About a week ago, Ry was itchin’ to go out. He didn’t know where he wanted to go exactly, so I took him to Half Price Books. It’d been awhile since we’d been and he ended up with several CD’s. It was a successful outing.
Yep, we buy CD’s. That’s what Ry enjoys getting for Christmas. And it’s that time of the year, again, when we/he starts doing that. By the time Christmas actually gets here, my son will have amassed around 50 plus CD’s. He will then spend several hours on Christmas Day downloading these new treasures into his IPOD. If I’m lucky, he’ll get a CD or two that appeals to me as well, and he’ll share it with me. Win/Win.
Listen, I know the idea of giving Christmas presents is that they’re supposed to be a surprise; and the way we do Christmas with Ryan; well, it’s unconventional, I’ll agree…but at this point, Ryan has so much music that there’s no way in hell that David or I could ever figure out what he has and doesn’t have anymore. So, we just let him find whatever he likes starting in the summer and then we buy it and set it aside.
During the months leading up to “The Big Day,” Ryan begins to anticipate what he already knows he’s going to get. By December 25th, he’s overjoyed. I must admit, he’s not been disappointed in what he gets for Christmas in years; which means we don’t disappoint him. Plus, he usually gets a few I-Tunes gift cards to supplement what he already has. Who knew it could be so easy!
BTW, I know they’re old school, but don’t knock the IPOD. I still use mine when I go out walking; which means I haven’t used it in awhile. I hope it still works the next time I go; which won’t be until it starts cooling down, so I’ll re-examine walking again in about another month — give or take. Ryan, on the other hand, uses his IPOD as much as I use my phone. On the other other hand, Ryan doesn’t have a fancy phone because all of his music is on his IPOD and he knows he can use either David’s or my phone if he needs to look something up. Again, win/win.
These systems we have in place, it’s like a streak of wins, y’all. Don’t mess with our systems, I-Tunes!
The Humor Section
While Ryan was busy picking out music at Half Price Books, I headed over to the humor section looking for something new to read. We’ll call it “research” because I’m writing a book and it’s good to know what’s been published and what people find funny because my book is supposed to be…well, I prefer the word amusing, but if readers end up finding it funny, that’s even better. Will it end up being ha-ha funny? I could only hope, but…amusing is a good start. Besides my research excuse, I figured I could use a little more humor in my life right now. There’s nothing quite so depressing as writing a book that’s supposed to be funny.
I gotta tell you, things weren’t looking so good in the humor section at the store that day, my friends. Okay, I know I was in a used book store and everything, but still…slim pickins’, y’all. First of all, I’m not interested in 101 jokes to tell. Nor am I interested in Bathroom Books. When it says Bathroom Book on the cover and it’s at a used bookstore…does anyone really have to point out the obvious reasons why you shouldn’t buy it, much less touch it? Or the books right next to it? I saw Sedaris on the shelves. I have all of his books. I have Jenny Lawson’s books, too. I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants.
Funny Is as Funny Does, Bossy Pants
Did anyone who’s read Bossy Pants think it was actually funny? It was supposed to be funny, wasn’t it? I was amused…a little. I guess. I think it’s one of those books where they hype it up to be funny, and so there’s this expectation that the reader will just go along with the hype because, even if you’re not exactly laughing, Tina Fey’s still a big-time funny person, and so you kind of keep your opinions to yourself for fear that other people won’t like you because you’re going against the grain of what’s expected. I mean, I’m guessing here. Is that why people just go along and say something’s funny when it’s not? I go against the grain so often — not on purpose, mind you — but it’s just because I don’t believe in going along with something that I don’t believe in or agree with; so I’m forever pissing people off and they sort of expect that kind of behavior from me now — so, I have nothing to lose by just telling it like I see it. Yeah, so Bossy Pants. Dis-a-ppoint-ed. BIG TIME. Frankly, I don’t remember anything about it. I know it was written by Tina Fey. That should count for something.
I saw a bunch of other books at Half Price that I don’t even remember because they were just…I dunno…not funny sounding enough, I guess?
I finally found one book that looked like it might be worth reading — Jen Mann’s, People I Want to Punch in the Throat. I can relate to that. There’s a few people I want to punch…maybe, not in the throat…but punch nonetheless. BTW, where the hell did that saying originate? Why the throat? Is the throat a funny body part to punch? I think I’ve read something of Jenny Lawson’s where she used that same expression. So did Jenny Lawson get it from Jen Mann or did Jen Mann get it from Jenny Lawson? Or did they get it from someone else? I know, they got it from Tina Fey, right?
And why are all of these women humor writers that I’m reading right now named Jen and Jenny? What am I missing? Should I change my name to maybe Jenni or Gen? Will that make a difference in book sales when the time comes? I dunno. Maybe I’m screwed and out of the loop because I have the wrong name and also because I’ve never wanted to punch someone in the throat and because I don’t find Bossy Pants funny. Damn, that sounds like a trifecta of bad mojo, doesn’t it?
While I was contemplating all of this, Ryan came to find me with five different CD’s in hand. He was ready to head out. So without reading much more than Jenny Lawson’s stamp of approval for Jen Mann’s book, I decided to get it. And Ry’s CD’s.
Book Reviews (Kind of)
Jen Mann’s book started out funny. Halfway through, though, I decided that this woman was just another mother caught up in the vicious circle of hell known as raising-her-children. By that, I mean that her kids are/were in public school and she and her husband are navigating through the various social systems and structures meant to take middle-class parents’ hard-earned money and sanity in the rites and rituals known as socializing their kids while dealing with all the other overworked, overachieving, overindulgent parents and professional people out there who are “extra.” I forced myself to finish the book; but honestly, I found it a bit formulaic. Each chapter creatively dissed a different difficult, presumably, composite person (hence, the idea of wanting to punch them in the throat, I guess.) At least I hope the people this author’s writing about are unrecognizable and based upon several people made into a single person; otherwise, this mom is going to be or is very hated in her community. I know… you don’t have to say it…she’s laughing all the way to the bank. Yuk, yuk, yuk.
I recently read another humorous book by, you guessed it, another woman named Jen. Jen Lancaster this time — Bitter is the New Black. I think both of these books have been out for awhile, but, yeah, I’m just now getting around to reading them. Anyway, this Jen was honest in portraying herself as entitled, mean, shallow, bitchy, etc.; and life found a way of bringing her back down to earth, hard-knocks style. I bet she hates Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi” with it’s mocking, “…you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” lyrics because that’s what happened to her. Or maybe it doesn’t bother her because she’s grown and matured. I dunno.
Bitter or Golden?
Anyway, if I didn’t know better (and do I really?), bitter seems to be what’s going for humor right now. And don’t get me wrong. Bitter can be funny. Outrageously funny, even. (Just don’t ask me to give you an example cuz I got nuthin.’) I dunno. So why am I not laughing? Maybe it’s not what I’m reading. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m bitter.
Nah, couldn’t be — cuz I’m a bowl of golden stardust, y’all!
Anyway, can anyone recommend a funny book that they’ve recently read or a funny movie or anything original and amusing? I only have one more season of Downton Abbey to watch and I’m definitely going to need a pick-me-up once it’s over. *sigh* I simply can’t get enough of Lady Violet’s zingers.
(God, this post is going to come back and bite me in the ass one day! I can just feel it!)
Since I mentioned it above, here’s a little Joni Mitchell to start the week!
And speaking of Joni Mitchell, I would be remiss to ignore the fact that we just celebrated Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. While Mitchell wasn’t there, CSN&Y were. Here’s their version of Joni Mitchell’s song, “Woodstock.”
Or if you prefer, you can hear Joni’s version
Happy 50th, Woodstock!