Do y’all know about the Erma Bombeck essay contest? For those of you who are too young to have any sense (i.e., younger than I am), let me tell you who Erma Bombeck was. She was your mother, only much, much funnier. Erma was the Everywoman of the 70’s. She wrote about the early pioneers who traveled to the wilds of the suburbs in covered station wagons. She wrote about the trials, tribulations, and joys (miseries) of child-rearing. She wrote about pantyhose, support garments, and the indignities suffered by all purchasers of such items. She wrote about the bowl of cherries that is life, and she didn’t spare the pits.

Yes, Erma had a rare talent for making the mundane hysterical. She died in 1996 and has never been replaced. There is no longer a national Mother figure, unless you count Barbara Bush. (No, not one of the twins, I mean the Prez’s mother.)

So, the public library in Erma’s hometown holds an annual essay contest in her honor. Yesterday I went to the bookstore to pick up a Bombeck book and research her signature style. (Yes, it was an EXCELLENT excuse to spend an hour in a comfy chair at my favorite bookstore. What’s your point?) Now I’m ready to pen 450 words of side-splittingly sardonic observations. Do it with me, folks. Send in an Erma-esque piece and maybe win a prize. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Ordinarybutloud. Do you hear me, Madhousewife?) The deadline is February 18. Who’s in?


13 thoughts on “

  1. Ouch…called out of my stupor on someone else’s blog.Erma Bombeck…yeah, I remember her. I’m pretty sure I read every book she ever wrote, when I was growing up.Imitation…yeah, I’m better at that than I am at creativity, that’s for sure…sidesplitting, sardonic observations though…sounds more like madhousewife…she has a way of hitting the nail right on the head…hmmm…What are you going to win? By the way, did you ever do the piece for “My Turn?” I read some things you wrote right around the time you announced your intention, and thought you had a couple of great ideas…my husband is FOREVER pointing at the “My Turn” page and saying, “why don’t you try something like THIS?”

  2. I’m sure that you’ve been waiting on the edge of you seat (and by that I mean, “reclined deeply in a plush lazyboy in a hypnotic trance of amnesia”) for my response to your comments on my entry about Bush. The truth is (if you even remember what the eff I’m talking about) that I have since not done any real research, and I suppose that in itself is reason enough to retract my “growing inequality” statement.
    About three years ago, I took a course on economic inequality in the United States. There, I read volumes about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is true that since that class, I have done little in the way of observing actual numbers, and I stand corrected if that gap has since tightened.
    “Growing inequality” is obviously a sweeping, overgeneralized phrase. I shouldn’t have used it, particularly in the context I did. I meant economic inequality, and I threw it in in a paragraph about homophobia and the Bush administration’s attempt to block marriage rights for gay couples. It didn’t make sense.
    This is my long-winded way of saying thank you for calling me out on that one.

  3. Good grief, Feb. 18?  I’ll never make it.  Heh.  But that adrenaline rush of working to deadline is tempting me…
    Erma Bombeck was the Queen.  Everyone who came after her is just pretending.

  4. So you mentioned those two people and I had to run over to see how you thought they should submit something when I’m thinking you would be a sure winner. All of you should submit. And that comment about Barbara Bush Sr, national mother figure? Perish the thought! That would mean George would be the national brother figure. Gah! I’d want to be adopted out of the family! LOL My vote is for Meryl Streep. She’s not old enough but put on a bit of makeup and with her talent…. LOL

  5. Erma Bombeck! I have not thought of her in years!  What a wonderful writer.  I would’ve got away with growing up without realizing the suburban hell I was living in were it not for The Grass.. and If Life is…!  Thanks for giving me something to look for the next time I’m in Borders!

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