Saturday, October 27, 2012

Being Bourdain is the Bomb(eck)

If you've been following me for awhile, you know my two writing heroes are Anthony Bourdain and Erma Bombeck. Erma was everyone's favorite literary mom from the 1960's until the early 1990s. She spoke so many truisms in a comfortable and palatable way. 

"There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo." 
Anthony Bourdain, however, speaks about as palatably, and as directly, as that two year old who learned his first dirty word and is not afraid to use it. 
"I'm not afraid to look like an idiot." 
Me? I straddle the line somewhere in between. Inside this Erma there is an Anthony waiting to emerge. It's like being verbally transgendered. I blame it on my childhood. My dad was a Merchant Marine in his youth,  then an advertising executive, TV pioneer producer/director, and in later years an author of more than two dozen books of fiction and non-fiction.  From him, I learned those words I spouted as an uninhibited two year old (and believe me, those were quite a few). In later life, as a teacher, PR professional and (somewhat) professional mom, I had to learn how to turn those words into the "ink" of my proverbial pen from which I could wield a mighty sword of  sometimes pointed sentences. 

Why am I bringing this up now? It is simple. 

Today, we have multiple ways of wielding words. There is texting and Twitter; Facebook, Delicious and Digg. We have more places where we can Yelp than ever before, and we  WordPress ideas until they are flat as a crepe. Thoughts come out of every point of cyberspace like they were spilled from a giant Tumblr. Every thought - thought out or not - is placed before us as gospel truth, or at the very least as an international edition of the National Enquirer; take your pick. Social media is making us lose our sense of  humor, innuendo and interpretation. Subtlety has been replaced with  smiley-faced emoticons and LOLs. Everything is literal. Virtually nothing is literary. It is nearly impossible to develop deep thoughts in 140 characters. We just hope that there are 140,000 + "characters" out there reading it who truly understand the intention of what we are trying to say.

For me, I have great designs on eventually being able to write with "No Reservations." When that day comes, watch out, World! I plan on unleashing my uninhibited child. 

But until then, I will continue to channel my inner Erma. To me, she's the Bomb(eck). 

   "When humor goes, there goes civilization." 
Erma Bombeck 


  1. I hope you're writing it all down, for your memoirs. There is so much scope for honest analysis in figure skating! Very little of which is happening with the tailored sound bites--or is that "sound bytes--that precede and follow competitions today?