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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Parental Malpractice

“What’s malpractice?” asked my 10 year-old at dinner tonight.

After I explained it, he asked, “Can you sue your parents for malpractice?”

“What!” I exclaimed, offended. Sure, I’m not perfect, but have the last ten years been that bad? Anyone can clearly see he hasn’t a physical ailment to his name, so I suppose he wants restitution on the grounds of mental anguish and irreversible trauma. Would he let the potty training grudge go, already?

Seeing my look of concern and dread, he supplied, “I’m writing a report on it for school,” as if that made me feel any better.

“Well, you didn’t come with the best instructions,” I retorted.

If I were a member of a grand book club like READ, EAT, AND BE MERRY!, I would have known right off, probably, that my son was talking about the book, Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice?, by Paula Danziger. Lucky for me, the ladies didn’t hold it against me the way I held it against my son. They welcomed me right in last night for a fabulous evening of book talk, mostly about If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny. I appreciate all of their wit, enthusiasm, humor, and questions. In fact, I picked up that “instructions” comment I directed at my child from one of the members. I hope she doesn’t mind that I found a use for it right away.

Thanks girls! It was a pleasure and a privilege.

(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist and the author of If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny. She lives in Georgia with her husband and their four children.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Third Tuesday Book Club

Thank you to the members of the THIRD TUESDAY BOOK CLUB for a wonderful evening this past Tuesday. Such gracious hostesses, they immediately welcomed me in and put me at ease (Of course the glass of red wine helped, too). We enjoyed a divine evening of laughter and sharing stories, as I read from and we discussed my book, IF MAMA DON’T LAUGH, IT AIN’T FUNNY. I always find it interesting how every life has a different course, but the individuals maneuvering through the obstacles are so much the same. And to top off our merriment, one lady reached into her purse to get her keys and pulled out a half eaten, stale bagel wrapped in a napkin; a reminder of a hectic morning with children. How classic is that? Thanks girls!

(Join Lucy Adams this Saturday, 2p.m., at Barnes & Noble (Augusta, GA) on Augusta West Parkway, where she will sign copies of her book, If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Guide to Estonia

Costa Rica (2/12) - All I wanted to do was flop around on my lounge chair, turning over from time to time to make sure I was evenly baked on both sides. The biggest excitement we had experienced since our plane landed was a wild Iguana creeping under my husband's chaise, turning over his drink, and steeling the cherry out of it.

But a Tico convinced two lazy Gringos to try an eco-tour. He recomended the night excursion out to a deserted beach to watch sea turtles lay their eggs. That evening, we, along with about 30 tourists, ranging in color from light red to bright red, gathered in a small hut by a shallow lagoon and recieved our instructions.

So thirty trusting Gringos without flashlights followed five men, whose English we could barely understand, into an inky dark night. We chugged across the lagoon in a small boat with no life jackets. We walked down a desolate mile strip of beach. They herded us into a corale equipped with crude wooden benches. They left us there in the dark.

One big-mouthed, know-it-all, neighbor from the north kept the air stirred with his constant expert exhortations on our mission. He had participated the night before. He even assured one traveler, whom he accosted, wanting to know her homeland, then responding to her in Spanish once she told him, that he was well aware that Estonia is located in Europe. "We don't speak Spanish there," she admonished him and turned away.

After an hour of listening to the guy drone on like a diesel truck, and jumping to our feet every time we thought we saw a flashlight flickering in our direction, hoping this would be the moment, my husband and I decided to explore. Beyond the gate to the beach, in the middle of sandy, roadless terrain we found a bar, stcoked and open for business. Very odd in a Twilight Zone sort of way.

We walked back to the holding area. Still dark. Still no word from our "guides," whom, as the hours wore on, I began to think of as captors. We had no light, except that from the bar, and no way to leave, except to swim. Trapped. I nearly lost my mind.

Finally, a "guide" returned. In a thick accent he explained there were no sea turtles for us to view. We must leave. And he took off at a quick clip, back toward the boat, flashlight extinguished. By the time it registered that we were to follow, he was ahead by the length of a football field. Instead of guiding us, he did his best to disappear.

Suddenly, we bumped into the back of him, still in the pitch black. He then yelled for us to stop, turned on his flashlight, and pointed out a lone baby turtle scrambling toward the water. He must have spotted it with his infrared eyes, because there was no light from the moon. It had dipped below the horizon long before.

Our loud turtle expert in residence, the Yankee (hate to say it, but he was), dropped down on his knees and told us all to stand back. He knew what he was doing. He had attended the night prior, when they also saw no nesting turtles. Blah, blah, blah. I wanted to remind him this was an eco-tour, not an ego-tour, but my husband pinched me when I started to say it.

I wanted to tell the guy that there are no single hatchlings, that these were not the alleged nesting grounds, and that the "guide" had ditched us so he could sneak and drop that turtle out of his pocket to give us all a cheap thrill. I wanted to, in my sassiest voice, inform him that he had foolishly, not once, but twice, paid $40 to get dragged on a Costa Rican Snipe Hunt.

And I desperately wanted to hold up a map of Europe and have him locate Estonia on it.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bad "Pome" for My Valentine

A bad "pome" about unrequited love:

More than fungus loves your feet,
More than roadkill loves the street,
More than babies love to pooh,
That is how much I love you.

More than dogs love their ticks,
More than stomach viruses make me sick,
More than kidney stones in your pee,
That is how much you love me.