Guest Post: Finding Humor in Life

by Meryl Evans | Category: Books, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Yee haw! (I can say that because I was born and bred in Texas!) Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Mary Lynn Archibald‘s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a copy of her book, Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse, No Clue. Read on to see how you can win.

Mary Lynn ArchibaldAbout Mary Lynn Archibald: Mary Lynn Archibald is a freelance editor and copywriter, and the author of two books: Briarhopper: A History, a memoir of one woman’s life from 1913-1945, and Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue, a lighthearted personal memoir of a greenhorn’s life on a small cattle ranch. Her forthcoming memoir, due out in early 2011, deals in part with her life as a San Francisco chorus girl.

Finding Humor in Life by Mary Lynn Archibald

Well, it all depends on how you look at it, of course. I find humor in strange places, but then, I had a great teacher.

My father could make most anything seem funny, and the devices he used were: exaggeration, silly words, surprises, and statements that were so utterly ridiculous, you had to at least smile.

Sure, life is very often not funny. Still, mine has often been filled with slapstick comedy. Why? Well one reason that’s obvious to those who know me is that I’m terribly clumsy. That’s not necessarily funny, but after I pick myself up off the floor, there’s not much else to do but laugh.

I often sprinkle my writing with these silly anecdotes.

Consider the time I drove through my garage door. It was a Friday afternoon, and I’d just gotten home from the end-of-the-year party teachers faithfully attended every June, where I’d had a drink or so to celebrate my impending summer’s freedom. I was feeling fine, I thought, and had lots of time for the alcohol to wear off before I needed to make a two-hour drive south in order to attend my brother’s high school graduation.

I just needed to round up my two kids, take a brief nap, change clothes and hit the road in plenty of time to get there for the evening ceremony.

I should probably mention here that there is a 15-year gap between my brother and me, but my parents swore he was not an afterthought, and I wasn’t going to argue that fact with them. Anyway, there I was at 33, headed off to see him just making it out of high school.

Problem was that I had left the sprinkler going on the front lawn, parked my car with the driver’s side window down, and discovered this fact too late. The driver’s seat was somewhat soggy, so I decided I’d back the car out of the driveway and into the sun where the seat would dry faster, as a bath towel was only a temporary solution.

That was not really a problem, I thought, as I could just sit on the passenger side of the car and work the brake and steering from there.

But then the fatal flaw in my thinking asserted itself, as I quickly found I was unable to work the gas, or the brakes, or steer, from the right side of the car.

I did manage to let off the brake, put the car in gear, and step on the gas. What I hadn’t realized however, was that instead of putting the car in reverse, I had put it in drive, and by the time I knew what had happened I was sitting in my garage, noticing that the front end of my car had severely dented my electric dryer, which was the only thing that had stopped the car from ending up in the kitchen.

Accidental Cowgirl

That was funny enough, but when I got out, I noticed that the garage door was now sitting on top of the car.

I thought that was hilarious, and when the neighbors arrived, alerted by the sound of the crash, I was standing there, surveying the scene of carnage and laughing my head off.

There didn’t seem to be anything else to do. But you’ll be happy to know I was subsequently quite sobered by the event, especially when I remembered I had a $1000 deductible insurance policy on the car.

Win: For a chance to win a copy of Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse, No Clue, please leave a comment at least 50 words long about a clumsy or humorous moment — sure, it can be both clumsy and humorous. You have until 11:59pm on August 16, 2010 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.

Like Mary Lynn, I’ve driven into the garage door… TWICE. The first time, I had all my kids with me and pulled into the garage too fast that it scraped the top of my big honkin’ Expedition. (Car: 1. Garage door: 0.) The second time: I pass the garage door opening when I walk to my car and usually open it before I get in. That said, I’m used to the door being open and ready when I start the car. Well, I opened the garage door and backed up. (Car: 2. Garage door: 0.) After two repair bills, I hope I don’t do this a third time. I pick damaging the garage door over the car — thank goodness for that!

Share your clumsy or humorous moment. Of course, it can qualify as both.

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