737DE13B-E512-4146-BB78-A92E0213E751.jpg

Thea Lambert

A little romance, a few laughs. It's all good.

There was nothing unusual about the two average middle-aged women having a coffee at Starbucks. I probably wouldn’t have noticed the pair, but a flash of pinky-rose color in the hand of one of the them caught my eye. I saw that they each held a tiny plastic bottle and were opening them, pouring them into their venti coffee drinks. The liquid was the color of coffee with lots of creamer. I figured it was one of those energy or protein shots. I laughed wondering if they really believed that their zebra, mocha, half-caf frappuccinos with extra whip would be healthier with the shot. Intrigued, after the women left, I fished out one of the bottles from the recycling bin and read the name.


Forbidden Secret.


The storymaker in me was intrigued. What could it be? Was it an aphrodisiac like Spanish Fly or Ginseng? Were they sexing themselves up for their spouses? Or each other?


Armed with the name, I googled it. And learned that it’s simply a cream liqueur like Bailey’s Irish Cream or Rumchata. I was disappointed at first and then curious. Why would anyone spend $1.50 for a 50 ml bottle? Similar mini-bottles of liqueurs as well as hard alcohol sold for a dollar each at the local supermarket. Why would these woman pay fifty percent more?


Then it hit me. Brilliant marketing. The Forbidden Secret bottle is a sexy rose color. The name is intriguing. At a time when women “of a certain age” are no longer treated as anything but mothers, spouses, co-workers, or even worse, invisible, this drink is marketed for them to feel a little sexy, a little naughty, a little wild. A way to feel special and unique from all the other middle-aged women at Starbucks.


Kudos to the makers of Forbidden Secret. I think their idea will take off, marketing products to the forgotten women around the world who had the effrontery to enter middle-age and beyond.

With each and every job we have over the course of our working life, we will gain a myriad of skills. But there are some more esoteric lessons I’ve learned, lessons that have influenced my life. Here are a few.


At sixteen, I got my first “real” job as a cashier and bagger at the local supermarket. I felt excited and nervous but then became scared after learning I would be working with “scary” twin sisters who attended the same high school as I did. They were tall, almost emaciated, blondes who relied heavily on makeup, cigarettes, and at tough attitude. Walking through the school halls, I was intimidated by them and would keep as far away as possible. But once I started the job and couldn’t avoid the twins, I realized that they weren’t as frightening as I believed. Oh, they were still taciturn and tough, and we never became friends. But that didn’t preclude us from being civil and working well together. I realized you didn’t have to like others to be able to work well. You just needed to be respectful and open to another person’s ideas and feelings. This lesson has served me well.


With my first “official job” at the supermarket, I also learned about official withholding for taxes. Receiving that first paycheck, my shocked reaction echoed Rachel’s on Friends who cried, “Who is FICA and why is he getting all my money?” It also made me more fiscally conscious (some might call it cheap).


My next job was painting flowers, fruit, and vegetables on metal bookshelves, mailboxes, and switch-plates. I always wished to paint the larger elements like the flower petals or the carrots, asparagus, and strawberries. But I didn’t have that kind of brush control. The handle was too thick for my small, pudgy fingers. I was ashamed about this shortcoming until I became aware that the other girls I worked with didn’t have the brush control I had with the thin paint brushes. I could collect three colors of paint on the brush and make perfect strawberry seeds or carrot fronds. My strokes were thin and delicate. They had dimension while the other painters’ efforts looked messy and one-dimensional. This might seem like a small feat, but it made me realize that we all have our individual talents and we shouldn’t underrate them.


Working for a couple of insurance/financial services companies, I appreciated the importance of saving for retirement and beginning to save for it early. Later, I would encourage my co-workers at other companies to make sure they contributed as much as possible to the company 401k. One friend told me that she didn’t earn enough money to contribute. But every morning, she purchased a Starbucks drink. I’m not saying we aren’t allowed to treat ourselves (I’m a big Starbucks fan), but the phrase “Pay yourself first” is one of the most important lessons to learn with savings and money management.


Working at a Thrift and Loan, I met many people with extremely poor credit hoping to get a new mortgage or a refinance. Making copies of their credit reports, as well as their credit-card and current mortgage made me determined to keep my credit good. But an incident occurred where I realized that anyone could fall into a desperate position. One couple wrote how the husband obtained a really good job, making good money, and they decided it was finally time to start a family. They had a beautiful son, purchased a house, and decided to have another child. The next line in their letter I’ve never forgotten, saying, “Then my boss was arrested, convicted, and sentenced for murder.” Through no fault of their own, their American dream became a nightmare. We should always remember compassion when we learn about the tough times others are going through. Because we never know when it could happen to us.

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to stick to a budget. There are so many great things to buy, especially online. And there are some real icky ones, ones I would never buy. Here are just a few.


Snittens The Original Snot Mittens Baby it’s cold outside and, oh no, your nose is running. Or maybe you’ve just broken up with your guy/gal and are experiencing a crying jag. What are you going to do? With these mittens, the makers say, you can wipe that drippy nose without embarrassment. Use the palmside of the gloves for tears and the backside for mucus. The makers claim it holds 28 times “its weight in snot and tears.” I’m glad I didn’t have to do the measuring.8x its weight in snot and tears


Pop It Pal: For the aspiring Dr. Pimple Popper in your family, this item lets you have the vicarious thrill of popping zits. Keeping your skin pristine. And don’t forget to buy pimple “pus” refills so the fun never stops.


“Goosh Pants”: Why anyone would want a pair of white pants that appears stained with urine on the front and feces on the back is beyond me. One ad reads, “Great for Cosplay, Festivals, Haunted Houses and Theatre.” Cosplay? What’s wrong with a Captain Marvel costume?


The Anti-Masturbation Cross: Strap your sinful kiddies onto the cross to rid them of the compulsion!


24 Karat Gold Poop Pills—There are real gold flakes in these capsules to turn your next poop into a lovely, glittery gold turd. But one capsule costs a mint. If you ask me, just do what my dog Molly did. Eat a box a crayons. You’ll poop out some lovely Jackson Pollock turds (a warning: the crayons caused her some serious constipation). #mydogpoopspollocks.


Dad Bag Beer Belly Fanny Pack: I’m not dissing someone with a belly. I’ve got one myself. But one look at the photo-realistic belly hair and the yuck factor goes waaaay up.


Flavored Toothpicks brand offers over seventy different flavors of toothpicks. But Baby Formula and Breastmilk flavors? That’s just nasty.


People Pot Pies: This latex and foam pie features a top “crust” of a dead person’s face. You can even create a special order, adding teeth, hair, or even a tongue!


UroClub Portable Urinal: What to do when you’re out on the golf course and you need to pee NOW? Use this golf club shaped urine receptacle. The plastic shaft collects the pee and you can cover your shaft with a “privacy” towel.


Moko Moko Mokoletto Toilet Foam Candy: Just pour the candy powder in the included miniature toilet, add water, and, whoosh, the candy foam expands (like Scrubbing Bubbles). Then you can suck it out with the included straw. Hope the straw isn’t plastic. That would be offensive.: What to do when you’re out on the golf course and you need to pee NOW? Use this golf club shaped urine receptacle. The plastic shaft collects the pee and you can cover your shaft with a “privacy” towel.


25 Placenta Recipes: Easy and Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Placenta: Do you like paté? Fajitas? This book has a recipe for it using human placenta. Apparently, eating one’s placenta is very healthy. I prefer being ill.


Edible Chocolate Anus: Who agreed to let his/her asshole be the mold for this? I’d still rather eat one than a placenta