And The Winner Isn’t…

I found out yesterday that I didn’t win the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. I have attended the workshop conference four times but this year the only way I was going to afford it was to win this contest or rob a bank and then kill off all the people in front of me on the wait list. Despite not winning I have decided not to proceed with my second option. It seems like a lot of work and I really need my beauty rest.

In an effort to make lemonade out of lemons I did learn an important lesson and will pass it on to you. Don’t go to Target after getting some disappointing news. It won’t end well. 

There is a double-secret Facebook page for people who have attended a workshop. I posted my sage advice about not shopping and also spoke of my disappointment. The feedback was fabulous and I discovered numerous other people who also shared my non-winning disappointment. We are considering forming our own triple-secret Facebook page to share recipes, mixed drink ideas, and coupons for fast food places. (Take that you winners!!!!)

The bottom line is that I got out of my funk and all the food is still unopened except the jelly beans that are in a quadruple-secret candy jar in my home and the cake bites that I tried but they tasted horrible so I tossed them out. The other items are actually for my get together with Annie tonight.

Someone said my writing may be a little too edgy and modern for a contest looking to honor the writing of Erma Bombeck. So here is what I submitted and looking back I guess racism and having a lot of sex in the 70s is probably not Erma material:

The connection between mother and daughter is special. Sometimes special like a gourmet meal at a 5-star restaurant; sometimes special like eating food over the sink that’s past its “use by” date.

My mother was part of the greatest generation. I was part of the baby boomer generation – offspring of the greatest generation that, once they made the world safe from Hitler and the saltpeter wore off, procreated like rabbits.

My mom’s generation saved old tires, used ration books, and planted victory gardens. My generation was marching for civil rights, burning bras, and, in an attempt to stop the fighting in Vietnam, making love not war. With God as my witness I tried to stop that war many times. I truly tried my best. I mean Kissinger didn’t work as hard at getting the boys home as I did.

For quite a few years the “mind your own business” sentiment of my mom did not quite mesh with the “blowing in the wind” life choices I was making. By the 80s, while the differences were still there, they were well-hidden with avoidance, silence, vodka, and Oreos.

One day I was talking on the phone with my mom about my upcoming trip to San Francisco. She called because she heard someone in Australia was bitten by a shark and wanted to warn me not to go into the ocean. Apparently a blood thirsty shark was headed for San Francisco.

Suddenly the conversation took a quick turn from killer sharks when she looked out the window. “There’s a big black man walking past with a gold chain around his neck and some kind of medallion attached. Why do ‘those people’ wear such big chains”?

Many members of my mom’s generation, including her, tried not to be racist but any discussion of the black community began with “I have nothing against those people” and then was followed by exactly what they had against “those people.” The words “those people” hung in the air like your grandpa’s fart on a cold winter’s night – everyone experienced the stink but you couldn’t open a window so there it was, deal with it or step away. I had no vodka soaked Oreos, so I stepped away.

Next week in San Francisco, after a dalliance into the ocean while keeping a sharp eye out for sharks from down under, I sent my mom a postcard:

Dear Mom:

I went into the ocean and was attacked by a shark. A big black man with a gold medallion saved me. We are getting married. I’m pregnant.

Love, Mary

Returning home I received a phone call: “How could you send that postcard. The mailman might have read it.”

Please pass the Oreos.




18 thoughts on “And The Winner Isn’t…

  1. That is a riot! So you! Probably offended Erma with the realities growing up during our time. My parents were the same way. Enjoy your night with your snacks and just say Who Cares and So What. I’m still myself and will always be a truthful writer.

  2. For what it’s worth, I thought this was really funny. At least you submitted something. It’s killing me to think I won’t be a member of the triple-secret FB page.

  3. Omigosh, I’m from the same generation and your words ring with the sounds of our age. I’m overwhelmingly hopeful that time has erased man of those prejudices, but we must talk about them and learn! I love your writing. Please don’t stop.

  4. I love the ending! The short quips in the postcard made me snort. I didn’t win either, obviously, but let’s keep writing. Winning is a judgment call.

  5. You’re as funny now as you were when we were kids! Remember? Heavy, heavy on the pickles… What were we thinking?
    You very old friend, Kim

Comments are closed.