(Barb Best is the author of the new humor book, The Misery Manifesto: A Self-Help Parody for the Self-Absorbed with cartoons by Roz Chast, Liza Donnelly and Andrew Genn. Published by Wise Ink.)
Q: Since I am as self-absorbed as your average PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant or locomotive engineer, I decided to interview myself. Is that okay with you, Barb?
A: (busy texting) Huh? What? Hum? Okay… sure.
Q: Rumor has it you have written a parody on happiness entitled The Misery Manifesto: A Self-Help Parody for the Self-Absorbed. W. Bruce Cameron calls it “Hilarious!” What compelled you to write this?
A: I wrote this book because Man’s Search for Meaning and A Dog’s Purpose were already written. Plus, I was inspired by the multitude of self-help books that instruct us on how to cultivate joy and vanquish misery. They are often written in a stiff style and the approach tends to be overly academic. Perfect for lampooning.
Q: The Misery Manifesto is a month-by-month survival guide. That’s an entertaining format, isn’t it?
A: Ha! (posting on FB) I just found the funniest cat video — where the orange tabby is high fiving the toddler, loses his balance, and falls off the breakfast table. The toddler laughs so hard that he spits oatmeal all over his mom. (musing) You can’t make this stuff up.
Q: That sounds like a comedy classic. Speaking of sharing…
A: Everybody wants to be happy. We all know that life includes unspeakable pain and suffering. My cockamamie and obscenely facile — don’t you love that word? Facile, facile, facile — formula is to embrace your misery. If done well, complaining and kvetching can be fun. Point is, enjoy the absurdity. Revel in it. You might as well laugh.
Q: So, aside from chocolate and Percocet, laughter is the best medicine?
A: One sec. (tweeting) Gotta RT this plug for the @EBWW conference on April 5-7, 2018. Oh, also this killer one-liner from @WendyLiebman. Wow, that’s an amazing photo of a hot cinnamon bun dripping in maple icing. Whoa! Get me a room!
Q: Like many of us, you seem to need some “me time” without your cell phone.
A: Right you are. A self-care time-out with a good book is usually all we need.
— Barb Best
Barb Best turns hassles into humor one laugh at a time on her popular blog “I Feel Your Pain” which appears at BarbBest.com and Alltop.com. Her comedy material has been performed by Joan Rivers, and her essays and light verse have been published in numerous print and digital publications. Barb’s books include Find Your Funny: The LOL Survival Guide for Teens with Joanne Jackal, Ph.D., Smiles to Go: Take-Out for the SMILE Hungry with Barbara Grapstein and 100 Fast & Funny: Ha-Musings. She is proud as spiked punch to be an Erma Bombeck Global Humor Winner. The Misery Manifesto: A Self-Help Parody for the Self-Absorbed is available on Amazon.