As I was tending my garden I realized that I would soon need to start treating it for slugs. Slugs are bottom feeders who not only feed on scraps but sometimes suck the life right out of beautiful plants and flowers. There are people like those worms. They practice “leveling” as a contact sport. The common term for them is “playa haters.” Such people use weaponry of harmful words, ‘accidental forgetting,” glances, snickers, misdirection and direct insult to level the playing field. They are “jealous spirits” – some with no hope of recovery. Like many folk, I have on occasion, sought validation from these types, who depending on their own sense of self at the moment, might parcel out faint praise or at least be nice to me. Now as I enter an age of enlightenment and self-worth I chose, when I can, to be around people who like themselves and like me genuinely. Choosing one’s audience is important. Still it’s not the only course of action against slugs. Prayer and wishing your enemy the best are good tactics to take out the sting of cruel or lying words or misdeeds. As misery likes company sometimes you have to stay away from whole groups and institutions. Some places such as one’s job are filled with people who have no purpose or sense of self. There you can just “grin and bear it” – a trick I learned from my late father who simply would smile at people spoutting nonsense or exhibiting petty cruelty. So next time try a simple smile and/ or even compassion for your “playa hating” enemy or frenemy – the unfortunate behavior won’t stop but you’ll be able to deal with the situation with grace and gain instant peace of mind. Playa haters’ jealousy or envy can only bring you down if you let it. Take a page from Roxie and Jean Claude. Some would say Roxie is more possessed than self-possessed but then she doesn’t give a juggernaut what is said about her.