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April/May 2010 Humor Writing Contest Results!

Enter "America's Funniest Humor"TM Writing Contest to claim (or regain) a spot in our next Humor Showcase!



Congratulations to all Semi-Finalists in our April/May 2010 Humor Writing Contest!

(Listed alphabetically by author

President Obama Moves to Secure Volcanoes Worldwide
By Carlos Arnade, Virginia

World leaders breathed a sigh of relief over the near miss which occurred this past spring but cautioned, that next time, the world may not be so lucky. That is, one week after President Obama’s nuclear proliferation summit packed 49 world leaders into the inner nucleus of Washington D.C.’s conference center; eruption of Iceland’s dangerously named volcano grounded thousands of air flight’s and vocal chords throughout Europe and North America.

Ash proliferation engineers say that, had the eruption occurred only days earlier, world leaders would have been left stranded inside Washington D.C. conference rooms, exposed to endless nuclear PowerPoint slides, and stuck desperately trying to prevent the further spread of nuclear arms discussions and proliferation of ethical posturing.

Congressman Thadeiuss Maxigrandon, the third, of Mississippi, who serves on the House intelligence committee, issued the following “public” statement to his aide:

“This near miss clearly shows us how important it is to secure the world’s volcanoes, vents, and potentially active fissures.”

The Mississippi Congressman then called on the President to do “something” about proliferation of the world’s most vulnerable volcanoes.

In response the President issued a ten point, eruption prevention plan to: “prevent loose ash, stray magma, and vulnerable volcanic vents from falling into the wrong hands and jet engines.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the plans would first “jam and entangle” terrorist volcano-information networks, worldwide, by giving every volcano, on and below the surface of the earth, an eight syllable Icelandic name. According to Mr. Gibbs, this act would lead terrorists to seek more pronounce-able weapons of ash destruction.

According to leaks from unnamed Congressional sources, the President’s also plans to fund development of a new class of Air Force fighter balloons, which would have the ability to float -- through ash clouds -- to any target destination on earth, within sixty days, and be able to drop pick-axes, rock-hammers, and red fire-ants on unsuspecting terrorists.

According to leaks from unnamed Green Peace activists the plan also will create an elite network of volcanoes and coordinate their eruption schedules to slow global warming.

Supporters say that other points of the anti-eruption and proliferation plan will emerge once the names of “appointed White House leakers” can be scrubbed from public view or, equivalently, translated into the Icelandic language.

The Ash Fallout Continues

Since the President’s volcanic proliferation announcement, calls have inundated UN hotlines from people claiming to have spotted terrorist suspects -- and billowing dust plumes -- on the slopes of active volcanoes and dormant ash-heaps.

Indonesia’s Minister of Craters and Eruptions, Dr. Megawati Subupak, summed up the public sentiment in his country:

“Our office has been inundated with calls, and shouts, from people who claim to have seen Al Qaeda operatives scouting out their local volcanic cone. We are even getting calls from fisherman who have never seen a volcano in their life, but swear that terrorist snorkelers are diving into undersea vents near their favorite coral reef and generating suspicious looking bubbles.”

The minister then explained why volcanic terrorist fears were rising:

“This is what you get when the world overdoses on TV News every time our sacred mother earth passes a little natural gas”.

As if to confirm the Indonesian Minister’s view, CNN reported that thousands of Pakistani’s, living in that country’s Northern States and Eastern Stans, have called in to report smoke and ash rising from their local mountain peaks.

Pakistan’s Minister of Mining, Metals, and Mountains, a Dr. Giles Ali Pakasub, told reporters.

“Since Iceland’s eruption isolated England for the first time in three hundred years, people in Pakistan have just gone... plume crazy.

In the Northern States there even is some silly proliferating rumor about an American plot to name their local mountain peak after an eight syllable glacier field in Iceland.“

Despite the rumors, the Presidents of Indonesia and Pakistan jointly announced plans to lock down all suspicious mountain peaks in their respective countries.

Meanwhile Congressman Maxigrandon urged President Obama to label the country of Guatemala a volcano proliferator and impose White House sanctions which would make illegal immigration from that Central American country “even more” illegal than before.

The President responded by inviting the Congressman to an anti-eruption conference in Washington D.C next February.

According to the President following the conference, leaders and their staff will acquire valuable experience by attempting to book commercial flights home, as airports across Europe and North America close for Marti Gras and ash-Wednesday.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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The President Announces A Plan To Simplify The U.S. Economy
By Carlos Arnade, Virginia

Speaking to students at the University of Michigan, President Obama introduced a plan to make the U.S. economy simpler, easier to use, and less hostage to the specialists who thrive on the “unnecessary complication of the U.S. economic system.”

One notable point in his speech brought applause:

“For too long Americans have been unable to understand their own economy, leaving it to economists, bankers, and stockbrokers to explain how the economy works and then demand payment for the explanation. I promise in three years time we will have a more simple economy which the average American can understand.”

The President’s economic simplification team, made up of six top elementary school teachers, proposed banning variable interest rate loans and putting the U.S. currency on the metric system. The school teacher team also recommended printing different money denominations with different colors. The team also proposed increasing the size of bills larger than ten dollars to 12 by 6 inches.

“Bigger, colored money will give merchants a better look at what they are doing and make counting easier.” said Heidi Goodely of the school teacher team.

Chief White House Economist Larry Summers offered a dissenting view.

“Let’s just go British. Make twelve cents equal a dollar, create a three dollar bill equal to thirty six cents, and print a twenty-seven dollar bill that goes the whole nine yards.” Dr Summers wrote in an e-mail that he sent to the President, his staff, 4420 economists, 214 newspaper editors, 82 world finance ministers, and a group of news-starved astronauts on the space shuttle.

Heidi Goodely responded with her own e-mail: “Metric money free us from the size of smelly feet from a stuffy rainy island.”

Meanwhile, a group of economic reformists consisting of Quakers and “interested “ liberal arts majors, who are “waiting” for the economy to “pick up” proposed holding markets in “equilibrium” between 5 PM and 8 AM Eastern time.

The proposal is said to be a compromise between the teacher advisory group who wanted “supply and demand to just be one thing” and White House economists who admitted, under intense questioning by the President himself, that supply and demand are equal: “when there is equilibrium.”

Todd Racher explained the compromise to reporters:

“Our plan allows Americans to tuck themselves into bed each night knowing that a price has been found to put the markets into a peaceful state of rest. Jolts to the economic system would only be allowed after everybody gets themselves a morning cup of coffee.”

“The happy hope statements of this proposal is utterly devoid of real world content on how markets operate “declared the e-mail which Larry Summers sent to himself and Vice President Joe Biden.

The teacher group tried to agree:“Reading all those economy books have just made those MBA’s too swap crazy. But you can’t swap your education for your money back. All we just want is for Mr. Supply to kiss and make up with Mrs. demand before dinner time.”
The teacher e-mail initiated a flurry of back and forth e-mails which were recorded by an astute internet computer and posted on sixty websites:

Reformers:“Aren’t there some sort of sensors to determine if markets are in equilibrium?”

Summers:“How can someone who is unemployed think you can just order supply to equal demand?”

Reformers: “Can’t we get the equilibrium price right after a whole 8 hour day?”
Summers: “How long did it take for you realize that your market wage was zero?”

News starved space shuttle Astronaut: “Dr. Summers, in a zero gravity economy will my wage float up over time or will it also be zero?”

French Finance Minister: “Enhancing the color of money will increase artistic awareness of the world of finance. Americans can also benefit from my IMF proposal to introduce designer money. For example, Dr. Bernanke’s signature can be on the 1,000 dollar bill, no? And Dr Summers on the ten. No.”

Summers: “I agree, no.”

Vice President Biden: “Come guys what’s wrong with signing a couple dollar bills. I like designer money. I get the nickel and dime. Show me how to put pen to metal and I’ll sign every working person’s hard saved coins.”

Larry Summers: “I say eliminate tinted money ideas and nighttime fairytales about markets being in equilibrium.”

The President: “OK guys, I see we have alt of work to do.”

Astronaut: “Sir, Mr. President, why is floating around in zero gravity considered serious enough work to receive a living wage? “


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Drain Oh-Oh
By David Crawford, British Columbia

“Ah, hello again Mr. Crawford. Right this way, we’ve got your usual table over here. Just relax and we’ll get you taken care of.”

“Thanks, Doctor.”

“So – what happened this time?”

“Well, it’s a long story.”

“It always is. Nurse? Get the suture tray please.”

“It all started with a plugged bathtub drain…”

We let the kids use our big soaker tub from time to time, and a toy or possibly something disgusting had blocked the plug, such that we couldn’t close it.

To get the plug thing off, I needed to get my head right down to its level in order to find the little screw thingy that I undo to open it up.

Now on this particular occasion I was wearing my big bathrobe, which can be constricting. Being in my own home and in my own bathroom, I decided to shed this garment, such that I was now bent over the tub, flashlight in hand, head just above the opening, buck naked. My behind, legs and other accessories were outside the tub, kneeling on the floor.

Flashlight in one hand, small screwdriver in the other, I leaned into my task…

“Lidocaine 20cc…you’ll feel this a little…Please continue.”

It was at this point our fine and curious golden retriever entered the bathroom. Seeing her large master bent over and possibly in some sort of distress (?), she decided to inquire within the confines of the master’s hind quarters to see if there was some way she could assist.

Now, for those who are not dog owners, let me just explain that dog noses are wet and cold.

Having anything wet or cold suddenly thrust into ones naked posterior region without warning can cause a certain involuntary muscular contraction, namely the immediate straightening of the spine in a lurching spasm, evocative of electrocution.

This convulsion thrust my head upwards and into the underside of the spigot, causing intense pain and a nicely rounded cut, which gushed blood in some volume.

“Nurse, just shave this area here…make the bald spot larger. Do continue Mr. Crawford…”

Meanwhile my thumb, which had been biding its time inside the drain hole, became a victim of its owner’s sudden paroxysm and got cut, scraped, swollen, and stuck – all at the same time.

Bleeding profusely, almost unconscious from pain, I proceeded to whimper for help. Being in a remote corner of the house, not to mention having my head down in a bathtub, no one was able to hear me, so I was forced to attempt a self-rescue.

“More gauze please Nurse. Carry on… I’m enjoying this one.”

I had visions of the guy in the desert who hacked off his own hand to escape entrapment beneath a large boulder…

To get my thumb unstuck I thought I would run some cold water down the drain, in the hope that it would reduce the swelling and release me from its evil clutches. Chopping off my thumb with a small flashlight was a prospect I did not wish to consider.

Reaching awkwardly with my unstuck hand, I was just able to hit a tap and get some water to flow. Directly onto my throbbing and bleeding head, which was still beneath the spigot.

“AAAACCKKKSSSPPAAA!!” I spluttered. I coughed and cursed and shrieked anew. My wife finally heard me and rendered assistance with Vaseline (don’t go there), between helpless bouts of laughter, picture taking, and other acts of cruelty.

“The bottom line, Doctor, is I fixed the drain, which everyone seems to have forgotten in all their laughing and pointing behavior.”

“OK, we’re about finished here Mr. Crawford. Come back in a week and we’ll take out your stitches. Before you go, let me take a picture to add to our collection - this is your wall over here. Very impressive. See you next week. Or sooner.”


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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What Is It About Men And Home Depot?
By Kelly Dynes, Kentucky

What is it about men and Home Depot? My husband, Tom, is there a minimum of three times a week. As he approaches the sliding doors, the orange glow beckoning to him, his pace quickens and he begins what I call the “hardware walk.” This is a quick purposeful walk straight to the department he is in need of visiting.

Forget trying to keep up with him. I either have to grab a belt loop and hang on for dear life or ask ahead of time what department he is headed to and then I can grab a map at the door and find my way there. Now, this wouldn’t be too bad but this is a man who has a bum knee that swells weekly and is the reason we can’t go dancing, take long walks or any other thing that I would love to do. The aura in the place must have healing powers because he can walk fine in that store. Maybe it has something to do with all the orange.

Recently, we had to go to the Orange Palace for a new toilet. My darling husband has been waiting patiently for something to go wrong with a toilet in our house. It came with four perfectly good toilets that do what all toilets are meant to do and have served their purpose well. However, the man of the house wants an elongated bowl model and not a round bowl like we have here. What was that builder thinking?

The day I went into the bathroom and the floor was wet was a glorious day at our house. One of those perfectly fine toilets finally had a problem. Now, we don’t know what that problem was and it could have been a ten cent part but my man was seeing little flusher handles and toilet seats dancing in his head. So off to the Home Depot we go.

We enter and I grab hold of a belt loop and jog to keep pace as I call out,

“Do we need a map?”

Tom stops quickly and I fly into him as he turns and gives me this disbelieving look that I would offend him by asking that question.

We arrive in the plumbing department and the end cap has two toilets proudly displayed up on the wall. They are up high to avoid people giving them a try, I’m guessing. We turn into the aisle and there they are – thirty five additional toilets on display – thirty seven in total. Tom is in awe. Who would have thought there were that many different toilets?

Tom asks, “Which one do you like?”

“Umm…. they’re toilets; I don’t really like one over another.”

I’m faced with thirty seven toilets and a decision when up walks Mr. Plumbing Department guy in orange, his vest covered in pins and his name written in black marker.

“Do you need any help?”

I have to bite my lip because I really don’t want to be kicked out of the Home Depot on this particular day, so I let Tom handle that question.

Now here I am, in every girl’s fantasy, listening to two men discuss toilets. They have one that shows that it will handle a full bucket of golf balls in a single flush without clogging. Enough said. I can’t imagine the planning meeting to come up with that demonstration.

I couldn’t resist asking,

“Can that toilet really handle a full gallon bucket of golf balls in a single flush without clogging?” (batting of eyes)

Tom shoots me a look because he can’t believe I am kidding around while we have such an important decision to make. Mr. Plumbing guy doesn’t miss a beat and starts elaborating the marvelous features of this model.

So not only do we end up with an elongated bowl toilet… drum roll please…we also get one that is chair height. And not only one, but two because why not replace the one in the master bath with this masterpiece also.

Today they are being installed. Tom is really excited and can’t wait. I’m thinking he’ll probably invite the neighborhood guys over this weekend to show them off some. I am truly considering setting up a tray table in front of one and putting the fine china on there and serving his dinner.

Of course, today is Friday, so there will be many more trips to the big Orange Palace this weekend. I’m beside myself just thinking about it.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Online D.A.T.I.N.G (Disastrous and Traumatic - It’s Not Good)
By Mary Kirchhoff, Pennsylvania

As a 7-year veteran of online dating, I have made a lot of observations about dating, men, life and relationships.

I had my very first online dating experience in 2003. Back then I was a bright-eyed, naïve, inexperienced young woman, determined to find a man, and in short order! I was completely trusting of people; if their profile said such-and-such, well then, it had to be true!

In these years of online dating, I have been lied to, stood up, cursed out; have been the recipient of nasty emails and text messages that would make a truck driver blush, have been led on and dumped, have had men initiate unwanted phone, text and cyber sex, have walked out on dates and had them walk out on me, have conversed for weeks and had the other party disappear without explanation, (and two years later ask me out again) and other experiences I have since blocked out in my mind as a coping mechanism.

My very first online date’s profile said he was single, made over $100k a year as horse trainer, lived in a house alone and was all around just a great guy. Awesome! By our third date, he admitted that in reality, he had previously been homeless in New York City for 6 years, lived with his ex-girlfriend in her basement until she could get rid of him, didn’t have a job, car, or a driver’s license. And those were his good points. He was addicted to prescription painkillers, had a thing for porn, was a gambling addict, and was a pathological liar.

One date met me at an Italian restaurant. Our waitress came over after the meal and announced his credit card had been declined. I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill and I sure wasn’t going to do dishes. He seemed a little weird anyway what with the mumbling to himself and all, so I excused myself, went to the ladies room, and began crawling through the ventilation system so I could make my escape without him seeing me.

One thirty-something woman watched me with amusement, commenting, “Bad date, huh?”

Another date began crying over his angel hair pasta. His wife just left him and they’d been married for 22 years. I tried to console him, assuring him he was a great guy. He speed-dialed his psychologist and spent 45 minutes on the phone with him, until I finally realized there was no one on the other end.

Again I excused myself, escaping through the kitchen, but he was outside heading towards my car. Luckily, a police car was driving past and I flagged him down. I just said, “Bad date!” He said, “Hop on in” and he took me home.

Then there was the 5-hour trip to western Ohio to meet a guy who I’d been chatting online with for about 6 weeks. It really seemed promising. When I stepped out of the car he seemed hesitant to come over.

“I thought you were blond and 5 feet 2 inches?” my date said.

“I never said that. I thought you were Caucasian and at least 4 feet tall?”

Unruffled after years of dating abuse, I shrugged my shoulders, calmly got back in my car and said, “See ya.”

After a while it just came full circle. I no longer cared if I was lied to, or if they were featured on America’s Most Wanted. I wasn’t looking for a man to marry; I was merely meeting new people and out to have fun.

One New Year’s Eve I was set to go out with a guy for the first time. I got ready, full on makeup, high heels and sexy dress. When I arrived at our appointed destination, I noticed he was dressed well too – in drag. I wasn’t going to let that spoil the fun of a good New Year’s Eve!

So now it just kind of goes like this as I sit down with my first date:

“So what’s your deal? Did you cheat on your wife, shoot her lover, break out of prison, or rob an old lady? Are you a closet homosexual? Or are you a druggie with 19 kids in 12 different states?

Mostly they just gaze at me with their head cocked and they become speechless. Some walk out. Some of them laugh and say, “Yeah, I was just going to ask you pretty much the same thing.” Those are the ones I get along with best; seasoned dating veterans like me who have even worse stories to tell; those who have been crushed, trampled, scorched and tortured by this wonderful experience of internet dating.

I must go -- another date waits.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Grey Matter Management 101
By Lisa Lucke, California

Sometimes, you have to kill off the weak to make the robust ones work to their fullest potential. No, I’m not talking about offspring. I’m talking about brain cells.

Brain cells are funny. Not funny ha-ha, (nothing funny about sitting in the driveway with the car running and wondering where the heck you were going), but funny weird. Sometimes they fire on all cylinders and other times, not so much. Like the other day when I found a package of shredded cheese in the cupboard – next to the dog biscuits. Hmmm, I said, pulling the package out with two fingers as it dangled like a dead bug – one that took a left instead of a right and ended up in a pantry instead of a shrub. Of course, my husband had to be standing right there at that exact moment so I couldn’t bury the package at the bottom of the garbage can and pretend it never happened.

“Oh” I said casually, “I must have tossed this up there on accident when I was putting away groceries yesterday.” The look on his face said it all: a kind of “yeah, right” smirk. However, because he’s so good at being a husband, he kept his mouth shut and did his very best at disguising what he was thinking.

“Hee hee…silly me,” I quipped.

My theory is this: aging, half-dead brain cells are what make me get into the shower with my underwear still on and they need to be regularly and mercifully sacrificed for the greater good. If not, they draw down on the fresh, powerful brain cells that help me remember to turn off the sprinklers or locate my reading glasses. It’s all about thinning the herd. Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Clearly, the simplest and most enjoyable way to eliminate the almost-dead weight is with a cocktail or two. Just a little nip does wonders for a brain and the results are immediate. Case in point: Recently, my son showed me the weekly logic problem his math torturer, I mean, instructor gave him for homework. I read it. I read it again. I gave up and said, “Wait ‘til your father gets home,” but not like June Cleaver says it. When it comes to homework, my husband and I know our place: I get language arts and he gets math, or anything connected to math, like science, history, social studies and Spanish.

About thirty minutes after reading, and then abandoning the logic problem, I made myself a cocktail. Just a little fruity concoction I threw together with canned pineapple and mandarin orange juice leftover from the nearly fresh fruit salad I made to go with that night’s Crockpot meal. The logic problem was a distant memory…or was it?

As I sat on the couch, sipping and staring at the kids staring at the TV, the following sentence popped into my head: “If Colonel Mustard gets six shots, and the first two add up to an even number on the bulls eye chart, that leaves four shots and three of them have to be odd points or he’ll never arrive at 71 points!” I reached over and poked my son on the shoulder, rapid fire, and told him to “go get the logic problem, Q-LAB!” (Quick Like a Bunny” which is responsible parenting code for “Hurry the hell up!) I didn’t want my sudden burst of vodka-induced cognition to evaporate without getting it down on paper – which of course would have been the fault of those feeble brain cells slowing everything down.)

My son returned and we quickly plugged in the numbers. I was correct! My son was not convinced. He listened, nodded and then said politely, “I still want to show it to dad.”

Fine, I thought to myself, knowing I had the problem solved. Thanks to proper brain cell management, that is. If I had not kicked up my feet with a cocktail, nudging those addled cells over the cliff into grey matter oblivion…

I pondered the idea of writing a book. I’d need a doctor to collaborate with me, to give my theory legitimacy.

Now where did I put that phone book...


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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To All Dieters: Important Message from The Scale Amnesty Society
By JoAnn McGowan,

Dear Friend of Weighing Instruments,
Your Society has done much to prevent violence towards scales. The rate of violent crimes against scales has drop 50% over the last 3 years with the enactment of the No Scale Thrown Away legislation. Thanks to your generous support, there are now safe houses for scales that were in danger of being thrown to their destruction from second, third and even fourth floor windows.
But the fight is not over. Did you know there are scales that, while not in danger of window flinging, are living every day in fear of the verbal abuse they receive from their owners? Some scales are so scared, they literally lose their batteries on a daily basis. What could that be like? Read this transcript, recorded by an undercover blender infiltrating the home of a known Scale Abuser who we will keep anonymous and call DH.

Blender: Psst, hey you, kitchen scale, what are you doing hiding back there behind the Rye Krisp and garbanzo beans?
DH's Kitchen Scale: Shhhh! You're going to help her find me. This has been a great hiding spot for months now. Those Rye Krisp expired in 2007. I think I'm safe here.
Blender: But why are you hiding? You're a top of the line, taring digital scale. You beep, measure in metric and English, plus you're sleek and thin.
DH's Kitchen Scale: Tell that to DH. Did you hear what she did to the last bathroom scale? My output flickers just to think of it. I heard from the vacuum, she's been going to meetings and isn't throwing any more. But you should see how she treats me. It's "Damn scale" this and "Remember the bathroom scale" that. You should see her glare.
Blender: Sounds pretty rough.
DH's Kitchen Scale: Yeah. Every other kitchen appliance has a nickname. She jokes with all of them, but not with me. I don't get silly stickers, songs sung to me or even a smile. I haven't had new batteries in ages. How's a scale supposed to survive?
You can see we still have a long way to go until the world is safe for scales. Please keep supporting our efforts with your donations and awareness efforts. We won't stop till every scale has a place of honor in the homes of America.
 - The Scale Amnesty Society is a non-denominational, non-profit, non-fat, non-existent organization. Your donations are tax deductible up to the limits of the law*.

* The Law of Gravity.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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A Woman Who Tells You Where To Go
By Jill Pertler, Minnesota

My husband has a new lady friend. He shares her with our three sons, who are also sweet on the most recent family acquaintance. They are, in a word, enamored.

Under normal circumstances, I might feel threatened – what with my four guys throwing their rapt attention toward another woman’s voice – but these aren’t normal circumstances.

That’s because the woman in question, we call her “Carmen,” isn’t a female in the true sense of the word. She has no arms or legs. Her body, if you can call it that, appears nondescript and rectangular, anchored by a round, rubber, suction-cupped base.

She possesses an admirable brain, and her full-color touch screen is a little intimidating. But, Carmen’s main claim to fame is her voice. It is distinctive, feminine and authoritative.

Carmen is our new GPS navigation device; in other words, a computerized gizmo that works like on old-fashioned map – only better. Carmen connects with satellites in outer space, downloads information and gets us from Point A to Point B using state-of-the-art voice commands that leave most men wanting just one thing: more.

After an unscientific quiz of my friends, I’ve found that the majority of families name their GPS devices. It seems that something with a female voice – even something as small as a 4 by 2 inch touch screen – warrants attention worthy of a name. I’m not sure how we settled on Carmen, but it fits.

Carmen can tell us how to get where we are going, how fast we are going and exactly when we will get there. If we have a hankering for a certain type of fast food – say chicken originating from the state known for horses and derbies – Carmen can tell us the location of the closest restaurant.

She would never consider stopping to ask for directions. As I said, my boys are enamored.

Why wouldn’t they be? With Carmen, we have a woman (if you can call her that) who meets the definition of directional flexibility. If and when we do make a wrong turn, it thwarts Carmen not. She doesn’t pass blame or judgment. She doesn’t shake her head or roll her eyes. (She wouldn’t, even if she had them.) She just fixes our mess with a distinctive, one-word directive:


My husband explained his respect for Carmen in this regard. “She’s always calculating,” he said. “I like a calculating woman.”

He’s telling the truth. And I think there’s even more to it than that. Despite what they may claim otherwise, my boys like a woman who tells them where to go and what to do. It frees them up to think about more important things, like arriving at their destination.

Arriving provides the purpose for Carmen’s existence, and she seems to know this. Upon arrival, Carmen’s vocal charm rises to a new level. Whereas Carmen has, up until this point, been the voice of authority, arriving brings about a rare display of emotion. When you make your final turn and approach your desired site, Carmen announces with an uplifted hilt, “Arriving at your destination.”

The arc and tenor in her voice when reciting the word “destination” alludes to a feeling of computerized joy. Even if you were arriving at the dentist for a much-dreaded root canal, Carmen would be delighted to get you there. That means something. Carmen is a woman with a purpose. You’ve got to admire that.

After a recent family vacation, my second grader expressed his appreciation of our GPS device. “I love Carmen,” he said. “Not love, love; but love like I’m glad she came with us to Florida and told us how to get there.” He paused and then added, “And, her voice sounds nice.”

You’ve got to hand it to Carmen; she is directionally smart and has information coming from very high places. Plus, she’s got my four boys wrapped around her little finger. Well, she would – if she had fingers.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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The Pans of Our Lives
By Kim Swed, Pennsylvania

It started innocently enough. I popped into the local kitchen store to check out their tablecloths and place mats. Unknowingly, I found myself heading down the pots and pans aisle. Maybe, on a deeper level, I meant to go down that aisle. Maybe I was looking for a change. Maybe I knew I deserved better. In any case, that's where it all began, that's when I first thought about leaving Teflon for Stainless Steel.

It was just harmless flirtation at first. I would make eyes at Stainless Steel. Sometimes I'd find myself holding his handle. Other times I would just stare at him and I swear I could see myself in his cooking surface (really, Stainless Steel is very reflective). But I knew it would never go any further. After all, a girl like me couldn't possibly handle a relationship with Stainless Steel. He hung out with celebrity chefs and at fancy restaurants. Around him I just felt clumsy and insecure. And so I continued to daydream about a life with Stainless Steel while going home to Teflon.

Sure Teflon wasn't exciting or shiny but Teflon was easy to be with and cleaned up nicely. Teflon had been with me my whole life and rarely let me down. But I started to wonder if there was more to cooking than just non-stickability. That would soon be answered...

One fateful night I had an Entertaining At Home party which earned me a handsome amount of hostess credit with which to purchase kitchen and home items. I flipped through the book and lo and behold there was Stainless Steel! Our paths had crossed again and this time I was determined to embrace creativity, passion and change. And I have never looked back.

With Teflon we cooked maybe once a week but Stainless Steel and I are cooking almost every night...and it is fantastic! Even my husband is happy Stainless Steel has come into our lives. Stainless Steel has me trying things that I never could with Teflon. And I'm starting to feel confident and empowered in my cookuality.

Of course, I still use Teflon when I want something quick and easy but Stainless Steel is my new love. My husband wants me to make one last purchase; he wants to get his hands on Stainless Steel's roaster rack.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Send in the Rodeo Clowns
By Karla Telega, South Carolina

A funny thing happened to me on the way to menopause; I became a fan of professional bull riding. As if that weren’t enough, I bought a musty smelling, second-hand snakeskin and suede western jacket – WITH FRINGE. Did I mention that it is dyed forest green and has long dangling laces at the cuffs with heavy miniature musket balls attached to the ends? Each time I reach up to brush the hair out of my eyes, these decorative yo-yos from hell swing away from my body, gathering speed before arcing back to bludgeon me in the face. Not everyone can pull off that look.

I’m pretty sure that hormones are involved, because at the same time that I started listening to Tim McGraw, I lost all desire for chocolate. I bought a jeep and tuned my radio to WEZL, “the weasel,” for the best in country music, and the worst in names for a radio station. At this point, my family started gearing up for an intervention. I agreed to go only if they had a bluegrass band and a hayride.

I saw no mention of any of this in the brochures at the doctor’s office. I think there should be some kind of warning that the symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, irritability, weight gain, night sweats, and a desire to visit Dollywood.

I decided to run with it and paid top dollar for the best seats when the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) tour came to town. As the cowboys were introduced, I cheered and clapped, smacking myself repeatedly with my jacket laces. We were in the front row, right next to the gates. From this distance I could see every pimple on the faces of the kids who were riding thousands of pounds of angry pot roast. The cowboys didn’t look old enough to shave, and the lineup included one Amish lad on his Rumspringa. Can you imagine? After living a conservative life for sixteen years, you’re given a year to go nuts and you choose serial trampling over Jäger?

Soon I found myself staring into the bloodshot eyes of a huge white Brahma bull, with only two feet and a flimsy rail separating us. He had just thrown his rider halfway across the ring, and now seemed to be fixated on my green jacket. He stood staring long enough to give me plenty of time to reconsider my recent fashion decisions. When he finally returned to the chutes I had made up my mind – I’ll cancel the line dancing lessons.

I suppose there are worse things to do than reacquainting my fingers with my old guitar strings and wailing out country hits. I could be singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" in a karaoke bar Friday nights. I’m sure there’s an intervention for that as well.

I don’t know where this mid-life affinity for all things country will take me. I only know that when I get there, I’ll smell like Grandma’s attic and have tiny pellet shaped bruises on my face.


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Still Working and Witless
Mary Tompsett, Wisconsin

Attention, all inmates!! The “Pilates for Lifers” class will now hold its annual leotard swap in Cell Block Three!

Not you, Bubba. Put down that Mensa application and wrap your little brain around this. Jane leaves Boston at 6:14 AM Pacific time and travels for nine hours on a train—an old Amtrak with itchy wool seats—speeding 85 mph against a 37 mph wind. At exactly 10:02 Hong Kong time, Ann buys a twelve-pack of Twinkies, sucks the filling out of four and gives the rest to David, who is taller than Jane but older than Ann.

Got that? Okay. So, who had the fling with the blind cabbie in Fresno?

Whew! That merry-go-round describes my research into the possibility of early retirement, with “early” being officially defined as a week prior to one’s 80th birthday. The math wasn’t working in my favor so I trashed my calculator and redid the figures on a new one from Toys R Us. Neon pink. With a musical number pad and Avatar decals. Golly, the numbers started lookin’ pretty good!

Armed to the gills with website printouts, I then skipped into the Social Security Office to seal the deal for real. But, holy McDiddlecakes! My bad. I suspected something was amiss when the clerk rolled her eyes at my math and called her supervisor. Their snickers soon morphed into howls, and by the time I fled the office, the entire staff was writhing on the floor.

Outside, I tried to gather my wits about me. Fat chance, for I don’t keep many on hand. Determined to keep my dignity, however, I egged the office windows and squealed out of the parking lot. That turned a few heads, heh-heh, ’cause I hadn’t driven there at all, but came on foot.

I legged it home, pondering the age-old question, what the hell is wit? And how could I get some? The dictionary lists “humor” as a second meaning, but the primary definition of wit is “intelligent thought.” Aw, man, that doesn’t help me at all! But, of course, you already know that if you’ve ever read the stuff I write.

Many Boomers must keep working because they (a) lost life savings when the markets tanked; or (2) forgot where they buried the coffee can of quarters. For some of us, however, the need to delay retirement is due to a lifetime of making stupid decisions and cavorting aimlessly through “transition” jobs. But, it’s not our fault. We were hatched without the Wit chromosome! So, to all those who have luxuriated in a wit-packed life and can retire early, we extend a hearty, nondenominational blessing: “Well, goooody gumdrops for yooooou!!”

But wait! As genetically wit-deprived citizens, we qualify for a little known federal opportunity. Yes, it’s The Witless Protection Program.

Instead of new identities, the program gives us long overdue respect for muddling through our lives in a blaze of pristine ignorance. If intelligent thought is simply not possible for everyone, then clearly our vacuous condition must be part of Nature’s plan. No more futile striving for success when we can just cover our tracks, literally! Yessir, we are awarded a lifetime supply of sneakers with the tread patterns of a lame turkey. Makes for lively nature walks during hunting season.

And who hasn’t coveted a handicapped parking permit?? Well, stupidity is a handicap! In the Witless Protection Program, we can park our butts anywhere because we have props. Who’s gonna ticket a pickup with a prosthetic leg in the gun rack? Or tow a car with an iron lung jutting through the sunroof??

Sometimes life gives us rainbows and smiles. At other times, it sends rain and cellulite. But, as the ward nurse used to say when she doled out our psych meds, “Swallow this.”

Oh yeah, she also said, “Nothing builds character like swimming upstream in full leather restraints.”


© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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Diary of a Woman with Brittle Bones
Kathy Welch, Nevada

Day 1: Took my first monthly dose of osteoporosis medication as recommended by my doctor. I always obey the medical community when told to take drugs. Perhaps one day they’ll demand I take LSD and I can see what all the fuss was about in the 60’s.

Day 2: I can actually walk. The last osteoporosis medication I took turned me into a cripple within six hours so I’m so grateful I don’t have to crawl to my car and have a complete stranger carry me into the doctor’s office. How lucky am I?

Day 3: I can still walk. Yippee!! But I’m having severe chest pains. “Heart attack,” my co-worker says and off she goes to refill her coffee cup and off I go to the ER. After waiting five hours, I’m told it’s just a reaction to the medication. “Too bad it’ll stay in your system a month or longer,” the ER doc says with a chuckle and hands me a prescription for muscle relaxers.

Day 4: I check the list of side effects from the osteoporosis medication and yup, pains in your chest rank up there with side effects you need to contact your doctor about. Others such as flu-like symptoms, heartburn, complete lack of energy, memory loss, shoplifting, flirting with strangers and shouting obscenities aren’t as serious and don’t need medical attention (according to the insert).

Day 5: Muscle relaxers relieve the chest pain but I’m so weak I can barely move so I stay home from work. All I see on TV are ads for osteoporosis meds. Especially the one with the famous Oscar winning actress whose show on ABC I’m now boycotting.

Day 9: I call my doctor and tell him this osteoporosis stuff is doing me in. It takes forty-five minutes to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and our house is only 1,000 square feet. He says it’s important to regain some of my bone loss and even though I can barely move, it’s necessary to take the drug. “If you fall you’ll break your hips,” he says. Since I’m barely able to move I’m not sure that’s possible.

Day 10: There she is again on TV preaching the osteoporosis cure all. “I doubt she really takes that stuff,” my husband says. I concur. “You like me, you really like me,” is what she’s saying all the way to the bank.

Day 11: I get a call from a nurse at my doctor’s office. They care, they really care. “The doctor wants you to try another medication.” “No way,” I say. “Don’t worry”, she says.”This one’s side effects don’t include lack of energy, heartburn, shoplifting, flirting or swearing, just blood clots,” she tells me. I call her a *%#! and hang up.

Day 13: That nurse calls again and in a sweet, syrupy tone expresses concern that I’ll fall and break my hips if I take no action. I tell her she has a sexy voice and hang up.

Day 15: Been working half days. Instead of hello, I get: You’re walking weird, did you have a stroke and can I have your printer when you’re gone.

Day 17: Still no energy but I have this urge to shop til I drop.

Day 20: No appetite because of the severe heartburn but I’ve lost twelve pounds. Great stuff if you need a quick weight loss program. Just don’t expect to include any movement with this weight loss program.

Day 23: I’ve decided to accept and embrace my brittle bones but not too strongly or they’ll break.

Day 26: Watched that show with the famous Oscar winning actress because when it boils down to it, I like her, I really like her.

Day 27: So out of it, I don’t see the cat. I trip and fall right on my… hip. EEEK! What is she doing on the floor anyway? I can actually get up and what the heck is going on… my hip ISN’T shattered in little pieces.

Day 28: Still no broken bones and it took only 15 minutes to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen.

Day 30: Ate two pieces of bread all day, instead of one. Getting my appetite back!

Day 33: I go shopping and return home with lots of items but no bags or receipts. Oh well! It’s been over a month. I feel fantastic. Bones are intact. Just not sure why there are two policemen at my front door.

© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.

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