywhere.

Junior would be better served if Dad said something like, "Here's a twenty if you can creatively point out your brother's flaws without him knowing it."

Welcome to the new millennium, where self-esteem is either granted or stolen, where politicking is the new go-getter and goals are just not worth the effort.

File This in the 'No-Duh Folder'

Read in Page Six that former self-proclaimed call girl Natalia McLennan — who once famously appeared on the cover of New York magazine bragging about her chosen profession — is accused by her former live-in boyfriend of stealing from him and get this — leaving him with a sexually transmitted disease.

The guy is reportedly pressing charges against his former flame.

Gee, how could such a nice girl rip him off and give him an STD? Here's a bit of advice for you, dude. If you don't want to be robbed blind or have a burning sensation each time you urinate, don't date hookers.

Kind of a no brainer if you ask me.

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