Opinion: No laughing matters


I told my wife the other day that the stress of writing a weekly newspaper column was getting to be too much for me.

“Look, Mary Ellen, we have been stuck in the house for a year and there’s nothing left to write about. Plus, you put a stop to articles making fun of you.”

“All right, Dick, because I can see you are desperate, I will lift the moratorium as long as I can approve the stories before you send anything out.”

“Could I do a column about how when you go grocery shopping, you never buy the kinds of stuff I like? You just buy healthy low-fat and organic food.”

“You wrote that in June of 2016. Wasn’t funny then. And besides, look at what good shape we are in.”

“How about one describing how little you know about sports, and that you ask really silly questions?”

“That would be June of 2006 and August of 2018. And I still think it’s a good question, why they call it a strike when the player doesn’t hit the ball. Or why the clock in football says five minutes left and the game is still going on 20 minutes later. Can’t they buy a better clock?”

“Wait a second, Mary Ellen, have you been keeping track of the columns where I make fun of you?”

 “Yes. Out of 1,100 columns you’ve written, I have been the brunt of the humor 275 times. And they were all complete exaggerations, taking advantage of what a good sport I am. In those where you’ve made fun of your own behavior, you told it just like it really happened.”

“For example?”

“You really did lock yourself in the garage naked; you really did put on another guy’s underwear at the gym; you did flood the bathroom with your Waterpik; you did leave your cellphone in the freezer. You are an honest writer … about yourself. But with me, you take a lot of liberties.”

“Well, can I do a column about how you return every gift I get you for Christmas? One time you returned it before you unwrapped it because you guessed what it was: a Keurig Coffee Maker.”

“That was November 2019. And for the record, I didn’t return the $100 Amazon gift card this past Christmas, and I plan to keep the flowers you gave me for Valentine’s Day.”

“OK, Mary Ellen, how about the time you were stopped for an expired plate? You asked the cop how you would know the plate had expired when you were sitting up front in the driver’s seat. I didn’t make that up.”

“I don’t remember that incident.”

“Maybe I’ll remind you in the next column.”


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