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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
    Nov232018

    A LAUGH A MINUTE

    Have you ever said to yourself, “I can do that!  

    Well, in 1982, I did just that. I sent some jokes, I had written, to Phyllis Diller. She liked them well enough to write to me,”I don’t know whether you’d be interested in ‘Ghost Writing’ for me. I realize that in that situation the ego suffers, but the money helps.”

    When I received her check, I realized that the stipend she paid for gags would help her much more than me, so I respectfully declined. However, when going through my files, I found not only her letter, but some jokes that I had written, and that I had never mailed out.

    So, dear readers, with a bit of updating, I will share these stories, that have never seen the light of day, nor slid off a comic’s tongue. Allowing for a bit of updating, I hope that you will enjoy them, and that some of them may bring you a well-deserved chuckle. They were written to be said…not read, so keep that in mind.

    “I have the same clothes designer as Melania Trump. Isn’t it amazing what this body can do for those clothes.”

    “My neighbor’s kitchen is so clean she says, ‘You can eat off my floor.’ That’s okay if you don’t mind the taste of Mop-N-Glo.’”

    “My husband doesn’t talk too much, but when he does he always has something good to say. He says,—-‘Good Morning!’   Good Night!”’

    “President Trump thinks the space shuttle is the answer to unemployment. He’s sending Detroit to the moon.”

    “I used to tease my hair until the Humane Society put a stop to that.”

    “John Bolton keeps shaping our foreign policy. I just wish he’d stop using Silly Putty.”

    “I’m not that kind of girl—-that kind a woman—Maybe!”

    (In memory of Phyllis Diller)  “Everybody says my friend Milton Berle steals jokes. I didn’t believe it until today— I caught him walking off with Fang.”

    “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that my plastic surgeon asked me to pose for some before and after pictures for a magazine. The bad news is that I’m still the  before.”

    “I dreamed I was in a movie with Clint Eastwood. He asked me,  “How do you want it?” I answered,’Any which way but loose.”’

    Cheers,

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Nov162018

    THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

    People often ask me, “Why do you take your early morning walks all by yourself?” and I reply, “Because that is my thinking time.” That sounds really erudite until I tell them, “I was just thinking that, ‘If fish would keep their mouths shut, we’d all be vegetarians.’” Sorry! but that’s how my mind works. Oh, the words that go thorough my mind that I never say.  How often has someone said to me, “That goes without saying,” and I have been tempted to reply, “Then please don’t!”

    I know a woman who talks because she enjoys the sound of her own voice. Unfortunately, her tongue moves faster than the mass of nerve tissue in her cranium can catch up. She is quite a talker.  On the other hand, I have never heard someone say, “Your dog is a good dog, because he barks a lot.”

    A conversation usually involves  speakers and  listeners, but sometimes it’s just better not to talk. That way people might take you for a deep thinker. Or, they might think you are a half-wit, but perhaps it better to be thought of as stupid, rather than enter the conversation, and prove them right.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good conversation. But a good conversation involves two people who have some knowledge about what they are talking about,  and  who have something to say that does not involve a hashtag.

    There are all kinds of ways that people speak. Some people mumble. When that happens, the listener should nod sagely and say, “You could say that again!” And, some people shout. A shouter never says, “Can you hear me now?” because you can hear him before you enter the room, while you are in the room, and long after you’ve left the room. It’s lots of fun to see a mumbler and a shouter talking with one another. The shouter has to close in and the mumbler has to back off.

    Recently, I was on the moving sidewalk in an airport. A fellow walked down the walkway waving his arms and shouting at the top of his lungs. Every passenger stopped to look at him. Never could figure out if he was on a cell phone or a schizophrenic off his meds.

    But back to the thinking part of this tale.  When I think, I often think out loud. In other words, I talk to myself. It’s called a monologue, but in my case there are no listeners. I can think aloud to myself, and I can make myself laugh. That’s when I write it down. Hamlet’s soliloquy is a conversation with himself, but since it is in a play, the audience eves drops on the poor, tormented fellow.

    I recommend that everyone should take time off to pause and contemplate before going out to
    express oneself.  However, if you don’t think you have the inclination or time to take my advice remember that, “One way to prevent a conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing.” (Frank Sheed).

    Esther Blumenfeld “Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence” (Spanish proverb)

    Friday
    Oct192018

    WAIT FOR ME

    Whenever I learn a new skill, I don’t want to wait to use it. A few years ago, I was taught the Heimlich Maneuver. Now, I was prepared to save a life!  Consequently, every time someone coughed in a restaurant, my husband and son had to restrain me.

     One day, while driving my son home from soccer practice, we saw a man lying in the grass, next to his bicycle. This was my big chance. The waiting had paid off.  I stopped the car, and ignoring the cries of “MOTHER!”, I shouted, “Hang on, I’m coming!” At that, the man jumped on his bike, and peddled away as fast as he could.  I guess I scared the choke out of him.

    It seems as if all of us are constantly waiting for someone or something. When the actress, Mae West was told that ten men were waiting for her at the stage door, she said, “Send one of them home. I’m tired.”

    I have learned that if you wait for things to happen something usually does, but it just might not be the something you’ve been waiting for.  Bob Hope grew up with six brothers. He said, “That’s how I learned to dance—-waiting for the bathroom.”

    In 1990, according to the British Royal National Theatre, “The most significant English language play of the 20th Century” was Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT. Of course the tragicomedy was originally written in French, but they ignored that part. It is the story of two tramps, in which nothing happens except trivial conversations of the meaningless of life. That’s the funny part. They are waiting for a fellow named Godot and debate whether he will show up and what to do if he doesn’t. A messenger comes and tells them that Godot isn’t coming, but will show up tomorrow. They keep waiting and talking and the same thing happens three times. Finally, they decide to leave but don’t move and the curtain is dropped.

    Once you see this play, you will never complain about waiting again!

    The renowned novelist, Anne Tyler was standing in a schoolyard waiting for her child, when another mother approached her and said, “Have you found work yet? Or are you still just writing?” (Wait, Wait! Don’t tell me!)

    When I was a little girl, I usually lagged behind my friends as they ran down the street. I remember yelling, “Hey, You Guys. Wait for me!” I was lucky because they usually did. Maybe, I made them feel bad about leaving me behind.  Or, maybe it was because I was always the one who carried the ice cream money.

    Some people are just worth waiting for!

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Oct122018

    THE AUDITION

    It’s not a good sign when the casting director rips the script out of your hand in the middle of your reading.

    Auditioning for a part in a play or movie is very stressful. That’s why some actors drop out before trying out, because they simply can’t take rejection.

    However, the Director,  Max Anton Protzen, and I, knew that auditions were necessary to cast actors for the upcoming staged reading of my play, UNDER MIDWESTERN STARS, which will be performed in Tucson on November 11th.  

    A notice went out that auditions would be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at a central location. My son, Josh, who had been an actor in New York, suggested that it would be well to schedule auditions, rather than ask people to sit from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. So, I began to schedule auditions.

    And, this is how the cast was finally chosen:

    I received a phone call from a woman who said, “I live in Tucson, but I am in Cincinnati, and can’t make the audition. I will be back in two days. Would it be possible for me to audition when I return?” Before I could answer, I heard, “You need to get into the right lane.” I said, “Are you driving?” “Yes, I’m on the expressway, and my cousin is giving me directions.”  Then, I heard, “We need to get off at the next ramp.” Not wanting to cause an accident, I said, “Call me when you get home and I’m sure we can arrange something.” So, the Director and I arranged the audition. It was a smart move! Deanna gave the best reading for the part of the daughter. “Wow!” I thought, all the way from Cincinnati.

    Two more roles to fill.

    That’s when I discovered that some things are not probable, but anything is possible. In the middle of our auditions, an e-mail arrived. “I have recently moved to Tucson, have acting experience, and would very much like to audition for the part of the Father, but I am in Europe. He included his acting resume. Max (the Director) e-mailed him back, “We can audition you by computer.” “I will send you the play and the reading. Send us your audition by audio tape.”
    In the meantime, auditions proceeded.

    We received the audio tape on the computer. No doubt about it, we had our Father—all the way from Italy. There was only one problem. His experience was impressive, and the reading was excellent, but what did Joe look like? Would he be believable to the audience as a family member with the daughter and our mother-to-be?

    I told Max, “If he looks like the Elephant Man, a little make-up can go a long way.” Not to worry, the next day we received a photo of a distinguished looking Father. He can read the words and be believable. Whew!

    Now, on to Mama.

    We had several people auditioning who had extensive experience, some as actors both in Tucson and other cities, but no one exactly fit the role.  It was getting very frustrating.
    In between appointments, Max assured me that, “You never know if raw talent will walk through that door.”

    That’s when Sharna, the last woman to audition for Mama, walked through the door. She said, “I’ve never done this before.”  Max gave her directions for the assigned reading. It was like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. When she left, Max and I turned to each other and said, “We have our Mama!”

    Max Anton Protzen is a busy and experienced director. He accepted the venture of directing my play, because he wanted the creative challenge, and I wanted him to direct, because he is young and innovative.  In the Spring, he will move to Switzerland for a year, where he was offered a theatrical opportunity.  So, now, I have an international director.

    Deanna is back from Cincinnati. Joe will soon return from Europe, and Sharna—-Well, when I called to congratulate her, she said, “Max didn’t call me, so I thought I didn’t get the part.” I said, “Did you look at your computer?” “No,” she replied. I said, “Go look at it now.” It took her awhile to boot up, but when she saw the e-mail, she came back to the phone and told me, “ I am so surprised and happy, but I can’t e-mail him back to accept the role.” “Why is that?” I asked. “Because I know how to read e-mails, but I don’t know how to answer them.” I gave her Max’s phone number.

    So we have a terrific cast who came to us from Cincinnati, Europe and Luddite Land.  Not so strange, because I figure all of life is just one big audition anyway.

    Esther Blumenfeld

    Friday
    Oct052018

    PLAY THE NAME GAME

    I recently challenged myself to a name game on my computer, “Can you name these dictators?” I got them all right, except for some sleazy guy from an African Nation that I had never heard of, because he destroyed it.

    So, if I can remember the names of all those dictators—past and present—why can’t I remember the name of the person standing in front of me? A name tag always saves the moment, unless the print is so small that my nose hits the chest of the stranger, whose name I hope to remember.

    Memory experts offer many tricks for connecting a face and a name.

    The first trick is to “repeat the person’s name when you are first introduced,” such as, “So pleased to meet you “Mr. Clemp.” Whereupon, he will say, “It’s Clems, not Clemp.” But now he is permanently frozen in you mind as a “Mr. Clemp.”

    Then there’s the trick of “association.” For instance, you are introduced to “John” as he exits the Mens Room. Reluctantly, shaking his hand, he is always associated with his exit and a damp hand. However, happily, you will always remember his name.

    Last week, I was in a store when a woman enthusiastically greeted me by name. Actually, she screamed my name across the store. My first thought was, “Do I owe this stranger money?”
    Then, she ran across the store and engulfed me in a bone crushing hug. I finally stumbled back,  looked at her and drew a complete blank. She said, “You don’t know who I am, Do you?” “I am so sorry,” I replied. “Please refresh my memory.” “I was your neighbor, 25 years ago.”  Then she told me her name. And, then I remembered her, and her seventeen  household pets. How could I forget? EASY!  She had lost 50 pounds and her hair was a different color. The last time I had seen her, she was climbing a tree in my backyard chasing one of her exotic birds, who had escaped from its cage. The reason I forgot is that our brief meeting in the store was much more pleasant than our brief neighborhood experience.

    If it’s of any comfort, according to an article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, “Nearly 85% of middle-aged and older adults forget names.” So what’s the excuse for 25-year-olds? It is awkward to forget a name, but understandable with all of the distractions happening around us during a conversation.

    So, what is really helpful? First of all, it helps when you are genuinely interested in meeting the person standing in front of you. If the friend you do know does not introduce you, it is permissible to introduce yourself, since your friend is probably suffering from momentary brain freeze.

    When introducing yourself, you can make an impression, but spilling a drink on the person you want to impress might not be the impression you want to make.  However, if it’s any consolation, he will probably remember you name forever. Never mind!  When meeting someone, be motivated, focus, be sincere (even if you have to fake it) and make sure you hear the name right..”It’s not Clemp…It’s Clems.”

    My friend, the Southern novelist, Terry Kay, (TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG) was an excellent writer, but had a lousy memory for names, so he’d get away with, “Hey, Darlin’” That worked with women, but I’m not sure what he said to men. On the other hand, when I was signing my book, OH, LORD, I SOUND JUST LIKE MAMA, I asked the woman in line, “To whom would you like this book signed?” And, she replied, “Just sign your name. It’s worth more that way when you are dead!”


    Esther Blumenfeld (“A  rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”)  William Shakespeare