Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back in the day ...

... when I was still reading the newspaper, there were a couple or three columnists that I really enjoyed.

Erma Bombeck, of course ... always Erma Bombeck! And Lewis Grizzard ... I liked his style of writing, how he viewed life, and how he allowed (or didn't) it to influence his thinking.

Today, tho, I'd like to share with you a couple of anecdotes from a columnist that I remember enjoying a lot in the 1970's ... Joan Nixon.

At least, I think that's the right name! I just tried to Google it and came up with someone else entirely, a mystery writer. Don't think that's the same person.

Anyway, this one time Joan was focusing on problems of interaction and communication between teenagers and their parents. (You didn't have the mistaken impression that this is just "today's" problem, did you?)

She had a few prefacing remarks about these issues, and then came up with her own conclusion, which was: "Teenagers deserve/should have teenagers as parents." Here are a couple of her examples, as I remember them.

There's a high school dance coming up, and daughter goes to her mother to try and get some money for a new dress. Mom says, "Sorry, honey, but I just bought a new dress. There just isn't enough money in the budget for another new dress this month."

Daughter whines, "Muther, you're not going to that dance, too, are you?!? Eewww!!!"

Dad is frowning as he reads his son's latest report card. "What's with this math grade?" he asks. Son mumbles something about, "It's my teacher. He's just terrible, Dad!"

Dad inquires as to the teacher's name. Son responds, whereupon Dad just 'loses it'. "I had him last year, and he's great! Get your body upstairs and hit the books, young man. You're grounded until you can bring that grade up!!"

Another of my most fondly remembered columnists was Ann Landers, who seemed to have an endless supply of quips and barbs. This next one is my all-time favorite.

Her column this particular day was featuring letters for advice from readers on the subject of 'cross-dressing'. It was not her first column on this subject, and Ann had been fairly critical of the practice in her response to previously published letters.

One of her male readers had just written in, "My wife and I like to go out, perhaps once a month, as a 'couple' (female friends). I dress up in her clothes, put on a wig and makeup, and we go out to various bars and really have a good time. I do not understand, and certainly disagree with, your criticism of this practice!"

Ann responded, "I'm with you, dearie, and if anyone else objects, you can just hit them with your purse!"

[Please note that all quotations are my paraphrasing, only. I do not have the actual columns as they appeared in print in front of me.]