Laugh Your Way to Lower Stress

Posts tagged ‘funny’

I Won’t Drink to That

I’ve never understood drinking to get drunk. There, I said it. Think I’m lame if you must, but I prefer not to have to find a stranger at 3 in the morning to find my shoes or hold my hair back.

Perhaps growing up in a dry county in Texas explains part of my perspective. For those of you who don’t know, “dry” doesn’t mean the humidity was exceptionally low (although in Abilene, Texas, it is); it means you can’t drink alcohol in public. unless you’re rich and belong to a private club (but then again, if you’re rich, the rules never apply to you, right?) Of course, in Abilene, you also couldn’t swim with the opposite gender (whatever that is), dance in public, or curse near a church and spending four years there hasn’t stopped me from doing all those things.

There were plenty of kids in high school who stole liquor from their parents’ personal stashes, but all we had at home was gallon bottles of wine so cheap even winos would scoff at them. My then-stepmother liked to get up early in the morning, put on some Tammy Wynette music, and begin drowning and smoking away her sorrows. In my mind, I associate alcohol with bad country music and soggy shag carpet (stepmother spilled a lot).

Flash forward 40 years and I’m still not that much of a drinker. I made it 23 years in the Lone Star state without developing a taste for beer, which is one of the reasons I had to leave. There’s a time limit on how long beer-haters are allowed to stay. I also didn’t develop a taste for voting Republican, so my departure was good all the way around.

I’ve spent 25 years as a comedian and comedy producer. That means I’ve probably been in more bars than most alcoholics. I usually order a seltzer water with a lime, so it looks like something exotic (yes, to me a lime on the rim makes a drink exotic.) If I can talk the bartender into a little umbrella for no extra money, I will.

As you might imagine, a lot of my comedy friends are recovering alcoholics and every few months one of them celebrates their sobriety birthday and we celebrate by not drinking together.

I want an extra birthday too. One in which I celebrate decades of making good choices without having had to hit bottom. (Well, my last marriage counts as hitting bottom, but not in an alcohol-related way… at least not for me…) Where’s the celebration for those of us who commit every year to not getting inebriated at children’s birthday parties or running up on stage when someone else is performing and showing off our bra? Don’t we deserve a party too?

So I’ve declared October 8 to be my second birthday. That’s the date of my last divorce. If you want to celebrate with me, it’s BYOSW (bring your own seltzer water). I’ll supply the lime slices and if you’re lucky, little umbrellas.



Invading My Space


I’ll admit that I’m lousy at setting boundaries. Words come out of my mouth that in my mind make my desires or lack thereof clear, but what other people seem to hear is, “What you need to do is wheedle, and manipulate, and pressure me into changing my mind.”

And by other people, I mean mostly male people.

Wish-washy boundaries are why I ended up married to my last ex-husband, a man who proposed to me while he was in the bathtub! He could leave a ring around the tub, but I couldn’t draw a line in the sand. How sad is that?


My girlfriends all seem to understand that when I say something like , “I can’t be out after dark these days because my 16-year-old dog with Sundowner’s Syndrome gets freaked out and might have a seizure,” what I mean is “I don’t want to be out after dark because my dog is my family.”

Guys seem to hear, “I’d really like to come over and make you a sandwich, day or night.”

Case in point: I met a guy at a book signing event recently. We talked about writing and he asked me if I’d like to have coffee sometime. I assumed (wrongly, I now know) that he wanted to talk about writing with me, a writer–someone who could perhaps give him advice. I have these kinds of “meetings” all the time and am happy to share anything I know and learn new things. Hell, when you’re a writer, you’re always in search of new stories and stealing them from strangers is a great way to “do research.”

When this guy, let’s call him Kyle, sat down for our “meeting,” he immediately started talking about his ex-wife and then caught himself by saying, “Oh, I’m not supposed to talk about my ex, right?” Red flag, right? Still I managed to convince myself that he was just telling a funny story to break the ice and that soon we’d be chatting about how he’d like to write a screenplay about his ex and wondered whether I had any advice about doing that without a lawsuit or bonfire on the front lawn.

bad-dateBut no… He told me about his kids. Then asked if I had any. It was then I finally wised up. He. Thought. This. Was. A. Date.

I mentioned that I was working on a novel. Talked about writing jokes for the internet. Looked at my watch several times in a very obvious fashion. “Hey, Kyle, see, I’m looking at my watch. That’s a sign that I’m ready for this to be over.” I thought I was drawing a line. All he saw were flirtatious doodles.

Throughout our conversation, Kyle made it clear, he considered this to be the first of many “coffees and lunches.” I said I was really busy, that my schedule was unpredictable, that I could turn into a werewolf at any moment and should flee if he valued his life.

werewolf_woman___second_date_by_jrunsteen-d861rxsHe nodded and smiled and asked me why I hadn’t asked him any questions about his personal life. Because, Kyle, I’d rather have a Brazilian wax than give you any reason to think this might be a date.

I should mention, he was extremely loud. The woman at the table behind ours kept trying to move farther away. I wanted to get up and offer her my napkin to stuff in her ears.

Nothing phased him. Not my looking around the room at other customers and servers. Not my determining who owed what on the bill and paying my half as soon as the check came. Not my swift kick to the crotchal area. Okay, that last thing was just in my imagination.

I said goodbye to him at the door of the restaurant and he followed me to my car. I threw out eight or nine clear “I have to go” statements, to which he said we “had to get together again so I could help raise his consciousness.”

I’m sorry, is that my job now? I don’t know him from Adam and not only does he expect me to go out with him again, I have an assignment! Oh lucky me.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is good with setting boundaries — at least for other people. She helped me compose an e-mail and took out all the words that could possibly be misinterpreted. She said I should practice ways to say no for the next time this happens. I told her the last time someone asked me to coffee, I had practically screamed, “What do you want from me?” at him and was trying to be a little kinder.

But I’ve taken her advice and have been making a list of phrases I can use that might keep people from pushing past my boundaries:

o  I’d love to be caught in midnight fire at sea. (This is a Dorothy Parker quote, but might be too literate for many of the guys who come my way).

o  I ‘m sorry, but this vaginal dryness is really distracting. What did you say again?

o  Maybe later, but I’m performing a bris this afternoon. (I’d save this for the Jewish guys).

o  Republican leaders say the sexual orientation is a choice, so right now in this very moment, I’m choosing to be a lesbian.

o  My coven is going on a retreat for the next six months.

A 'coven of witches' line up for a Halloween portrait dressed in festive witch's hats and improvised costumes, ca.1910, United States. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

A ‘coven of witches’ line up for a Halloween portrait dressed in festive witch’s hats and improvised costumes, ca.1910, United States. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

o  I don’t date outside my species.

I’m hoping these help me out in the future. Feel free to use them if you need them.


One of the advantages of aging and having your breasts sag slightly lower than they did when you were, say 3, is the your annual mammogram is a lot easier. It’s not so hard to pull your breast tissue away from you body, when it’s already been headed in that directions for years. Mine have moved so far south, they’re living in a trailer park in Arkansas, drinking Lone Star and watching Wheel of Fortune.

For someone whose first mammogram caught on fire (you can read my Erma Bombeck award-winning piece about that here:, Friday’s visit to Jiffy Squeeze and Lube was uneventful. Well, there was another, much younger, woman named Leigh Anne there. I’m sure she spelled her name differently, but because both of us disrobed and made it to the waiting room with our stretchy keys around our wrists at the same time, there’s always the chance that our results will get mixed up and I’ll get a phone call from the mammography tech asking me how I’ve managed to get my boobs to be young and perky again. A girl can hope.

Oh, and the tech did tell me I have incredible pec muscles. She may have been flirting, but I’m never sure. I attribute my fine musculature to walking three dachshunds who always insist in traveling in opposite directions at great rates of speed whenever a squirrel crosses the road. Who needs the Mark Eden Bust Developer? Actually, who, besides me, even remembers it?

I hope to get a phone call on Monday from a nurse telling me that everything is fine. If so, I’m going to order a copy of the photos and send them to Seth McFarlane, so he can add them to the “We Saw Your Boobs” song the next time he feels compelled to sing it.


Don’t Ask Your Doctor

I am an outlaw. Maybe I’ve never robbed a bank or tagged a train with “Menopausal women rule!” but I have worked out to exercise videos without consulting my doctor first. Go ahead, send the fitness police–I’ve got some Zumba moves that will daze and confuse them.

Really, how many of you have a doctor who gives you more than 5 minutes to discuss the situation de jour? Once you’ve chatted about that weird mole on your back or the fact that your right kidney seems to be asleep, you’re supposed to yell at the M.D.’s quickly disappearing backside, “Do you think I can safely do the Bollywood Bootylicious Bounce for Beginners?”

Unless your doctor happens to also be a fitness enthusiast, chances are he or she knows less about exercise than your pet groomer, hairdresser, or plumber. In fact, I’m fairly certain you can better fitness advice from a 12-year-old nerdy boy who never leaves his mom’s basement. At least he knows how to play Wii tennis.

I was once married to an overweight man who went to the doctor a lot with issues that were all clearly related to being overweight (bad back, bad knees, high blood pressure especially when weighing himself, permanent impression in the mattress because he never left bed except under threat of no food or sex). I regularly accompanied my ex on medical appointments because he tended to have anger issues (yes, he was a peach; thanks for that). Not once in five years of visits to multiple practitioners did any of them say, “Just get off your fat ass and get some damn exercise!” Which made me look like a bad guy when I said it.

Most doctors learn everything they know about exercise from watching Dr. Oz and The Biggest Loser. This does not make them an expert in the field any more than my watching Private Practice means I am qualified to deliver a breach baby or sleep with everyone in the office.

I understand that exercise video people are just trying to cover their Spandex behinds in case you keel over and die while kick-boxing in your living room. I think we’d all be safer if they changed their warning to: “Consult yourself before beginning a new exercise program. And remember: we have lawyers on retainer.”