Help Needed from Fellow Writers!

Without going into maudlin detail, let’s just say I could use a boost right now.  So here’s your writing challenge:  Entertain me (and us all!) with the tale of a very irreverent way you handled something quite awful.  I’ll work on one too.  Seeking a cure for the Wintertime Blues.   (Anybody ever hear John Hiatt sing that?)

39 responses to “Help Needed from Fellow Writers!

  1. Okay, I’ll start…. A long time ago, I had back surgery and had the ‘pleasure’ of spending a year in a body cast. It was kind of slippery and not very shapely (neither was I at that point!) One day I’d left work and was walking down the street. I think it was lunchtime — there were a fair number of people around. I could feel something funny around my calves and looked down. It seems my half slip was sliding down my cast and down my legs! I just stopped where I was, shook around a little bit until the whole thing slid down, stepped out of it and kicked it across the sidewalk into the alley while a bunch of people watched me.

    For all I know, it’s still there….

    (Ann — hope you’re feeling better! And THANK YOU for the John Hiatt reminder. I just listened to him sing Have a Little Faith in Me. What a voice!)

  2. “Have a Little Faith in Me”! One of my favorites. Loved your story. It had me chuckling first thing this morning. I’m envisioning you kicking that slip away as if it were the most common act in the world–chin high, never looking back. Good one!

  3. A joke that I recently heard:

    I was in Starbucks yesterday when I suddenly realized I desperately needed to pass gas. The music was really, really loud, so I timed my gas with the beat of the music.

    After a couple of songs, I started to feel better. I finished my coffee, and noticed that everybody was staring at me….

    Then I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod

  4. That made me laugh so hard, Walk. I’m still laughing. I think this was really you. Sounds like it could easily happen, doesn’t it?

    These little machines we carry around are changing our view of reality. I want a pause and a replay button in my life–or how about the shuffle function–but can never seem to find them when I need them.

    Hope the coffee was worth it!


    Wee hours of the night: Woken up by husband, seems evil black cat has pushed entire Costco size container of laundry soap off washing machine. Vacuumm Cleaner and Broom apparantley beyond skills of husband so spent some time cleaning up mess.
    Back to Bed.
    Later wee hours of the night: Woken up by evil gray striped cat walking throughout house meowing very very loudly. Repeated loud “shutup’s”‘ prove ineffective so get out of bed calling cat to door. Let cat outside. Head back to bed – notice evil gray cat in kitchen. Oh no! Accidentally put evil black cat oustide (indoor cat-not allowed outside). Back outside in rain in the dark (wearing nightie) – find evil black cat – who cannot believe he finally made it outdoors! And in the middle of the night! Thinks he won the kitty lottery. Chase around a bit and finally catch him, so scoop him up and back inside. Evil gray cat still wont shutup or go outside. Shut him up in bedroom with sleeping husband and go back to bed in other bedroom after getting dry nightgown.
    5am: wake up due to strange noise, evil black cat is chewing on water bottle on nightstand.
    Grab water bottle before it falls to floor (new hardwood of course that does not appreciate liguids)
    Sighhh…..Give up on sleep and get out of bed.

    Have to go into office so not able to wake up & annoy sleeping cats all day, bummer!

  6. Ha ha! When you see the evil orange cat — the one that scrapes the door frames all night when she’s not playing hockey with a bottle cap on the kitchen floor — that’ll be Lola. Just send her on back home; she must have snuck out. Thanks.

  7. Trust me, Ann, if I wrote about my inept handling of many, many situations it would cause you further distress. However:

    The old saw “what goes around, comes around” has never been more appropriate than when e-mails are concerned. I first saw the one below a couple years ago, lost it, and got it back last night. It reminds me so much of Walk and his monkey wrenches:

    Here’s a prime example of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”.

    It is offered by an English professor from the University of Colorado
    as an actual class assignment:

    A Creative Writing professor told his class one day: “Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple.

    Each person will pair off with the person sitting next door to his or her desk.

    As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short
    story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to
    me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me.

    The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

    The following was actually turned in by two of his English students:


    (first paragraph by Rebecca)

    At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

    (second paragraph by Bill )

    Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago.
    “A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,” he said into his transgalactic communicator. ” Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…” But before he could sign off a bluish
    particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


    He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. “Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,” Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed
    unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her
    from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. “Why must
    one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?” she pondered wistfully.

    ( Bill )

    Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the
    treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to
    pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized even poor, stupid Laurie.


    This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

    ( Bill )
    Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. ” Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F–KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I’m such an air headed bimbo. I guess I’ve read too many Danielle Steele novels!”



    ( Bill )




    ( Bill )

    In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.


    A+ – I really liked this one.

  8. Ok, I can’t claim to have written this, but I support it wholeheartedly, and perhaps it will provide the needed boost!


    Recently, in a large city, a poster featuring a very young, extremely thin, dramatically tanned woman appeared in the window of a gym. The caption on the poster said, “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

    A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym. This is what she wrote:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Here are the facts:

    Whales are always surrounded by friends such as dolphins, sea lions, even curious humans. They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales.

    They have a wonderful time with dolphins, stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia . Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.

    They are incredible creatures and have virtually no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

    On the other hand, Mermaids don’t exist.

    If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human?

    They don’t have a sex life because, according to mythology, they kill any men who get close to them.

    And, hello? how could they have sex? Just look at them … where is IT? Therefore, they aren’t able to have any precious babies either..

    Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

    The choice is perfectly clear to me:

    I want to be a whale.

    P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.
    So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. So, as of today, when I look at my butt in the mirror instead of whining, I will think:

    Good grief, look how smart I am!

  9. Oh this is so much fun. I’m having a great time reading each of these stories. I better tear myself away and come back tomorrow to finish. It is after all, after midnight on the east coast. See you all tomorrow.

    PS – Ann we are getting a group together for your first new class. It is going to be a blast. Tell those Ed2Go people to get you on the schedule.

  10. This is the most fun I’ve had in days! KK’s cat saga was great because for once I was reading about pets who weren’t merely cute and adorable. Evil cats! Gullie’s English assignment is so perfect. Anyone for tea? Or perhaps an alien invasion? Parrot has come up with another keeper. I always wondered where my IQ points went. Now I know.

    P.S. I asked ed2go when the new class would come online and they waved vaguely into the late spring. I’m in the pipeline. Plus they did a system upgrade (it was hell) in December with horrible snafus that, of course, leaked into January–the BUSIEST, HIGHEST ENROLLMENT MONTH OF THE YEAR!!! It has been a challenge to say the least, and is slowing down the new classes. I hope to see you all there. The assignments are all self-correcting, but I’d definitely value your feedback and reactions. It’s basic stuff, but good practice. I learned a lot just writing it!


    An easy mistake, I suppose, since the deceased wasn’t a particularly close friend–in fact, I had never met the man. He was a coworker of my husband’s, though, so it only seemed right to attend his wake.

    “Gee, there doesn’t seem to be anyone here. Are you sure this is the right place?”
    “Umm… Well, I thought so… I could swear Kathy said Millard’s… but it does look pretty quiet. Maybe we’re early?”
    “Do you think she meant the one across the river?”
    “I don’t know. What’s that called?”
    “I can’t think of it. But it’s the only other place in town. Maybe we should drive over.”
    “Let’s just check in here first. We may just be early.”
    “We’re never early. It doesn’t even look open!”
    “The door’s not locked, though.”
    “It’s dark!”
    “Not completely.”
    “But there’s no one here! This must be the wrong place.”
    “She told me Millard’s.”
    “Shhh! I can hear people upstairs talking. You think they’re having dinner?”
    “People LIVE here? In the funeral parlour?”
    “I don’t know, but they don’t seem to notice that we’re down here. I think we should leave!”
    “Wait. What about THAT room? There’s someone in there.”
    “But the lights are out. They wouldn’t have the lights out if the wake was starting!”
    “Maybe we’re early. Just go in and look.”
    “Go in there and look, and see if it’s Don.”
    “He’s kind of bald –”
    I’m not going into a dark room to see some dead guy I don’t even know! YOU GO IN THERE AND LOOK!”
    “Well, okay… uhh… no… that’s not him.”

    We ran down the walk and jumped into the car, at which point the nervous giggles we had been fighting exploded into full-blown laughter. We had only five minutes to compose ourselves before arriving at the funeral home across the river, where cars lined the driveway and the road in front.
    “Davidson’s! That’s what it is. There seem to be plenty of people here.”
    “Yeah… Davidson’s! That’s what Kathy said. Davidson’s.”
    “You think?”

    • Maureen, I have spilled coffee on my desk while laughing at this one! SO funny — thank you!

    • hmmm… I THOUGHT I’d replied to Maureen’s tale, but I don’t see it here. Let me try again:

      Maureen, this made me spit coffee out my nose. That’s high praise, btw. Very funny — especially your husband wanting YOU to go in the dark room to look for HIS dead coworker.

  12. There is a set of cat cartoons called Simon’s Cat. If you have never seen them, here is a site for one of them called “TV Dinner” If you have a cat, it is sooooo like them and very funny!

  13. Maureen’s story about walking into the wrong place reminded me of this event of my life, way back when I was around twenty:

    I was about to board a three hour flight from Tulsa to Sacramento. I thought I should take care of some business before take off, so I found the mens room and started doing what men do as they’re standing around a restroom.

    A little backstory, the bathrooms were built with a hallway that curved into the privey. No doors, just a sign of a man, a big sign, showing it was the mens room. The ladies was just past the mens.

    I had positioned myself at the first “station” that I came to which was the closest to the entrance. I was about halfway through taking care of business when a fairly attractive middle age lady walked in. She froze in place when our eyes met. Her mouth fell open and then she started to explain how she must have made the mistake of looking at the wrong sign and choosing the wrong passage way. She kept on talking and talking while I stood there exposed in all my ,er, umm, glory. Yeah, that’s it, my glory.

    Finally I stopped her, “Excuse me, excuse me. While you’re here could you mind giving me a hand?” She quickly shut up, turned, and left. The man a couple of “stations” down laughed and said, “Man, I wish I could’ve thought of that. I’d have a good comeback in about an hour.” We laughed and finished why we were there.

    We boarded and I had an isle seat and in the seat across the isle, one row up was, yip, you guessed it, the man with the slow comebacks. The lady was up in first class, I’m sure laughing at, as David Niven put it, my shortcomings.

    (Yes Shaddy, this fits into the category that you put my writings into.)

  14. Testing 1,2,3…. I submitted (twice, I thought) comments earlier today telling Maureen how much I laughed at her story.

    But my comments seem to be hitting the ozone layer and disappearing into outer space.

    One last try: Good one, Maureen! And now I can add a note of thanks to Parrot for introducing me to Simon’s cat, and another big guffaw for Walk.

    • I do appreciate the laughs. If nothing else this shows how funny everyday life is if we don’t take it quite so serious. Thanks all, this section will be bookmarked so I can come back in a year or less and get a good guffaw.

  15. Another one of my favorite jokes:

    Tick Warning

    I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself a couple times…but this one is real, and it’s important.

    So please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list:

    If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warming weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! IT IS A SCAM!!

    They only want to see you naked…
    I wish I’d gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid.

  16. Another one:

    When you’re from the country you look at things a little differently…..

    A Missouri farmer got in his pickup and drove to a neighboring farm and knocked at the door. A young boy, about 9, opened the door.

    “Is your Dad home?” the rancher asked.

    “No sir, he isn’t,” the boy replied. “He went into town.”

    “Well,” said the rancher, “Is your Mother here?”

    “No sir, she’s not here either. She went into town with Dad.”

    “How about your brother, Howard? Is he here?”

    “No sir, he went with Mom and Dad.”

    The farmer stood there for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other and mumbling to himself.

    “Is there anything I can do for you?” the boy asked politely. “I know where all the tools are, if you want to borrow one. Or maybe I could take a message for Dad.”

    “Well,” said the rancher uncomfortably, “I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It’s about your brother Howard getting my daughter, Suzie, pregnant.”

    The boy considered for a moment. “You would have to talk to Pa about that,” he finally conceded. “If it helps you any, I know that Pa charges $500 for the bull and $50 for the hog, but I really don’t know how much he gets for Howard.”

  17. Great cures for the wintertime blues. Here’s one I particularly like.

    A patient visits his doctor with some pain in his leg. The doctor takes one look and says, “I am really sorry, but we’re going to have to cut that leg off to save your life.”

    The patient is upset, but decides he’d rather live, even with one leg. He agrees and is immediately taken into surgery.

    The next thing he knows, he’s in the Recovery room, and a very worried surgeon is looking down at him.

    “What’s wrong?” asks the patient.

    “Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” says the surgeon. “Which do you want first?”

    The patient thinks for a moment and says, “Give me the bad news first.”

    The surgeon takes a deep breath and says, “We cut off the wrong leg.”

    “OMG!” says the patient. “What could possibly be good news after that!”

    The surgeon brightens up and says, “Your other leg is getting better!”

  18. Following Ann’s lead another Medical Joke:

    A physician claims these are actual comments from his patients made while he was performing colonoscopies:

    1. “Take it easy, Doc, you’re boldly going where no man has gone before.”

    2. “Find Amelia Earhart yet?”

    3. “Can you hear me NOW?”

    4. “Oh boy, that was sphincterrific!”

    5. “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

    6. “You know, in Arkansas, we’re now legally married.”

    7. “Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?”

    8. “You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out. You do the Hokey Pokey….”

    9. “Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!”

    10.”If your hand doesn’t fit, you must aquit!”

    11. “Hey, Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.”

    12. “You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?”

    And my personal favorite:

    13. “Could you write me a note for my wife, saying that my head is not, in fact, up there?”

  19. One Saturday evening, many, many, years ago, a group of six of us enjoyed relaxing in a jacuzzi. This particular jacuzzi just happened to be in the front window of the city plumber’s showroom. The business owner’s son was the leader of our pack and that made us feel comfortable in this less than typical setting.

    After a time, we overheated and not wanting to disrupt our intimate gathering, we discarded our swimsuits over the side of the tub.

    The showroom lights were off. We assumed we were safe in our sins. We weren’t. A squad car aimed its headlights on our intimate little party and we froze inspite of the steam and swirling hot water. After what seemed like years, the headlights moved away and I started over the side of the tub to retrieve my swimsuit. I acted too soon. The headlights swung back and caught me threadbare and wide-eyed.

  20. Hah! Probably about the same time Shaddy was in the jacuzzi, I was driving cross-country with a boyfriend. We’d stopped somewhere in rural Indiana to visit his great-uncle Harry. Of course, great-uncle Harry was a proper gentleman, and my guy and I were in love….so we snuck out behind the barn one afternoon….

    Pretty soon we heard this loud sound and all of a sudden, there was a crop-duster flying maybe 50 feet above our bare butts.

    Damned if he didn’t circle right over our heads at least half a dozen times before flying off.

  21. Smart move, Natasha! I wouldn’t want an audience while I was corn picking either. Besides that, sun-burned buttocks are extremely painful.

    • Barbara Burris

      Hm-m-m-m You sound like you have first hand experience, Shaddy.

      • I do, I do have first hand experience, Barbara! But not as you think.

        I’m not quite as free-spirited as Natasha. My sunburned buttocks were a result of over exposure in a tanning bed.

  22. Corn-y jokes, folks, but funny.

  23. Sylvia Osborne

    Ann, Happy Lady here…same old story-not sure where to post but will start here.

    You just gotta love cool headed folks!! One Sunday while walking over property we had recently acquired my husband bent over, commented on the dryness of the grass. In his wisdom he struck a match and lit a blade. Don’t try this at hime!!
    Spontaneous combustion! Little circle of fire became the mother of all fires. I stomped, jumped up and down on the little hot spots and as the circles grew larger I looked for something in the pasture with which to beat out the flames. Only thing available was my new shirt which I ripped from my body and began slapping with reckless abandon as I screamed at the fire to STOP! My cool headed husband looked at me, patted his foot and calmly said, “put your shirt on Syl.” I continued jumping, whipping the flames, chasing the hot spots and slapping more frantically while doing a fire dance that would have made any pioneer or indian chief proud. Beat, Beat, Beat. Hubby said, “Syl, I am not going to tell you again, put your blouse on!” This activity and verbal exchange continued until we realized the house nearby being the ministers house, (it was Sunday, he would surely notice we were not in church) was in danger of being eaten by these erant flames. As I jumped in the truck to summon help, I could still hear my husband shouting, “!”button up what’s left of your blouse, I am not going to tell you again!!!

    Fire trucks arrived, saved the house and I thought I looked rather like a hippy with a shirt full of burned out peep holes!!

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