ERma Workshop

In a few weeks I’ll be at the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve wanted to go for years and the planets finally lined up.

“Are you ready to go down there and be funny?” my husband, Marc asked.

“Not going there to be funny, going there to learn funny writing from the funny people in the Lower Forty-Eight, then bring my funny back to Alaska.”

I got to thinking. What is funny anyway? What’s funny to me often time isn’t funny to anyone else. Could explain why I’m the only one laughing in a movie theatre. Or in church. I’m self-conscious about it, so I lurk around Facebook posts to inject one liners to see if they make people laugh. Like when Homer, AK had a 3.5 quake and some guy posted his dog passed gas stronger than that. I pretended to be Maria Downey on Channel 2 news: “It was a triple-dog-fart magnitude that shook Anchorage this evening…”dog

Funny is random and all around us. I’ve listed my own personal comicon:

Fresh off the plane from Anchorage, I asked a Phoenix food server what the fresh catch of the day was. “You have a choice of grilled roadrunner or road-killed coyotee,” she smirked, without missing a beat. She got me. Good one. In other words, don’t ask for fresh seafood. In the desert.

I came to Arizona to warm up, but I’m freezing my kahoonas off. Want to go home to Alaska to WARM UP. This doesn’t make me laugh, it’s just pathetic. I listed it anyway. It’s more of an oxymoron. I’m the moron.lois snow

After driving with my head hanging out the window on our little Toyota Echo, which we fondly named Stinky Pete, (the previous owner smoked cigars with windows rolled up) I decided to once and for all get the tobacco stink out of the car (remember the Seinfeld stinky car episode?)

On the one warm day in Arizona last week, I rolled down the windows to let Stinky Pete air out. Windexed and Armoraled the cactus out of him that created a pile of stained-brown paper towels that looked like—trust me, you don’t wanna know what it looked like.

Grabbed the Windex and sprayed the passenger window. Tore off a paper towel to wipe it. My arm plunged through the window and me along with it. The mother-freaking thing was rolled down. Laughter rolled at me from Marc, who’d been watching me attempt to clean the open space like a drunk Charlie Chaplain. D.U.H. Go ahead, laugh at my bad, big boy.

His chortling got me laughing. Hard. Then I had a different problem. Beelined for the house. Oh Nutts! Stinky Pete snagged my retro-60s-hippy sleeve on the corner of his door and wouldn’t let go. I flailed, yelled, cussed. “Let go of me, you stinky munchkin-mobile—” Girl runnig

Oh my gawd I’m not gonna make it I’m not gonna make it (Marc later reported I had a wild-stallion look). I finally wrenched free of Stinky Pete’s grip, tripped on a prickly pear, screamed, and stumble-bummed in the house, tear-assing to the bathroom. Barely. Made it. Laughed till I cried. Then dehydrated.

We made a trip to the dump through the beautiful Mogollon Rim Country (Zane Grey wasn’t lying in his long missives of it). In the middle of this beautiful high mountain desert sits the local landfill, complete with crows and turkey vultures. We’re greeted by a dilapidated V-Dub and a sign:“Children and animals must remain in vehicles.” Well, okay then. I stayed in the car.VDUB

I squinted at a line of pudgy, grey bodies snorting down to greet us as we drove in. Hello javelina, please don’t bite my legs off. “Better not leave your car, ma’am, they’re our dump pets, be careful–they’ll eatcha, but be nice to ‘em, we’ve named ‘em all,” grinned the dump lady. Well, okay then. I stayed in the car. Marc risked his life to dump our leaves and twigs and the pigs didn’t eat him. We laughed all the way home.

Javelina teeth

As Erma Bombeck said, “If you can’t make it better,  you can laugh at it.”

Dayton, Ohio, here I come!


© Lois Paige Simenson and The Alaska Philosophaster, 2018, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Alaska Philosophaster with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.       

Written by Lois Paige Simenson


  1. marilyn blumer March 21, 2018 at 6:32 am Reply

    LOVE your blog! i’d like to get it delivered directly to my inbox each time there’s a new one. thank you for the chuckles and lol. i lived in alaska from 1991-2001 (what i fondly remember as the Clinton years) and now live there each summer until october. happy writing!

    • Lois Paige Simenson March 28, 2018 at 12:06 am Reply

      Hi Marilyn,
      Thank you for your kind words! I love writing about Alaska. Thank you for posting!

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