Going through R-J mail tests patience and self-esteem

I drag myself down to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and confront my mailbox. I do this every two to four months, but only because Patsy calls me. And e-mails me. Again and again. Finally, she calls my work. And finally, I show up.

My mailbox at the R-J — it’s an odious task. That’s why I drag my feet.

There are only, what, 11 people left in Las Vegas who don’t use e-mail. I’m saying that, in any given trip to the R-J mailbox, there’s usually only one or two pieces of actual Reader Mail. And given how infrequently I make the R-J mailbox trek, the author of said letter might have moved to Sheboygan, died of natural causes, or long forgotten having written to me at all by the time I get there.

No, the R-J mailbox is filled with … with … oh my god …

Boxes and boxes. FedEx bubble packs, which I defy you to open without plastic explosives. Styrofoam popcorn. DVDs of this year’s Harry & David fruit baskets, which look amazingly like last year’s baskets, only the pears have been moved to the left over by the cashews, whereas last year they dominated the middle of the basket on their own.

This mail is not from readers; it’s from New York City advertising agencies, each imploring me to write a column about their new product, new author, new artist, etc.

And I never do. I trudge to the R-J, carry teetering stacks of stuff over to a desk where Patsy watches me wrestle boxes into submission, shake my head, and move them and their contents to the trash pile. It’s an exercise in absurdity. I should take my name off my mailbox and stick it on one of the huge Dumpsters out back. Cut out the middleman.

Patsy listens patiently (again!) to my grousing speech about how these people clearly don’t read my column and how I’m never gonna wri…

And that’s when I open “The Big Book of Personality Tests for Women” followed by The Potty Caddy.

Oh no no no. OK. You got my attention. But I don’t think you’re gonna like it.

“Personality Tests” contains 100 “fun-to-take, easy-to-score quizzes that reveal your hidden potential in life, love, and work.” Those are the operative words. Fun and Easy.

Ladies, I’ve reviewed this book. Go. Buy it now. Otherwise, I’m in near despair thinking of the hidden potential in you never to be revealed. This book could have pushed Hillary past Barack. But no — her potential languished, untapped, because Hillary was too proud to avail herself to cutting edge quizzes.

Don’t believe me? OK, answer this: How do people see you? See, you hesitated, right? You don’t know the answer. And not knowing the answer leaves your potential lying fallow and wasted. But you could have answered had you taken the quiz on Page 114: “How Do People See You?” First question …

You wear lipstick or gloss:

a. When you’re going out

b. Almost every day

c. Hardly ever

This is one of seven questions. Seven. Depending on your answers, you’ll receive the hidden potential revealing labels Giver, Witty or Energetic. When a woman embraces the correct label, then she can finally know how people see her. She will be awash — in either a giving, witty or energetic way — in her heretofore hidden potential.

I’m a man, so I carefully avoid the temptation to take these quizzes, lest it release a curse, sorta like raiding “The Mummy’s” tomb.

The Potty Caddy is a colorful box about the size of one roll of toilet paper. It’s got a handle. It says, “Everything a Kid Needs to Make Potty Training Fun and Easy.” Those two words again: fun and easy.

Inside the box? Yep. A roll of toilet paper! But this isn’t your grandfather’s toilet paper. You can almost see the self-esteem shimmering off the Potty Caddy roll.

The Potty Caddy contains “An Illustrated Guide to Peeing and Pooping on the Potty.” You will learn “The Potty Song.” There are little paper targets you can float in the water. Assorted miniature magazines. I’ve got a call into my publicist right now, demanding to know why there is not a miniature version of my book “Human Matters” in this box!

Buy the Potty Caddy. I think you’ll join me in wondering how any of us ever learned to poop without it. The tragic answer, of course, is that so many of us poop without self-esteem. And, for women of course, because they haven’t realized their potential.

Both of these items are “fun” and “easy.” I’ll leave it to you to observe what else they have in common.

Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Clear View Counseling Wellness Center in Las Vegas and the author of “Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing” (Stephens Press). His columns appear on Sundays. Contact him at skalas@reviewjournal.com.

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