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MLB Playoffs “will be erased like a blackboard”


Charles HartleyStop obsessing about yourself and mint chocolate ice cream.

The Major League Playoffs are not about you. They are about America, the Stars and Stripes, Lady Liberty, Tojam Football and Walrus GumBoot.

You must conform and come together, right now, over me.

Our country demands that its citizens follow orders. You must watch these five-hour baseball games, two hours of which are TV commercials. Do your civic duty by subjecting yourself to American capitalism and opportunism. This is our nation’s secular religion: baseball. Advertising is our mortal sin.

Shut up and watch the ads. This is not about you. It’s about author Terrance Mann, cornfield owner Kevin Costner and an Iowa baseball field filled with 1920s baseball players long since deceased.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball,” says Mann. “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Get sappy. Feel nostalgia. Believe all could be good again even if you’re skeptical. Wipe your moist eyes with a handkerchief. Cry yourself to sleep.

This is the time of year when the air chills like a Coke can in ice water, and the players wear undershirts with long sleeves to keep their arms warm on those autumn nights. This is the time of year when football games distract us from baseball games. Yet as the playoffs progress, we start spending more of our time watching baseball. We wait and see if someone will crack a home run. We all want to see a home run. It is the heart and soul of baseball.

There is nothing more interesting and important about baseball than home runs.

You need to get over your pro-football, anti-baseball bias. Be glad Fantasy Baseball doesn’t exist so you don’t have to read a Sammy Sportface blog about how those fantasies ruined baseball and we should, therefore, shut down baseball from sea to shining sea.

Baseball is a bore most of the time.

This is not that time.

These are the playoffs. And after this comes the World Series.

Just imagine: In this country 100 years ago people were eager to track the World Series, which was also played then during this same foreboding time of year that signals the end of leaves on trees and another four months into the Ice Age hiding in our igloos.

For those who don’t understand baseball, it has to be as dull as cardboard. For those who have watched hundreds of innings the game, it is an intellectual treasure chest, a game of Chess, Checkers and Chutes and Ladders compounded by the uncertainties of human error and hand-eye coordination that varies imperceptibly but importantly among all the players.

Those who have it, have it. Those who don’t, can’t hit.

Watching a baseball game is like walking into a library and seeing all those books and thinking about all the thought that has gone into writing those books.

Here’s my final tip: sit down, eat a hot dog covered with mustard, and watch Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon teach you about life.

There is no one in sports with a personality more colorful and fascinating as his. Joe Mad doesn’t believe in thinking or living conventionally. He does what he feels like doing and coaches the way he feels like coaching. His players love him for that. Original people are loved.

Joe will lead the Cubs to their first World Series since the Romans dominated the world.

Then you will appreciate baseball more than you ever have.

— Charles Hartley

Charles Hartley is a freelance writer who has had more than 1,000 articles published in a wide range of media outlets focused on humor, sports, business, technology and consumers. He has earned master’s degrees in journalism and business administration and a bachelor’s degree in English and communications.


Aline.WeillerI’m obsessed with my hair. Or so I’ve been told. I was blessed with wavy, curly and sometimes frizzy hair, which has worked both for and against me, depending on the decade.

Much like my unique name, my hair is part of my brand. I’ve always followed and emulated hip hairstyle trends — some I’m proud to have pulled off; others not so much. Let me explain.

Most people have heroes; I have hairos. That’s right, my icons are those with amazing hair. Sure, if they’ve won the Pulitzer Prize, all the better, but they’ve gotta bring it when it comes to good hair. My earliest fascination was with the flowing blonde strands of Maureen McCormick, a.k.a. Marcia Brady. I brushed my own long locks 100 times each night, like her television persona claimed to, but unfortunately, developed tennis elbow in the process.

My next adolescent crush was on Farrah Fawcett’s signature mane. Although brunette, I had to have that feathered hair and brought the “Charlie’s Angels” edition of People Magazine to the salon to get it. Then labored each morning to blow dry each side of my unruly hair to fly back into symmetrical wings. My mom recalls a rainy day could throw me into a tween funk.

And how can I dismiss my Dorothy Hammil ‘doo? An upscale bowl cut, it suited me through high school as it went swimmingly with my cheerleading uniform and gymnastics garb.

Which brings me to the ’80s, a decade I simply cannot gloss over. It was my finest or worst hour — I’ve yet to decide. All I know is that my natural hair’s time had come; I could finally let my curly hair flag fly. My college hair products were many, a collection comprised of sought-after gels and sprays, promising the highest hair and most extreme hold. I had them all. My bangs have yet to forgive me for being moussed into frozen, upward spikes for a minimum of four years.

After graduation, I caught wind of “the bob,” thanks to Teri Hatcher’s sophisticated style on TV’s “Lois & Clark.” Neat and sleek, it was a polished look for my entry-level publishing job and twentysomething weekends in the Hamptons.

But before long, it was time to embrace the First Hair Cut — that of famed “Friends” star, Jennifer Aniston. I lived in Manhattan and yearned to be the seventh “Friend,” sipping designer coffee in Greenwich Village with her character, Rachel, and the gang. Though high-maintenance, “The Aniston” was a keeper throughout my young adulthood.

The mommy years were somewhat of a blur in regard to coiffing. All I wanted was a ponytail elastic to keep my hair away from spit up and other fluids associated with babies. I used maternity leave to grow out my layers, way beyond shoulder length. It was then I discovered blowouts. The thought of escaping life with a newborn and toddler for someone else to wash and style my hair was just too good to turn down. I got hooked and still am. In fact, I’m a serious salon enthusiast. My blowout career was launched with a full-on pin straight style a la Demi Moore, the post-Bruce Willis years. It was my hallmark, until one of my many go-to girls suggested volume.

“You need more movement. You know, soft waves to frame your face,” Lilly said.

I converted. Now I’m all about big hair. With blowout bars cropping up on every corner, I have my pick of stylists to pin curl me into perfection. They give me a roller set the likes of which my grandmother — and her mother — would have fancied. And fancy it I do. Simply put, this movement thing rocks.

My hairo of late would be a cross between “J. Lo” and super model, Giselle. When I’m not going “Hollywood,” I aim for tousled, just-rolled-out-of-bed beach waves. To get that look, I tap a fleet of stylists, my motto being: may the best blowout win. I admit it, I’m a frequent dryer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m good with my God-given waves — which come in mighty handy in humidity, convertibles and on the beach. It’s just that for me, a good hair day goes a very long way.

— Aline Weiller

Aline Weiller’s essays have been published on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop blog, Brain, Child Magazine, Skirt, Mamalode, Club Mid, Better After 50 and Scary Mommy, among others. She’s also the founder/CEO of the public relations firm, Wordsmith, LLC, based in Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Aline especially enjoys weaving pop culture references into her work. Follow her on Twitter.

Can you hear me now?

Roxanne JonesAccording to the experts, hearing generally is the last of our senses to go at the end of life. But at midlife, it’s frequently one of the first to wane.

This age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis (toss that word out at your next cocktail party). As we age, structures inside our ears start to change and their ability to function declines (all those loud rock-and-roll concerts and cranked-up stereo speakers didn’t help us baby boomers, either). As a result, we start having trouble hearing high-frequency sounds, understanding someone when there’s background noise, or telling certain sounds apart.

We all know what happens next. The television volume gets cranked up. We start watching people’s lips when they talk. You rely on a spouse or companion to “translate” what others are saying. And conversations can be both frustrating and hilarious. For example:

An online acquaintance recently wrote about how she heard “phone” when her husband said he’d misplaced his (mustache) comb, and she offered to call it so the ringtone would help him track it down.

One evening a few months ago, my husband and I were watching a Netflix movie when I announced that I had to go to the bathroom — a cue for him to pause what we were watching (since he, of course, controls the remote). His reaction was, “Why do you have to do that now?” I rather snippily replied, “Because my bladder’s full, that’s why.” Then he got it. Turns out, he thought I’d said “I have to go vacuum” and was baffled as to why I felt the need to do so in the middle of a movie.

But maybe the best misunderstanding we’ve had from mishearing happened in the boudoir. Upon awakening one weekday morning before my husband retired, I suggested a fast amorous encounter before he had to get out of bed and off to work. He misheard me and, fastidious Felix Unger-like, had a most interesting response — which inspired this haiku:

I offered “quickie;”

He heard “cookie” and asked me

“Why get crumbs in bed?”

Which just goes to show you, fellow boomers — hearing loss can affect your sex life. So listen up!

— Roxanne Jones

Roxanne Jones blogs at, a mostly lighthearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.

Narcissistic? Who? Me?

Steve EskewWhen I was a very young boy, I used to watch the radio. Yes. Watch.

Having not been alive long enough to develop the eccentricities dominating my life now, I was considered a normal radio watcher. Never could figure out why people so intensely eyeballed that big mahogany box that broadcasted their favorite radio programs.

I tried coloring during a radio show, but it somehow  distracted me. When I tried turning my back to the box and just listening, my mind began to wander. I was missing  most of the broadcast, so I resumed my fierce goggling at the radio, feeling like an uncertified idiot.

As a definitely certified adult, I do not watch TV. Heavens no, that would be sane. I only listen. I tell myself I’m too busy reading or writing to actually watch the boob tube. I reserve my watching talent strictly for the radio.

Most of the time I have the TV tuned into news shows. Never watching. Only listening. Until recently I couldn’t resist snorting or mumbling short but snide comments about certain news items as I wrote or read. My endless spoken commentaries annoyed my wife like a gnat so, even though it hurt like a hangover, I stifled myself. Sort of.

Turns out I was unwittingly substituting something even worse. One day my wife announced that she was fed up to the funny bone. Huh? Before she went to live in another section of the house, she explained. As I sit near the TV reading or writing, it seems I silently mock most of the news items I’m listening to. Who knew?

She had recorded the “spectacle” and tossed me her phone. There I sat writing like a demon, interrupting my task periodically to perform facial expressions and hand gestures that accompanied each news item. My visual rhythms amazed me. Had I founded a new art form? Why would my wife want to miss out on this?

Raw talent. Pure poetry.

If, for example, a killer is quoted as saying: “I was unaware that the gun was loaded,” I shrug my shoulders, shake my head no and elevate the palms of my hands into the air in mock innocence. If an item reports a citizen’s angry outburst, my face contorts to what I imagine the rage must have looked like during the utterance. Sometimes pounding my fist on the desk, then resuming the task before me.

Until my wife showed me, I had no idea I was doing this. Personally, I’m awestruck. I immediately stuck a mirror on the wall facing my desk to gander a glimpse of funny boy’s insane reactions to the news as I read or write while listening to TV. Forget selfies, I prefer to steal a stare into that speculum, which reflects the enchanting anti-hero I’ve so mysteriously become. Talk about multi-tasking!

I’ve dang near swept myself off my feet. Yup, my wife has nicknamed me Narcissus.

The other week when I heard a report that several former supporters were “now distancing themselves” from a certain wayward politician, I noticed that I was suddenly holding my hand out like a traffic cop to emulate “distancing.” Actually, I looked  more like an early Diana Ross as she sang “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

The other day the news anchor announced that authorities were searching a wooded area for a suspected criminal. I glanced at the mirror and caught myself mocking the scene: first by turning my hands into sun visors to shade  my eyes while affecting a search-pose, and then by turning my hands into binoculars. Lock me up.

Does a standup career lurk within my grasp? Deadlines, be damned. Sometimes, I’m up until dawn laughing at myself. I’m a riot, I tell you. I’d make a video but I’m afraid of being committed soon after it’s posted.

My psychiatrist has begged me to seek therapy. Elsewhere.

I attribute my lunacies to me dear, sweet Irish Mother. No, she never dropped me on my head during my infancy. But, I’m told that, as she watched the radio, she was known to rock me to sleep. With a rock.

— Steve Eskew

Retired businessman Steve Eskew received master’s degrees in dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. After one of his professors asked him to write a theater column, he began a career as a journalist at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This led to hundreds of publications in a number of newspapers, most of which appear on his website,

Juicebox jungle

Anna Lefler(Editor’s note: Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of EBWW faculty member Anna Lefler’s new comic novel, Preschooled. A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Click here to watch the hysterical book trailer.)

Why did you choose a preschool as the backdrop for a story about grownups?

I think the preschool years are an intense — and often comedic — crucible for parents. The vulnerability of allowing others to influence your child for the first time, the introduction of competitive parenting into your previously insulated world, the constant fear of “doing it wrong” when the stakes feel so very high — the preschool world introduces a whole new array of formidable pressures onto adults who are already sleep-deprived, highly caffeinated and afflicted with their own pre-existing insecurities, neuroses and character flaws. To me, that makes for a target-rich storytelling environment.

Why have you described preschool as the “Juicebox Jungle”?

From a child’s perspective, preschool is a warm and caring institution where the focus is on kindness, sharing, and a loving appreciation of the world around us. From a parent’s perspective, however — especially a well-meaning but driven, achievement-oriented parent who’s used to excelling at everything they do — preschool can instead feel like a surprise parenting beauty pageant, where the judges are everywhere, and they’re throwing better birthday parties, volunteering longer hours and consistently providing nutritious, earth-friendly snacks kids love to eat. “Juicebox Jungle” is a tongue-in-cheek nod to this seemingly innocuous environment that is, in fact, a source of real anxiety for many parents.

You have called this book “a love letter to my preschool years.” What do you mean by that?Preschooled

I’m the first to admit that I got sucked into the crazy L.A. preschool thing. Somehow my desire to do right by my kids turned into my being the mom who was sending out emails at one in the morning with urgent reminders to the Footie-Pajama-Day Committee. I mean, it got totally out of hand there for a while, but it came from a place of wanting to feel like I was doing everything I could to be the best mom I could be. And looking back at preschool now, I see that everyone was coming from that place. And although it turned into quite the Type A parenting melee at times, I find the scene very endearing in hindsight. Those were exhausting, humbling years, but I learned a great deal from everyone around me and I count myself incredibly fortunate to have those memories — and those friendships.

Steve Martin and Carol Burnett are your comedy icons. How have they influenced you as a writer?

I would say they both gave me a huge appreciation for the power of farce done with great intellectual subtlety, as well as a sharp, unexpected twist on social commentary invested with deep soulfulness. To me, they are both masters at the sublimely ridiculous that is not, in fact, ridiculous at its heart, nor is it ever mean-spirited. Their influence inspires me to go where I need to go — including down a hyperbolic or offbeat path — to say what I need to say.

You write about “everyday triumphs and tragedies — the extraordinary in the ordinary.” How difficult is it to find humor in those times?

Oh, I think we have to find humor in those times — both the ups and the downs — or we get lost in arrogance or despair. To me, the surprise twist of humor in a moment where it’s least expected is a truly magical thing — it reminds us that life is so much bigger than we are, that we’ll never truly understand it, yet we’re inseparable from its infinite, mysterious nature. I believe this is essential comfort for humans, both in good times and bad.

Were you a funny kid?

Well, I thought I was. Then again, I had a rich fantasy life. A review of report cards from my youth will reveal repeated occurrences of the phrase, “disturbs others around her.” I had my own little schtick that included a scathing send-up of Frau McKenzie (our universally reviled German teacher) and a disturbingly realistic impression of the mandolin tune from “The Godfather.” (Don’t ask.) Not material that would play in the main room, you understand — more of a cabaret-level act.

What would you say to readers who, like Ruben, are aspiring humor writers?

Speaking from my own experience, I would say to become very self-aware of the jokes you make and the funny observations that come to you. Chances are, you already have a comedic voice — the task is to take that starting point and work to refine it and expand it, all while gaining a clear understanding of your specific view of the world. Of course, the only way to do this is to sit down and take a stab at an idea you’ve been toying with — perhaps a short essay about something that matters to you? I recommend sitting in a café with a notebook and a pencil. (Somehow it’s easier to sneak up on yourself if there are no official electronics involved.) Settle in with your half-caf/half-decaf/almond-foam/choco-latte, tell your inner critic to cram it, and see what happens. Just make sure you tip your server well, because you’re going to be there a while…and you’re going to be back.

Is it true you once smuggled a guinea pig onto a flight from DC to LA underneath your skirt?

In my defense, I had exhausted all legal means of transport before resorting to an illicit caper. Also, it was an aggressively hideous peasant skirt, so in a sense I’ve paid my debt to society. Anyway, I was 15, the guinea pig was named Scooter, and there was no way I was moving to California without him. (The airlines classified him as a rodent, making him persona non grata on all commercial flights. #rude) The plan involved a pillowcase, my dad’s belt and the aforementioned peasant skirt. I did not anticipate the pendulum-swing effect of the guinea pig hanging in a pillowcase between my knees as I walked through Dulles International Airport with my parents (who, I recall, were keeping their distance from me and looking up at the ceiling a lot). To stop Scooter’s swinging, which was causing him to emit an excited, high-pitched squeak, I made the rest of the cross-country journey with a fake limp that slowed my gait to a glacial pace — a limp that, in times of stress, can reemerge to this day.

— Anna Lefler

Anna Lefler is a humorist, comedy writer and author of two books, Preschooled and The Chicktionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know, which the Chicago Tribune called “a wry celebration of modern femininity.” She was a staff writer on the Nickelodeon/NickMom TV show “Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor,” where she also served as a recurring on-camera performer. She is a three-time faculty member of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, and her humorous essays have appeared on, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Big Jewel. She has performed standup comedy in clubs around Los Angeles including the Hollywood Improv and the Comedy Store. Anna lives in Los Angeles with her two children, whom she regularly embarrasses.

Poppie’s personal trainer

Jerry ZezimaAt the advanced age of 61 (my age is advancing while the rest of me is regressing), I am happy to say that I don’t need to join a health club.

That’s because I have a personal trainer: my granddaughter, Chloe.

Chloe, whose age has advanced to 2 and a half in the blink of an eye (my other eye doesn’t work as well as it used to), keeps me in shape like no professional ever could.

That was exhaustingly evident during a recent trip to Safari Adventure, a children’s activity and entertainment center in Riverhead, New York.

For me, a child at heart, which got a strenuous workout and pumped enough blood to actually reach my brain, the place was a gym where I had a one-day membership.

Ordinarily, Chloe keeps me going with activities such as playing hide-and-seek; running around the dining room table; pushing her in her toy car (she honks the horn) or on her tricycle (she rings the bell); having foot races in the backyard; making her fly like Supergirl; doing bench presses with her; carrying her; catching her as she goes down the slide; helping her go up and down stairs; taking her to the park and pushing her on the swings; playing catch; playing soccer; frolicking with her in the kiddie pool; jumping in puddles; or simply walking hand-in-hand to and fro wherever we may be.

If these were Olympic sports, I would have set the world record for gold medals and you would have seen me (and Chloe) on boxes of Wheaties.

As it is, I have already gone through a pair of sneakers since Chloe started walking, even though I don’t see her every day, much to my chagrin because (a) I love her and (b) I could use the exercise.

I got plenty of it at Safari Adventure.

The first thing I had to do was take off my sneakers, which for once avoided wear and tear, even if my feet and the rest of me didn’t.

Then Chloe led me to a huge inflatable slide. I thought she wanted me to watch her go down, but she had a better idea: She wanted me to go with her.

Getting to the top entailed going through a rubber obstacle course. I couldn’t stand because I am too tall, so I had to crawl, which must have been a pathetic sight since I kept toppling over like I had been out on an all-night bender.

Chloe patiently waited for me as I caught up with her at the stairs, which she scampered up in a flash. It took me approximately the length of time it would have taken Chloe to read “War and Peace.”

Then — whoosh! — down the slide she went. I followed, slowly and clumsily, suffering rubber burns on my elbows and knees in the process.

“Again!” Chloe said when I reached the bottom.

This exercise was repeated about half a dozen times until Chloe took me by the hand and led me to the bouncy house, where my conditioning reached a whole new level. Actually, two levels: up and down.

It is safe to say, though not safe to do if you are a cardiac patient, that Chloe got the jump on me. This was the routine: bounce, bounce, bounce, plop! Every time she did it, I did, too, which made Chloe giggle with delight.

If I had a dollar for every time we bounced and plopped, I could have paid off my mortgage.

Then Chloe led me back to the slide, then to the bouncy house again, then to another, even taller slide. At least this one didn’t have an obstacle course.

After an hour and a half, Chloe was ready to go home. I was ready to go to the hospital. But it was invigorating, and fun, and I’d go back to Safari Adventure in a rapidly pounding, chest-exploding heartbeat.

Thanks to my little personal trainer, I’m in the best shape of any grandpa I know.

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima, who served on the faculty at the 2010 EBWW, writes a humor column for the Stamford Advocate that is nationally syndicated through the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and regularly appears in the Huffington Post. He’s written two books, Leave it to Boomer and The Empty Nest Chronicles. He has won six humor-writing awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and was named EBWW’s Humor Writer of the Month twice. He is currently president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Mets fans threaten fat cat Matt Harvey

Charles HartleyNew Yorkers don’t care if Matt Harvey’s arm gets permanently damaged in the upcoming playoffs and has to be amputated later in life.

That’s going to be his problem, not theirs.

All they care about is that the New York Mets pitching ace shuts up about protecting his arm and pitches as many innings as it takes for the Mets to win the World Series, their first since 1986.

All Mets fans are saying: Just pitch, Matt, you prima donna diva wussy. You make millions of dollars a year. This is not about you and the long-term health of your arm. This is about you serving us. You owe us. We pay for your Tudor mansion abode and 2015 Porsche.

Man up, pretty boy with the mystical eyes that make you a Derek Jeter-like Manhattan women machine.

You get everything you want. And now you’re worried you may hurt your little arm in the biggest Mets games in 20 years. You were two-years-old when Ray Knight, Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner led the Mets to Kingdom Come. You wore diapers then and sucked your thumb and the latter continued until you were 14. We figured. You seem like you were that kind of baby.

Get out there and throw until your arm bleeds for all we care. Pitch, pretty boy. Throw your best stuff, damn it. Beguile hitters like you do chicks. Get your diva head out of the New York night clubs.

You will pitch as long as we want you to. We don’t care how many innings you were supposed to pitch this season based on your doctor’s instructions. We don’t know your doctor and don’t care who he is. Winning the playoffs and World Series supersede the long-term health of your arm.

When you are 60, many of us will be dead chilling for eternity. In eternity no one even contemplates an aged pro pitcher whose arm hurts because he abused it during a Mets playoff run 36 years earlier. They don’t play baseball in eternity because the games would take too long and the games are already too long.

This is not about your health, Matt. This is our health. Your job is to take the ball, step on the hill, and throw and throw and throw as many times as it takes to win every game you pitch. If it takes 200 pitches, it takes 200 pitches.

And yes, after you win game one, you are obligated to pitch game five if necessary or the first game of the next playoff series and so on. If things break right, you have 40 or 50 innings of hurling in front of you in the next few weeks. Tell your arm to deal with it.

There will be no whining from you. Suggest to your agent who’s trying to protect you to jump in the Hudson River, which is polluted beyond repair and flows beneath entangled and disturbing electrical wires and smoke stack tubes.

You better come through, Matt.

Screw the health of your arm. You’re rich. Stop being such a bitch.

That’s where we’re at, Matt, you fat cat in a hat.

— Charles Hartley

Charles Hartley is a freelance writer who has had more than 1,000 articles published in a wide range of media outlets focused on humor, sports, business, technology and consumers. He has earned master’s degrees in journalism and business administration and a bachelor’s degree in English and communications.

My sixty-three four-year-old self

I am 63 years old in my body, but I am really four on the inside.

Anne BardsleyFour is a perfect age. I enjoy the innocence, the energy and their creative mind. It’s an age of wonder and discovery. There are few inhibitions and four-year-olds believe they can do anything. Yes, I’m definitely four!

I started to notice this after watching my granddaughter. She has no idea that she sings like her grandmother. I usually apologize to people in the pew in front of me at church, “I’m sorry, but God gave me this voice so I have to sing. I won’t be offended if you move.” She, on the other hand, holds a karaoke show in her room and the family must all attend. She wiggles, giggles and sings so loud the windows shake.

After spending a few days with her, I inherited her spirit. On the plane home, I decided to channel my four-year-old self. The change was revitalizing. I smile more. I laugh more. I appreciate life more. Here are just a few things that I have noticed:

I like to giggle. Giggling is contagious and it makes wrinkles disappear.

I noticed how my flowered skirt flows in the breeze when I twirl. When I dance, I lift it up a little higher and twirl some more. I watch myself in the mirror and laugh when I do this. Sometimes I laugh so hard I pee a little.

I can sing really well, if no one is listening. If people can hear me, I sing really loud even though they make funny faces when I sing. Some people hold their ears, but maybe they have an earache.

I like to watch the moon and the stars at night. I wonder how far away they are. Some nights I feel like I could touch the moon with my nose, like an Eskimo kiss.

I like to hunt for the tree frog in my plants. I can hear her singing, but I can’t find her. I know she’s hiding in my hanging baskets. Some days she sits on the top of my doorway. I love those days. I say, “Good morning! I’m so happy to see you today.” She stares at me. Maybe she’s an elderly frog. I wish she should sing and maybe shake her little suction-cup finger at me as a wave hello.

I like to write with bright color pens and markers. I like smooth, gel pens that are multicolored. Purple, orange and green are my favorite. My desk pad at work looks like a happy kindergartener keeps my schedule. Sometimes there are flowers, balloons and birthday cakes that take up the entire two-inch block of that day. There are a lot of suns with bright beams shooting out, too.

I like to make marshmallow treats in different shapes. My hands get all sticky, but I keep making shapes. Horses, dogs, cats…so fun!

I like my hair to stick up. When my hair was longer, I had French braids, buns and twists. I wore one-sided pony tails. Now that my hair is short and I’m older, I fluff up the back with mousse. My husband says it looks like a chicken is stuck on my head, but I like it. My inner little girl thinks it looks fantabulous!

I really want a horse. I want to comb her mane and talk to her. I want her big eyes to look right into mine. I’m pretty sure I understand horse language. I’d feed her an apple and a carrot and we’d be girlfriends. I don’t really want to clean her stall, but I would. I don’t want my girlfriend to live in a stinky stall.

I love sparkly fingernail polish. I really like polka dots. …I call them “Polka-spots” on top of each nail. Glittery purple nails with red polka spots make me smile.

My favorite thing to do on a rainy day is to walk with my umbrella and step in puddles. Splash!

My next favorite thing to do, after puddle jumping, is to watch a funny movie and eat popcorn.

I like to watch snowflakes fall from the sky. I stick my tongue out to catch one. I wish they tasted like Life Savers candy, but they don’t.

It’s so fun to make a snow angel. I lie on my back in the falling snow and make my wings as big as I want. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine an angel is helping me.

Sea shells! I love to fill a bucket with sea shells. I only pick special shells. I like the shiny ones that a crab used to call home. Some round shells have a hole that I could make into a necklace.

I like to write in the sand. I can make a house, a car, a star, the sun, a big heart, a smiley face and so many other things.

I wish my mom and dad were still alive. I also wish my grand mom and grand pop were here, too. We could all go on a picnic together.

My favorite nap time is when my puppies sleep in my bed. They are so excited to be on my pillow, even though they snore. I don’t mind.

I love my friends. They are the best! We laugh so much. Sometimes we cry and we tell each other it will be alright. We hug each other. That’s what friends do.

Most women my age realize they are turning into their mothers. I’m turning into my granddaughter!

What a wonderful world!

— Anne Bardsley

Anne Bardsley lives in St Petersburg, Fla., with her “wrinkle maker” of a husband and two spoiled cockatoos. She’s still recovering from raising five children. She is so happy she didn’t strangle them as teenagers as they’ve given her beautiful grandchildren. She is the author of How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause. She blogs at Anne Bardsley: Perfectly Imperfect.

Reflections of Erma