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Seems to me I remember hearing somewhere--I don't know if I have this right--but didn't somebody once say that the Chinese word/pictogram for "Crisis" is the same as the one for "Opportunity"? Cultural lefties yammer away in yoga classes and Whole Foods, quoting (or misquoting) gurus and holistic authorities on every conceivable subject without going to the trouble to actually Snopes anything. I do it myself, informing friends several days ago about how sugar substitutes actually make you fat, when I don't know it for sure. Where did I get that? From Dr. Andrew Weil? Dr. Oz? Neither of whom I pay any attention to, but that doesn't stop me from putting the word out. To people like friend Lolo, who watches Dr. Oz but doesn't catch every show...

Oh, wait--I won't be able to corner Lolo at work in the mornings anymore with wise (and probably erroneous) insights, because the gift/shoe store where we've both worked for 24 years is closing up. Out of business, as of January 31st. Going... going...

Unemployment: a crisis.

Not only will I miss the hell out of Lolo, but also Phyllis and Lisa, Marilyn and Paul. I've blogged here about my day job for years, Christmas chaos, insane customers. That anorexic ballerina with a bad attitude. The alcoholic Icee Guy. But losing them all to the past now isn't at all funny. I ain't laughing. We've loved our store and hated it, approved of it and disapproved, been proud of it and embarrassed by it--like a marriage. Contemplated divorcing it, all of us, but then it just... came down with terminal cancer. It astonishes me, how sad this makes me.

But what if I can look at it the way the Chinese do--or at least the way ex-hippies and New Agers say the Chinese do? As an opportunity, not just a crisis? An opportunity for changes among us all, because Lolo's family elder-care issues are bringing her the chance to make money by caring for her mother, plus she's got a new boyfriend. Lisa's applying for a job at her daughter's school as she plans for a spring Bat Mitzvah for the girl. Phyllis will find the job of her dreams. Marilyn and Paul are retiring, with what one hopes are years of travel and peace left to them--she enjoys gardening, he loves to fish. And me? Well, I'll write full-time. Finally.

--Which is scary, because writers don't make a whole lot of money in the new system of modern publishing, unless they're J.K. Rowling. I might starve. Become a greeter at Wal-Mart. A bag lady. A cat lady. --Oh. Wait. I'm already sorta one of those...

But haven't I heard somewhere that whenever the Universe closes one door for you, it opens another? Sounds a little more right-wing this time, culturally. Especially if you substitute the word "God". Maybe Joel Osteen said it? Billy Graham? But anyway. Hmm. I kind of need to believe it, like, for at least the next couple of days, so I'm not going to Snopes.
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