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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.



    Be Nice

    Some congregations seem to attract an inordinate number of disgruntled people. When I asked my father, “Why is it that disagreeable people are attracted to those congregations? He replied, “When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were followed by the rabble. Those people are decedents of the rabble.”

    Now whenever I meet an obnoxious person, I say to myself, “Aha! Must be a descendent of the rabble.”

    If you live long enough, you will experience the vicissitudes of life. So what makes some people spread sunshine in their path and others turn mean and nasty? 

    I think it’s early morning dog poop!

    A former neighbor named Clyde (not really, but he’s so mean he would sue me if I used his right name) was always in a foul mood. Early in the morning he walked an enormous dog named Pepper who would pony up a dump that required a small shovel. Clyde was a short man, so he didn’t have to bend far for the pick-up, but he proceeded to walk a mile carrying a plastic bag filled with Pepper poop. Maybe that’s a stimulating way for a dog to start his day, but certainly not for a half-grown man.

    Clyde had a vile temper and yelled at everyone who disagreed with him. If someone said, “Maybe, that’s not the case,” Clyde would blow up. One day it was my turn. I dared to ask a question, and Clyde began to shout. When he finished his tirade, I said, “Raising your voice, won’t make you any taller.” I hoped he would never communicate with me again. But, no such luck.

    Every morning, after that, when he saw me, he would wave Pepper’s filled bag of “The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended a nostril,” (Shakespeare) in my direction. Only a descendent of the rabble would humiliate a nice dog like that. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (be a nicer person!)


    Talk To Me

    The day my son said to me, “Mom, no one uses that word anymore,” and I replied, “I just did!” was the day I decided that the art of conversation has gone the way of callused thumbs. 

    Tapping a text message requires no colorful language, no nuance and certainly no eye contact except with your cell phone. So, before all is lost here are some helpful hints for the conversationally challenged:

     It takes more than one person to have a conversation and,

    1. It helps if one of you has something worthwhile to say. “I just flossed my teeth” is not stimulating chitchat.
    2. Some people drone on because they find the sound of their own voice extremely entertaining. A drone is a pilotless missile.
    3. Silence does not always require sound. Pregnant pause does not necessarily require delivery.

    It seems as if everyone likes to talk, but few people listen. Maybe it’s because if you are the only one speaking, you don’t have to hear what the other person wants to say. Sometimes that can be a lifesaver, but listening can be illuminating. 

    I often go to restaurants by myself, and have decided that eavesdropping is okay if the speakers at the next table have turned up their volume. However, out of compassion, I did tune out one couple after the woman exclaimed, “It’s not the eggroll Harold, it’s our whole life!” Not sure I wanted to hear the rest of that. 

    Some people talk very fast. They are from New York. The rest of the world is not. Some people mumble. That is a great cover for being a teenager, not knowing the answer to a question or having a mouthful of pasta. 

    My last two hints for the conversationally challenged are: 

    1. Do not say, “Get to the point,” because you can’t assume that there is one.
    2. Don’t start a conversation with, ”How are you?” You just might find out. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (say what?)




    Come Fly With Me

    Every time I plan a trip overseas, someone asks me, “How long is the flight?” and I reply, “Depends on who’s sitting next to me.” It seems as if I always attract an inordinate number of talkers. I do not initiate conversations, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

    On a flight to London, I had earphones, a good book, and shades for my eyes. That should have been a tip off, but nothing stopped the wind-up chatty woman in the seat next to me. She talked, and talked and talked, and said absolutely nothing. When I said, “I’d like to read now.” She replied, “Oh, what are you reading?” and kept talking. She even drowned out the music on my earphones. Her lips kept flapping and created a breeze. Finally, I turned off my overhead light and said, “I’m going to get some shut eye now,” and she proceeded with a bedtime story of her life. She finally fell into a snoring sleep as we taxied down the runway at Heathrow. If I weren’t wearing shoes, I would have put a sock in her mouth. 

    The aisle seat is my favorite because I need to uncramp my legs, and I dislike crawling over people. When I boarded an El Al flight from Tel Aviv to New York, I was dismayed to discover that I had been assigned a window seat with two hefty seatmates in my row. The woman on the aisle had taken a sleeping pill, and the man in the center was dribbling an onion and garlic sandwich down the front of his shirt. I awakened the woman in the aisle seat, and told them both that I would be getting out of my seat frequently, and since she was going to sleep the whole way, perhaps she would like to switch. She refused. The guy in the seat in front of me promptly put the back of his seat into my lap. 

    The first time I crawled over the man in the center seat, he enjoyed it too much, so I asked the flight attendant to tell him to get up and let me out. She said, “You tell him.” This was, after all, El Al, the safest but not politest airline in the sky. By the time we landed, everyone hated me. 

    It was a school holiday in France when my husband and I flew on Air France from Paris to New York. The plane was filled with screaming, crying and shouting children. All of them were running up and down the aisle. When one of these drippy-nosed urchins climbed into my lap, I shouted, “Where is this child’s mother?” No one answered. The kid was a brat and I didn’t speak French. When the cart rolled by, I traded him for a drink. 

    My husband had a seat-kicking child behind him and beseeched me to trade seats with him. “Just a little break,” he begged. “Sure,” I replied. We switched seats and he plopped down next to the Ukrainian woman wrestler, who put one of her sleeveless arms on the back of his seat. He bolted forward before getting entangled in her armpit hair, and yelled, “Want to trade again?” “Nope,” I replied, “Want a lawn mower?”

    And then there was the broken seat on a flight to Hong Kong. I was moved to a seat in a section where I was in the middle of a family reunion of 100 Chinese people going to a wedding. I didn’t speak Chinese and they didn’t speak English, so since they couldn’t ask me if I was a relative of the groom or the bride, we all smiled and nodded a lot. To this day, I feel guilty that I didn’t bring a gift. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (oxygen please.)



    Last week a young man from Comcast came to the door and explained to me that since I already subscribed to their computer and television service, I can save money by bundling my home phone into the mix.  Anyway, I thought he said, “bundling,” but he must have said, “bungling.” 

    Joe, the installer arrived at 8 a.m. the next morning. It was his first appointment of the day. By the time he finished adjusting his tool belt, it was 9 a.m. He then took out his spyglass and began to examine my wiring. No, not my wiring, but the wiring connected to my house. He ran outside into my front yard to check a magical box and then back into the house. Then he ran into the neighbors yard to check their magical box before running back into my house. By now it was 10.a.m. Finally, he said, “You need two more wires. I’m going to drill a hole into the wall, throw a wire over your roof, and connect it to the wall on the other side. I asked him if he was bundling my phone or launching it. He ignored me. 

    The wiring was completed by 11 a.m. and my phone was bundled. Unfortunately, now my inter-net connection wasn’t. He fiddled with a few wires and everything started to hum. As he got into his truck, my computer stopped humming. I chased his vehicle down the street in my bare feet. He obviously had no rear view mirror on that truck. 

    The Comcast advertisement on television is so pleasant.  A smiling woman says, “If you call, you will reach a live person.” Think about it! Of course, she doesn’t tell you that before you can reach the one or two live people that work for Comcast, you first have to talk to a robot who orders you to push buttons on your newly bundled phone, and none of the choices have anything to do with your problem. 

    After screaming at the Comcast machine, I finally reached a man in India who told me to unscrew a wire on my router. I now deadened my telephone and probably killed the only live person that works for Comcast. I screwed the wire back in, and finally reached a woman in the Philippines, who told me to get on the floor with my router and connect my computer to---. I yelled, “I am not paying Comcast to crawl on the floor and I want a live person to come back to my house today.” I begged her not to leave me. She connected me to a woman in Utah who told me that they were having a blizzard but would send someone to my house by 1 p.m.  I told her that I didn’t live in Utah and it was 70 degrees outside. 

    At 2 p.m. Joe the installer called and said, “What did you do?” I told him, I didn’t do anything, and that someone had better come to my house or I would rip his wiring off my roof. At 2:30 p.m. a tattooed fellow named John arrived riding a white horse. No white horse, but he was my hero. He worked with the computer for one hour until he looked down at the router (one of the boxes buried under the tangled wires on the floor) and said, “Why are both ends of this little cord plugged into your router box?” I told him, “I have no idea. The only person fooling with my router box was Joe the Comcast guy.” John flexed his tattooed arm, disconnected both ends of the extra cord and the computer was fixed. I thanked John and as he left at 3:30 p.m. I said, ”John, please call your buddy and say, “Joe, what did you do?” He promised he would.

    Today, I set my house alarm off by mistake. The phone went dead. 

    Esther Blumenfeld (connected, I think)


    In Tents Dislike

    Recently, a friend called to ask if I’d like to go to summer camp with her. I responded, “Maybe,” but I really meant, “Hell, No!”

    When I was a kid, my friends attended all kinds of exciting specialty camps that offered horseback riding, classical music, ballet, drama, or science and technology. These places had beautiful names such as: Mountain Meadow, Eagle Hill and Chestnut Lake, and they cost a bundle. My parents didn’t have a bundle, so I was exiled to Camp Stagnant Water in South Dakota. 

    My cabin roof leaked, but only when it rained. It rained the entire week. I had chosen the bottom bunk, so I stayed relatively dry, but my bunkmate kept flicking spiders off her bed and they landed on me. Every night I watched her sagging mattress as it swayed and dipped closer to my face. She must have suffered from motion sickness because she threw up into my shoes twice. Obviously, her digestion wasn’t as good as her aim. 

    Counselor Bruin Hilda called the parents of one of the other girls in the cabin to come and get her because she put a pillow over the face of her snoring bunkmate. The snorer didn’t make it through the week either because she had chosen constipation over the snake rimmed outhouse, and had picked a bouquet of poison ivy.

    I only swam once in the river at Camp Stagnant Water, because when I got to shore, I was covered with hanging leeches. It was an educational experience. Counselor Bruin Hilda was waiting for me with lit matches. She kept yelling, “Stand still!” That was not easy to do with bloodsuckers clinging to my body and Bruin Hilda lighting them like firecrackers. 

    Camp is obviously not my favorite activity. However, as a teenager, my son was an avid camper. He backpacked for 50 miles in the desert, slept in tents, slogged through mud and muck, and his postcards confirmed that he loved every minute of it: 

    “Dear Mom and Dad,” Great trip! We put out the fire on the bus. Love, Son.” 

    “Dear Mom and Dad, It’s real hot here. We haven’t had any rain for two weeks. The dust is pretty bad. I spend most of my time in the water or mud. I got a sunburn. It doesn’t hurt that much anymore. Camp is really fun. Love, Son.” 

    “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m learning about reptiles. Wait until you see my collection. We are having pizza for dinner. Today I saved a camper’s life. Thanks for the cookies. Love, Son.” 

    Esther Blumenfeld (survivalist.)