What are the secrets to happiness? How about the secrets to love? I’ve researched this for years in the fruitiest and lamest corners of countless bookstores, and while I may not know what the secrets to love and happiness are yet, these four books sure as hell showed me 2569 things that aren’t. 2002 Romantic Ideas Special Moments You Can Share with the One You Love Cyndi Haynes & Dale Edwards $7.95 This is the third book I bought from this loving couple, which means in a way, they’ve taken 6006 tiny shits into my brain. Their advice tends to vary wildly between the obvious and the impossible, and all of it is so saccharin your chest hair will pull itself into pigtails. However, it seems to come from a place of genuine love. Let’s feel stomach bile fight its way up our throats once again with Cyndi and Dale. I wish I had time for whatever that is, book published in 2006, but my kid’s got a report on dinosaurs due and I still need help with my golf swing. If I asked my postman for his most romantic stamps, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started taking his shirt off. There’s an entire world of casual sex beneath the surface of society, so I’m careful to never accidentally speak their sex code language. For example, I never tell a hot dog vendor that I want his most expensive wiener, and I never sit next to a senator when I’m taking a crap. Hmmm, that strange outburst might have had a little more muscle behind it if you weren’t the two people who consider America Online to be the 908th Most Romantic Idea. At least one of you is up to something. What a strange window into Cyndi and Dale’s musical tastes. Though something tells me they think “hard rock” is early John Tesh. Yes, get the goddamn shirt. If you’re this type of couple, it seems only fair to warn the people around you. Uh oh, I think the chinks in the armor are starting to show. Next thing you know, one of them’s going to be fantasizing about killing the other one. Oh shit. Man, they can’t even hold it together long enough to get to the third second of the brainstorming meetings anymore. Surprise! I hid your heart medicine! I hope nothing... STARTLES YOU!!!! Let’s not tell anyone about it, sweetheart. We’ll just have it in case one of us does something that might require the one who isn’t dead to leave the state for awhile. This is a quick and easy way for your husband to lose visibility while he’s driving on icy roads! The chunks of snow you left will only obstruct his view for a moment, but without his pills, a moment might be all you need. You know, there’s not a ton of danger in drawing little shapes in windshield frost, but it’s such an empty, pointless romantic gesture that it’s not worth any risk. If she’s not trying to kill him by doing this, I question her sanity. I think life is about to imitate art, Cyndi and Dale. Sleep with your eyes open. Well, I guess we know how he’s planning to do it. That’s not a singing telegram, Cyndi! CYNDI!!!!! Instant Happy Notes! 101 Sticky Note Surprises to Make You Smile by Unknown $8.99 Each page of this "book" is a detachable post-it note to spread joy around your office. It was printed and assembled in China, so when you try to tear off a note, you get anywhere from five to 20 percent of it. No less than seven of the 101 Sticky Surprises are just a smiley face above "TGIF!" And speaking of sticky surprises, surprise: They don't stick to anything. I have no experience manufacturing adhesives, but it seems like directly below the dripping forehead of a 10-year-old factory worker is a bad place to do it. I'm not even sure what this says. My visual cortex screams rape instead of telling me what I'm looking at. If the tiny enslaved children making these knew what they said, they'd know they deserved every second of everything. You'd have an easier time cheering someone up with a piece of paper that said "Herpes Testing Wipe - Discard After Use." This seems like something you should only type right after saying, "What's gayer than two mustaches wrestling over my dick? I've got it!" I have a question for the uncredited author who wrote this. When you open your mouth, do spiders crawl out, or is it just a steady seeping of black fluid? 101 Ways To Tell Your Sweetheart "I Love You" by Vicki Lansky $8.95 Apparently there’s a market out there for mentally challenged couples who want their love life to be cheesier. Vicki Lansky has tapped into it perfectly, sharing 101 insipid ideas for cliched romantic gestures. Spoiler Alert: 70 of them involve replacing everyday objects with heart-shaped versions of themselves. If Vicki follows a fraction of her own advice, every second date she’s been on ended in suicide. I didn't modify this. Vicki actually wrote "Ummmm” as her fingers struggled to type that hairbrushing line. It sort of shakes the reader’s confidence when the author of a 101 Things book is typing out their panic by #35 and the book’s editor is so bored that they don’t notice it. By the end of the book she’ll just be writing down what she sees in the room: Play with 5000 dolls! Photoshop yourselves as centaurs! Anal itching cream! Check your drifter’s restraints! Is that a challenge? You think I can't get someone fired with a gorilla? Vicki, you have a lot to learn about my country's national security policies and how quickly they can be invoked when a fully-bonered gorilla is loose in an airport. So help a guy out, Vicki. Those aren’t real jokes, so am I playing puppet make-believe or trying to get my woman to call me a faggot? And do I add a picture? And then pick a font and lay it all out? Hold on, I'm just making a card! Your advice is to give her an amateur greeting card!? The only thing this is going to tell my sweetheart is that I wasted the whole night trying to save $1.99. I can do the same thing by making wine in the toilet again. Ugh. What if you’re dating someone whose sense of humor wasn’t molested out of them? Are you out of your mind!? Vicki, how much scrapbooking glue do you need to have in your system before this seems like good advice? Here's a token of my affection, sweetheart: nothing! Why not tell her to run outside to see the imaginary car you bought her and scream "fuck you!" as you lock the door? You told me to write her a fake check!! I'd have better luck if I spent 20 minutes of foreplay just making funny sounds between her legs. If you ever give a woman a fake check as a gift, go ahead and put "circumcision" in the memo line and start writing a real one for your doctor. How about I do all that on the bottom of this restraining order, you dingy bitch. 365 Ways to Live Happy Simple Ways to Find Joy Every Day by Meera Lester $8.95 This gives a basic tip for every day of the year, a delight for beginner humans such as aliens in disguises or head attack victims. While I read it I found that there was something dark about it. Something I'm only beginning to unravel the edge of... Wait, the secret to joy is calling the cops at the exact time a person is supposed to call the cops? Was there a second, more depressing option I didn't know about? That man is stealing a car! Hand me your phone! I want to take a picture of these poisoned bunnies fading away while he makes his escape! Meera wasn't very specific here, but I got the idea that her idea of sexual adventure is not getting dick delivered through the fly of white Fruit of the Looms. Let me explain something: If you're writing a book about happiness tidbits, everyone in the world is having crazier sex than you. While you were discovering the sublime beauty of flower arrangement, we were fucking a hot tub full of people we bought on Craigslist. Plus, keep your advice consistent. Do you want me to Try New Positions During Sex or Call the Police When I've Witnessed a Crime? You can't have both. This is another piece of advice that seems to directly violate Try New Positions During Sex. Because for what I have in mind, the lubricant is going to have to glow in the dark and kill sharks. Which doesn't bring me to my point at all: Meera, I've come to expect obvious advice in books like these, but this is on a whole new level. Before this stupid shit was published, was there some sort of emotional dilemma that morons went through when they came across toxic chemicals? I love to swim, but I hate the way factory runoff melts me into a shambling mutant! Latex caulking makes my teeth itch, but pie is so expensive! You're probably not. Still, if you are and you never even tried it, that'd be stupid. So judging by how none of my money went flying out the window to stick on you, you weren't really a money magnet. That's OK, because if you tape your dream salary on your computer, you can now financially masturbate while you regular masturbate. You're still not happy? How about this: Try picturing your ideal body weight while you fuck a favorite jar of olives. Ooo, la la! Gasp! Because when your dreams can soar, your whole face is a rainbow! Judging by how stupidly obvious Meera's advice is and how quickly she trails off into this kind of nonsense, I think she wrote the title for this book before she knew 365 actual things. She should have called her book Useless Words To Make Your Coffee Mug Look Gay. I'm starting to think that Meera's "dream" isn't some kind of abstract concept. In her last entry, she equated our dreams to some kind of facility-incubated flying chicken. Now she wants to give it rocket power while it's in the air? That's absurd. No sane person chases a metaphor that far. Plus, giving rockets to a chicken only makes flying soup. Wait... flight, toxic chemicals, rockets... these are encoded plans for Nazi warplanes! A talisman? Meera, did me shopping in the self help section at Borders give you the impression I was a sorcerer? Hold on, I was kind of kidding about the Nazi warplanes, but mixing metaphysical artifacts and rocket-planes is exactly what Hitler used to do. This book makes so much more sense now! Oh yeah, this was definitely written by Hitler.