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    Esther Blumenfeld  

    The purpose of this web site is to entertain.  My humor columns died along with the magazines where they were printed, although I cannot claim responsibility for their demise.  I still have something to say, and if I can bring a laugh or two to your day, my mission will be fulfilled.

    Everyone I know thinks he has a sense of humor.  Here is my unsolicited advice. If you try to be funny and no one laughs, don’t worry about it.  However, if you try to be funny and no one EVER laughs, you might have a little problem.

     

    Friday
    May172019

    I'LL DRINK TO THAT

    Headlines such as, “Asylum Seekers Waiting Along Border,” “North Korea Fires Two Missiles,” and “Break Up Facebook, Founder Says,” announce important newspaper stories, that rightfully grab a reader’s attention. However, if you live in Arizona, the State that bumps up to Mexico, and has a Mexican restaurant practically on every corner, it’s the stories of the shenanigans of our State Legislature that prompts this reader to say, “Are they nuts?”

    Of course, what the Legislature is not doing is taking up a bill for gun safety. What they are doing, as I read the headline in my newspaper is, “AZ Legislature is set to declare lemonade the State’s official drink.” Okay, finally, they are going to squeeze out a harmless bill upon which all Legislators can agree.   But—No! Several days later, I read, “Senators to reconsider lemonade as State Drink.”

    Ah! Ha! The majority leader is flexing his muscles.  Not long thereafter, I read, “Lemonade voted out  as State drink. Senator says it lacks ‘uniqueness.”’ Really? Right now, 26 States and 2 Territories, have declared their official beverage—Are you ready?—“MILK!” How unique is that?

    One Senator suggested that since Mexican food is so popular in Arizona, Margaritas should meet the test. That didn’t work because a Representative pointed out that some people don’t drink alcohol. However, being lactose intolerant didn’t seem to interfere with all the milk decisions.  

    Only 2 states have alcoholic beverages as their State drinks—Alabama—"Conecuh Ridge Whiskey”—and, Virginia—“George Washington’s Rye Whiskey.”  Puerto Rico touts “Pina Coladas.”  Makes sense to me.

    What doesn’t make sense is that there was a march on the Arizona State Capitol last year of 15,000 high school students to advocate for gun safety. That legislation went nowhere fast, but the headline I last read was, “Bill to make lemonade AZ’s State drink reaches Governor.” That rode the fast track and took no time at all. A civics lesson, if I’ve ever seen one.

    My favorite State beverage selection is in  Maine, where “Moxie” is the State drink.
    Hooray! No doubt about it, the citizens of Maine have Moxie.

    Esther Blumenfeld (The Arizona State gun is the Colt Single Action Army)

    Friday
    May102019

    ANOTHER TALE FOR HAWTHORNE

    Poor Hester Prynne had to wear a scarlet letter “A” for the rest of her life. Her only mistake was that she lived in the wrong place. Had she lived in Tucson, the home of the University of Arizona, she would have been admired as a faithful Arizona Wildcat Basketball Fan, and her fellow citizens wouldn’t have scorned her one bit. They wouldn’t even have asked her, “Why are you wearing a scarlet letter “A”? They would have cheered her, as well as the school color.

    So, Hester wore an “A,” and I, after successful Mohs surgery, look as if I have been kicked in the face by an ass—not the surgeon—but by a petulant mule, who kicked me under my eye and left the 1/2 moon imprint of his hoof. Now, strangers peer at me, and say, “What happened to you?” Of course it’s the big, white bandage on my face that attracts them.

    Covering a boo-boo on your leg or arm isn’t so noticeable, but on your face, unless I’d wear a long black veil, or put a bucket over my head, there’s no place to hide. I know that the scar under my eye will fade, but in the meantime, I had to come up with some snappy rejoinders other than the trite, “You should have seen the other guy.”

    One stranger asked me, “Were you in an accident?” I said, “No, I did this on purpose.”

    My next rejoinder to the curious was, “Oh, Nuts!” Isn’t this October? I thought it was Halloween.”

    Then, “I am a member of the famous Schmeckel Dueling Society.”  That one really worked. The stranger quickly scurried  away.  

    My favorite come-back was, “ I wanted a unique picture for my Holiday Greeting Cards. It will be either this one, or the picture of my colonoscopy.”

    I did find out that it is a huge mistake to tell  people the truth about my surgery, because it gave them the opportunity to tell me how much worse their surgery had been than mine. One woman regaled me with the tale of how she ended up cockeyed.  Not a pleasant story, but the telling made her feel Oh, so much better.

    I tried saying, “The scissor slipped when I was trimming my bangs,” but it left one woman so horrified that I never said that again.

    A person can always answer a question with a question, so I said, “Have you ever slipped while branding a cow?’

    Pretty soon the bandage will be put aside, the scar will fade and the onlookers will lose interest. In the meantime, I have discovered that the best answer for inquisitive people is,
    “Why do you want to know?”

    Esther Blumenfeld (All better and sassy as ever)

    Friday
    May032019

    ICARUS HAD IT WORSE

    When I was a little girl, my Father didn’t earn enough money for many extras, but occasionally he did treat Mother and me to an afternoon movie matinee. In those days, going to the movies meant seeing a double feature. The first movie was family fare such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney dancing and singing their way across the screen. However, the second feature was invariably a shoot-em-up Western or a Gangster movie.

    One afternoon, the second show was LADY SCARFACE. I took one look at the woman’s face, climbed into my Father’s lap, and spent the rest of the movie staring at the people sitting behind us. I had forgotten the movie until I was recently confronted with Basal and Mohs. No, it’s not a law firm. Neither is Basal, Curly and Mohs a famous comedy team.

    But let me back up——

    Tucson has 350 days of sunshine a year. Thus, it is important to lather oneself with sunscreen and wear a big hat (unless you are in the house). It is also a must do to visit a dermatologist once a year, because being overly sun-kissed can become problematic. All went well as my dermatologist perused my aging skin, until she put her nose on my nose and said, “You have two basal cells on your cheek under your left eye.” Then, holding up a mirror she said, “See!” Nope, I didn’t see anything, but then I never went to medical school either.

    Before I could say, “How in the world did you spot those things?” she had taken samples for a biopsy and sent me on my way—cheerfully saying—“I think they are malignant, but because they are on your face, under your eye, I will refer you to a Dermatologic Surgeon who specializes in Mohs.” I found out that is not a dance team either.

    Her diagnosis was correct, but when the Surgeon heard that I was coming, she left for an extended vacation. Three weeks later, I met the doctor, and she scheduled me for early morning surgery the following week. Her assistant told me that the surgery could take from 2 to 5 hours. I said, “What is she going to do—pull them out of my ears?” (I didn’t say ears). “No, No,” the nurse said, “The surgery takes around 15 minutes, but the analysis of the tissue takes 45 minutes, and the procedure may need to be repeated until only healthy tissue remains.” Then she added, “You might want to bring lunch.”

    The day of surgery, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. with a back spasm, that took my mind off of my face altogether. I arrived at 7:45 a.m. and was immediately ushered into the operating room, placed into a reclining chair, with pillows under my back and knees (Yes, I did whine a bit about my back) and then my eyes were taped shut and covered. To this day, I don’t know who did the surgery, but she sounded very nice. After, the procedure was repeated for the third time, only healthy tissue remained, and I was free to drive home with a compression bandage on my 15 tiny stitches.

    The next day,  I changed the dressing, looked into the mirror and realized that my handiwork covered too much of my face. I now resembled an Egyptian mummy, and I wasn’t sure I had covered the scar. So, I went back to the doctor’s office for a tutorial on how to change a dressing. I was told that the surgery was successful and that the scar will fade.

    That is a relief, because  the actress, Judith  Anderson got paid to scare little children. I certainly don’t want to do it for free.

     And, Yes, my back is all better, but that’s another story.

    Esther Blumenfeld (Dedicated to Dr. Frederic Edward Mohs)


    Friday
    Apr192019

    EVERYBODY IS SOMEBODY

    When crossing the street in New York City, I feel much safer surrounded by a band of strangers. When we get to the other side of the street, we pedestrians will separate and go our own way, Chances are, that I will never see any of these people again. But, for a moment, their presence, amidst the traffic, was comforting.

    My son, Josh lived in New York for a few years, and he cautioned me not to speak to strangers. He said, “Don’t even make eye-contact with them.” There was an article in the New York Times about a man who died while riding the subway. He rode for 45 minutes before anyone noticed. That involved no friendly words and no eye contact.

    Strangers on airplanes have often shared secrets and life stories with me—even when I have an open book in my lap. They know they are safe, because chances are that they will never see me again. They know that they don’t have to pretend, and can be exactly who they are.
    The thing is, that a person is a stranger, because you don’t know him yet, but once introduced you really aren’t strangers anymore.

    My mother-in-law had a friend who was waiting for her plane in the Chicago O’Hare Airport. She began to chat with a lovely young woman sitting next to her. Their plane had been delayed, so they were able to talk for some time. My mother-in-law’s friend really took a liking to this personable young woman. So, she said, “My son lives in Chicago. Would you mind if I gave him your name and phone number?” The young woman said that it would be okay with her. A year later, this lovely stranger became her daughter-in-law.

    Parents will caution, “Don’t open the door to strangers.” That is good advice, but nowadays the internet indiscriminately invites all kinds of strangers into our homes.

    My Aunt Ruth spoke to everyone. No one was a stranger in her life. One Sunday morning she took a walk in her neighborhood and noticed a  a very large, rather homely woman at the bus stop. The woman was  dressed for church. Aunt Ruth said, “You look so nice.”  At that, the big woman, with tears in her eyes,  gave Aunt Ruth a bone-crushing hug and replied, “Thank you! I have had a very bad week, and you made my day!”

    At the moment when bad news turns our world upside down, we are all strangers in a strange land, and a smile or kind word from another person can be life affirming.

    I like familiar strangers such as the people who work in all of the stores I frequent. I don’t know their names, but we recognize each other and exchange pleasantries. Sometimes, that is enough to turn a ho-hum day into something memorable.

    One Monday afternoon, I went to a really early bird matinee. I was the only person in the theatre. The lights were dimming when a woman and her young daughter entered the theatre. I said, “Sorry, this is a private showing,” and they turned around and started to leave the theatre. Then they stopped, turned around again and we all burst out laughing.

    I like making people laugh—even strangers.

    One evening, five friends and I were having dinner in a restaurant. We talked and laughed and had a really good time. When we left the restaurant, everyone went to their own cars. My friend, Paula and I were headed to her car when another car, filled with strangers, pulled up next to us. A woman pulled down her window and said, “We were at the same restaurant and noticed that all of you were having such a good time. Are you related?” I poked Paula and said, “Yes, She and I are sisters.”  “Are you also related to the others?” asked the woman.  “Yes,” I said, “We are all distant cousins.” She drove off, so pleased to learn that we were one big happy family.

    So, where’s the harm? For a moment, we weren’t strangers, and the world was a much better place.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Apr122019

    SO SORRY

    No one likes to apologize, because it is an admission that you have said or done something unacceptable. An apology is also an acknowledgment that you are less than perfect, just like the rest of us. There are all kinds of apologies—-those given from the heart, the half-hearted, and the dim-witted ones. “Better late than never,” does not apply for an apology given to a dead person.

    Hugh Kingsmill said, “Friends are God’s apology for relations.” A good friend should accept your apology knowing that you would never intentionally say or do anything hurtful. It is always worthwhile to examine the source of the, “I’m sorry!”

    I am always willing to accept someone’s apology, but I also know that my response should fit the “My bad.” For instance, when a worker doesn’t show up at your house when expected, his apology is usually a lament over his wretched truck. A tweak to the ego may be appropriate saying, “I am so disappointed, I thought you could fix anything.”

    Some people apologize in a way that makes you feel that their mistake is  really your fault such as, “My dog won’t bite. Oh, he’s never done that before!” Then there is the “Schadenfreude” (sad/happy) apology. “Oh, I am so sorry that your team lost, and mine won, but after all, it’s only a game.”

    It’s always fun too look for the little correction box in the local newspaper, where the editor expresses regret for a printed error. For instance, “We inadvertently printed the name, ‘Bootsie, the Stripper’ under the photo of Reverend Mabel, of the Sacred Memories Church.”’

    It makes absolutely no sense to remain upset after a sincere apology. Why waste 60 seconds on anger when you can have 60 more seconds of happiness in your life? However, on the flip side, if your apology is not accepted by someone, who enjoys holding a grudge, I suggest you let them wallow and move on.


    Realizing that an apology is a good way to have the last word, I often, just can’t help myself.
    After a Presidential election, I was sitting at the Community Pool, when four neighbors entered the pool area and sat at an adjoining table. They were disgruntled and complained to each other about the results of the election. Finally, one of my neighbors, turned to me and apologized. She said, “Oh, I am so sorry!  I hope we didn’t offend you.” And, I responded,
    “Not at all. My guy won!”

    My favorite apology came from the Crystal Cruise Line. I received a call, and the person on the other end of the line said, “I apologize profusely. We double booked your cabin. Would you and your husband consider a penthouse cabin at the same price?” I replied, “Hang on, I will ask him.” I counted 1,2,3,4,5, picked up the phone, and said, “Yes, that will be acceptable. No harm done!”

    After the cruise, I considered that instead of  taking my clothes home, I should pack the Butler.

    It is very difficult, for me, when in a discussion, a person is not fact driven, but rather faith driven. In other words, “I don’t care about the facts, they are not true, because I don’t believe they are.” So, recently, in one of my classes, when discussing scientific research about climate change, the industrial revolution, the burning of fossil fuels, and the destruction of vast forest areas,  one of the participants said,  “I don’t agree with what all of these scientists are saying.”  Essentially, he was denying scientific evidence. So, uncontrollably, I blunted out—YOU ARE WRONG!  And, immediately, I was sorry. The words had just popped out of my mouth.

    So, later, I apologized to him, in front of the class. But, here’s what I said:  “I’m so sorry that I said “You are wrong, because you just might be right.” Whereupon, he replied, “And I just might be wrong.”  

    Bingo!

    Esther Blumenfeld (“I apologize when I’m wrong.”) Donald Trump