Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gems from Ms. Bombeck

Erma Bombeck put the Capital C in Domestic Chaos. Reading her collection of newspaper columns in Forever, Erma, is like eating popcorn: I can't put the bowl down. Every time I think I will read just one more, I find that another 30 minutes have slipped by in hilarity. 

Here are just a few of the gems that I have come across:

The first and only time I was on a ski slope, I had the attention of every person within a two-mile radius. 

My husband seemed to think it was because I was the only woman on skis carrying a handbag.

I can't help it. Do men actually believe women enjoy lugging around a handbag everywhere they go? By the time everyone in the family unloads their stuff on me, I feel like an anvil salesman.

And this lament:

I don't know what my husband thinks I am made of. After spending a day ironing in front of my television, I am so emotionally involved in the tormented lives of my soap opera heroines, you'd think he would sense that I can't take on his problems, too.

"If you're going to share some big, fat trauma with me forget it! I've just lived through three miscarriages, two trial separations, a nasty interfering grandmother, a broken-down actress who's a lush visiting her daughter in prison, a cheating wife, a custody suit, and a neurological workup. I'm exhausted."

Her take on Losing One's Identity:

I contend it's the absence of time to herself that breaks a homemaker's back. Some days it's like living in the eye of a hurricane. It's refereeing a family of differences. It's puppeteering a houseful of personalities. It's making more decisions in a single hour than an umpire makes in nine innings. It's the constancy of a job that runs from one night into the next day and into that night and into the next morning.

And one more:
We've talked before about my husband, the Prince of Darkness. I've told you how he has dedicated his life to turning off lights. How he turns off the porch light before our guests have reached their cars in the driveway. And how he figured the Donald Duck night-light cost 8 cents a year and pulled the plug on it.

Well, I want to correct an erroneous impression I may have left with you. There is one moment when the cost of a light is no object. It can never burn too long or too brightly. In fact, it is the only 200-watter in the entire house. I'm talking about the light by the bed he shines in my eyes when I am trying to sleep and he wants to "read a little to get sleepy."

A lighthouse should have such a light. Night baseball games and operating rooms should benefit from such a radiance.

The other night I asked, "How long are you going to read?"

He said, "Whenever I get sleepy. Why?"

"Because I want to know how much Number Thirty sunscreen to use on my eyelids."


  1. I'm going to call my father Prince of Darkness now - that's totally his habit too with the house lights!

    1. Do you remember Phyllis Diller? She called her husband Fang. I love the Prince of Darkness, though. Brilliant!