'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
I REFUSE TO WRITE ABOUT THIS TOPIC
My friend Dave smiled at me and said, “I’m sure we’ll be reading about this in an upcoming column, won’t we?”
Confused for a moment, I hesitated, then said, “What do you mean?”
“Oh c’mon, Bill,” he exclaimed. “Whenever something happens in your personal life, you write about it in your column. My wife knows more about you than she knows about me.” Then he added, “But at least I now know a lot about YOUR wife!”
“Um, yeah, that’s a touchy subject right now, Dave,” I said. “My wife doesn’t really appreciate the fact that half of the Naugatuck Valley also knows a lot about her—especially since it’s a humor column, which means most of the stuff I wrote about her was made up.”
Dave asked, “So you’re not going to mention her anymore?”
I said, “Only if I want to slurp soup thru a wired jaw.”
“Well, certainly you’re going to write about THIS, aren’t you?” He said. “People would love to hear about it.”
“Why should I write about it?” I asked defensively. “It’s none of their business. No, Dave, I’ve made up my mind. I am not going to write about it.”
Gee, I don’t know why Dave and some of my other friends have been bugging me so much. There are plenty of topics I can write about. I don’t need to tell the whole world that on a recent windy day a 50-foot pine tree snapped and slammed onto my house. Who cares that it punched a gaping hole in my roof, wrecked the gutter, and left numerous shingles ripped and torn?
The people who read this newspaper are not interested in learning that this incident set off a series of events that can only be described as “the Keystone Cops meet the Three Stooges.” From the task of removing the tree from the roof without doing any further damage, to affixing a tarp over the hole while the wind was gusting at 40 mph; from the ordeal with insurance adjusters who think of construction work in terms of pennies, to building contractors who think of construction work in terms of dollars (with many zeros after those dollars)—nobody really cares. What a boring topic.
I’m sure no one wants to read about my struggles to keep water out of my attic during the weeks between the tree falling and the final repair work. So what if the tarp—which kept the attic dry most of the time (that is, on sunny days)—happened to leak like a sieve during rain storms? Even if I could think of a humorous way to describe scrambling around the attic like a crab with a handful of Tupperware containers to catch the dripping water, who would be interested? No one, that’s who.
And who cares that three other large pine trees remain standing, each one seemingly gazing at my house with glee, wondering how much damage can be inflicted during the next wind storm? Or that the estimate to have these trees removed made me faint?
So I am adamant about this. I am not going to change my mind, no matter how much Dave and other friends plead with me to write about. This situation will remain a private family issue, and that’s final.
There. I’m glad I was able to refrain from writing about it.
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