EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Live an Oprah-Approved Life Each and Every Day

You may not know Oprah Winfrey personally, but it doesn't feel that way, does it? Through the magic of television she appears in your living room, confiding her most intimate trials and tribulations, and hugging the heck out of her favorite guests. And you know she'd hug you, too, wouldn't she! Or would she?

Whereas some psychologist hacks might ask, "Are you leading an authentic life?" the real question is, "Are you leading the kind of life worthy of hugs from Oprah?" Please read our handy checklist below: It is your guide to the secret of living every day in a way that allows you to state with confidence, "If Oprah met me, she'd hug the heck out of me!"

Are you gorgeous AND concerned?

As long as you are both, you are worthy of an Oprah hug each and every day for the rest of your life.

Take as your prime example the hunky interior designer and frequent Oprah guest, Nate Berkus. Don't we ladies swoon over his haunting blue eyes and his swept-back, expertly gel'd hair?

But Nate isn't just a handsome wizard with fresh paint and a grouting gun. See his brow furrow with concern over the decorator-challenged among us-those who believe, for example, that pink-and-chartreuse foil wallpaper will spruce up the guest room nicely. See Nate perform freebie makeovers at Oprah's command, and then return to her show for some well-deserved hugging. And kissing and squeezing. And pinching and hugging and kissing.

Have you taken a leave of absence from your job to raise houses?

Depending on how much pain and suffering you experience in the service of raising houses for others, volunteering for this selfless activity can make you deserving of an Oprah hug each and every day for up to five full years. Please review the following pain-and-suffering Oprah hug schedule for raising houses.

Have you reunited a lost dog with its owner?

What is more heart-tugging than an adorable pooch frantically wagging its tail upon catching sight of its loving owner after a painful separation? Nothing is, so start placing raw meat out on the front stoop pronto.

Note 1: Dog and owner must have been separated by at least 250 miles, or we'd all be stealing dogs just to reunite them with owners down the street. Note 2: Since Oprah has dogs of her own, this item is guaranteed to generate hugs, at least until the next reuniter breaks your distance record.

Are you willing to let Oprah's producers film your struggle with a pathetic life problem?

First, remember our Happy Woman motto: Don't do anything pathetic by halves, or it's not worth doing!

Here are two of Oprah's favorite viewer afflictions, either of which WILL get you hugged, that is until you are no longer pathetic.

1. You are colossally overweight, or on death's door with anorexic emaciation-your choice! To obtain full effect, your mode of transport must be a forklift or a stretcher-not your choice!

2. You have children so vile that they have at the very least embezzled most of your retirement savings.

We say "at the very least" because really it would be marvelous if your vile children have been trying to poison you to death recently. It's two birds with one stone! You've cleverly rolled the evil-child angle and the death's-door angle into one pathetic life problem. Here comes Oprah with extra hugs!

© 2006 Kate Heidel


Kate Heidel is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. Her work includes humor essays and poetry, genres so incompatible that Kate's resulting inner turmoil can only be soothed by frequent shopping trips to Designer Shoe Warehouse.