Why One Love Manchester Was a Big Deal

Remember in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” when the Grinch has raided the Who’s village, taken all their food and gifts, and stands on the top of Mount Crumpit waiting for the Whos to wake up so he can hear their crying and sobbing?

Grinch

At first, he believes he hears wailing in the streets. But he soon realizes what he hears is every Who down in Whoville singing in joy. And he’s absolutely perplexed.

When a terrorist attacked the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, he stole they lives of many people; men, women and children. The monsters he worked with sat back to hear the wailing in the streets, and watch the fear. Probably with smug smiles on their fat f*** faces.

Instead, they heard joyous singing and a big F*** You from Ariana Grande who proved she has balls as big as her heart.

Devastated by the attack on her fans, Grande scheduled the One Love Manchester benefit concert and invited some of the biggest music stars on the planet to 1) raise money for the victims’ families, 2) show the terrorists she refused to be ruled by fear and 3) to prove that love conquers hate.

fear

Well said, cross-stitched unicorn.

Were people wary about attending another concert? Were parents scared to send their kids to a venue that could be dangerous? Of course, but the show sold out in minutes.

When we tremble with fear, when we refuse to travel, when we avoid festivals and public gatherings, these terrorist assholes sit back and laugh. But when we’re brave and are unafraid to show love, kindness and compassion, we win. Every time.

Keep singing.

Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Yoga

No one told me once I started practicing yoga, it would destroy my life. I wish someone had mentioned the potential side effects before I took my first class. But it’s done and I can’t reverse the process. It would be like trying to un-melt a s’more.

If you’ve considered starting a yoga practice, it’s only fair I warn you about what you might experience. I hope you’re more prepared than I was.

  1. All the feels. It’s not that I was heartless, but once I took up yoga I became one of those people who get emotional about shit that never bothered me before. Like the planet and bumble bees and dolphins and other people*. Once you feel that connection, you don’t know how to stop it! It can be super annoying.stripmining
  2. You can’t gossip. Again, I wasn’t a horrible human but I could be judgmental, unforgiving and even mean. Now I can’t imagine being hurtful toward another person*. In fact, I avoid drama altogether. So if you enjoy being a mean girl (or guy), yoga will wring that right out of you. Sorry.
  3. You can’t enjoy food.  You’ll begin to notice how soda makes your stomach hurt or how eating five dozen Oreo cookies leaves you lethargic. Pretty soon you’ll start avoiding those foods because you feel so much better when you don’t eat them. Even worse, you’ll eat foods like spinach and grapefruit and almonds and Greek yogurt. See! Yoga sucks.
  4. You don’t give a shit what people think. As a card-carrying, lifetime membership people-pleaser, it was a tough adjustment to realize other peoples’ opinion of me don’t matter. Once I decided to take away their power to humiliate, shame or degrade me, I had to accept the fact that maybe they were wrong. Which leads us to . . .
  5. You connect to yourself. One day you admit you’re not happy. You admit you treat yourself like garbage. You admit that all those years of negative self-talk have screwed you up. When you realize that, you have to do something about it. And that’s super hard. You have to learn how to accept your weaknesses without criticism, but also accept your worthiness without cynicism. Suddenly your default mode can’t be “skeptic” or “sarcastic.” It’s like re-learning how to walk.maxine

So if that list of side effects doesn’t dissuade you from purchasing a yoga mat and walking into a class, you’re on your own. You’ve been warned.

 

*Donald Trump is excluded for now. I’m not that good at yoga.

Irreplaceable: Carrie Fisher

A piece of my heart died on Tuesday when I heard Carrie Fisher had passed away. She changed my childhood and rewrote what it meant to be a powerful woman.

When I was a young girl, Princess Leia was everything I wanted to be. Brassy and brave, and full of swagga while carrying a blaster and saving the galaxy in a floor-length dress.

lei

In later years, my admiration grew. She was so willing to talk about things no one discussed, and so willing to be her own wonderful self. She was never a damsel in distress, never a maiden looking for her white knight. Carrie Fisher was already complete and goddamn fine with who she was.

Here’s why I loved her:

Her razor-sharp wit. Who knew a woman could be funny AND smart AND successful AND throw norms out the window? She was a knee-slapping, rip-roaring, pee-leaking, side-splitting, cheeks-hurting comedic genius. If she’d survived this heart attack, she would have written a brilliant book about her experience and the subsequent media ape-shitting that followed.

Her honesty. She said, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” She was brutally honest about her addiction and mental illness.She shared her struggle without glossing over the messy bits–and threw in heavy doses of dark humor.

postcards

(If you haven’t read “Postcards From the Edge”, you need to buy a copy. Tuh-day.)

She never forgot her Star Wars roots. It’s hard to be a real-life super hero. Carrie Fisher was not Princess Leia. But she knew to millions of fans, she represented a rebellion against the Dark Side. She was gracious in her acceptance of that role and re-embraced it as General Organa. She continued to kick galactic ass, enthralling a whole new generation.

She was entirely herself. Carrie Fisher was not perfect. In a time when image is everything, she refused to believe that. She said offensive things. She pissed people off. She refused to be silent in regard to body-shaming and the unrealistic expectations imposed on women in the spotlight–and out of the spotlight.

She loved her French bulldog. Gary Fisher was one of the most pampered and recognizable pooches in Hollywood. With his Twitter account reaching  more than 10K followers, his posts following her death were heartbreaking as he faithfully waited for her to return.

garyfisher

(Gary Fisher during yet another interview.)

Just like Gary Fisher and millions of fans, I’ll miss Carrie Fisher terribly. The world just got a little less funny, a little less sarcastic and a lot less beautiful.

 

 

An Open Letter to Santa 2016

santaletter

Dear Santa,

I fear we’ve miscommunicated. I thought we agreed there were certain people on your list who would NOT be given the gift of the United States presidency.

Maybe when I specifically asked you to “Give him coal” you heard, “Let’s bring back coal.” Perhaps when I said, “Protect women’s rights” you were certain I said, “Let’s roll the advancement of women back to the 1950s.” Maybe  a rational, temperate, well-spoken and kind president wasn’t available this year. Perhaps it was out of stock?

I understand. Maybe you were blinded by the orange glow radiating from the president-elect’s skin. Perhaps his promise to “Bring back Merry Christmas” was enough for you to look the other way as he Twitter-raged through the last couple of months.

When I was a child, if I treated others poorly or if I was bombastic and proud, I would be disappointed on Christmas morning. I’m pretty sure if I had secret dealings with a Russian leader, spewed racist and/or sexist comments and continued to think I was “Smart enough” to run a country without intelligence briefings, I would get a lump of coal in my stocking.

Oh, wait. He got Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Industry for Christmas.

While the idea of a Trump presidency scares the shit out of me, I keep wishing on a Christmas star that his pompous act is all for show, and deep down he knows what the hell he’s doing. But as he continues to rant at Twitter execs, Vanity Fair, the cast of Hamilton and SNL, and anyone else who dares have an opposing view, I fear for the future.

So, Santa, since you’ve already f***ed up the holiday season, maybe bring our new president the gift of diplomacy, grace, humility and love for all human beings. Or bring the rest of us lots of alcohol.

Love,

Peri

 

 

Top 5 Humor Writing Tips

People sometimes ask me, “How do you write funny?” I’m not sure if they mean my writing is humorous or the way I write is hilarious. So, I usually stare at these people until they wander off.

If they’re asking how I come up with funny topics and put them on paper (or screen), I share my Top 5 Humor Writing Tips.

Kidnap Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry. Some people think Dave retired from writing his nationally syndicated humor column, but that is not the case. He is living under the stairs in my basement (ala Harry Potter) and he gives me funny phrases for food. It’s a win-win.

dave-barry

(Have you seen this man?)

Channel your bitterness and anger. Writing my humor column was the only thing that kept my teenage daughters alive. After a day of whining, slamming doors, moody sighs and over-the-top drama, they’d see me writing and back off. And their behavior wasn’t great either.

Use hyperbole ALL THE TIME. It’s one thing to say, “It’s so cold, my dog is shivering” and quite another thing to say, “It’s so cold my dog is selling lap dances to purchase a ticket to San Diego.” Exaggerate everything until the hyperbolic part of your brain explodes into a million shards of dark humor.

hyperbole

Document everyday situations. So you were driving to see Trolls but instead you crashed into a median, ruptured your front tire, lost your hubcap and had to deal with a mansplaining mechanic who talked to you like you were suffering from brain damage. Yep. Write about that.

Read funny stuff. When Dave Barry stops talking to you because he thinks that’s a good idea, browse the internet for funny articles. Reading different types of comedic writing can get your humorous juices flowing (which is actually really gross) and you’ll be typing up knee-slapping blog posts in no time at all.

If none of those ideas work, maybe you’re just not funny. Have you considered a career in math?

 

 

A Sixth Sense

When my oldest daughter turned 15 and my youngest daughter turned 3, strange things began to happen.

The TV turned on and off all day. No matter how often I shut the kitchen cabinets and drawers, they were always open. I’d put toys and books away, and the next minute they were on the floor again. I kept getting pinched and slapped, and I was even head-butted a couple of times. I was pretty sure we had a poltergeist.
poltergeise

(Insane teenager freaking out. And a lady in a red shirt.)

But the psychic I hired to rid my home of this supernatural disturbance had a different idea. “Although teenagers attract destructive spirits because they’re basically horrible people, I don’t think it’s a poltergeist. I think you just have a toddler,” she said in a really creepy voice.

A toddler? It all began to make sense. My toddler had been possessed by a demon. I began listing all the strange occurrences and felt she had a point.

If your toddler exhibits the following behavior, it might be inhabited by one of Satan’s minions.minions

(Minions even look like toddlers.)

  • Projectile vomiting
  • High-pitched shrieking in the middle of the night (causing me to jump out of bed and run into the door frame)
  • Appearing out of nowhere
  • Babbling in a foreign tongue
  • Standing by the bed watching you sleep
  • Talking to “friends” you can’t see
  • Jumping out from behind couches
  • Rattling and slowly turning doorknobs
  • Heavy, loud mouth breathing
  • An aversion to water
  • The disappearance of utensils
  • An overabundance of drool
  • Inexplicable toilet flushing
  • Random blood stains
  • Boogers streaked on the walls

This is just a short list of all the demonic symptoms exhibited by my 3-year-old daughter. And although I was relieved my teenage daughter hadn’t invited a poltergeist to live in her bedroom, she was still a teenager. So, there’s that.

Ways to Stay Humble During a Book Signing

As all of you have heard (too many times), I recently published a compilation of humor columns surprisingly titled, “Life and Laughter.” Because I now have several cases of books in my garage, I decided to hold a book signing at a local book store* to get rid of several copies of my non-best-selling collection.

But I didn’t want the fame and fortune to go to my head, so I devised several ways to not get carried away with all the fans and adulation. Here are some tips for others in the same literary boat:

  • Burn your forehead with a curling iron the day before the event. This adds an element of humor to your signing as you watch people try not to stare at the 2-inch wide scab above your eyebrow.
  • Remind yourself how fame totally destroyed Susan Boyle. The lady had a freakin’ nervous breakdown! Congratulate yourself on selling only a few books, mostly to family members you paid to be there.

susan

(This is your brain on fame.)

  • Have your husband keep reminding you that there are still several dozen unsold books sitting in the garage.
  • Be sure to wear white pants, and then spill salsa on them immediately.
  • Arrange for a large zit to appear on your chin the evening before the book signing. Watch people try not to quote Austin Powers as they speak to you whilst buying your book. (Replace “mole” with “zit.”)

mole

(“…Yes, nice to mole you… MEET you! Nice to meet your mole! Don’t say mole… I said mole.”)

  • Notice how many people walk into the store, glance at your table, shrug their shoulders and go off to purchase “real” books.
  • Make sure people take photos at the event, reminding yourself that you HATE being photographed and that truly successful authors must endure not just cameras but VIDEO cameras. (Uuuuuuurrrrrr. I just had a horrible chill.)
  • Don’t be insulted when people pick up your book, say something like “So, this is your book. Huh.” then put it back down and wander off to look for Ellery Queen** novels.

Thanks to these helpful tips, I survived the book signing with ego in check.

*For readers not familiar with “book stores,” these shops are places people go to buy books. Google “books” for more information.

**Ellery Queen was a fictional detective and mystery writer. Google “Ellery Queen” if you are under the age of 45.