Wednesday, January 27, 2010

At Wit’s End – Whose Laughing Now?

Erma Bombeck, American humorist and author of fifteen books, thousands of columns and a guest on television and radios, was a household name when I grew up. She was funny and although, I was not old enough to understand what she wrote about, it wasn’t much longer before I was to be a young mother and wife. Erma wrote humorously about the everyday mundane chores of suburban life and made them seem a little less daunting. Just knowing that life would not come to an end if the laundry was washed on Monday instead of Saturday, was a great comfort to me. Housewives would not be brought before a court of law if we didn’t adhere to the same strict schedules as our mothers and grandmothers had. Laundry on Monday, groceries on Tuesday . . . . . and these amazing women filled every day with something. I can still hear my mother saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

In her books At Wit’s End, Family – The Ties That Bind and Gag and others, Bombeck gave the American housewife permission to laugh at life’s awkward moments. A once hated chore of vacuuming in my house is pleasant now with my very whisper quiet canister vacuum. Having had two bag-less canisters that lasted as long as it took for the credit card to be paid, I wanted to return to the enclosed canister model. Bag-less canisters may be saving the environment, but I never enjoyed the dirty face or breathing all that dirt when you dumped it. Two years later, there has not been a single problem with the vacuum, which by the way I named Erma.

I can hear Erma laughing from the heavens, not because I named the vacuum after her, but because I spent an enormous amount of money on a machine just for the task of keeping the carpets clean.

And do I ever enjoy the task of vacuuming, of course, because my son, now a college student, faithfully vacuums each week. After all, as a writer I need to delegate those tasks and keep doing what I love best.

Now, where’s Erma and my son.

Do you name your appliances?


  1. No, I don't name my appliances, unless you count the swear words I sometimes use. (g)

    Morgan Mandel

  2. No, but I'm sure Erma would have loved the honour you have bestowed upon her.

    I am an English housewife but my mum loved Erma Bombeck's books so I was able to enjoy them, too. So much so, she is one of my writing influences.

    I like your blog.

  3. Guess I need to be more creative - my two vacuum cleaners are named "Rainbow" and "Dyson."


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