How Do I Sign My Book? Oy!

In 2012, a billboard along the Florida Turnpike near Boca trumpeted, “Barack Obama-Oy Vey.” 


A large portion of Boca residents know that “oy vey,” or just “oy,” is a Yiddish expression that means tsuris.

Chris Matthews, a Catholic political commentator, often invokes “Oy!” to lament the kind of Obama-bashing that appeared on the Boca billboard.

Which brings me to a discussion of how to sign my book, Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others. Nano-details, like how to sign, confront a worrywart like me dozens of times a day.

My inner friendliest girl in ninth grade needs to connect to buyers with more than just her autograph. 

The older I get, the more slowly I seem to do everything. My pace, along with my mild tremor, inspires me to seek a pithy inscription. How about Oy!?

The other night over sushi, I discussed this inscription with a Jewish friend and an Irish Catholic friend, both of whom said, “‘Oy!’ is great!” The one who is Irish suggested that for signees who have straight, naturally blonde hair, I substitute JMJ! (Jesus Mary and Joseph!).

JMJ rhymes with oy vey. So now my attraction to cuteness draws me to “Oy vey, JMJ!” Or is “JMJ, oy vey!” better? (See what I mean about worrying nano-details?)

Catholic Friend thinks JMJ is more a Catholic exclamation than one for all Christians. I must not slight Protestants. (And, oy, what about Muslims?) So I Googled “Protestant swear words” and found “Christain Cussing,” a scroll of phrases that evoke Andy Griffith, but that derive from references to the Lord—by gum, dagnabbit, drat, sacré bleu, gadzooks, Jiminy Cricket, suffering succotash—which I include here exclusively for the sake of charm and nostalgia (again from Ms Cutesy).

Worry begets worry. And now, before even settling the OY! matter, my mind is hopping all over the place wondering, What is the best way to salutate? “To Eloise?” “For Eloise?” Or the unnecessarily intimate, “Dear Eloise?” 

Most daunting of all, how to sign my book for close friends? A writer ought to be clever, even on short notice. All I can think of is the humiliatingly dull, “Thanks for your enthusiasm!”

Here’s what a worrywart does: she asks everyone what they think, and then proceeds as she pleases, after which she worries about her decision, all the while unable to stick with worrying about just one thing at a time. How do you think I should sign?

Please weigh in!



The perfect book for worrywarts or anyone who would enjoy a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant” deeply personal memoir:

**Even if you are unable to attend a book signing,                                                                   Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others                                                  is now on, Kindle, and Smashwords**

“A first-rate personal essayist, Susan Orlins delivers the goods time and again. Underneath her self-mocking voice, her abundant humor, her brio, there is the serious candor of a moralist who worries the problems that won’t go away.”
–PHILLIP LOPATE, author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay


“Susan Orlins is America’s funniest neurotic since Woody Allen. Just be careful you don’t crack a rib reading Confessions of a Worrywart.”

–PATRICIA VOLK, author of Stuffed 

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, poignant, beautifully written January 21, 2013

Susan Orlins is a master storyteller.This book is both funny and poignant… both lighthearted and heartbreaking. It’s one of those rare books that you can read in a few days, but it stays with you much longer. I found myself thinking about Susan’s stories and experiences long after I finished the book. It’s a great read that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and then feeling your heart break the next as you travel along the bumpy road of Susan’s life. I have not enjoyed a memoir this much since reading David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty SomeDay. (But as a woman, I can relate to this book SO much more). Highly recommended.




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