1. Tsunami footage on Fox News.

2. Your least-favorite aunt’s hands gnarled with arthritis.

3. Richard Simmons, in sparkly tank top, sobbing and hugging Katrina victims on Extra.

4. Your grandmother sending you a webcam and asking you to download Skype so she can see you and talk to you.

5. Your LiveJournal blog buddy, who stops writing about books he’s read and starts detailing his chemo for what he initially thought was a bad knee. After six weeks of increasing agony, silence. A friend posts on his site that he’s dead, at 37. RIP, Bartleby. Whoever you were.

6. That e.e. cummings poem read by Cameron Diaz at the end of In Her Shoes.

7. After five years of deliberate estrangement, seeing your mother, who’s now Shelley Winters–large and laughing much too much.

8. Your high school pal’s infant son dies and you stare at a blank card for a week, not knowing what to say.

9. The chipper eulogy your husband gives at his mother’s funeral.

10. Your mother mailing you an egg timer (“It works!” her Post-it says), a padlock and a plastic clock for Christmas . . . in October.

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