Here’s what happens when you switch gears after a quarter-century of writing, “What happens to that missing sock in the dryer?” domestic humor for a living…
People lose their poo.
There’s simply no better way to say it. Well, there is, but obviously not in a family newspaper. What am I saying? Just this. It has been a bumpy ride the past few months as I’ve switched things up a bit and “gone all political” as one distressed correspondent called it during a humdinger of a handwringing email. She went on for quite a while before closing with the cheery news that she was gathering all my books and burning them in her Weber grill that evening.
I prefer cedar planks for my salmon, but maybe she likes hers scented with just a wisp of Southern snark. To each her own.
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After “going all political,” I lost a bunch of Facebook “friends” but, mercifully, found a bunch more. I got hate mail from a member of my church who said she hoped my nice husband would find a better wife someday, bless his heart. (From the tone of her unsigned letter, I gathered she was auditioning for the part, and he has been warned not to accept any unsolicited pies or cakes.) Just the other day, an internet troll informed me that wearing glasses in my new column photo doesn’t make me look smarter. This was a revelation to me because it worked for Texas Governor Rick (“Do whaaaat?”) Perry, failed “Dancing With the Stars” contestant turned U.S. Secretary of Energy. Looks like getting a cabinet post is a little harder than I realized.
But, by far, the most vexing reaction to my job change has been this: “How dare you?” Now, this is puzzling because I can hardly remember the last time I told someone, friend or stranger, they couldn’t quit their job and try something new. It’s, well, un-American, in my view to tell someone what they can and can’t pursue in their own professional life.
Reminds me of the old story about the gynecologist who gave it up to enroll in an auto mechanics course at the local community college. To his great puzzlement, the teacher gave him a grade of 150 on his first exam. When he asked why, the teacher explained he gave him 50 points for taking the engine apart perfectly, 50 for putting it back together perfectly and an extra 50 because “You did it all through the muffler, which I have never seen before in my life.”
We all get to switch gears not just because “Murica” but because, like the gynecologist turned mechanic might put it, sometimes we just have to burn off the rust and the carbon and let ‘er rip.
I drink coffee every morning from a mug that says “I Hate When I Wake Up in the Morning and Donald Trump is President.” But I have to admit I love looking for comedy in this chaotic climate. Oh, and church lady? Duh Hubby prefers banana pudding.
The writer is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics.