In which Caroline discusses “The Power of Me.”

The other night, I was looking at notebooks in Barnes & Noble when I overheard the following conversation:

Dumpy, middle-aged single woman with a swollen, tear-stained face: Excuse me. Can you please direct me to the Self-Improvement section?

Sullen, twenty-something-year-old employee: The what?

DMASWWASTSF: The Self-Improvement section. Self-help? Improving self-worth? I’m looking for a book called The Power of Me.*

*Amazon’s listing for this title:

**Please note that the cover of this book consists of a poorly Photoshopped image of a woman with talons releasing a bird that is not a dove over a body of water that might be the River Styx.

The most important detail of this anecdote is that the dumpy, middle-aged single woman with a swollen, tear-stained face was standing literally NEXT TO one of those new-fangled electronic kiosks they have at Barnes & Noble when she asked this question. You know, the kind of kiosk where you type in what book you’re looking for and it tells you exactly where that book is located and you can even print out a little slip of paper with that information on it so you literally never have to utter the words “I’m looking for a book called The Power of Me” out loud.

‘What,’ I wondered, ‘is this The Power of Me you speak of, Miss Lady?’ I decided to look it up online when I got home and found this explanatory blurb on

“The soul is the very essence of who we are as individual human beings. The soul is created by God; it is the feeling center of who you are. The battle surrounding this life is for your soul. The challenge is will the soul choose to follow good or evil. Live a blessed or a cursed life!”

Heads up: I’m nominating this blurb for ‘most incoherent, poorly edited and unintentionally scary’ blurb of the decade – but also ‘most informative!’ Did you know that your soul is the ‘feeling center of who you are’ before you read that? I sure didn’t. And apparently, there’s a battle going on RIGHT NOW for my soul! Why didn’t anyone tell me that? I would’ve liked to know, especially since if my soul makes the wrong choice in war, I could end up living a cursed life…

…maybe one in which I find myself standing next to an electronic kiosk in Barnes & Noble asking where the Self-Improvement section is.