Ok guys. The ink pen, nay keyboard challenge is over. Dawn Weber and I have chosen our topics and are posting our offerings this morning. The topics that were given to me to choose from were: exploding bras, exploding powdered sugar, being a member of the itty bitty titty club as a teenager, and waking to see a vision of Erma Bombeck in my pillow case. Don’t you know I’d choose the latter, just for you Molly. Be sure to check out Dawn’s. But be careful, you might spit your coffee or coke on your screen.
WARNING: Some necessary profanity in this piece.
Visions of Licorice Plums
If you had two people whose work you truly admire, but they are opposite in their approach to the work to the point they could be labeled good and evil, which one’s advice do you think you would follow? Yeah, me too.
But that is exactly where I found myself a week ago.
I have always admired Erma Bombeck, reading, no devouring, everything she ever wrote. Her wicked sense of humor about ordinary things taught me how to see what others don’t. How to write about it. How to allow others to laugh at me, at themselves, and at life in general.
George Carlin taught me how to laugh at the absurdities of life, politics, and many other things that most comedians stayed away. George taught me sarcasm and how to use it to annihilate the idiots in my life. There was nothing that George shied away from and I am thankful for his insight.
Erma was a lady. Erma used polite words to portray ordinary things. George was blunt and told it like he saw it sparing no stupidity in his path.
Now, imagine these two story tellers pulling and tugging at you to follow their way.
Sleeping peacefully is not a normal thing for me, but on occasion I manage a few hours of time away from my mind. That is exactly what I was doing a couple of weeks ago when I was physically yanked from my bed, and told that my writing sucked. According to a voice that I can only describe as familiar, I should write my stories the way I tell them in life.
“Stop using the shifted top line characters on your keyboard. Call an ass and ass when you see one.”
Rubbing my eyes to find out what part of hell I was located in did nothing to assuage my fears. I blinked trying to recognize anything familiar. I wasn’t so lucky. Instead I saw something moving on my pillow. The more I rubbed my eyes the clearer the face of Erma appeared.
“If you listen to him you will lose your loyal readers. A good writer does not have to resort to profanity and crassness. You were a great comedienne George, but leave the girl alone.”
Oh God. I must be trapped in some place between heaven and hell.
Erma was making sense. Using her style and relative sense of stabilizing humor has been working. But then, George called a spade and spade and when he did his audiences would erupt in laughter.
Many of my writer friends want to emulate Erma. They have even been described as modern day Erma Bombeck’s.
I’ve never heard that about me. I did have one friend say that my writing is much like what George Carlin would do – sarcastic and biting.
“With all due respect Ms. Bombeck, your writing is dated. Today you have to address the complexities and stupid shit happening in this world. There is no way to do that with pleasantries. Could you describe the atrocities happening in the Middle East without using words such as fucking tragedy?”
“Don’t listen to him Wanda. Don’t follow in the ways of a crazy man.”
“Crazy. You think I’m crazy. Open your eyes and look at what’s going on in the world today. People talk to each other by typing voweless words on electronic devices that do everything but pull a changling and become a dildo so the owner can masturbate with it. People don’t talk face to face anymore.”
“I beg to differ with you. You didn’t see all the people at the Erma conference. You didn’t hear all the discussions held in the lobby, or in the dining room over a beer or glass of wine. I would venture to say other than WTF, your favorite word was not uttered and yet many topics were discussed.”
“Why are the two of you here?” I asked, trying to shake them out of my head and my house. “Leave me alone. I’m doing just fine without the two of you occupying my bedroom and trying to guide my writing career. Unless you’re here to get an agent for me, be gone the both of you.”
“Wanda. You have so many stories to write and you don’t need to be vulgar. What about the boob book?”
“Call them tits.”
“What about the exploding bras?” Erma was not letting up.
“What about the hooter holders and double scoops at the airport?” George could sling them as well as Erma could.
“How do you people know what’s in my head?”
“We know everything.”
Well that was the only thing they could agree on.
“I don’t care what you know. I’ve read your works. I’ve watched your comedy on television. I’ve been to the gatherings in honor of you. But in the words of Popeye, I yam what I yam. Thanks for paving the way, but now GET THE HELL OUT of my way and get out of my bedroom.”
I began rubbing my face, my hands, my legs, and anything within my reach. The face of Erma began to disappear back in to the pillowcase from whence she came. On the other hand, or with the other hand, George was not letting go.
I pulled. So did George. I slapped at him. He slapped back, and harder. In my last ditch effort to rid myself of the unrelenting ghost I turned around, looked him straight in the vision, and said, “If you don’t let go George, and go back to your wherever you came from, I will forever refer to you as the Sugar Plum Comedienne.”
With that, he was gone.
Hey, I call them as I see them.
From the life and mind of:
Wanda M. Argersinger
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