Archive - 2014

Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop 2014
Can’t. Stop.
Strong Passwords Call For Strong Language
I May Be A Pessimist, But Where There’s Smoke, There’s Hope
Lacrosse and Bottle Caps: A Love Story

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:

courtesy of:

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…

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 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


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.


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

* (written in 2011)  By debshaller


And this is the original publication medium of the memoir…

Copyright © 2014 Amy Sherman