I've been going through our bookcases, trying to get real with myself. How many of these books am I actually really and truly every going to read again? I committed myself to thinning the herd so as to make room for other new books. An Excellent Plan! And then I came across this collection of Erma Bombeck's work.
Mrs. Bombeck wrote 15 books and zillions of newspaper and magazine articles so this is just the tiniest sample of her work. But I remember being a big fan of her a long time ago. And in fact, I remember laughing so hard, while reading her books, that I would have to close the book and walk away to compose myself, so that I could resume reading. Really! And that is probably why I held on to these books for so long.
I love a good laugh, a giggle, a chortle, a chuckle or a guffaw! And right now, during these whole virus mess, a good laugh is especially important. So it seemed that this would be the perfect time for a re-read.
But Dang. I'm not laughing. Sometimes I smile a little but I'm not laughing. And I find that very odd and disappointing.
What changed? She was an excellent writer. I have no complaint about the quality for her writing. But it's not the total crack up that I remember from years ago.
Now to be fair, Most of these books came out when I was a young mother of first 1, then 2, then 3 boys. And since she wrote about being a mother of 3 - in her case 2 boys and 1 girl - maybe I identified more back then? It's been along time since I had three scampering, lively, sassy young ones tumbling around me 24/7. But I remember it. I remember it very well.
And in fact, I have recounted funny stories about my kiddos when they were little ones to other people who laugh with me about the crazy times back then. So I remember. I relate historically. But I am not laughing at her books any more.
I wonder why? Is it because I know the punchlines? Is it because I don't have little ones anymore? Has my own sense of humour changed that much? Are her stories no longer relatable? I find that option hard to believe.
Kids have been kids have been kids since the beginnings of time. I might have little little Grok the caveboy with a rock instead of little Jimmy with a baseball, but they still threw it and they still hit something and it was still funny.
I suppose it's possible that I have become such a grumpy old poop that I have lost my sense of humour, but I don't think so. Tim still cracks me up on a daily basis. My kids still make me laugh. Phone calls with my sister usually end up with one or the other (or both) of us totally losing it laughing. I was on the phone with a friend yesterday afternoon and I was laughing so hard I had to sit down for a few minutes. So I do still remember how to laugh.
Laughter is good stuff. You know the expression, "Laughter is the best medicine"? Well it's not just a saying. It's a fact.
"Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain".
So ok maybe it's not the absolute BEST medicine. But it's darned good medicine. And we should all make it a point to laugh more. Watch funny movies, read funny stories, do silly things, spend time with people who make us giggle, relax and let go.
In fact in these especially trying times, it's more important than ever to Release The Laughter (instead of the Kracken).
But maybe not by reading old Erma Bombeck books because for whatever reason, she is not making me laugh this time 'round. I think I will make it a point to re-read these one more time before donating them to Good Will. Hopefully someone else will discover Erma and be delighted with her the same way I was when I first read them.
I will have to find my laughter elsewhere.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.