Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Editing My Life

There are a few rules for writing humor. Today, I am explaining them as a means of illustrating that not everything I write is 100% pure unvarnished truth...it just feels real because sometimes, reality is a bit too much to bear.

I also want to give pure credit to Leigh Anne Jasheway Bryant who gave a lecture at the Erma Bombeck conference, detailing these techniques.

1) Exaggeration: Blowing things up to create humorous effect. Exploding Toilets that have the water drip down through the vents onto the computer. Well, okay, that actually happened at our last house, but saying that it happened three times...okay, that happened too...Exploding toilets that had water drip down through the vents onto the computer while I was using it...three times...now we've exaggerated.

2) Minimizing: The opposite, dwarfing something huge to make it manageable to minimize the suffering, creating humor. The pile of laundry was the size Mt. Kilimanjaro. I downsized it from the planet Jupiter.

3) The rule of three: Humor comes in threes. Shakespeare always has three couples getting married at the end of his plays, there were three stooges...look to the future for either Jeb Bush or Chelsea to run. Late night comedians are praying for this outcome…and in the interest of full disclosure, having watched late night humor lately, perhaps the rest of us should as well.

4) Clich├ęs: Parody...in honor of the Tuesday Primary: Hillary as Alfred P. Doolittle, fresh from an evening of straight shots with beer chasers...

I'm getting elected in the morning,
Ding, Dong, the polls are gonna rise!
Bill come and kiss me,
and you also Chelsea,
and get me to the polls on time.

I was the presumed nominee here,
guaranteed a win for the DNC!
Please vote for Hillary I cry so don't hate me,
And come and cast your vote in line.

If you are dying, vote absentee.
If you died already,
we know,
you would have pulled for me.

For, I'm stumping here in Pennsylvania,
To be the Gina Davis Commander in Chief
I know I'm a shrill one
But just please vote Clinton
And get yourself to the polls on time!

I'm gonna win the nomination.
I'm spruced up and looking oh so fine.
Let's bowl a ten frame,
Don't forget my lapel pin,
and get me to my poll on time.

I'll give another moving speech today.
Sleeves rolled up, remember Hope and Change!
Ignore all my past friends
and their pedaled influence
I never knew it at the time!

If you are bitter,
I'll understand
Vote for me
and you'll become
a transformed man.

For we're running for the nomination,
To win in all in 2008!
And in this campaign
We'll beat John McCain!
Just get us to the dance!
Give us this one chance!
Be sure and get us to the polls on time!

5) Definition: Describing one thing by defining it as another. You know you're a mother when...you pray for rain on game days weeks in advance. This blog is 100% fiction...except when it's not.

6) Observation: Storytelling, which usually uses every other technique mentioned here. It's what I do naturally. The car floor was carpeted with French fries. (usually coupled as in this case, with either minimization or exaggeration, I'm not saying which).

7) Misdirection: Humor goes in directions one doesn't expect...like I want a shop vac, wet/dry for Mother's day. Seriously, 3 Horse power straight vacuuming power to win the war with fast food and dirt everywhere. I discovered I wanted one when I went to a friend's house to pick up a desk she was giving my daughter. Her husband was cleaning out his garage and attacked the Suburban. My car floor is now so clean, you could eat off it...except...now, there isn't anything there to eat.

Happy Earth Day! Plant a tree. Recycle. Kiss the dirt. Drink your tap water and try not to exhale more than necessary.

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