May 02, 2008

It's the little things you have to watch out for

[By Merry, on behalf of the Committee to Pay Attention to the Little Things]

It's the little things that get you.

[No, not those kinds of little things...]

I have trouble with the Little Things in Life because they’re so damn trivial. My first thought is, ‘who cares?’ I end up falling into the ‘just this once’ trap.

Just this once I’ll
  • eat that piece of cheesecake
  • take the elevator, not the stairs
  • leave the bicycle behind and take the evil SUV to work
All of these are relatively venial offenses taken singularly, but I do one after another until the next thing I know I’m taking the train to Slothville and the jeans don’t feel quite as comfortable as they did before.

[Should I? Oh, why not...]

Well, here's a good reason not to:
[Thanks to Melting Mama for this photo!]

So, just this once, today I promise that I will:
  • bring food from home
  • take the stairs
  • oh, all right yes I am taking the evil SUV to work, but that’s only because I refuse to try to haul a 40-pound bag of dog food home on my bicycle. Tomorrow. Honest.

Little things matter.

What, you don’t believe me? True story:

The other week, the fine state of Oregon sent out a Voters' Pamphlet to everyone they could find who had a mailbox. Ordinarily this is a good thing, I mean, you probably should read up on all the issues before you shred the pamphlet for your compost heap. (Presuming it's printed with soy-based ink instead of nasty chemical ink.)

They even included a toll-free phone number to call in case you had questions. There was only one problem. Instead of a number with an 866 prefix, the pamphlet posted the identical number with an 800 prefix. If you dialed that, you heard a sultry-voiced woman saying "hey there, big boy! Want to meet @#$! young women*? Then call this number..."

Trust me. Watch out for the little things.

What little things trip you up?


*This anecdote was reported on the local news the other day, and they bleeped out the @#$! word. I hate to confess it, but I can't think what word it was that they bleeped. All the likely adjectives I can think of seem permissible on television these days. Indeed, pretty much any adjective seems permissible on television nowadays. I’m not bothered enough to actually call the message to find out; it just makes me feel uncool not to immediately know things like that. I must be getting old.

What word do you think they used, anyway?


  1. Cookies.

    Not the big-as-your head kind, but little ones that seem like one or two couldn't hurt much. But do I ever stop and one or two? No, I do not.

    I think what's weird about the Mystery Smutty word is that it's an adjective. There just aren't that many scuzzy adjectives! I can't believe they couldn't have given us a little more help with initial letters or something. Perhaps I'll have to call later if no one else does first.

  2. sexy? although its not a bad word? or maybe now a days i dunno.

  3. Hi Merry,

    I think "take the stairs, not the elevator" should be the other way round in your list of things NOT to do ;-)

    This Mystery Smutty Word has me puzzled too! Crabby, I dare ya to call the line...


  4. Oregon need a @#$! new proofreader.

    What trips me up is any food that I don't usually eat and would never buy in the grocery store, but if I see the food at a party or on a buffet table, I am like a thirsty man in the desert when he finally hits the oasis!

  5. I just this littled my way to saddlebags.

    it was all postdinner carb snacking which become just this EVERYSINGLENIGHT.

    it got ugly.

  6. Who knew Oregonians were such puritans...

    Oh, the Bag Lady can relate - she "little-d", and "just this once-d" herself to fairly large proportions, and, somehow, "little-ing" and "just this once-ing" doesn't seem to work the other way... sigh.

  7. Goodness thats a big piece of cheesecake. It would be wonderful to sit down and eat a slab of that!

    I like the little things making a difference; it makes exercise a lot easier on hectic days and all! But sometimes its a chore to pull out my jump rope and do just one minute of jumping, even though I KNOW it'll be helpful if I keep doing it... sometimes we're better at the little things than other days, I guess!

  8. Oh, I feel better if y'all can't immediately figure out what the mystery smutty word was. It's not just me.

    I'm sooo glad I'm not an editor working for the state of Oregon!

  9. I'm ashamed to admin my 'little thing'...eating off other people's plates doesn't "count" as far as calories/WW points go. (But it does decrease the amount of people who want to eat a meal with you!)

  10. Mini marshmallows are little... but a whole bag of them is not...

  11. My little thing? Pretending calories in drinks don't count. Because I love margaritas, all 400+ calories of 'em!

    I can think of a few words that would fit the @#$!, but I'm not sure if they're safe for consumption on this here blog. That and I don't want ya'll to think I'm as dirty as the words sound!

    Or maybe it just says "single"?

  12. Mystery word:


    Sorry, somewhere in there my train of thought jumped tracks.

  13. Vanilla, LOL!

    and the "little things?" They kill me. In the form of crumbs leftover on highchairs, crusts of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, leftover goldfish crackers in a car seat (yes, I have stooped that low). I've never really been the binge sort. More of the "just one bite" kind.

  14. I tend to put all food stuff into "little things" categories and all exercise things into "big things" categories. As in, Oh, I'll just have this one little cookie; but my workout plan is Intense Cardio for an HOUR each day that I'll never be able to stick with.

    Should definitely switch those - add little bits of exercise (park further from door) and have one nice dessert a week if I avoid all the little ones (mmm... blueberry pie is good for your memory..)

  15. Oh, and how about "skanky"? first thing I thought of...

  16. HAHA! I should start watching the local news! Too funny!

  17. (LOL at red's minty-fresh suggestion!) Whorish? I'm stumped.

    I love the idea of reversing the little thing rationalization to harness that energy for good. Brilliant strategy! I talked myself into going for a bike ride at lunch! (Fortunately I work from home and have the luxury to be able to do this.)

  18. im gonna go with 'horny'. That seems like a good fit o_O

  19. Wow to that picture! And also to that mistake in Oregon. Great post, definitely makes you rethink the 'little things' that really add up.

  20. Life Savers...they are little things. I too little-d my way to the enormous size I am now. I like the idea of little thinging my way into exercise though.

  21. I'm stumped on the word, too, but I can tell you that there were certain words I was terrified of when I was a copy editor for a newspaper. My all-time scary word? Public. You're just one "l" away from an entirely different kind of meeting!

    As for the little things, I've been working on a new strategy to leave two or three bites on my plate at every meal instead of finishing what's in front of me. If you add up all those "bites" at the end of the day, it's pretty significant -- an easy way to cut calories when you want to.

  22. Dara, that "l" has indeed caused havoc in a semi-official document here in New York City about twenty years ago. When I became final proof in the same agency where the error occurred, well, let me just say-I understand your terror.


  23. "Wet". It's gotta be. (Can you say that on a blog?)

  24. Horny was the first thing that I thought of, and I saw weight loss pill thought of it, too. Things like that always make me shudder. Once while writing a financial training guide at work, I left the last s off of 'assess'. Apparently spell check has asses listed under "two or more donkeys" I was not amused, however, many of the sales trainees seemed to like it.

  25. I rode my bike to work today. It was my first day teaching a brand new pilates class, and I wanted to get there early, so I rode like a bat outta hades. Then I taught my hourlong class. THEN, I had to bike like a maniac back home in order to jump in the car and pick up my kids from school. Later, I walked the dog and did the grocery shopping.

    Now, I'm ready to die.

    I'm all for saving the environment, but i gotta save my legs, too!

  26. Those little things that work against me come in the form tastes - a taste of ice cream, a taste of cake, a taste of that cookie, a taste of the donut. The next thing I know, those tastes have turned into a couple of servings or two!

  27. So I hate when this happens--I left another comment yesterday, or so I thought, and now it's not here!

    Must have hit preview instead of publish again. I wonder how many other blogs I think I've commented on and haven't???

    Anyway, I got too curious and tried calling the 800 number, but alas, it seems they've changed the message to omit the naughty word.

    So unless someone who got in earlier spills the beans, we may never know!

    And I love this discussion about all those "little things." Um, is a cupcake a little thing? How about 2? (The Lobster brought them home for me; what could I do?)

  28. What a fat ass. Oh, that's my ass. Doh.

  29. Emily - I totally eat off of other people's plates, too, and just figure those calories don't count. Because they don't.

    Maybe the mystery word was actually two words lie, "Wanna meet AND BOINK..." Except prolly a dirtie word for "screw".

  30. But one little cream filled apple donut doesn't count - does it!

    And I think the word was "horny" too.

  31. Guess it's like mystery meat. We'll never really know.


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