by Kassandra Lamb
This would normally be an “off” week for our blog, but I’m participating in the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest VII this week, as I’ve done each year since its inception (or maybe I jumped in at year 2; I can’t remember for sure). This wonderful celebration of women is sponsored by the beautiful-inside-and-out August McLaughlin.
So here’s a short and hopefully amusing post in honor of humorous women. Please hop over to the BOAW site when you’re finished reading and check out the excellent posts listed there. (And maybe win a great prize or two!!) The blogfest is from today through March 9th.
The late comedienne extraordinaire Erma Bombeck had a birthday a few of weeks ago (she would have been 91). Meanwhile, a very much alive friend of mine, Barb Taub, released a new humor book last month.
These two events got me to thinking about humor, aging and beauty.
In my review of Barb’s book I called her today’s version of Erma Bombeck. I hope that compliment will keep her from killing me for what I am about to say. Erma was no physical beauty, and Barb can best be described as a middle-aged plump person who smiles a lot.
But I believe they are two of the most gorgeous souls ever to walk the earth, because they find humor in EVERYTHING. Everyone around them is smiling or downright laughing out loud. Talk about spreading sunshine in the world!
Erma was particularly good at poking fun at false standards of beauty or perfection around less-than-important things like housework. But she rebelled so hilariously that she got away with it, even in the 1970s and 80s, when feminism was still somewhat of a dirty word.
Erma on dieting:
“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”
“It is my theory you can’t get rid of fat. All you can do is move it around, like furniture.”
“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”
Erma on the fashion industry:
“Sometimes I can’t figure designers out. It’s as if they flunked human anatomy.”
Erma on housework:
“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”
“Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn’t even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.”
And finally, on laughter:
“When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
“Laughter rises out of tragedy when you need it the most, and rewards you for your courage.”
And yet another quote, this one from a reviewer of one of Erma’s books:
“Erma liberated women from guilt of imperfection”
(by domestic diva, the title of her review on August 30, 2015)
My life certainly hasn’t been one big laugh, but humor has always been one of the tools—a prominent one on my tool belt—that I’ve used to keep going. And perhaps more importantly, it has made the “keeping going” worth doing.
I can’t begin to imagine life without laughter.
I’ve been blessed with oily skin (although in younger years I considered it a curse). Oily skin doesn’t wrinkle very readily, so even though I’m 65, I don’t have wrinkles.
Or at least I believed that, until I happened to smile while looking in the mirror the other day. That’s when I realized I’m starting to develop laugh lines around my eyes.
I’m so happy that they, in particular, are my first wrinkles.
And I’ll leave you with one last quote, most often attributed to Oscar Wilde:
“Life is too important to be taken seriously.”
How about you? Do you have laugh lines yet? How do you feel about them?
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the other BOAW blog posts (and maybe win a prize!)
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kass is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
We blog here at misterio press about twice a month, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.
Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )
Jess WitkinsMarch 5, 2018 at 11:44 am
Love it! I just finished reading Forever, Erma a month ago. She did have a knack for citing truths and leaving a humorous spin on things. I’m attending the Erma Bombeck writing conference in April, are you or Barb? I’d love to meet you in person! Barb’s writing sounds wonderful and I love her book cover! May be a great gift for mother’s day coming up! Happy festing to you both!
Barb TaubMarch 5, 2018 at 12:05 pm
Thanks so much Jess! I would have loved to attend the conference but can’t make it this year. It’s definitely on my bucket list though. I’m so jealous that you’ll be there, and sad that we won’t meet up. I know you’ll have a wonderful time.
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm
There’s an Erma Bombeck writing conference? How did I miss that news?
Off to google it and see if they still have room. (And yes, Barb’s book is wonderful!)
Audrey KalmanMarch 5, 2018 at 12:01 pm
I will check out Barb’s book. I tend to suffer from an overabundance of seriousness in my life (my branding line for my fiction is “fiction with a dark edge”), so I have to work extra hard to seek out laughter and lightheartedness. Reading posts like this and the work of writers like Erma and Barb will definitely help. Thanks for this post. It’s a nice way to start my week!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 12:17 pm
Happy to get your week off to a good start, Audrey. Happy Festing!
Barb TaubMarch 5, 2018 at 12:03 pm
I’m honored and thrilled to be mentioned along with Erma! Thank you SO much for this post.
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm
See, not so scary after all…lol
Jennifer RedmondMarch 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm
Great post–so true for me, too. And I have a friend like that who writes funny stuff about everyday life, too—Gayle Carline—in fact I call her the Erma Bombeck of the 21st Century. And yes, life is only bearable if you can laugh at it!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 12:52 pm
Amen, Jennifer! I will check out your friend Gayle’s work. Thanks!!
KM HuberMarch 5, 2018 at 1:19 pm
I really enjoyed your post. So well, I remember the work of Erma Bombeck who seemed to look at life straight on and then gave you a sentence or two about it. Always refreshing. Thanks for the laughs!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm
You are very welcome! Erma was writing her books when I was a young adult. She shaped my thinking in a lot of ways, about the world, life, and being a woman.
Kitt CrescendoMarch 5, 2018 at 1:59 pm
I’ve always loved Erma Bombeck. She kept it real before it became a catch phrase. And you’re right. Two of the most powerful things to help get you through life are laughter & tears…and even better if you laugh so hard you’re crying.
Now, off I go to check out Barb. She sounds like my shot of whiskey. 🙂
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm
Oh yes, laughing and crying together can be the best yet!! You’ll love Barb Taub, Kitt. She is totally irreverent!!
P.S. I fixed the comment issue on my other post. Thanks for letting me know about that!!
AugustMarch 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm
I’m a fan of Erma Bombeck, too, and can’t wait to check out Barb Taub’s work! Laughter really does beautiful most everything—including our eyes. I bet yours are even more stunning with those creases. 🙂
Thanks for the awesome contribution to the fest, Kassandra!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm
Thank you for your awesome blogfest, August! I look forward to it every year!!
And thank you for the compliment. Unfortunately my “stunning” laugh lines are hidden by my glasses in most of the pics I have of myself. 🙂
Aurora Jean AlexanderMarch 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm
You know, time runs, and at one point it runs across your face. I inherited my humor from my father and my laugh lines match his. I’m proud of them because they tell me I’ve got humor and I’m not afraid to laugh heartily.
What a beautiful post. Well done!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Thank you!! “You know, time runs, and eventually it runs across your face.” I love that!
Lynn KelleyMarch 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm
Humor is one of my tools, too. Erma Bombeck is one of my favorites and I almost wrote a post on her, too, but I decided to wait until I have more time to research her life. I didn’t know about an Erma Bombeck conference either. How cool is that?
Thanks for letting us know about Barb Taub’s book. Sounds great! Very cool cover!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm
Maybe we can meet up next year at the Erma conference, Lynn. I looked it up and it’s in Dayton, Ohio (which I think is where she lived). Halfway between us!!
Keep on laughin’, girl!!
Diana BeebeMarch 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm
I love the laugh lines that I’ve noticed developing! I spent a lot of years not laughing…whew. It’s been one of the most freeing things to express my kind of humor and laugh again. This is such a great post, Kassandra!
Kassandra LambMarch 5, 2018 at 4:47 pm
Glad you enjoyed it, Diane, and so, so glad that you are laughing again!
Erica De SutterMarch 6, 2018 at 9:40 pm
WOW! this is really beautiful!!! I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine. This was just the reminder I needed to laugh more and not take the little things (or myself) too seriously. Barb sounds fantastic by the way, I can’t wait to read her book!
Kassandra LambMarch 6, 2018 at 11:42 pm
Glad you enjoyed the post, Erica! Definitely laughter is the best medicine.
Vinnie HansenMarch 7, 2018 at 11:14 am
Wrinkles, hah! I just have lots and lots of dimples. 🙂
Kassandra LambMarch 7, 2018 at 11:53 am
Hahaha! Thank you, Vinnie, for my first laugh of the day!
Shan Jeniah BurtonMarch 8, 2018 at 1:29 am
I was a girl in the 70’s (I was born in the latter half of ’69), but I discovered, and loved, Erma Bombeck. My own mother was a narcissist, and house-proud, and believed i a double standard. Erma was a refreshing, irreverent breath of fresh air, and I was thinking of her just a week or two back.
This post just made me realize that a lot of my attitudes as a woman could be traced back to reading as much Erma Bombeck as I could get my hands on when I was a girl. My favorite was The Grass is Always Greenest Over the Septic Tank.
As far as beauty – I always found Erma beautiful, and I can say the same about your friend Barb (whose book I’m going to buy as soon as I finish this comment!). The reason is that I am always drawn to eyes and smiles – so people genuinely enjoying themselves are like a beacon to me.
I do have laugh lines. They came in 5-8 years back; I’m nearly 49 now. When the crow’s feet were first visible, Jim told me he found them sexy. I think I do, too. They show my determination to see the humor and beauty and fun in every moment I can manage. And they show that I’ve lived some, and enjoyed a good deal of that.
We’re all alive until we aren’t. Why shouldn’t we enjoy it, and laugh about it? I feel it puts something light and good out into the world – or, humor can call attention, in a non-threatening way, to things that need to be noticed.
Great post, Kassandra! And I adore Barb’s coconuts! =D
Kassandra LambMarch 8, 2018 at 11:59 am
LOL Isn’t that picture of Barb a hoot!
The Grass I s Always Greener Over the Septic Tank was one of my favorites of Erma’s books as well. And yes, laugh lines show we have lived! And a smile and a mischievous glint in the eye are definitely my idea of beauty!! 😉
Jennifer RedmondMarch 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm
So happy to see you won my manuscript evaluation. I love mysteries and currently work with a few mystery writers. Always room for one more!
Kassandra LambMarch 14, 2018 at 3:43 pm
I’m thrilled, Jennifer! And the manuscript I want to send you is the one I talked about in my other post. It will be a few weeks as I’m letting it rest and then want to do at least one self-edit. Hope that’s okay. I gave my email to Erica, but will put it here as well — firstname.lastname@example.org