A Funny Thing Happened to Linda Palmer...
My family is a constant inspiration to my writing, especially when it comes to humor. Why? Because they keep me laughing. I'll start with our nicknames. Mine is Ned, shortened from "Ned in the First Reader," a name given to me by my husband when we were in college. It's not particularly flattering. You'll have to Google it because I'm not telling.
Another source of fun is our "Palmer conversations." These occur when a family member thinks he knows the topic of a nearby discussion, but really doesn't, and so butts in with an off-the-wall comment that cracks everyone up. Texts are even funnier. I'm remembering the time my granddaughter "Laurynboo" texted her mom from the bathroom because she needed another roll of toilet paper.
When my youngest grandson, aka "Joodles," was four and his big brother "Sambo" was eight, we sat on the carpet playing our version of Win Lose or Draw. We had a big sketch pad. Each of us got a turn to draw something. The other two had to guess what it was. When Joodles got his turn, he drew a circle with two straight lines sticking out the bottom of if. Our guesses? A man, a mushroom, an alien, a tree, a flower...? We finally had to give up and ask what on earth it was. His answer: "An octopus with two legs."
As for Joodles, whenever he comes over, he gets his Kindle, attaches headphones, and listens to music while working out on my recumbent stepper. When he started singing along with whatever was playing, I couldn't quite hear the words thanks to our TV blasting. I asked what song it was. His answer in a perfect hillbilly drawl: "Uh Lawng-neck Ice Col' Beah Nevva Broke Maah Heart." It's a real song. You can Google it, too. Hint: Luke Combs. (There's even a t-shirt!)
I'm also remembering when our immediate family came over for a cookout. That entails eleven humans plus any stray boy/girlfriend(s) currently in the picture. Our house isn't huge. We don't have a table that seats everyone. It's more of a grab-a-plate-and-fight-for-a-spot situation. This particular night several of us wound up sitting at the kitchen table after dinner: my daughter-in-law, Laurynboo and her beau, me, and Joodles, who was uncharacteristically quiet.
We ladies began talking about being pregnant and having babies. Don't ask me how we got there. I have no idea. I do know it was a G-rated, nongraphic, conversation and we laughed a lot. Finally remembering that Joodles was at my elbow, I turned and asked what he thought about everything. His answer? "I'm glad I'm not a girl."
And there's the time my husband and I met Laurynboo and her younger brother "Claydog" at a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. She is twenty-two. He is eighteen, six-two, and over two-hundred pounds of muscle, thanks to playing football. Laurynboo sat by me in our colorful booth. Pawpaw and Claydog sat across the table from us.
Let me say here that I'm a child of the fifties, who grew up in a gentler time. Girls back then were modest and radically sheltered, compared to today. There were things that we simply didn't do or talk about. So imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, Claydog says, "We talked about periods in Biology today."
Thank goodness my mouth was not full of red fruit punch. Claydog casually continues on this topic, telling us how the room was split up, girls on one side, boys on the other. The teacher, he told us, began asking the boys questions about the topic under consideration to see how much they really knew.
By now, my husband and I are both red faced, in hysterics, and getting some strange looks from other diners. But Claydog isn't done. He next tells us he was the only male with all the answers. Naturally the other guys began to tease him. "Hey, man. How do you know so much?" His answer: "Y'all know I have a sister, right?"
If there's a lesson to be learned here it's this: Listen. Watch. Remember. You just never know when a funny old memory will be a perfect fit for the story you're writing.