It’s no secret ...

Shhhh! Promise not to tell anyone; it’s a secret! I heard about it on Oprah Winfrey’s show, so practically nobody knows about it yet. But I’m passing it along to you because, well, I’m one of those people who just can’t keep a secret.

When my old neighbor Bob told me he was having an affair with the school lunch lady, I only told five or six people – tops – and before you know it, it was all over town. Who could have guessed? Bob now lives in a cardboard box down on Main Street, his wife moved to San Diego.

When I told the congregation that I ran into Mrs. Nussleroad at the liquor store, I had no idea that her ex-husband would use it as an excuse try to take her kids away. Funny thing, it turns out she wasn’t buying liquor, she was asking the owner to donate money to the Community Chest. The good news? She’s almost paid off all the lawyer’s fees.

Pete and Andre haven’t spoken to me since I introduced them as “my good gay friends” at the Rotary. Sorry, guys, I thought everyone knew. In short, if you want to keep a secret, don’t mention it to me.

Which is why I was so surprised to hear Oprah Winfrey talking so openly about “The Secret.” If she keeps talking about it, it’ll be on all the morning shows, it’ll be on the national news, it’ll be on the Internet, it might sell two million copies of a book. Then it’s not a secret! Shssssh!

“The Secret” says you can get anything you want just by thinking positive thoughts about it. You want $1 million? All you have to do is think positively that you need $1 million and poof! You’ll get it. You want to lose weight? You want to find Mr. Right? You want a better job? You think positively about it, and you’ll get it. That’s “The Secret.”

Oh, there’s a lot of new age, mumbo-jumbo like “we are stardust, we are golden,” happy-hippy talk that goes along with it – energy being thought and the entire Universe is just one big positive thought, and you can just tap into it and ... oh, who cares? I just want my million dollars.

Right now I’m thinking how positive it would be to have $1 million in the bank instead of the $23 that was in there yesterday. I’m not thinking about all the taxes I’d have to pay on $1 million, I’m not thinking about how many begging relatives would start knocking on my door once I have it.

I wonder if I should tell Bob about “The Secret?” I don’t think he sees much TV. He could use a new box. And Mrs. Nussleroad could positively think her way out a few lawyer bills.

I should stop by the bank this afternoon and see if that million’s been added to my account yet.

Some people might ask, “Exactly what’s the difference between “wishing” or “daydreaming” and “The Secret?” I would answer them by saying, “You are bringing me down, man. You’re full of negative thoughts and I hope you die in a fiery car crash – but in a positive way. I don’t think they’d let Oprah put this on TV if it were just a bunch of hooey, do you?”

When I think of all the years I’ve wasted thinking my lack of education and my aversion to hard work were holding me back, I just want to spit. Whoops! Negative thought. It’s that kind of thinking that will lose me my $1 million. Whoops! That was another negative thought.

The bank just called. I’m overdrawn. Again! Whoops! That was supposed to be a secret.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2007, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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