A friend’s mother used to say, “Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have to work with.”*   That doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t make us crazy now and then.

The “monologuer” is just one example.  There are many others.  I’m sure you have your own list.


A year or so ago, I learned a simple and surprisingly effective technique for defusing the frustration that can build up inside when someone is driving you up a wall and you cannot immediately (or maybe ever) escape, but you wish to avoid an ugly flare-up of temper.  I learned it from my Aunt Cookie, who does not know I learned it from her,  though I might tell her.  And thank her.

Here’s how it works:

1. Turn your face to where the person can’t see it. **  Sideways, to the wall, to the floor, to the heavens, whatever.

2. Cross your eyes.  This is how you express “Aaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhh!!!!!” to the Sympathetic Infinite.  But don’t leave them crossed for too long, or they will stick that way.  (Just kidding.)


3. Uncross your eyes and re-enter, so to speak, the room.   You will be amazed at how much calmer and more cheerful you feel.  Here is an animated demonstration of the technique:

I have been wanting to make this little moving picture for awhile, now.  I was inspired by the work of Ann Wood and Dean Lucker, as well as lots of great pop-up books, like Paul Zelinsky’s incredible The Wheels on the Bus.  While thinking about it, I looked at Joan Irvine’s How to Make Super Pop-ups.  I think I came up with the sliding face on my own.

*(My friend’s mom often added, “and sometimes, that’s not much.”

** I saw Aunt Cookie do it once.  That’s how I know about it.