Category Archives: Ask A Humor Writer

Ask A Humor Writer

  • How can people deal with all this snow?

I always welcome a nice blanket of new snow.  It’s comforting, makes the outside look pretty, and gives me an excuse to not go there.  I particularly enjoy watching snowflakes gently fall onto deep piles as my mother fights her way to the mailbox in her robe and slippers as if today’s the day she’s going to be getting something more than scary life insurance junk mail and a new Rascal sales pitch pamphlet while her tiny dog pees on the welcome mat because he refuses to leave the porch.  It does get a bit tense when food supplies get low, and the fact that my mother has a 35-year-old son living in her basement disqualifies her for Meals On Wheels.  But the day after a big snowfall is a good chance for some extra income, as I cruise the street with my snow shovel and dig out the old folks in the neighborhood.  I have to muscle the 12-year-olds out of the business, which is harder than ever these days.  Video games make those kids fearlessand then getting the old folks to pay me because I just shoveled their walkway.

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • Where Have You Been Lately?

I took a sort of sabbatical, if you will.  There’s a time of year that starts right before Thanksgiving when I need to crawl into a metaphorical, and by the feel of my basement apartment literal, hole, and not face the specter of my shadow until well after the passing of the day commemorating the wing-ed demon of the formerly earthly Saint Valentine, with his lone, weaponized baby-minion.  But I run on.  I would liken it to an emotional hibernation, when, like a bear, I exist, I breathe and move and metabolize, but I’m not what you would call “alive”.  You may be thinking, “gosh, and miss all the bustle and family and excitement of the season of joy?” to which I say, “Exactly.”  You see, I have the unique circumstance of writing jokes about these very holidays at assigned times throughout the year, and by so doing help people connect with others for whom they care enough to acknowledge on a real and emotional level through the use of quick and gentle yet pointed humor.  And a few months of this triggers the feelings dirt nap.  But now I’m back, and unlike the bear, I have no urgent need to kill.  Did it snow?

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • What’s a safe investment in this troubled economy?

No matter the economic outlook, I like to put my money into a nice consignment store sweater.  Not only does it cozy out the chill, but it’s also like a nice hug from the guy who died in it.  And during the toughest of times, it can be reconsigned back to the store.  And that’s cash in your pocket, my friend!  I won’t go into detail here because the reconsignment math gets complicated by “animal damage” and “a smell” that was totally there already.  But here is the cornerstone of the financial plan: remain a dependant of your parents, at least legally, and financially and literally, for as long as possible.  But like any business relationship, you must distance yourself emotionally.  The more you rely on your mother’s noisy coin purse and stingy thermostat, the less you must care about her constant eviscerations of disapproval.  And you don’t have to worry about your plan falling apart in the long run, because she’ll no doubt feel obligated to leave you her stuff in her will.  And besides, good ol’ Mom doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon because apparently intense negativity is the cure for a hundred million cigarettes and counting.

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • What’s the best exercise for overall fitness?

Personally, I cross-train, starting with a run from the convenience store back to my house while being chased by a neighborhood dog who’s on the angry side of his electric fence.  I follow this with a military-style crawl through the basement window entrance to my apartment.  Or, if the run doesn’t go so well, I do a straight-arm hang from a tree in my yard, with the added weight of a 15-pound dog hanging by its jaws from my pant leg.  Diet is also important.  Caffeine and sugar are effective metabolism boosters, and look for anything that’s “fortified” because “fortified” means it’s fortified with stuff.  Also, on those days when my workout goes poorly and I find myself hanging from that tree, I skip my next meal by throwing a bag of snack cakes, corn chips and an energy drink onto the sidewalk to distract the dog for long enough for me to move on to the military crawl portion of my workout.  If I’m starving, however, I then have to face the reality of yelling to my mom to get her stupid dog off me.

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • How do I simplify my life?

That’s easy!  Become a Shoebox writer!  You’ll need to move into a cozy apartment in the basement of your parents’ house, but only if you have a private exit, like a ground window you can shimmy through by standing on the dryer.  And you can take your dad’s old antihistamines to keep your throat from collapsing from the mold spores.  Hopefully a neighbor has unsecured wi-fi and a cable TV connection you can splice without having to let yourself into their house again.  And you’ll never have to entertain guests if your mom greets her at the door with the standard motherly, “my son doesn’t need another woman in his life!  Especially one who wears jeans, whore!”

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • How can I become a humor writer?

First, you have to have had a terrible childhood.  If you struggled to get Cs in grade school, had hyperactive sweat glands, cried every time you had to undress in the locker room, and took a cousin to a school dance, then you are well on your way.  Being terrible at all sports that you immediately gave up on is also essential to the social atrophy that must take place in order for you to develop the right sensibility.  Bad skin is a plus, as is bad eye sight, and you really should highlight on your resume if you have undergone corrective surgery for scoliosis, overgrown sinus, or a clubbed foot.  A common misconception is that you need to be able to spell, or write, or that you must be educated beyond tenth grade.  If you have experience in the above areas, and somehow avoided becoming a serial killer, then contact us via cutout magazine letters.  And remember, spelling is not a must, and an upside down ‘m’ makes a fine stand-in for the much harder to find ‘w’.  And finally, if you’re an adult bed wetter, just come on over, because you are hired, my friend!

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • What are your greatest influences?

Living life, really… talking to people, working my second job driving the night shift emergency carpet cleaner van, looking into peoples’ windows, spending hours at a time in a public bathroom stall, arguing with neighbors over who’s really responsible for the horrible cat smell, yelling back at my noisy air conditioner, keying the car that’s parked where I’d be parked if I had a car, court ordered highway median clean-up, restitution, Pyromaniacs Anonymous, that sort of thing.  And my mom.

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Ask A Humor Writer

(The below writing is the property of Hallmark Cards, Inc.)

 

  • Where do you get all your great ideas?

It’s important to adhere to a strict schedule that starts with having gotten too little sleep because The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was on late-night cable and your new allergy medication causes jitters, sensations of falling, and double hearing, all of which kept you up and terrified most of the night.  It’s then necessary to have a constant stream of caffeine and vending machine mini donuts, and a proximity to the magic markers we write with because of the court ordered removal of pointy objects from our office space.  Aside from that, there’s a lot of listening awkwardly to other peoples’ conversations while gorging on treats from the birthday celebration of someone you don’t know, and then letting your mind wander while sleeping through the sugar and caffeine crash for the rest of the afternoon.  And research.

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Ask A Humor Writer

  • What’s your take in the midterm elections? (November 2010)

Clearly, Americans are concerned about financial issues, like low interest micro-loans for low-income writers and skyrocketing city bus fares. And the effects of the recession can be seen everywhere, from fewer sample trays being offered at grocery stores, to people throwing away less usable stuff like old blankets and sofa pillows. The main concern is our national debt, which is 1.2 trillion dollars, which we owe to China, which makes it almost 100 trillion, um, Chinese yen. In order to understand that number, try to imagine that one twinkie is worth a trillion yen. That’s one hundred twinkies! That’s more than any man could eat in a day, even that awesome little hot dog eating contest champion guy. However, the solution is simple. Just like I occasionally have to borrow money from my mom upstairs, we should borrow money from Canada. They love us, we make sure they have good tv shows to watch, and they’d be maybe just a little bit afraid of what we’d do if they said ‘no’. At least Canada could offer private micro-loans to private American citizens, because all this talk about 100 twinkies in one day has me thinking I could do it. All I need is funding for the twinkies, and to hire that Chinese guy to coach me.

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