Losing my funny has much more significance than losing a shoe, losing a championship game or even losing one’s virginity.
It was a gradual thing.
Never-ending stories of bad things happening to good people can muffle the soul.
Add career changes, a non-ending Polar Vortex and life goes on autopilot.
Go to Work. Go to the grocery store. Cook dinner. Work some more. Go to bed. Do it all again the next day.
Where was the funny?
Sure, there was always a chortle here, a chuckle there all dwarfed in much too much seriousness.
Until I attended the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop with one of my best friends, and writing buddies, Anne.
Anne is the silver-lining girl who blogs at Funnysister about her mother’s dementia and other slice of life stories. She also happens to be one of my roommates from college.
We had dinner the night before we left for the conference with another dear friend, Jeanette, who is one of the funniest people on the planet and has the most infectious laugh of anyone I know.
It’s amazing how just being in the company of people who have known you since you were 18 years-old – who haven’t likely been exposed to the best of you due to geography and time, but have certainly seen the worst of you prior to maturity and motherhood – can reinvigorate the funny just by being in their presence.
Forgetting to pack your underwear for the conference can also reinvigorate the funny. There’s nothing more invigorating than triggering the shoplifting alarm at Kohl’s when the sales clerk forgets to take the sensor off of your giant granny panties you’ve just purchased. The ten people standing in line waiting to redeem their Kohl’s cash got a little extra bonus indeed.
It’s such a treat to be among the Bombeck family, on the beautiful campus of the University of Dayton honing the craft of writing under the tutelage of the humor industry’s finest authorities and experts. It’s a throwback to another time when every newspaper across the country carried Erma’s humor column At Wit’s End and we all started the day with the same laugh. Eating cake was still cool, which we get to do plenty of at the conference meals.
We even got to meet television icon Phil Donahue, who was the keynote speaker. The man who made his living taking questions from an audience full of women for decades, still has the patience of a saint as a roomful of 350 women lined up for photos after the perfect tribute to his former neighbor and good friend, Erma.
While the workshop was fantastic and it was completely energizing to see all my writing friends, the best part of the trip was a visit to see Anne’s mom Lois.
Anne wrote about her mom inviting herself to the conference in her post The Gift of the Moment.
Anne also prepared me that the visit may be a little depressing.
What I was not prepared for, was Anne’s mother’s incredible sense of humor. While her dementia inhibits her ability to communicate and remember, she was still cracking jokes at warp speed, even complaining about a fellow resident who didn’t laugh at any of her jokes that morning.
That’s the power of humor.
So thanks to Erma, Lois, Jeanette and Anne, I rediscovered my funny.
And thanks to my daughter who thinks I should have performed a stand-up comedy routine during the open-mic session at the conference because in her words, “You would have won for sure.”