Leave 'em Laughing

An old adage from show business, which I suspect started in the Vaudeville days. The logic being that if you could keep the crowd laughing and happy, no harm in the form of a giant hook would come after you. Yep, that would be me. I am that girl. I have been since I can remember. There is just something in me that has always been able to coax a laugh out of anyone. Even people who despise me.

And when you learn something early on in life, it gets used a lot and also, it becomes part of your arsenal of survival. I wouldn’t say I grew up in an unhappy home – but there was a lot of fighting and noise and my mother bless her heart is one high strung woman. Apparently, it was for her, that God gave me this gift. It seemed no matter how upset she would become I could always manage to crack her up. As long as I could stay detached it worked out pretty well.

So, I grew up with this weapon of humor. There were points in my life that I had a repertoire of 200-300 jokes and I could literally tell jokes for 2 hours straight, barely taking a breath in between. Which was good because I was kind of scrawny and geeky when I was a kid and it was probably the only thing that kept the popular kids (read bullies) from humiliating me along with the other geeks and stuffing me in trash cans and lockers. Needless to say, I developed this talent to a veritable art form expanding from mere humor and jokes into witty repartee, sarcasm and ascerbic adventures and continued to hone it through the years.

So much so that it became just who I was. And I have to say that for most of my life I have always thought of myself as the funny chick. You know, not the pretty one, not the popular one, not the smart one, not the talented one, the funny one. That was my personna. Don’t believe me, ask anyone who knows me to describe me, the first word out of their mouth will be funny…. and, so on.

So, when I got the blogging bug, as so many of us have, what would make more sense than to do funny stuff. Write funny pieces, stories, anecdotes, satire, political rants seasoned just right with a blend of sarcasm and potty jokes. Yup – that was Writer Chick. Nobody ever came to my blog without leaving with a smile on their face. I can promise you that was the case. Because you see, it was the goal. Though secretly I longed to write other things, well actually I did, but I longed to post them here. And actually I did a couple of times and as Michael likes to say, ‘they went over like a fart in church’. So, I knew that wasn’t going to fly – yet I still had the need to write the ‘other’ stuff. So, I started another blog so that I could do that – and no this is not an invitation for people to ask about the other blog and get a link and visit, because if that blog was something you wanted to read it would already be on your radar – in other words don’t worry about that.

But the point I guess, if there is a point, which I’m seriously beginning to wonder about – is this, I got myself into this mindset that the only reason anybody came here was so they could get laugh and then move about their business. And in essence sort of created my own monster, no one made me feel that way it was wholly created by me. Nonetheless, the blog began to feel a little bit like a prison that held me in a certain cell and would not let me out in the exercise yard. And I started to really think that my only worth in the blog world was the laughtrack. Again, this was me making me think this, no one else. But it made me restless and made me want to pull the plug on the blog, made me want to do something else – yet somehow I just couldn’t quite get there, let it all go. 500 plus posts, all the hours, all the time, all the energy – I couldn’t quite throw it in the trash.

So then the new solution became self hosting. It was going to somehow make me feel that I wasn’t trapped in the good humor truck and that I could offer other flavors of ice cream and it would be new and exciting. Well, not so much. With the new blog now, not only did I have a litany of crap I had to learn and clearly didn’t understand on the technical end, I lost my page rank, my stats tanked and I wasn’t sure if anyone was reading at all, funny or not. Crap! Now what?

Well, slowly but surely I believe I have evolved if one can do such a thing in the blog world. I like the humor, truly I do and lately I’m missing it – and I want to round it up again – but also have other things to say. Things that aren’t funny, that may even be quite serious or a bummer, but I’m okay with it now. Because the truth is I am the funny chick and I will always be, but now I know I don’t always have to be funny. That’s actually pretty cool and somewhat of a relief, you know what I mean. And crap, I hope this post made some sense.

Is Virtual Reality – Reality?

I know this is somewhat of a cliché question – we all write about it. The differences between ‘real’ life and virtual life. How people can pretend to be anything or anyone that they want on the Internet essentially with impunity and get away with the most outrageous things sometimes. And of course I am not talking about spamming people’s email boxes with viagra ads. I’m talking about some pretty serious and nasty stuff. Child porn, abductions, identity theft and so on and so forth ad nauseum. But I want to take a little further spin around this block beyond the usual path that is traveled with this line of thinking.

I want to talk about love. LOL – gee that sounds like the beginning of disco song or something. Now before you start getting glazed eyes at the prospect of my doing a post about EHarmony or something hear me out for minute.

Long before there were computers, the internet, television, radio, telephones and any immediate type of communication medium, there were letters. As was the custom many moons ago, people wrote letters to one another, long letters, meaningful letters, letters that told of their secrets, their dreams, their hearts and sometimes the farming news and the condition of Aunt Marion’s bunions. It was also often the case that men and women fell in love through the medium of letters – Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning are a well known and famous example of such a love affair. During their 20 month courtship they exchanged nearly 600 letters. And if you have ever had the pleasure and joy of reading any of these letters you will discover that in fact it is possible to first find your way to love through words. And if you have not read any of these letters, do yourself a favor and read some of them. It will restore your belief in the human heart and in love.

So, tracking up the 21st century – or whatever century we’re in because last I heard there was some debate about it and I can’t be too bothered with it – the letter, has been replaced with the email (essentially). Though often emails are more like grocery lists and jotted scribbles across kitchen pads and are used as a quick efficient modern shorthand to get some basic ideas across, they too are letters. I don’t know about you but I have been known to write some very long emails and had some very long emails returned to me. I have had what I can only describe as a ‘saga’ between myself and some others where the exchange of emails numbered up to 100 over the course of a week. So strong and intense was the need to deliver and receive the ideas and concepts being discussed. For me, communication is communication. The fact that someone cannot see me nor hear my voice does not mean nor make my communication false or insincere. Or that of anyone else.

Bloggers may in particular understand this because eventually you become a part of a sort neighborhood, where you find like minded individuals who share interests, worries, troubles and joys in common through the mutual reading of the blogs. This often begins friendships and emails, chats and sometimes even phone calls ensue. In my case I can say that I have found two lifelong friends all because of the internet and email and online activities. But they are actually more than friends, I truly think of them as family. How this began and how it continued and why it even came about I guess is irrelevent but these two people are no less unbelievably and undeniably loved friends than they would be if we had grown up next door to each other. Phone calls, gifts, birthday cards, care packages, emails all have been exchanged and frequently and regularly and they are part of the paradigm of my life. I honestly cannot imagine my life without them in it. And one of them lives on the other side of the world, literally.

So the question then is how does this happen? How can you come to love someone you have never met as though they were your family? As though you grew up in the same house with them or worked at the desk next to them for the last twenty years. I’m not sure I know the answer but I will give a guess. I think that as human beings regardless of the environment we find ourselves in we give off clues of who we are, what we think, what we like, dislike, are afraid of, hope for and that can actually be perceived by another human if the connection is strong enough and the desire exists.

I have to laugh when I hear people say (write) that they are nothing like they seem on their blogs or on the internet, etc. etc. because of course they must be because they created whatever presence they are in that medium, whether they write about diaper bargains or heartfelt memoirs. A piece of them is there for anyone who has an eye to see it. Not all of them of course, but certainly some part, I don’t see how it could possibly be otherwise.

And it is also human nature to be drawn to anything kindred, in whatever form a person finds it. That they find it online, thanks to some whacky exchange of energy and wavelengths seems to me, irrelevent. Things do happen for a reason. People do cross paths for a reason – the how and where I think is secondary to the reason. So, while there are one million and one reasons to be cautious about meeting people online, becoming friends or even perhaps more – and rightfully so – there are also reasons to remember that the written word has been the medium for companionship, friendship and even love for longer than any of us have been on this earth and so to stay open to the possibility of that I think is worth the risk of being tricked, disappointed or just flat out wrong. You never know, you could end up with two lifelong friends and maybe more.

10 Reasons Why it's Good to Take a Week Off Blogging

Hey everybody, I’m back and thanks to all the fabulous guest posters who gave me the time off I needed last week. You’re all wonderful bloggers and good friends and I appreciate it more than you know.

So, the week was good for me and I’ve realized that every now and again it’s good to take some time off from the routine and here are a few reasons why:

1. Eventually you run out of recipes and need some time to find some new ones.

2. Your hands are not really intended to take on the shape of crawling crabs and it is much easier to smoke when you can extend your fingers.

3. You occasionally need a day when the thoughts, “I am so blogging this,” “what the hell am I’m going to post today?”, “Why doesn’t YouTube have decent vids anymore?”, and similar thoughts aren’t dancing around your brain.

4. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and your eyes can indeed adjust to natural light again if you just give it a a day or so.

5. Reading an actual book doesn’t make your eyes hurt and can easily be taken to a park, a chair, the backyard or the beach without missing a thing.

6. A day without email can be filled with adventure and new discoveries instead of viagra ads and old jokes and get rich quick schemes.

7. Life has a beautiful rhythym of its own and everything does not have to go at lightning speed and sometimes it’s better when it doesn’t.

8. Barbecues in the backyard, stars in the sky, nightblooming jasmine, hummingbirds at the feeders.

9. New ideas come unexpectedly and allow your mind to grow.

10. Sleeping is a good thing.

Granted, not one of my usual funny lists – though that was my original thought. But the mind goes where it wants to sometimes.

Burgers Don't Make You Cry

I almost cried
when they forgot my burger
The girl was mean
and snippy
Which didn’t help
but that isn’t why
I almost cried

It was the one man
who kindly asked
“How are you doing?”
It made me think
of how I was doing-
Not good
would have been
the correct answer
Instead, I forced an
‘appreciate your asking’ smile
and turned away
Let them think
I almost cried over
a stupid-ass burger

Better that than
share my pain
Strangers don’t like that
Makes them uncomfortable
Don’t want to peek into the windows
of your life
Lest they see something
that makes them reach
out and connect
Lest they turn their attention
to an intersection not
named ME

I ate my burger
moved to a
different table
letting them all think
burgers can make
people cry
Leaving them with a
story they could take home
with them
when they needed some small talk.