Affected by Side Effects


Next time my girlfriends invite me to lunch, I plan to make an excuse. They're all using a beauty serum that's making their eyelashes grow to the size of peacock's tails. To paraphrase an old saying: You don’t realize how often someone blinks till it fans your bread bowl of clam chowder. They bat their eyes and chat while I hunch like a cave dweller, shielding my soup with my body, rushing to finish it before the gusts cool it off; wishing for a bigger spoon. That eyelash potion was invented after a side effect from a certain medication made patients’ eyelids turn fringier than flapper dresses. Side effects are strange.

My mother once had a side effect from watching “The French Chef.” She ended up dressing and sounding exactly like Julia Child. Her cooking stayed the same. When I had kids, she warned me they’d learn more by accident than by design.

Sure enough: After a certain uncle came for a visit, our two-year-old daughter started grunting like an old man whenever she got out of a chair, and talking out of one side of her mouth, like she was smoking a cigar. We hope this fades. She’ll be nineteen next month.


I recently suffered a side effect from a magazine. The article said every husband was waiting for his wife to unleash her inner vixen.

I studied vixens in ads. They wore eye shadow and a dazed expression like they had just been hit in the forehead by a ping-pong ball fired from a slingshot. I practiced the expression, bought the eye shadow and unleashed my inner vixen in our home office.

“Are you tired?” I asked coyly.

“A little,” My husband said, still looking at the computer screen.

I gave him the dazed-by-a-ping-pong-ball stare and ran my fingers through his hair.

He glanced up and said, “You’re sick.”

“When did you get so uptight?” I demanded.

“You haven’t looked this bad since you got food poisoning on that cruise. You’ve got green circles around your eyes!”

Before I could explain, he ran to make me a cup of tea, which he passed through the doorway on a tennis racquet, saying, “I don’t want to catch it. I’ll sleep on the couch.”


I decided to consult the article, but it was buried under a big pile of magazines about getting organized and busting clutter. Then I got distracted by a “Stop Procrastinating” article and decided to look for it later.

I settled into bed with my reading and tea. Nobody to tell me to turn off the lamp, hog the covers or snore. I smiled like a fox. Victoria has her secret. I have mine!