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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.



    Not To Worry

    I come from a family of worriers. Sometimes when my phone rings, and I answer, “Hello,” my Aunt Ruth will say, “What’s wrong?” At that point, I didn’t know anything was wrong, but I start to worry that maybe something should be. 

    Recently, when I took a trip to Buffalo, New York to visit her, I said, “Aunt Ruth, you look remarkable at 96 years of age.” She put a finger to her lips, pointed heavenward and whispered, “Don’t remind him.” Aunt Ruth frets about everything. She worries that on one hand there isn’t enough food in the house for company, and on the other hand there’s too much food in the refrigerator for her to finish.  I worry that she is growing penicillin, when I discover a container of molding cranberries that are left over from Thanksgiving---and it’s the middle of June. 

    I once complimented her on the fact that I never sensed that she favored any one of her four children, and she replied, “That’s because I am mad at all of them equally.” She has a devoted family, and all of them are at her beck and call, and call she does---repeatedly---to remind them of what she reminded them of 10 minutes before. They take it with relatively good humor when she innocently claims, “I’m just a little old woman.” 

    She scoots around her house with a walker, but doesn’t drive anymore, so her grandchildren take her anywhere she wants to go. Friday is beauty parlor day and neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep her from that appointed round. As you might have heard, it occasionally snows in Buffalo. In the midst of a blizzard, Aunt Ruth needed to get her hair done. After all, it was Friday. So, one of her grandsons took her. When they returned home, a snowplow had cleared the street, creating a mountain of snow along the curb. “How, can I get out?” she wailed. “No problem,” said her buff grandson. He came around to her side of the car, opened the door and hoisted her over the snow bank. She arrived home, nary a hair out of place. Another grandson created the mantra, “Don’t worry Grandma.” Now when she champs at the bit, everyone chimes in with a chorus of “Don’t worry, Grandma.” 

    Aunt Ruth is a television news hound and faithfully follows all political happenings, and she isn’t shy about telling people what she thinks about everything. Her doctor was taking her blood pressure while she chatted on about the latest news reports. He listened, and then took out his prescription pad and began to write. “Is something wrong with me?” she fussed.“Your blood pressure is a bit high,” he replied.  “Here is your prescription.”  He had written, “You are no longer allowed to watch CNN.” 

    Fat chance! Did I mention that Aunt Ruth never follows orders. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (wouldn’t trade her for a million bucks)


    And Whose Little Girl Are You?

    When I reached my fourth birthday, my mother thought it would be safe to visit her parents for a few days and leave me with my absent-minded, scholarly father. As the train pulled away from the station, Father and I looked at each other and he said, “Ice cream?” I knew breakfast would be delicious. 

    After breakfast, we went to a department store. I had never seen an escalator before, and stood mesmerized at the bottom of the moving stairs, as I watched my father step on the escalator, ride to the top of the world and disappear. I promptly found the nearest sales lady and told her to look for a lost man with a worried look on his face. She found him. 

    When we returned home, he read me my favorite story; the fable of Medusa from Bulfinch’s Mythology. She was the creature with snakes in her hair that turned people to stone when they looked at her. Then Father suggested I go outside to play, since he needed to do some work in his study. On my way out, he told me that if I found a snake, I should not put it into my hair. 

    I ran around the yard, climbed the neighbor’s apple tree, killed several mosquitoes and swung on my wooden swing until I fell off and skinned my elbow. It started to rain, so I went inside and Father wrapped my arm with Mother’s best kitchen towel. Then I decided to give myself a haircut, so I could wear bangs on my forehead, but I ended up creating a bald spot. Father said it didn’t really look that bad and would make it much easier for outside knowledge to get in. “Have you learned anything?” he asked.  “Yes,” I answered, “No more haircuts.” He let me wear his fedora the rest of the day. 

    The morning Mother was due to return, I adjusted the kitchen towel, put on my best dress (backwards, because it looked so much better that way) and clamped Father’s hat snugly on my head. When we reached the station and I spied my mother disembarking the train, I ran down the platform shouting, “Mama, Mama, never leave us again.” Everyone within earshot glared at the monstrous woman who had abandoned her befuddled husband and her pitiful waif. 

    When we got home, Mother tossed the dishtowel into the trash and gingerly removed Father’s hat from my head. “What happened to your hair?” she gasped.“A snake ate it,” I replied. “Don’t look at my head. It can turn you into stone.” 

    One more time, she gave me the “weird child” look. Who could blame her? Other little girls sported pigtails. I thought I wore snakes. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (acting normal)


    Fill Her Up

    A man goes to his doctor and says, “Doctor I don’t feel so good, and everyone around me is extremely disagreeable.” The doctor gives him some medication and tells him to return in a month. A month later, the man returns, and the doctor asks him, ”How do you feel now?” The man replies, “I still don’t feel so good, but everyone around me is getting much nicer.” 

    Some people approach life with a half empty glass, while others have a glass that is half full.  I’m just glad to have a glass. 

    A woman who moved to my neighborhood from Australia told me that she didn’t like Australians.  I told her, “I have met several Australians and I like them very much.” She replied, “They have to behave when they aren’t in their own country.” Then I traveled to Australia and discovered that Australians are very pleasant people---even on their own turf.  I said to one man in Sydney, “Why are you Australians so friendly?” He replied, “Because we live so far away from everyone that we have to be nice when you come to visit.” 

    The same woman who didn’t like Australians moved to Florida when she first came up from “Down Under”, and she also didn’t like Floridians.  Then she moved to my neighborhood where she really hated everyone. People were glad when she moved away because she took herself with her. 

    I’ll admit it. I am a people person. I like most people. For a few years, my son lived in Wisconsin. I like people from Wisconsin. The ones I have met are upbeat kind and friendly. It must be that entire delicious cholesterol-producing dairy that makes them mellow.  I also like Canadians. They are sensible and calm and laugh a lot, because their banks managed to stay out of trouble while ours were emptying our glasses as well as our wallets. I even like New Yorkers. 

    My son used to live in New York City. He warned me about New Yorkers: “Look, Mom, this time when you come to New York and we ride the subway, please don’t talk to people. It’s New York. You get on the subway. You get off the subway. You don’t talk to people. People in New York don’t talk. Don’t even make eye contact! You think I’m kidding? There was an article in the Times about a corpse that rode the train at rush hour. The guy rode for 45 minutes and 20 stops before anyone told the police.”  I replied, “Obviously, no one made eye contact with him.”  

    Naturally, I didn’t take his advice. Some people along the way have put a few chips into my glass, but no one has broken it yet. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (optimist but no fool)



    So What's New?

    I don’t understand people who never read newspapers. One of my greatest pleasures is rising early in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and perusing my daily paper. I start with the weather and the comics, browse sports, read the editorials in depth, and then I study both national and local news.

     Some people tell me that newspapers are passé, and that they get their news off of their computers. I do that too, but AOL news is very different from what I get from my morning paper. I must admit that some of the story headers are enticing, but here are some actual headlines I copied off of my computer. Here’s all the news not fit to print:

       “Liven up your potato salad.”

     “Toupee rumors false.”

     I didn’t read those stories, but I hope that the chef’s toupee didn’t fall into the potato salad.

        “Age women shouldn’t wear bikinis.”

     With some women that age is never!

       “Lady Gaga wears penis shoes.”

     “Attractive use for using old cans.”

     Perhaps, the story could have been combined, if she had strapped on a couple of tins of “heavenly original” Chock Full O’Nuts.” 

     Then AOL gave us some investigative journalism:

       “How does your mop stack up?”

       “5 cupcake mistakes you are making.”

     “Depressing news about beer.”

       “5 signs your husband may be a psychopath.”

     Obviously, some husbands already depressed about their beer become more psychopathic with each cupcake blunder. Some other stories seem to be related to one another:

       “Best diet if you’re short on time.”

       “Pillows look good enough to eat.”

       “Reason fruit is exploding in China.”

     Makes sense to me. If you are in a rush in the morning, just take a bite out of your pillow, eat a piece of exploding fruit and you are on your way to losing that excess weight starting with your head.

     I almost read the story, “Starbucks sued over dwarf firing,” because I didn’t know that Starbucks kept cannons on their patios. Then I saw:

     “Dad faints during birth.” He was probably only expecting the removal of a gallstone.

     I turned off my computer when I finally read:

     “Rapture rumors prove false.”

     Oh, heck, I have to empty the dishwasher after all.

     Esther Blumenfeld (“Runner forgets one crucial step.” Lace up your shoes, Dummy!)



    Pass The Popcorn

    When I was a little girl, Saturday mornings at the movies were reserved for the kids. Tickets were cheap, and it gave parents a safe place to dump their children for a couple of hours. The movies featured young actors who could cure any problem by saying, “Let’s put on a show!” or a heroic collie, who would always rescue something---anything--- including a drowning turtle. After the main feature, we were treated to violent cartoons. 

    I heard very little of the dialogue in those movies, because the audience screamed throughout the show, and I spent much of the time ducking flying popcorn and spitballs. But I guess it was great fun because I kept going back for more of the same. 

    When I was a teenager, I would visit my grandparents in Buffalo, New York and they would treat me to German language matinees. This was a moving experience because my Grandfather could never find a seat that suited him. We would find a seat, sit down, listen to Grandpa grumble, and then stand up, step on some people’s feet and begin the search all over again. I never saw any of the movies. That was okay with me, because I couldn’t understand them anyway. However, I did learn some choice German expressions from the audience. 

    Now that I am a grown-up, I love going to the movies by myself. I can pick what I want to see, go when I want to go, and sit where I want to sit.  Movies are a delicious escape from reality. Anyway, they should be. I once went to a matinee and was the only person in the theatre. When two women walked into the theatre, I told them, “This is a private showing.” They turned around and started to leave. It almost worked. Turns out that they were nice, quiet women and we all enjoyed the show. However, sometimes even the best picture attracts the worst audience.  So, after the blaring “Coming Attractions” I will remove the Kleenex from my ears and offer some rules for the boors among us: 

    l. Action does not mean kicking the back of my seat.

    2. Sound mixing does not mean you can keep saying, “What did he say?” during the movie.

    3. Music should come from the sound speakers not from your cell phone.

    4. Live Action does not mean you should comb your long hair and hang it over the seat and into my lap. If I wanted a blanket, I would have brought one.

    5. A Short subject is not your big toe sticking into my face over the back of my seat.

    6. Snack means popcorn or candy, not a garlic and onion sandwich hauled out of your purse. 

     All these things make me zusammenzucken. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (Grandpa was right!)