Confessions by Tracy

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wait Training at the Gym

On a normal day, I can usually score a parking spot at the health club within four spots of the door. But one day I arrived at the gym and found the lot so completely full, I was forced to park in Suburbia Siberia.

“I got my workout just walking from the car to the club,” I whined to the gym employee at the front desk after I hoofed it from the nearby supermarket parking lot.

“You think that’s bad? Wait until you see in there,” she said, nodding her head toward the gym down the hall.

“What are all these people doing here?” I asked. “Are you giving away free Power Bars?”
“Nope. They’re New Year’s Resolutioners,” she said matter-of-factly.

I heard a din from behind the doors and I cringed. My normally quiet, unassuming health club had been overtaken by the guilt-ridden victims of holiday overindulgence. The “too-many Christmas cookie-ers,” “too-much party platter-ers,” and the “too busy to exercise-ers” were all running amok in my gym, desperate to shed their holiday pounds. They all made a New Years’ resolution to get in shape and, from the looks of it, they all decided to do it at my health club.

Of course, I should be clear that it’s not MY health cub. I don’t own it. I merely have a membership like all these other people. But as a “regular,” not a “resolutioner,” I felt that I should be able to park where I wanted without having to leave my car at the long term parking lot at the airport and catching a shuttle to my gym. Plus, all these new people meant that there was going to be competition for the bikes in the spin class, the ten-pound weights in the sculpting class, and the good ellipticals that don’t squeak. No, I wasn’t a happy, health club camper. I was miffed. I was annoyed. I had a bad case of health-righteous indignation.

“All those New Year’s Resolutioners have taken over my health club,” I complained to my husband.

He gave me the blank stare that he reserves for my righteous indignation tirades.

“They’re filling the parking lot and the exercise classes,” I continued.

“Hey, maybe you’ll meet some nice people and make some new workout friends,” he said cheerfully.

I glared at him. “I have enough friends.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Clearly, because you are so warm and welcoming.”

I thought that maybe I was, indeed, being a little hard on the new members. I too had overindulged over the holidays so it’s not like I couldn’t relate to their New Year’s angst.
For a while I tried alternating my routine by coming a little earlier than usual and a little later than I liked to see if the crowds thinned out a bit. I made light conversation with some the newbies. I even offered the last towel on the rack to a resolutioner, and one day I gave up my bike at a spin class to someone new. I had turned over a new leaf and become the Mother Theresa of the health club.

But just when I had finally started to accept this new gym existence, about a month into the New Year, I arrived at the gym and found it… empty.

“Where did everyone go,” I asked the lady at the front desk incredulously.

She shrugged. “Weight Watchers.”

©2008, T. Beckerman. All rights reserved
Author alert - time to buy Tracy Beckerman's new book! Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs, the long-awaited book by humor columnist Tracy Beckerman, is now available for pre-order from the publisher, Cold Tree Press. The book will be officially released on February 1st, at which time all pre-orders will be fulfilled. Rebel without a Minivan is a collection of essays from LOST IN SUBURBIA®, a nationally syndicated humor column carried by over fifty newspapers to more than 800,000 readers nationally. The book will initially be available exclusively from the publisher, but will later be carried by most major internet book sellers including Amazon and Rebel without a Minivan retails for $15.95 and can be pre-ordered at

Friday, December 21, 2007

Post-Christmas Counseling with the Kringles by Tracy Beckerman

“Hello everybody. Welcome back to the show. Our guests today come to us all the way from the North Pole. Please welcome Mr. and Mrs. Claus.” (light applause).

“Now, the Claus's may seem like a special couple, but underneath those matching red suits, he's a working guy and she's a stay-at-home wife just like many of you.

And just like any married couple, things can get a little rocky under the mistletoe from time to time, if you know what I mean.

“Mr. Claus, can I call you Santa?”“Sure, Phil.”“Santa, what seems to be the problem with you and the Mrs.?”

“Well Phil, I know I can be a tough guy to be married to, what with my crazy work schedule Christmas Eve and all the toys strewn around the house. But I think I've done a good job keeping the reindeer out of the kitchen and making sure the elves put the toilet seat down when they use the bathroom.”

“What do you think, Mrs. Claus?”

“It's not just Christmas Eve, Phil. In the last month he must have been to every mall in the country. We never saw him. And let me tell you something, those are not just little children sitting on his lap either. I've seen more that a few moms whispering in Santa's ear what they want for Christmas!”

“I keep telling you, that's not me. Those are imposters.”

“Oh and I suppose the guy who comes down everyone's chimney is an imposter too?”

“No, that's me.”“Well, if you can miraculously fit down a chimney with that big belly of yours, why couldn't you manage to get home in time for breakfast Christmas morning?”

“I got lost on the way back.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“Why is that?”

“Because we just got you that new GPS navigation system for the reindeer last year. Even if you did get lost, where would you end up... The North Pole?”“

Santa... Mrs. Claus... I think I get the picture. Mrs. Claus, it seems like you're feeling a little neglected around the holidays, is that right?”

“Maybe a little.”

“And Santa, are you feeling the pull between work pressure and family?”

“I suppose.”

“Mrs. Claus, if you could have anything you wanted for Christmas, what would it be?”

“Hmmm. Just once, I'd like to be the one to go out in the sled Christmas Eve, stay out all night, deliver the toys and get to eat the cookies.”

“You can't do that, dear.”

“Why not?”

“Because the song is 'Santa Claus is coming to town,' not 'Mrs. Claus is coming to town!'”

“Oh I'll just put on a red suit and a fake beard. No one will know the difference. And you can stay home and wash all those elf clothes.”

“You know, it's not so easy being Santa Claus. I got to tell you, the day after Christmas is a real bummer. Two thirds of the toys come back. This one got an X-box and he wanted a Wii. That one got a Barbie and she wanted a Bratz. It's a nightmare!”

“Oh boo-hoo. Poor Santa.”

“Mrs. Claus. You better not pout. You better not cry!”

“Oh please. Like I haven't heard that song and dance before.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Claus, where's the love? Where's the joy? Where's the Ho Ho Ho in you Happy Ho Ho Home? You two need to take time to stop and smell the egg nog. Let the kids be nice; you two need to get a little naughty, if you catch my snowdrift! Hey Santa, Mrs. Claus is waiting for you to hurry down the chimney tonight!”

“You know what, Phil? You're right! Hey honey, how about if we take off for a few days and head down to the South Pole for a little merry us time?”“Oh Santa, that sounds nice. But who's going to watch the elves?”

“Let me call Jack Frost and see if he's around. Oh, and Phil, sorry about that coal last year.”

“No problem. OK, let’s take a break. When we come back, Santa's elves: little helpers or sweatshop slaves? You decide!”

©2007, Beckerman. All rights reserved. Coming Soon: Tracy Beckerman’s book, “Rebel Without a Minivan.” For a sneak peek, go to or visit

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Holiday Letter from the Beckermans (nod, nod, wink, wink)

Dear Friends and Family,

After receiving so many scintillating holiday newsletters this year, I wanted to chime in with our humble family news! First of all, our kids are doing great! You know our son has taken up the electric guitar? He got so good this year that he actually opened for the Rolling Stones when they played the Garden! They really want him to take over for Keith Richards, but we think he should finish middle school before he goes on tour… especially since he will be missing a significant amount of school when he goes to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and then helps rebuild an entire village that got flattened by an elephant stampede.

Our daughter has been busy too. She is studying Chemistry in her 5th grade science class. While she was mapping out the complete DNA of a lemur, she stumbled upon a cure for baldness. No, it certainly won’t save lives, but we’re proud of her just the same! She will begin developing the formula just as soon as she gets back from her Hawaiian triathlon to raise money for AWAA (Adults with Acute Acne).

The kids had a great time at camp this summer. They were two of only six children from the U.S. that were chosen to live on the NASA space station out in the Earth’s orbit for six weeks. We missed them, but we had a fantastic time on our vacation this summer! While we were following the Emperor Penguins on their migration across the Antarctic, a polar avalanche uncovered a frozen caveman that they say is the missing link between men and apes! It was quite an exciting discovery. We can’t wait for the VIP unveiling at the Smithsonian after we get home from our trip to help orphans in a remote village near Machu Pichu in the spring! Of course not everything was a piece of cake this year.

You know my dear husband is building us a new house completely on his own in his spare time and there have been some complications with the indoor waterfall and lagoon. He did such a fantastic job with the luge run out back, though, that we’re confident he will work out the kinks with the lagoon. The good news is we’re still on track to have the whole thing done by the time he has to go to Brussels to receive his Nobel Prize.

As for me… I’m just happy to be home and revel in the sunshine of my family’s love and accomplishments while I work on my acceptance speech for the Mother of the Millennium award I am getting from the President this year! Anyway, hope all is well with you and yours and you have a wonderful and very happy holidays!

Fondly,Tracy Beckerman

P.S. Thanks to everyone for your get-well wishes to our dog Riley. As you know, he got a little singed when he pulled our neighbors out of their burning home last month, but he’s doing fine!

©2007, Beckerman. All rights reserved. Lost in Suburbia® is a registered trademark of Tracy Beckerman

For a sneak peak at Tracy Beckerman’s upcoming book, “Rebel without a Minivan,” go to or visit

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Sticky Thanksgiving Tradition

LOST IN SUBURBIA® by Tracy Beckerman

For some people, the ideal Thanksgiving involves turkey, stuffing and dinner with your loved ones. For me, the ideal Thanksgiving dinner is simply one that is held at someone else’s house.Of course my mother taught me that you can’t go to someone’s Thanksgiving dinner empty-handed, so I always offer to make something. And naturally, I have my signature dish: sweet potato pie.

My sweet potato pie is a super-rich, sugar-laden concoction disguised as a side dish, with enough maple syrup and brown sugar in it to put a diabetic whale into shock. And if all that isn’t enough to insure a sugar-induced seizure, the entire top of the pie is layered with marshmallows. This recipe was handed down orally in my family from generation to generation, adding more marshmallows and brown sugar along the way, until the sweet potato pie arrived in its present, waist-busting, button-popping, cholesterol-raising, off-the-charts-calorie form that it is today.

Since I grew up eating this particular kind of sweet potato pie every year, I always assumed that this was the gold standard for sweet potato pie around the world. This being the case, when my husband and I attended the first Thanksgiving dinner of our marriage that wasn’t with my side of the family, I didn’t offer to bring my sweet potato pie. But when we sat down to dinner, I had a not-so-sweet surprise. “Where are the marshmallows?” I whispered under my breath to my husband.“What marshmallows?”“On the sweet potato pie,” I explained.“There are no marshmallows,” he said.“I see that. Why are there no marshmallows?”“We don’t use marshmallows,” he informed me.“WE do use marshmallows,” I informed him, pointing to he and me. “Whoever made this sweet potato pie is not WE and they did not use marshmallows.” He glowered at me. “It’s good this way. Try it. Your ears won’t ring and your head won’t buzz after you eat it.”

“I like it when my head buzzes and my ears ring, and I like MY sweet potato pie.”“So bring YOUR sweet potato pie.”“I would have, if I had known,” I huffed. “But no one told me that that this was a marshmallow-free sweet potato pie zone!” Sensing a major inter-family issue rising, he did what any new husband would do. He got up, took his plate, and changed seats.When we got home, I made my sweet potato pie and because it was just the two of us, we had sweet potato pie every night for a week.Two dress sizes later, I decided I was good for that year.Many sweet potato pie-less Thanksgivings later, I finally decided to be proactive about my yams.“We had this sweet potato pie tradition when I was growing up that I really liked,” I tentatively told my hostess. “Would it be OK if I made one and brought it to dinner.”“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “I’m sure it’s great!”

Excited to introduce a whole new segment of the sweet potato pie-deprived population to my version, I made two. When it was time to eat, I shoved the pies into the oven to brown and melt the marshmallows. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that the oven was on broil, not bake, and within minutes, smoke poured out of the oven as the marshmallows ignited, swelled, and finally, popped.Melted marshmallow covered the walls, door and top of the oven. The air was singed with the sickeningly sweet smell of charred Fluff. And the sweet potato pies, themselves, were a blackened mess.I was devastated.“I bet if we scrape the burnt marshmallow off, it’s still good underneath,” suggested my gracious hostess whose oven I had just wallpapered in taffy. While I contemplated this solution, my daughter peeked around the corner and spied the whole debacle. She looked up brightly. “S’mores?”

©2007, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For a sneak peak at Tracy Beckerman’s upcoming book, “Rebel without a Minivan,” visit