After an extremely long winter and an even shorter spring, I finally emerged from my dungeon—better known as my basement office. As soon as I reached the top of the staircase, I threw myself on the floor at my husband’s feet and dramatically cried, “It’s done. At long last, the book is done!” My hair looked like it had been combed by an eggbeater turned on high, my eyes bled red, and my reading glasses sat askew on my nose.
I heard him sigh and mutter, “Here we go again,” just as I curled up in the fetal position and began sucking my thumb. I was spent, and not in a good way like a character in a romance novel.
After a few minutes, I pulled my thumb out of my mouth and sobbed, “I might as well apply for a job at McDonald’s. My career as a humor writer is over. My book is not funny—not in the least. In fact, I think I’ve never been humorous a day in my life. No one will buy this book. Ever. I know I’ll be standing on the street corner in six months giving this book away to anyone who wants it, which will probably only be small children who don’t know how to read yet.” I buried my face in the carpet.
I hadn’t seen anyone in seven months, except when I emerged to eat, sleep, and was called upon in a moment of desperation to solve a geometric equation for my teenager—a surprising request since he knew the right side of my brain had shut down years ago.
“Honey,” my husband began in a weak attempt to soothe my tortured writer’s soul, “I’m sure the book is funny.” “Have you read the book?” I shrieked through the carpet fibers, “Because I don’t think you have. Nope, I know you haven’t. You have not read that …”
He held up his hand, interrupting my emotional tirade, “You told me no one was to read the manuscript until it was done.” I rolled over and blinked at the ceiling. He was right. I feared the creative process would be compromised if anyone but the dog read my words. My book would be forever jinxed if anyone glanced at it between when I keyed “It was a dark and stormy night” and when I typed “The End.”
“I hate the title,” I cried, “and my introduction is boring. This book is a compilation of meaningless sentences, ridiculous jokes, and stupid anecdotes that no one in their right mind will ever be able relate to.” I folded my arms over my chest, determined to prove my inabilities. “I just ended that sentence with a preposition. Do you see what a horrible writer I am?”
My husband reached out for my hand and slowly pulled me up off the floor. “This happened with the last book and the book before that,” he gently murmured as he sat me on the couch and made a valid attempt to straighten my glasses and push my matted hair away from my forehead. “Don’t you remember?” I shook my head. I had no recollection of anything from my life as a writer—a life to which I had no choice but to bid adieu, adios, and sayonara. “Go print off an essay,” he said, “and let me read it.”
I had nothing to lose. I marched downstairs and returned shortly with an essay. I laid the paper on his lap and walked into the kitchen, where I immediately immersed myself in a ménage à trois with a spoon and a carton of chocolate chip ice cream. Suddenly, I heard something strange. What was that noise? A cardinal singing? A baby crying? A dog barking? No. It was laughter. I ran into the living room where my husband sat on the couch, grinning from ear-to-ear. “This is terrific,” he said, “Really.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Really,” he answered.
“Cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye?” I queried with all the desperation of a writer about to publicly display her soul—and her quirky sense of humor—to the world.
“Cross my heart,” he said as he vigorously crossed his heart with his finger.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“For the last time,” he said a little louder this time, “THE BOOK IS FUNNY!” I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. You see? There’s that preposition again.
Vicky DeCoster is the author of The Wacky World of Womanhood and Husbands, Hot Flashes, and All that Hullaballoo! Her next book of humorous essays will be out in the fall, whether she thinks it is funny or not. Visit her at www.wackywomanhood.com.