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by Jennifer Brown Banks

30 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do
(Martha Stewart Versus Jen)

I’m a huge Martha Stewart fan. Huge. To me she is the ultimate diva of domesticity. Over the years, she’s truly grown on me.

I was a faithful follower of her short-lived The Apprentice with Martha Stewart show before it got “fired”. Her K-mart, eggshell white lampshades grace my living room. I’ve attempted to master her many recipes and mimic her how-tos.

But, I have to say, I wasn’t really feelin’ her on a recent show’s showcasing of The 30 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do.

I’m not really sure whether the difference in opinion is due to culture, class, or lifestyle clash. To me they seemed a bit half-baked (pardon the pun).But, read on and discover what I mean.

Here’s a look at a few things Ms. Martha felt we all should be versed on:

» How to make French toast (and the reason being?)

» How to iron properly (that’s what cleaners are for).

» How to set a table » How to make a good grilled cheese sandwich

» How to paint (can you say “handyman”?)

» How to make a bed properly» How to carve a turkey

» How to remove a stain (don’t we have products that master that?)

» How to make perfect rice

» How to make the perfect cup of tea (it’s not rocket science)

» How to make a good Margarita (now I’ll drink to that!)

» How to make a lovely centerpiece

And a few other things that I had difficulty pronouncing or duplicating when demonstrated. There were only about 10 out of the thirty that I thought were really useful.

Now if I had to develop a list or produce a show of 30 Things We Should All Know, here's what it would look like (particularly for singles):

1. How to clean a house properly and quickly.

2. How to cook at least one meal that's not microwaved.

3. How to order a credit report and understand FICO scores.

4. A little conversational Spanish.

5. How to write an effective complaint letter.

6. How to prepare a resume.

7. Comparison shopping and proper coupon use.

8. Getting along with an ex (for the kid's sake).

9. How to use credit properly.

10. How to operate a TIVO.

11. How to squeeze a dollar and when to let it free.

12. How to sew a button.

13. How to make a good gravy.

14. How to deal with bill collectors and telemarketers.

15. Surviving the loss of a job.

16. How to do a background check on a potential mate.

17. How to live independently (successfully and happily).

18. The many uses for Oodles of Noodles, peanut butter, and eggs.

19. How to not kill your neighbors or their pesty pets.

20. How to survive freeloading relatives.

21. How to get along with your boss.

22. How to choose a mate properly (the first time).

23. How to raise well adjusted kids without "Nanny 911"

24.How to make a difference in the world.

25. Basic gardening.

26. How to survive public transportation.

27. How to break up properly.

28. Basic time management.

29. How to read a map.

30. How to please a mate.

There folks, you have it!

Now given today’s social and economic dynamics, which, of the two lists, do you think would benefit you more?

Here’s what I figure. Perhaps the greatest lesson Ms. Martha might impart would be how to overcome adversity with grace. I mean, fan or not, few would disagree that she handled her conviction, prison stay, and ultimate fall from her ivory tower with class, courage, and true strength! In my opinion, it’s truly her calling card! And it’s something from which we all could definitely learn!

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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