Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Tense

Thanks, kind of, to the Captain for filling in today. This piece first appeared at An Army of Ermas, where we are both contributors.  "What a fun idea," we thought, "to collaborate on a piece."  All I can say is, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Then again, so did parachute pants.

Amy and I were brainstorming the other day in preparation for collaborating on this piece. There was a point where we stopped what we were doing, looked each other in the eye, and said, “This ain't going to work.” See, for all the love and respect we have for each other and each other’s work, we harbor no delusions about our ability to work together on a writing project. Two divas, that’s what we are. 

So we drew straws to decide who would have the honor of completing the essay. Amy drew the long straw. After soundly beating me with it, she allowed me to proceed.

 To that end, I present the following XX Examples of Artistic Tension:

Top Ten Ways To Get Your Husband To Stop Snoring

1. I don't snore.
2. Yes, you do.
3. No, I don't.
4. I want a divorce.

Top Log(10) Funniest Irrational Numbers
1. Pi
2. Wait. Is this geek humor?
3. Ummm. Yes?
4. I want a divorce.

Top Ten Cleaning Tips From Women’s Magazines
1. Put garlic cloves in the microwave for a few seconds to make them easier to peel.
2. What? How would that help?
3. I don't know. It just does.
4. That's stupid. And it's a stupid magazine to put such a stupid tip in it.
5. I want a divorce.

Top ten Craftsmen Power Tools, By Intrinsic Coolness
1. Craftsman 19.2 Volt 4 pc. C3 Combo Kit
2. Craftsman Professional Stapler/Brad Nailer, Heavy-Duty, EasyFire™ Forward Action™ with Rapid-Fire
3. Stop.
4. What?
5. What's funny about a list of power tools?
6. Nothing. I said they'd be cool, not funny.
7. We're doing humor. That means funny.
8. I want a divorce.

Top ten moments of implied humor in Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner
1. Zzzzzzzzz.....
2. I want a divorce.

Top ten flatulence jokes
1. No.
2. What? You wanted funny.
3. What I want now is a divorce.

Top ten reasons Bill is a stinky goo-head

Oh, yeah? Top ten reasons Amy is a....

Watch it, buster!

In short, it wasn't a pretty evening. But we did at least agree on the following list.

Top ten ways for a married couple with widely divergent styles to successfully collaborate on a humor project.

1. Get a divorce.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Budget Cuts and ABC's: A Back-to-School Guide for Parents

 A – Abstain from throwing any wild back to school parties until the kids are actually back in school.  They may form the mistaken impression that this is a celebration for them.  Also refrain from performing the back-to-school bunny hop with your spouse unless the shades are completely drawn.  You wouldn’t want the neighbors to get the right idea.

B – Bookbags.  The simple act of purchasing the proper bookbag for your child helps him or her confirm that the back-to-school process has begun and is irreversible. (“After I shelled out two weeks’ pay for that bookbag, yes you are going back to school!)  Be sure to obtain the latest in colors and/or styles to ensure conformity within peer groups.  Also be aware that this fad will fall away like blue off a Smurf’s back in a week and render the bookbag obsolete.  (See clothes)

C – Clothes.  Clothes are defined as randomly combined garments worn in various styles to produce envy among friends and wide eyed stares among members of the opposite s-e-x.  For girls they should obscure any minor figure flaws (such as chest, waist, and hips) and emphasize positive traits (see examples for flaws, above.)  For boys, clothes should cover all signs of underwear (at least until they leave the house). 

*Note:  Clothes are purchased at shops specifically designed for this purpose.  Leave all apparel selections up to your child, particularly if they are middle school age or above.  This is no place for amatuers.  Just remember that next week when these styles have become obsolete, you won’t be the one sporting black fingernails and fishnet stockings.

D – Detention.  Detention is the exciting time when your child manages to earn a longer than normal stay at school due to excessive social behavior (he talks in class), challenging the oppressive yolk of overwork (doesn’t do his homework), or is time challenged (arrives in homeroom at the crack of noon every day).  Although this procedure keeps the child in school longer and out of undesirable places like your house, the positive aspects are often obscured by having to leave work to drag his sorry excuse for a body home because he missed the bus.  The upside here is that you can vent any stress you’re feeling at the time on the child.  (First, I spilled coffee in my shoes and now this!)

E – Eating.  Eating is an important activity known to produce a general sense of peace and well-being. Teenagers often take this activity to excess everywhere but at school where the lunch is nasty.  (Translation:  they serve meats and vegetables.)

On the first day of school, feel free to celebrate with a few well-placed gallons of gourmet ice cream.  Remember that the ice cream must not be in the refrigerator when your child gets home from school or it will be immediately be sucked into the neverending void known as his stomach.

F – Freedom.  Once school is underway, you have a wonderful sense of freedom.  Your time is your own.  Until he calls to say he forgot his homework or his lunch or the science project he was supposed to be working on and could you bring a picture of a cumulus cloud to the office right this minute?  In this event, return to E and consume copious amounts of chocolate.

G –Z  So what happened to the rest of the alphabet?  Budget cuts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Right Tool

“Chocolate bars, snack cakes, devil’s food cookies,” I mumbled to myself, checking things off my list with a firm nod at each one.

“What are you doing?”  the Captain of my Snack Wagon sauntered into the kitchen and leaned against the refrigerator, arms crossed and eyebrows raised.

“It’s August.”

“Thank you for the update.  I’ll check the Mayan calendar to make sure they’re on track.”

“Those Mayans were pretty clever.  They developed a language so they could make notes.” I stood on tiptoe to look in the snack cupboard. Something was missing.

He grinned. “The Mayan culture lasted centuries because they could jot down a grocery list?  I must have missed that in the history books.”

“That’s because you’re not a planner.  You may have 5,000 different kinds of screwdrivers in your toolbox, but you’re not into Emergency Preparedness Training.”

 “And what sort of culture shock is coming up that I need to find a bigger hammer for?”

I rattled around in the pantry shuffling cans and jars, and came out with a bag of powdery  doughnuts and a six-pack of chocolate drinks. “School starts next week.  Have you seen what happens to the kitchen at 3:00 if there’s nothing to eat when the kids come home?”

 “Oh, I get it,” he said, pulling the crinkly paper off a small cake. “Sometimes it takes a Ho Ho to hit the nail on the head.”