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The following articles are currently published on this page, and in this order:
Just like home    by Allen McGill
No more ageist jokes     by Sonya Oppenheimer
Don't look for what you're looking for          by Elena Shoemake
Is there a T.A. chapter here in town?    submitted by Milou Montferrier
Always an Adventure     By Sylvia Berek Rosenthal

5/16/04    JUST LIKE HOME      by Allen McGill
"I'm so disappointed," the woman whined, sipping a pink-umbrella decorated Margarita. "I came all this way to San Miguel de Allende, to see authentic colonial Mexico, but everyone I’ve met is either American or Canadian."

"Go to Guanajuato," I suggested. "Still colonial, but not as many tourists.”

"Oh, I couldn't do that," she exclaimed. "I was told they only speak Spanish there."

4/26/04    NO MORE AGEIST JOKES  by Sonya Oppenheimer


     Notice is hereby served to all e-mailers: From this moment and forevermore, any message with humor based upon aging diminishments, memory lapse, driving mishap, sexual collapse will be immediately deleted, unread.  I do not think it funny.  I do not identify. Above all, I do not know, for sure, how suggestible I might be.


     No, I'm not stopping the clock. Believe me, I have earned every one of the pyrotechnical displays of candles on my birthday cake. It's that, today, I have decided to take up words and join those in combat against the negative myths of aging.


     I have heard the call and am joining the positive pioneers, those whose actions, imagination and determination are carving out a new definition of croneing.


     Or, perhaps, it's not really a pioneering invitation into which I'm tuning. It's the Sirens call, beckoning for remembrance of past cultures where the accumulated wisdom of elders was cherished and respected.


            From now on, Grandma Moses and Marc Chagal are my muses. My mind is dedicated to being filled with new projects to accomplish, new skills to master, unfinished adventures to pursue. It is the time to quest after dreams, even impossible ones.


     Of course, I want to succeed. But that's truly not the objective. If I joust with the cants of our ageist culture, if I parry with expectations of deterioration, I will grow stronger for the exercise. And, even if jokes are created by my efforts, in the process, I will become much more interesting.

4/14/04             DON'T LOOK FOR WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR                 by Elena Shoemaker

I live alone. I make lists. I try to be responsible, because there is no one else to blame if things aren't right.
I know that I'm a self starter. That feels better than calling myself an over-achiever that didn't quite know where to go. Or begin.
There aren't too many things that scare me. Other than finding out that I didn't put something on the MUST DO list, and then forgot to do it or check it off, and then it comes back and ha-ha's me in the face.
I'm good about paying cable and luz and telephone bills on time; most people are. There's a big empty darkness that will remind you of that, too quickly, if you have not been timely!
In shows that I've done in San Miguel, I've often poked fun at paying electric bills. Yes, the lines are long, the efficiency is questionable, but I've always had so much fun. It gives you more time to look at people, go through your fantasies. If you were on an escalator, you'd just get a glimpse. When you're in the long line, "la cola" at the electric company, you have enough time to draft a novel.
On the occasions when the automatic teller is working, I feel so good. There's a line there, too, believe me! But, if your paper bill, the green one, has not been mushed in your pocket, if the currency you are using has not been part of too many late night games, you CAN do it!
And if you want to be part of a sociological experience, just help the people near you. We all laughed so much one day when someone, paying a bill for her employer, finally got her turn at the machine. She wasn't familiar with the process, didn't know which way to feed the hungry bill-sucker, and was embarrassed that she didn't understand the digital instructions. Haven't we all been there?
I told her to put "el guapo" face up. Everyone there shared the joy of which faces were accepted or rejected on the Mexican currency. See, you can turn everything into a lottery, instead of an irritation!
A few days ago I went out in search of varnish for an exterior door. I thought it would be simple; I KNEW what I wanted.
As I pondered the colors, the stains, the sizes, the prices, a beautiful orange kitty jumped up on the counter, purred, and covered all the possibilities. I was delighted! AND the same kitty, I found out, has three gorgeous babies, all six weeks old, all ready to go to new homes. Check out Sayer Lax on Ancha de San Antonio.
I didn't come home with varnish, nor a kitten. You know why? Because I had gone for a massage a few weeks earlier, and had already come home with an adult cat that needed a home. That wasn't part of the treatment, but it wouldn't have happened unless I'd been there, taking care of business.
I knew what I was looking for, what I was going for.  Didn't I!
I'm thinking about that orange tabby kitten.
Doesn't that make sense? Of course it does!
When you're looking for something specific, it will play hide and seek with you. It's only when you're NOT looking, when you're perhaps distracted by the demands of day-to-day life, by your schedule, by your "must do today" list, that the magic moments will just come to you. Gentleness helps, as does a smile.
I've loved my moments in San Miguel, with the thumbless locksmith, the shoe repairman who is an amputee, hearing of the bread delivery boy on a bicycle who becomes a movie star.
I guess I can't say that I'm not looking for things; I'm looking all the time. I test myself each day, as I walk into town, to see something different. Notice a change. Hey, you might get tested on this stuff!
Or you just might enjoy it. Most of the important things in  your life will matter to no one but you. As you look, something special might just be there, waiting for someone like you to notice.
Elena Shoemaker is an observer of San Miguel for 23 years now, and is just beginning to see and share the magic in this medium. She's done a bit of it in song and theater over the years.

4/8/04          Is there a T.A. chapter here in town?            submitted by Milou Montferrier

It started out innocently enough.
I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.
I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.
I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.
I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.
I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"
Things weren't going so great at home either.
One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my husband about the meaning of life. He spent that night at his mother's. I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Shirley, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."
This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss.
"Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."
"I know you've been thinking," he said, "and I want a divorce!"
"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."
"It is serious," he said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"
"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and he began to cry.
I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.
I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors...
They didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye.
"Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.
Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a T.A.  meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.
I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.
Life just seemed ... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Soon, I will be able to vote

March 25 2004              ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE     By Sylvia Berek Rosenthal

We've done the drive from San Antonio to San Miguel so many times, we should be able to do it with our eyes closed-almost.  We've packed up for the trip to San Miguel so many times, we should be able to do it with no hassle whatsoever.  Yet somehow, it takes longer each time to close down the house, get our belongings together and stuff them into the car.  Then we can finally start the car and get on our way.

This time was the worst yet.   We didn't get going until after ten thirty.    Oh well so we wouldn't make Saltillo, our usual overnight stop.  George even toyed with the idea of stopping in Laredo, having a great dinner and making a very leisurely three day jaunt to San Miguel.  That was fine with me.  Of course. I should have known better.  That's just George sweet talking me before he starts driving.  Once he gets behind the wheel of a car, he becomes a motor driven demon.  Now don't misunderstand me.  I don't mean that he's too fast or reckless.  He just wants to keep going, going, going, just like the battery driven bunny on TV.

Customs was a cinch.  No one wanted to look in our car or trunk.  That's just as well.  We certainly never bring in anything we shouldn't, not because we are so noble.  We are just too chicken to do anything like that.  It's just that we are such lazy packers, we put in little small bundles of this and that and it would be an awful chore to unload and reload the car.

We came off the first big toll road between Laredo and Monterrey  at about 4:30PM and I said, "We'll have to stop in Monterrey."  George, of course,  said, "Nah, we can make Saltillo before dark."  ( We both agree, at least verbally, that we won't drive in Mexico after dark.)  I said, "No that's too iffy."  To which my beloved replied , "We can make it."

Variations on this exchange were repeated any times until we came close to the Saltillo turnoff.   By then, I was livid.  George finally compromised, " OK, "  he said  "We'll stay in Monterrey, but only if we take the first motel on this road.  I don't care what it's like.  I don't want to ride all the downtown now and have to backtrack in the morning.".  So, I agreed to stop at the first motel we came to.   After less than five minutes, voila la motel.  But it still seemed to be under construction.  No matter, I went into the lobby and asked if any rooms were complete and available.  "Sure," the young lady behind the desk answered, "Do you want to rent by the hour or for the whole night."

Oh well, this might be an interesting night.  I rented for the night.  Paid cash.  They took credit cards but added a five percent fee..  The only furniture in the room was a king sized bed and a television set.  There were lots of mirrors-no pictures-no tables-no chairs-not even water or glasses.  There was an adequate bathroom and two large good quality towels.  The lighting was very good and there were even lights over the bed bright enough for reading.  I did have a hunch they weren't quite designed as reading lamps, however.  That's truly a luxury in Mexico.  We carry reading lamps with us whenever we drive around Mexico.  We heard  lots of cars coming and going.  There were high  heels clicking and conversations in Spanish as unknown folk walked by our door.  We thought it prudent not to open the curtains and find out who our fellow guests were.

Since the only amenity offered was a TV, we tried it.  There were about five or six channels available.  Some soaps and some sports all in Spanish.  The only English channel available was pure porno-very explicit and frankly very boring.  Nobody seemed to be having any fun.  It was closer to an anatomy lesson than a sexual experience.  And it went on and on forever.  No story, not much conversation, lots of heavy breathing.  The only variations were the participation of various combinations of people.  One woman, two women, one woman and one man., one woman and two men.  How come never two men?  Maybe we didn't watch long enough.  My mamma taught me , "Always try to say something nice."  Well, the people in the porno all worked very hard.  Some of the faces were pretty.  Some of the bodies were attractive.  It got very boring.

I didn't even learn anything.  It was certainly not inspirational so we clicked it off, used the great lighting  for reading, slept soundly in the giant bed and were on our way bright and early the next morning.

Objectives of this page: 

1- humor regarding and relating to our town and its residents may be published in this section.  We ask that you exclude humor that treads on anyone's feelings (translation: political correctness is requested).

2 - this section will contain all "humor regarding our town" that meets the criteria described in Instructions    All stories will be published in the date order of receipt, with the latest letters on top (the oldest nearer the bottom).


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