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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist (tm)

November 1998, No. 2

Please forward this letter to interested friends, colleagues and family members, or send along their email addresses. (Also, if you don't wish to receive the newsletter, email me - stressdoc@aol.com .)

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Stress Doc and Digital City- Washington Go National: Shrink Rap and Group Chat, the Stress Doc's popular dynamic chat group, moves to a weekly format -- Tuesdays, from 9-10:30pm EDT. Here are links & announcements: <A HREF="aol://4344:1097.tuechat.25384394.563747919"> Tuesday Chats</A> and <A HREF="aol://4344:363.gorkin.5732839.568857121">Dig City Promo - Stress Doc</A> . Hope to see you on Tuesdays.

The Stress Doc takes time out to note the passing of an internet institution -- the popular newsletter, Humor From the Edge. He also pays tribute to a friend and mentor, the publisher, truly devoted both to his cyberbaby and to his subscribers.

Humor From the Edge: In Memoriam

Humor From the Edge is no more. Due to a series of events, some beyond the publisher's control, some fairly Orwellian in nature, Rick has decided to let the popular newsletter go. One episode involved his employer, a major internet server, not allowing him to retrieve his 14,000 member mailing list. Also, Rick and his wife are expecting another child, so there is a touch of symmetry - the ebb and flow of death and new life.

In a phone conversation, Rick affirmed what I knew so well: nurturing and growing HFTE to its current size and position, the largest internet humor newsletter, was a true labor of love…and a cause for very long nights and some marital spats. The money he made from the newsletter was laughable. Actually, this is an area in which I hold Rick in truly high esteem. There were opportunities to commercialize the newsletter, but he resisted. Even when he negotiated a merger with another internet newsletter, there was always two overriding considerations: would he retain editorial control and would changes provide his readers with the best mix of jokes and stories, lists and laughs.

Both his integrity and willingness to experiment directly bear on my current internet involvement. For those that haven't heard my saga, here goes. While mentally meandering through an AOL writer's channel bulletin board in early '97, I came across a solicitation for humor material. I forwarded some of my humorous psychologically-minded stories to the editor of Humor From the Edge. Shawna (Sv Honey) quickly emailed her enthusiasm and would send them to the publisher. The initial stories were about 750-1,000 words. In size, content and style my material was a radical departure from HFTE's standard fare. Rick, always sensitive to his reader's preferences, had some ambivalence. He challenged me thusly: tell your humor stories in about 100 words. Shawna, later revealed that Rick doubted my ability to meet his proposition. My writer's ego was bruised. I, of course, deserved more words and space. Putting pride on hold...somehow, I met the challenge.

At first, there was a firestorm, especially among his more youthful readers. To them I was a Trojan voice, if not virtual virus, compromising the purity of their newsletter. Yet some positive responses also came down the cyberpike. And Rick stood fast behind me. Before long, he was even giving me a yellow, then a green light to expand the size of my essays. This led to sharing the columns with AOL's major mental health forum - Online Psych, along with other internet magazines and forums, such as Financial Services Journal Online and Mental Health Net/Perspectives Magazine. My association with Online Psych triggered the self-proclaimed title of "Online Psychohumorist" and eventually motivated me to publish my own newsletter, Notes From the Online Psychohumorist ™.

So Rick will always be a mentor, an inner voice in the ever-challenging struggle as a writer and publisher to capture that elusive balance between giving of yourself and to yourself.

But that's the past; what direction the future? I'm contemplating sending out The Stress Doc Newsletter on a weekly basis. Now it arrives twice/month. To do this, in the long run, I will likely need some contribution from readers - stories, lists, even some jokes with a seriously playful and insightful psychohumor perspective So with a little help from my friends and members, we will keep Rick's and Humor From the Edge's legacy alive. What better way to...Practice Safe Stress!

To stimulate your creative juices, here's a popular reader submission. Enjoy!

After a busy week, I've decided to let one of those reader generated lists have center stage. But since it involved one of my more favorite topics, I couldn't resist adding some comments - from the silly to the sublime. The original line is in bold; my free associations are not. So just a little casual sex today. Protect yourself! Groaning is permitted.

Murphy's vs. Stress Doc's Laws on Sex

1. The more beautiful the woman who loves you, the harder it is to know that beauty is just skin deep.

2. Nothing improves with age. However with this motto, you can deny it: "You're only young once...but you can be immature forever."

3. Sex has no calories. On the other hand, it takes a real good man for sex to qualify as aerobic exercise!

4. Sex takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble. (See above.) And once she wants it quick, she's already getting tired of you.

5. There is no remedy for sex but more sex. And if you believe that, let me suggest Sex Addicts Anonymous.

6. Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got. And the more you got the more you get. But the more you got the less you need. And I got a need.

7. Sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you are going to get or how long it is going to last. No wonder I had some rough times in New Orleans. It only snowed twice in sixteen years.

Actually, it reminds me of the five key pressure questions one grapples with both when performing in public and performing for sex, oops, I mean sexual performance:

1) Can you do it? 2) How good can you do it? 3) If you can't do it good how well can you fake it? 4) How long can you last? And most important... 5) Will they want you to come back and do it again!!

8. If you got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. (And you know it was one of Nixon's Watergate legal henchmen that popularized this little "bon mot," which Kenneth Starr has certainly brought back to life.) At least with Clinton, we don't have to worry about this one.

9. Virginity can be cured. So can a ham. Stick with the ham. Savor virginity...Don't cure it! "Virginity Is for Lovers." Now that should be a bumper sticker!

10. When a man's wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to him. Well most men will be listening for a long time.

11. Sex is dirty only if it's done right. I don't know about dirty, but it's sure more fun when it's oily and greasy.

12. When the lights are out, all women are beautiful. And most men are still hairy.

13. Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won't either. Sort of like what my brother says when people comment that we don't look alike: "Either do our parents."

14. Sow your wild oats on Saturday night -- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure. Will cybersex hurt church attendance?

15. It was not the apple on the tree but the pair on the ground that caused the trouble in the garden. Hey, as my father frequently said: "I never promised you a rose garden."

16. Before you find your handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs. You see, you should have been less squeamish in 10th grade biology lab.

17. (Dysfunctional) love is a hole in the heart; vital love is a whole in the heart-mind-body-soul. I still seek a heart that sings and a mind that dances...and a body that doesn't know when to quit!

18. Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics. And no wonder I never married. I was lousy in both those subjects

19. One good turn gets most of the blankets. Especially important if there no longer is electricity.

20. Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Hey, I can do that.

21. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all; only if in the divorce you haven't lost it all.

22. Just remember, now that you're thirty, there's more to life than wine, women, and song...What was the punch line of the birthday card I sent to a woman when a lady replaced me as the object of her affection? (Fortunately, Presley had a great sense of humor.)

23. A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn't.

Reminds me of the lines (approximation, here) by an Englishman of letters, whose name escapes me at this ungodly hour: Man was provided an imagination to compensate him for what he is not. And was provided a sense of humor to console him for what he is.

24. What matters is not the length of the wand, but the magic in the stick. Or the thrill in the pill!

25. It is better to be looked over than overlooked. Over my dead body.

26. Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone. And I am bone tired of people who are skin deep.

27. "This won't hurt, I promise." What goes up must come down!

Blessings and remember: Laughter is the best medicine!

Actually laughter is the best stress reliever, and sex is second. So if you're having funny sex you are definitely...Practicing Safe Stress!

Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a nationally recognized speaker, workshop leader and author on stress, reorganizational change, anger, team building, creativity and humor. He is also the internet's and the nation's leading "Psychohumorist." The Stress Doc is a columnist for the popular cyber-newsletter, Humor From The Edge -- HUMOR FROM THE EDGE HOME PAGE . Mark is also the "Online Psychohumorist" for the major AOL mental health resource network, Online Psych -- ONLINE PSYCH: THE STRESS DOC and Financial Services Journal Online. And he is an offline writer for two mental health/substance abuse publications -- Treatment Today and Paradigm Magazine. His motto: Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire! Reach "The Doc" at (202) 232-8662, email: Stress Doc@aol.com, or check out his "Hot Site" website: http://www.stressdoc.com or click STRESS DOC HOMEPAGE. (The site was selected as a USA Today Online "Hot Site" and designated a four-star, top- rated site by Mental Health Net.)

** For his free newsletter, Notes from the Online Psychohumorist ™ or for info on the Stress Doc's Online Coaching program, email stressdoc@aol.com .