Category - Humor

Laugh It Up

1
How Do You Spell Your Name?
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EBWW in a Nutshell
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Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop 2014
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Can’t. Stop.
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Strong Passwords Call For Strong Language
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I May Be A Pessimist, But Where There’s Smoke, There’s Hope
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Lacrosse and Bottle Caps: A Love Story
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Merry Wrecking Christmas For Everybody
9
A Virgin’s View
10
To Thine Own Self Be Mean

How Do You Spell Your Name?

Scene: the restaurant in the Dayton Marriott Sunday morning, at the end of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. I’m having lunch with good friend and fellow Ermatologist, Molly Campbell.

Waitress: Excuse me, but someone just asked if you would give them your autograph.

That’s funny. Who’s pulling my chain? (I start scanning the restaurant for one of my friends.)

Waitress: No. I’m serious. Here’s her name. It’s pronounced Heidi. “HAYDEE” is scribbled on a small torn piece of paper and she includes a separate paper for my autograph.

No way. Maybe because I did stand up last night?

Waitress:  She says she saw you in a casino.

Uhhhh. No. I don’t work casinos.

Waitress:  I’ll go get her.

Please do. I sign ‘Amy Sherman’ on a separate little piece of paper and add: ‘Please feel free to stop by, Haydee.’

To Molly: Oh this will be rich. Who do you think she thinks I am? Marlo Thomas?

Waitress comes back with a darling young woman. She’s also a server.

Me: Nice to meet you. Who did you think I was? Ann Miller? (Like this baby would know who that was.)

Haydee: No. Who would be next?

Me: I have no idea.

Haydee:  Amy Schumer!

I jump up so excited: OMG, I LOVE her. Do you think I’d be sitting here if I was Amy Schumer? I’m so sorry to disappoint you.

Hysterical hugging.

Haydee: I overheard my co-worker when she was running your charge. (Remember, Amy Sherman.) So I’m like, ‘I LOVE her. And I saw her show recently at a casino.’  I peek around the corner and think, ‘Did she do something with her hair?’ But your face actually seems similar, so maybe you’re her mother?

You take that back! (Everyone around us in the restaurant really thinks something is happening. We’re making quite the commotion.)

I hand her my autograph with my business card.

“You are adorable. Please take my card because YOU are going to be in my next  blog.”

Haydee proceeded to tell us how she once misunderstood a diner talking about chauffeuring film star Gina Davis around. So she starts asking all sorts of questions about her, tells how much she loves all of her movies, and wonders why she hasn’t seen much of her lately.

Soon after that she sees a beautiful blonde woman getting into the limo at the front of the hotel and it isn’t Gina Davis at all. Turns out it is Jenna Jameson, world renowned porn star and brilliant business person. Looking back at her conversation with the driver she bursts out laughing because all of her Gina Davis questions fit Jenna perfectly, while making Haydee look like a huge porn star fan.

She had more stories to share as well. Haydee made our day and we told her she should definitely be telling her stories. Erma would be proud.

And Molly will always remember dining with a beloved comedian. As she should.

Haydee, my first autograph seeker.

Haydee, my first autograph seeker.

Easy mistake...Sherman/Schumer

Easy mistake…Sherman/Schumer

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of   Orlando Weekly

EBWW in a Nutshell

Everybody has a story to tell, and you must tell it.

Michele Lamarca, telling it like it is.

Michele Lamarca, telling it like it is.

 

Do not wait for the glass slipper. Put your work shoes on and make your way.

Cathryn Michon, who is starting an industry revolution with "Muffintop: A Love Story" No Cinderella girl here.

Cathryn Michon, who is starting an industry revolution with “Muffintop: A Love Story” No Cinderella girl here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put your money where your mouth is and support creatives.Support your peers.

 

Mothers are the bomb. (good OR bad)

Mother Bear and Cub playing Hide and Seek by David Cardinal. National Wildlife Federation 2011.

Mother Bear and Cub playing Hide and Seek by David Cardinal. National Wildlife Federation 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends and support systems are critical.

Gemini Twins: Bonnie Jean and me

Gemini Twins: Bonnie Jean and 

 

We have to own it…I  AM WRITER, HEAR ME ROAR!Anne Bardsley

Anne Bardsley

Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop 2014

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.                    Erma Bombeck

Working on my Ermatology degree this weekend. Where all the lonely dreamers gather to celebrate and share their dreams.Dreams Road Sign

Let the laughter begin…

Can’t. Stop.

Bitter and Sweet Are My Two Feet

My foot has stretched my mouth so many times, my mouth is like an old worn out slipper that barely stays on while shuffling forward. Some women are bent on plumping their lips to regain lost youth. I just want a little nip and tuck to make my piehole too small for my vindictive foot.

The good news is, the familiar flavor of callouses and toe jam is beginning to lose its potency. The taste of mortification is far less pungent than it once was because I’m better at owning any verbal gaffes that make it past my receding gums. There is comfort in being able to speak what comes to mind without the fear of what someone else might think. “Listen at your own risk” should be my next tattoo.

That is not to say I am totally insensitive to people’s feelings. It is more like I don’t need to hold back my opinions and thoughts for the sake of affecting my station in life. That station being somewhere above guttersnipe and a notch below the village idiot. Social climbing is as foreign and undesirable to me as rock climbing.

The glory of reaching my age is that my wrinkled, saggy skin is so much more comfortable than the tight, over-tanned skin I obsessed about in my youth. In short, I don’t give a rodent’s behind about how I look, or what someone else thinks about it.

My concerns have now turned to the more concrete. Literally. Not too long ago, I tripped over a speed bump and broke my wrist. It didn’t slow me down, it threw me down. My chin required stitches and my wrist required two separate surgeries. At the time though, I was too caught up in checking bones and cupping my bleeding chin to be worried about what people thought. Pain can be so freeing.

What that entire experience did give me is a healthy respect for falling. There is no bouncing back at my age. I’m flatter than a deflated basketball, deader than a dull tennis ball, and as resilient as a fresh egg. A wrinkle in a rug is far more distressing than a wrinkle near an eye.  Curbs, cracks, and ice have become my foot’s nemesis, not the discomfort of squeezing into my gaping mouth.

I used to fear a slip of the lip. Now I fear a slip of the hip. I got past emotional frailty and physical frailty took right over. Fortunately, there is great strength in surviving either, and even more fortitude in continuing to walk and talk at all. Of course, now I tend to shuffle forward like a well-worn slipper, while my lips continue flapping unencumbered.

courtesy of: http://agbeat.com/business-marketing/remove-shoes-flavor-foot-mouth-disease-marketing-typos/

courtesy of: http://agbeat.com/business-marketing/remove-shoes-flavor-foot-mouth-disease-marketing-typos/

Strong Passwords Call For Strong Language

LoginPasswords suck. Everybody knows it. And despite all my efforts to create clever and singularly unique ones, the best of mine can be cracked in 0.059 seconds. Less than a SECOND!

Go ahead, give one of yours a try…

https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/passwordwin.html.

Certain sites grade them for you and reject the ones that are too easy to crack. So you keep adding numbers, symbols and gibberish until you can make no sense of it, let alone retain it beyond the time it takes to hit “enter.” And every website has different parameters preventing you from ever reusing a password you recklessly store on your computer because you have sullenly accepted the fact your idiot brain will never retain it.

Laughing in the face of cyber danger, I tried saving the exponentially growing list of my incomprehensible passwords, but I couldn’t remember the code word I used to label the top secret, classified file. Hiding passwords on a computer is more difficult than hiding porn. FYI, my porn collection is filed under my blog URL. Site Stats assure me nobody ever wants to go there.

I even considered having the passwords tattooed onto some hidden skin, but soon realized, the list was becoming so massive, I’d be reduced to wearing a burka to conceal it. Even translating the list into Chinese characters to conserve space, is problematic. I can’t trust some full-sleeved, Midwest-suburban tattoo artist with a pierced taint to be fluent in Chinese script. My favorite password, “wannabewriter” might become “pigshitinwok” for all I know.tattoo head

We are now forced to try and outthink a computer program that can race through combinations at the speed of light. Passwords have become the new grawlix or profanitype. At least that’s what they look like to be considered secure. f*C3@@u!!#again?       Coincidence? I think not.

I finally came up with the perfect solution. I can’t say I actually came up with the idea so much as it simply became the norm. Whatever site I go to, I simply click on “Forgot Your Password?” and make a new one. It takes less time waiting for the email to create a new one, making said new word, and finally signing in successfully, than it does cursing like an upper-middle-class-teenage-girl and breaking into a flop sweat while audibly praying “this one has to be it.”

I like big passwords!

I like big passwords!

I see my new approach as a great way to stay one step ahead of the unknown hacker/villain/sniper program that wants to gather my painfully boring personal information, steal my lackluster identity and run off with the millions of dollars I have hidden away in a secret account so secret, even I don’t know how to find it.

The best part? I can crack my own password in under 45 seconds and that is f’%@@#’n good enough for me.

I May Be A Pessimist, But Where There’s Smoke, There’s Hope

1. When I hear a small plane, I listen intently to make sure it isn’t crashing into my house.

Plane crash2. I believe “Murphy’s Law” should be a Constitutional Amendment.Murphys constitution3. The glass is half empty if it has alcohol.

glass-of-wine4. If there’s a will, there’s a way to challenge it.probate will5. I don’t look for spiders, they will find me.spider_iStock_000007790175Small6. Grey skies are going to clear up…and then you get burned.

SunburnBarbie7. “Let’s try something different,” means “Let’s try something I’ll hate.”Grumpy Cat8. I believe men earn more, own more, and control more. (Wait, that’s just fact.)MadMen4609. Things can always be worse. There will be editors in Hell.Meryl editor10. I never thought marijuana would be legalized in my lifetime.  It feels good to be so                 wrong.

Optimistic T                                               The future looks brighter already.

Lacrosse and Bottle Caps: A Love Story

SIX-WORD Memoir

Senior Day 2007

Parents Day 2007

While googling myself, I came upon something I never knew existed. Any audience is a good audience to an author, and this particular audience happened to be a Towson University professor with a Ph.D. Her title to her blog piece is more appropriate than she ever could have known.  I have arrived…

Lacrosse and Bottle Caps: A Love Story  by *Deb Shaller

A depressing trend in bottle caps, it turns out, is the 6-word memoir that frequently appears on the underside of Honest Tea’s cap.  For the record, my own 6-word memoir is “It Wasn’t Funny at the Time,” and I stand by my decision to count “wasn’t” as a single word. Fortunately, though, no one has asked me for it, let alone agreed to print it for mass distribution, for while the 6-word memoir can be a little funny, mostly it’s not.  And sometimes—more often than not lately—it’s just cloying.

I know I’m not being fair when I consider the two bottle caps that happen to occupy my desk at the moment.  Under one, a Sioux prayer: “Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live.” Under the other, a 6-word memoir from Amy Hartl Sherman, “Loudest fan at son’s lacrosse game.”

I Google Sherman just to be sure I’m not about to  pick on someone who works in the stock room at Honest Tea and has been coerced into writing this folly, and discover that, sure enough, Sherman Googles as “free lance writer” and “humorist.” So fair game, I’m thinking, as I consider all of the reasons that Sherman’s memoir is so disheartening.  First of all, there’s lacrosse itself, a very active sport where I live, played on the glittering fields of every private school in the area, a not inconsequential number, by the way.  And yes, I know that it’s making inroads into the more hoi poloi-ish arena of public school, but not, I suspect, in time for Sherman to holler about it.  So lacrosse irks me, troubles my class sensibilities.

Which takes me to the hollering itself.  “Loudest fan at. . . . “  In what world is this amusing? Not a fan of lacrosse, I can only imagine by way of another sport, baseball, say.  Is the loudest person at a baseball game amusing to the fans around him/her? I think not.  Frequently, he/she is also the drunkest and most boorish.  But even if sober and civil, loud is just annoying.  As a six-word memoir, it’s only pleasure is the gratitude it provokes for being so mercifully short.

Left to my own devices, I’d also tell you how really tiresome I find this kind of obsessive mom-ism, this defining of self and life through a relationship of fandom and side-line cheering.  It feels like a twist on pre-feminist America and a winking brag about having the time, leisure, and money to hang around inconsequential events and get worked up about them.  It does not feel like being the kind of relative that the earth needs, that the Sioux might pray for.  But it would be churlish of me.

Instead, perhaps I’ll just imagine that the 6-word memoir, briefly entertaining, is now solidly played out, incapable of generating anything but further self-absorption, whittled down and disposable, the underside of commodities.

My  2014 response: I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to find this post. First, I had no idea my six-word-memoir was on a bottle cap, and second, you were moved enough to write about it.

Just so you know, I worked very hard to support and run the lacrosse club my son was in because there was no program at our public high school. Thanks to everyone’s years of commitment, it is now an official sport there.

It was written for an anthology and it was never intended to be humorous. It’s just a memoir of that brief period in my life. And yes, I was probably very obnoxious, but incredibly proud of my son’s accomplishments. If that’s distasteful to you, I can only figure you have no children. No biggie.

Thank you for making me feel proud of the fact that my six words touched you as much as they did. Any reaction is a welcome surprise. It made it into the anthology and apparently from there onto bottle caps. Color me delighted.

Follow up email to her after google search about her:

Ms. Shaller, I was very happy to find your essay regarding my six-word-memoir and I have submitted a response. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Sincerely,

Amy Hartl Sherman

Ms. Shaller’s email response:

Responses to one’s writing are always surprising.  Responses to one’s grumpy writing from the person one was grumped about–well, those are certainly sobering.  I had no idea the blog was still visible.  I applaud your good humor.

And, Ms. Shaller, I applaud the occasional kick in the head…

Concussion smile

Concussion smile

*http://commentsinthemargins.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/lacrosse-and-bottle-caps-a-love-story/ (written in 2011)  By debshaller

 

And this is the original publication medium of the memoir…
SIX-WORD Memoir

Merry Wrecking Christmas For Everybody

  • From the moment I watched the agonizingly adorable Holderness family Christmas video greeting, I was simultaneously impressed, intimidated, and overwhelmingly grateful my kids are grown and our days of producing creative Christmas cards have waned. I thought there was pressure then.

    When I was little, photo cards were the exception rather than the rule. The fact that someone took a picture and had them made into cards was above and beyond everyone’s factory made cards with a scribbled signature added to personalize them. Those people were rich.

    Christmas letters have been around forever, but those have already been infamously lampooned and become so iconic, they have become cliche. It is the rare author today who doesn’t try to make fun of penning one year into a concise review while skewering the braggadocious letters.

    Photo cards have become mini photo albums now. It used to be one picture of the kids and/or family and/or pets was enough. Thanks to the ease of uploading and printing, the photo cards include multiple images of the little rat bastards because their adorableness simply cannot be captured in one brief shutter exposure. Their smiling/crying/un-cooperative faces tilt in varying positions on premium paper, both front and back. Cost is no concern. More is better.

    I’ll admit to making an effort to send out creative Christmas cards when the boys were young. No standing in front of the fireplace cliches for me. I remember being wowed by people that actually used Halloween pictures, or summer vacation pictures to mix it up a bit. I immediately followed suit. I even drew a cartoon card one year.Xmas cartoon

    The competitive nature of these clever/amusing/overdone greetings rivals that of the Tour de France. Because my husband was in advertising then, there were some wickedly cool photo cards sent to us. I got to the point where a plain old Christmas card without any family photo was a disappointment. Waste of paper. I loved ridiculing seeing photos and letters that said so much more between the lines.

    Now the damn Holderness’s have thrown down the gauntlet. They have made a Christmas greeting on steroids. Everyone is in love with their video. Where will it end? And if everyone starts making them, when will there be time to trim a tree or bake a cookie? You’ll either be in production, or viewing someone else’s greeting while biting your lip and praying theirs did not beat you to the punch on some brilliant idea.

    I predict many failed attempts will follow the Holderness video, along with parodies that will kill. The current generation of vid-kids can already edit on their laptops or even make a viral vine, so the potential is limitless. I look forward to any clever masterpieces my children will send of any future grandchildren, but am totally relieved I am old enough to have escaped this new trend. I, for one, refuse to feel pressured. Happy Holidays to all you creatives out there. I’ve got to run. Making a holiday hologram takes more time than I planned for.Me Miley wrecking XX

A Virgin’s View

 

Never having attended a writers conference of any kind, I was a toxic stew of insecurities as I left for the 2010 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. Would I have what it takes? Would everyone else be an established writer? Could I handle being there alone amongst total strangers? Would everyone be funnier than me? Would I be able to pass gas?

As it turned out, the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop was worth every penny and provided the shot of adrenalin I needed to pursue my dream of becoming a legitimate writer, or at the very least, a better one.  So for any novices considering attending this fantastic conference in the future, I thought I could pass on some valuable lessons to help you blend “write” in.

Lesson 1:  Writing is a business.

The first night started with a dinner. Before the chicken even hit the table, a woman whipped out her business cards and passed them around for everybody to take. One attendee piped up: “We’re already doing cards?” I followed: “We were supposed to bring cards?”

I pulled out the three business cards I had in my purse which had nothing whatsoever to do with writing and let people wrestle for them. How could I be so stupid? Years of being home with the kids had left me about as business savvy as Ronald Wayne, the poor guy who gave up his Apple partnership for all of $2300. I judiciously held on to one card in case a powerful publisher cornered me and begged for one.

Lesson 2:  The Pitch

Learn how to pitch yourself and your work briefly and succinctly. At each meal everyone at your table introduces themselves and gives a quick synopsis about themselves and their work. If they have no concept of brevity and tend to meander all over the place bringing personal baggage to their introduction, the third time you’ve heard their spiel you want to stuff their mouth with a roll and whisper in their ear “Get an EDITOR!!”  A simple, “I’m insane. I love to write” will do fine.

Most people do have an agenda involving self-promotion in the hopes of making a connection that would further their career. Some people have a more intense agenda than others. Perhaps the organizing committee could offer the option of adding “And what can you do for me?”  beneath an attendee’s name and home town on the name tags provided.

At the last luncheon a woman sat down at our table and I asked her what she thought of the conference. She hurriedly showed us the book she had published through the publishing company she had started. All because someone had told her at a previous Bombeck workshop to stop buying how-to books and doing research on writing and just get it done!  I lauded her for all that she had accomplished in a few years and was even more impressed because her book was about motherhood and she obviously had small children at home as well. She looked at me with wild eyes and said, “I just feel like there is so much more to do!” In an effort to put her accomplishments in perspective, I proudly told her, “This is my first workshop and I drove here from Chicago. All by myself.”  She gathered her gear up and left in a flurry.  I yelled after her, “I’m not contagious! You can still be successful!”

Lesson 3:   Relax and have fun.

The weekend is a whirlwind of activity and stimulation. Enjoy every moment of it. Even if the only thing you’ve written is a shopping list, you will be inspired. You will learn things from celebrated authors and industry experts. You will meet great people and make lifelong friends. You will want to write more than ever and you will leave counting the days until the next Bombeck Workshop.

I was amazed at the talent that had been assembled both for the workshops and the guest speakers.  Writing can be an isolating task. It was great to be surrounded by fellow creatives who were not only talented, but understood the angst that goes along with the process. The speakers were stellar and hilariously funny. It was electrifying. I don’t know what other writers workshops are like, but since this one honors the brilliantly humorous Erma Bombeck, the focus was on funny and it did not disappoint. Pack extra Poise Pads for those of you who know what I’m talking about.
Lesson 4:  I recommend everyone print their picture on their business card.

You will meet a lot of people in a short time. At the end of the weekend, cards are flowing like oil into the Gulf.  I came home with piles of them and it was impossible to remember who was who and who I wanted to keep or toss. Thanks to my lack of preparation, I didn’t have to worry about anyone tossing mine. I still have the one I saved for that potential publisher. Maybe next time…
Lesson 5:  Don’t let insecurities get in the way. Keep writing. Polish your craft. Savor every success, even if it’s simply getting up the nerve to go where you’ve never gone before. Look for me at the 2012 workshop. I’ll be the one with a U-haul stuffed with personalized business cards, Beano and plenty of pee pads.

To Thine Own Self Be Mean

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, which is great because I am my own worst enemy, and guilt is my weapon of choice.

My guilt trips come with their own pilot, flight crew, and bad catering. “Welcome aboard. We’ll be flying at the lowest esteem possible, with occasional inner-turbulence, peppered by mild anxiety attacks. SSRIs will be available for purchase during the flight, along with headphones for the feature film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Lots of people set goals and seem to have the energy of a splitting atom. I call them overachievers, while feeling like a total loser in comparison. I am inert by nature, finding innumerable ways to avoid doing anything that requires effort. While other moms were cutting up fresh fruit and frying up bacon, I threw packages of Hostess mini-muffins up the stairs yelling, “Breakfast!”

When my husband was dismissed from his job of twenty years, he took over meal preparations to save money and because he actually likes to cook. That was great in the beginning, but one day my younger son tells me, “I don’t like having Daddy home.” I gasped. “Why not?”  “I miss going to McDonalds.” And the best parent award goes to…

Call me Blanche DuBois, except that I’ve always depended on the cooking of others. The very thought of having to put together a meal, or worse, entertain makes me anxious. Besides, cooking is messy and messes have to be dealt with. The inside of my oven looks like a combination of toxic waste and seagull droppings. “Self-cleaning” my ass. If ovens were truly self-cleaning, they would clean themselves after each use. My vagina has better self-cleaning power than a KitchenAid Superba.

Speaking of overachievers, one of my neighbors does lunges up our steeply-inclined street and looks like a million-bucks. Meanwhile my bones are getting so porous I may have the ability to fly soon. The very word “exercise” makes me phantom sweat, but it’s easier feeling shitty about myself rather than actually sweating. If beating myself up counted as a workout, I’d be a candidate for an Olympic boxing team.

By law it is okay to kill someone in self-defense, and if anyone deserved killing, it is this insidious enemy. I have been working on it. Watching Hoarders helps me feel like a superior housekeeper, and Toddlers and Tiaras makes me feel like an incredible mom. Who knew reality TV could be so therapeutic? As I grow wiser and increasingly more comfortable in my own flabby skin, I just need to get over feeling guilty about being happy.

Ding!

“Oh miss! I’ll take some of those SSRIs now, please. Oh, and I’m sorry my baggage doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment. I’ve learned it’s much smarter to check it all and just enjoy the ride.”Amy luggage bench

Copyright © 2014 Amy Sherman

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