Friday, March 16, 2012

List Ten - Why I'd like to be like Erma Bombeck

The resemblance is amazing.  I know.  Can you believe it?  

Do you ever hold onto a compliment?  Ever hear what someone says and think to yourself, "I'm going to remember this for a long time"?  I do.  Sometimes we have to draw on some of those moments when things are tough or when we're trying to remember why we work hard or what makes the effort worth it.  

Recently - since the start of 'Press Pause' - I got a compliment that just about had me shouting.  The mother of a friend (well, actually she's my friend, too) said "Deana could be the next Erma Bombeck." 

Yaaaaaahoooooooo!  I was thrilled!  Don't get your panties in a wad, I know that's not really what will happen, but please do not blame me for being excited.  I have loved Erma Bombeck since I was a child.  I can vividly recall getting ready to go to school, while Erma was on 'Good Morning, America.'  I remember that even then, even when I was a little girl, I noticed  that she made me laugh.  She laughed at herself.  She seemed to use her humor to help make things a little better and I liked that.  

Now, just a few short years later, I'm in my young adult-hood.  OKAY, SO IT HASN'T BEEN A FEW SHORT YEARS AND I'M NOT IN MY YOUNG ADULT-HOOD!  These years later, in my adult-hood I know more about Erma Bombeck.  I know that I appreciate so much more than I knew about way back then.  

I'm no Erma Bombeck, but she's not a bad person to aspire to emulate.  I wish she was still here.  I do.  I wish I could hear her quips about life in 2012.  I think I can imagine a few things that might be fodder for her tales, and it would be great fun to get her views on facetime, facebook, apps and such.  Can't you imagine her explaining her own snafus with texting?  It would be fun to hear her again.  

When I think about Erma I laugh or smile and it's usually about something completely normal.   She was good at helping us laugh about the everyday, the ordinary, the boring.  Somehow, her stories helped propel the normal into something a little more sacred, and she did it all with a sarcastic twist.  There is not much about housekeeping that I enjoy; but you better believe that if Erma could come to visit while I'm folding clothes, I would do a much better job!  I really would.

So, here, my friends, is this Friday's list.  Here are just ten of the many reasons that I'd like to be like Erma Bombeck:

  1. Because she said stuff like "Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage off the carousel doesn't belong to anyone?"
  2. And also stuff like this . . . "Children make your life important."
  3. She wrote books with titles like, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to go Home,  Everything I Know about Animal Behavior I Learned in the Loehman's Dressing Room, Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, and A Marriage Made in Heaven (or Too Tired for an Affair).
  4. And she wrote things that helped us laugh while we were crying, like I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to go to Boise, I Want to Grow Up:  Children Surviving Cancer.
  5. She depended on her faith and loved her church.
  6. She laughed about her struggles with motherhood in the fifties, writing things like:                   My solution was to bury myself in typical fifties housewifely pursuits. I crocheted Santa Claus doorknob covers, stuck contact paper on everything that didn't move and decorated Bill's dinners with miniature roses sculpted from zucchini. It didn't help.
  7. How about this one?  I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.
  8. And this . . . I haven't trusted polls since I read one that said that 62% of women had had affairs on their lunch hours.  I haven't met a woman yet who would give up lunch for sex!
  9. She fought for ERA and wished to wage the battle with regular women, in regular cities, towns and suburbs.
  10. And, because she said this - and unlike we are often led to believe, she said it 17 years before she died, not when she was terminally ill.  She was busy living and wondering and learning and she said:
Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.  

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.  

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later.  Now, go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more I love yous . . . more I'm sorrys . . . more I'm listenings . . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it . . . look at it and really see it . . . try it on . . . live it . . . exhaust it and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.

Thanks, Erma, for making us laugh and see life's holiness in the same moment and thanks, Sena, for saying I could be like her!  

Enjoy a little flashback . . . 

What's your favorite thing about Erma Bombeck?  Who makes you laugh?


  1. I love Erma Bombeck too, and remember reading her books (they were my mom's) when I was little and laughing til I cried! Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Thank you, C. I love that you knew her 'way back then' too! Thank you for your support, for reading and for your comments!


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