Monday, September 04, 2006

How to Laugh Out Loud

Start reading Nora Ephron's latest book of essays. But don't finish it in one sitting. Decide to take it with you to jury duty. For breaks. To distract yourself from the serious nature of what's at hand. To give your brain a little tickle, something light and amusing. Stick the shiny, new hardback in your gigantic purse, along with your bottle of water, your iPod, your sunglasses, your distance glasses, your TREO, your cosmetics, your old, torn, grimy tissues, money, business cards, extras from your tear-out Sudoku calendar in case you have three minutes somewhere, pencils, pens, receipts from last year's purchases, and vitamins that spilled from their case eons ago and are now in zillions of little crumbs along the bottom and in the built-in pockets on the side. Pull the slim volume out, amongst the throngs waiting to be called into service as jurors, or dismissed. Dust the vitamin crumbs and tissue pieces from the sides. Ignore the fidgeters, the sleepers, the annoyed, the frightened, the horribly bored. Begin reading. Giggle, clear your throat, and then burst into uncontrollable, inappropriate laughter that will just not stay put inside your mind. Ignore the bailiff pointing at you. Ignore the prospective jurors around you, looking wistfully because they'd give anything to have brought along something fun and funny to read. The essay is called, "I Hate My Purse." Ms. Ephron describes her purse and it's just exactly the mess mine is in. Except that mine is pathetic. Hers is hilarious.

If you're a woman over the age of 35 and certainly if you're over 50 (and hey, I think men would love this one, too), you should read Nora Ephron's latest collection of wry, sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant (and sometimes both simultaneously), always honest, and usually universally applicable group of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.

Ephron says she doesn't like getting older. It's not as advertised. I say any big life change, and getting older qualifies, is a great reason to trot out your sense of humor. And Ephron does, with sparkling style. Delightful, all the way through.

Even though I recognized some of these essays as the same ones I read when they were first published in The New Yorker, who cares? They were even better the second time around.

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