A collection of humor-faced articles, some previously published, by the author of an oft-reprinted Chaucefian parody about Watergate--who here ruminates on that era of middle age ""Whan Mothyr Bell hath prynt hir book too smalle/ Whan movying hand writ HOT FLASH on youre walie."" With a blast of hyperbole'd anecdote and crackings wise, alternating with serious reflections, these pieces polish the pearls of anxiety lodging in the consciousness of most mid-life, middle-class women: marital status--divorce, widowhood, affairs; the kids--cultists, drop-outs, wanderers; sticky moments with aging parents; the Decline of the Bod; the new Daughters; to go to work or not? Ms. Wax contemplates her own happy marriage (a shared history of gaffes), ponders why divorce occurs (new life or ""termination by trendiness""?), why one kid graduates and another swings with a swami. The obvious pain of her own experience--her son, injured by drugs, spent time in a mental hospital and finally joined the Hare Krishna movement--is softened by an amusing, even affectionate view of her son's different life (""Hare Rama; I'M the Mama""). She takes account of grief when friends die, of family guilts, all-competent young women, the importance of work: sure recognitions all. Start in the middle and you'll probably read to both ends.