I really would have liked to take this home with me, if for no other reason than the fact that it is bigger than all of Mr. Kamikaze's journalism awards put together.
Not that they aren't special. We are all really proud of whatever it is he does all day. But you wouldn't believe how tiny some of those prizes are.
But which day?
I came home from BlogHer13 last night, tired, inspired and carrying sex toys in my luggage, just like last year. But the conference was in Chicago this year, so I didn't have to do a lot of tricky logistical planning like getting to the airport or synching myself up with the time-space continuum.
When the alarm went off at way-too-early this morning, I knew it was time to resume my schedule in the non-blog world, where nobody texts you at 3:45 a.m. to ask why you left the party early, and there is not nearly enough champagne vacuuming.
I got up, got ready for work and drove to the office, resigned to the prospect that it was going to be a very long Monday. I could not have been more wrong.*
My first thought was that I wasn't the only one coming off a crazy weekend; the parking lot was completely empty.
I would like to tell you that I figured out my mistake before I unlocked the office door, but I can't because at the conference on Friday I told a roomful of bloggers that, much like a tax return, humor writing is better when the underlying facts are unembellished.
Photo: Champagne vacuuming. This really happened. Plus other stuff. More later.
*It was Sunday. Technically it would have been more wrong to have imagined it was going to be a really long Tuesday, or Wednesday or even Thursday, but that is an example of a rhetorical point, which is not subject to the same standards of accuracy.**
**I point this out merely to give you a small taste of the wisdom I shared during the humor writing panel, where bloggers Georgia Getz, Krista Burton and Elizabeth Jayne Liu said things that were actually useful.
They also made me laugh so hard, I forgot what day it was.
In terms of professional credibility, there is really no substitute for being featured on the business pages wearing a cat mask and holding a fishbowl-sized wine glass.
I am pretty sure Sheryl Sandberg said that.
Leave your job offers below.
"Oh my god," she says. "It's hatching. Is it hatching? It's hatching. What do I do?"
I have no idea what the standard of care is for whatever it is that is hatching from the cartoon egg on her smartphone, but watching her try to live up to it is the most fun I have had in a neighborhood wine bar since the woman they call "Kate" insisted on showing us her rack. Repeatedly.
The egg-watcher, whose day job includes responsibilities like cross-functional team leadership and strategic planning, offers an explanation, just in case her diligence seems a little excessive: the last time she was in charge of a virtual hatchling, something went terribly, terribly wrong.
Whether through inattention or incompetence, she does not say, but whatever occurred, it left a small boy traumatized and a 40-something professional woman determined to make it up to him, whatever the cost in dignity and spilled wine.
It's tragedy, yes, but it also means I will be hanging on to my title a little bit longer. I am Slightly. Less. Ridiculous. It's a hair splitter, maybe, but it's enough.
Despite what you may have heard from my family members, I am something of an authority on the subject of humor. I know this because I have been asked to participate in a roundtable discussion on the Anatomy of Humor Writing at an upcoming conference. So, yeah.
As a small display of my expertise, I am going to share with you my nearly foolproof "flow chart" system for producing hilarious blog posts.
I came across the flow chart concept in the office of a business executive who had engaged my services to develop a system of communicating the important businessy stuff he did all day into something that people could read without succumbing to a coma.
Being something of a fraud in the business world, despite my Forever 21 wardrobe and afternoon wine breaks, I recognized the flow chart's potential for comedy, notwithstanding its provenance as a tool MBAs use to make a simple idea look like something you'd need a graduate degree to think up.
Now my blog practically writes itself.
The nicest thing about being named one of BlogHer's "Voices of the Year" in humor writing is the instant credibility it elicits from your family members.
Everything changes. As an award-winning humor writer, you now find family members falling all over themselves to be considerate.
No longer are you subject to the unpleasant crunch of tortilla shards on your office chair or the inconvenience of discovering your desktop covered in Ryan Gosling photos.
Now your work has real meaning to the members of your family, who might even offer to help.
"All that typing must be funny to somebody," they will conclude, possibly.
My point is, I owe a great big thank you to those of you who, from the very beginning, have seen something here worth reading, and who have never once left snack wrappers on my desk. I hope to meet many of you at the BlogHer annual conference later this month, where I have been invited to share some tips on humor writing, along with the very funny Elizabeth Jayne Liu. So, if anyone has any, please e-mail them to me immediately.
Check out all the other Voices of the Year winners here.
Photo: Humor writing requires a keen eye for the absurd. Family life, on the other hand, requires that you learn to accept the absurd as completely ordinary. Balancing these two perspectives is achieved through generous servings of red wine.
We have been in L.A. less than 24 hours and Boy, Esq. has already suggested ways in which my packing, driving, navigation and parenting skills are in need of improvement.
His assessment of my parenting skills begins with a definition of “breakfast” - the takeaway being that this is a meal "other mothers" regularly prepare for their teenage sons.
But it’s not all teenage recrimination. We are here at the University of All Our Money for a two-day orientation in which various university officials also get their turn to suggest ways in which I am expected to fuck things up.
Though it is more subtle, and couched in the careful language of "Of Course, We Don’t Mean You," there is no mistaking the underlying theme: Time to Let Go, You Crazy, Hovering Helicopter Parents. But don't be late with your tuition payment.
It is pretty much the same speech I got from the Montessori people when I tried to carry his backpack for him on the first day of preschool, circa 1998.
Only this time it is costing me about $30,000 a year, not including hotel breakfast and airfare.
“Do you want to know which one you are?” the boy asks me during one session.
"Which one what?” I say. I have lost the thread of conversation from the front of the auditorium, where various university officials are once again hinting to us that parents are both absolutely critical and completely superfluous to their mission of transforming 18-year-olds into productive members of society in just four years.
Something has been said about parenting "styles," so it’s safe to assume that even if there is not a specific category for the Non-Breakfast-Making kind, whichever classification Boy Esq has assigned me to, it falls into the general category of Disappointing.
I'm okay with that. My own parents were disappointing. But by the time we get to the session in which parents are expected to share their sadness about separating from their child, I have no use for the box of Kleenex being passed around.
Our soon-to-be-college students, we are told, might be a little hard to live with this summer. It's part of the process of "detachment" by which they need to push away in preparation for life without us. It manifests itself in abrasive behavior, rudeness or possibly snapping at objects in a hotel room with a rolled-up wet towel until they are scattered everywhere and one of us has to go around on her hands and knees looking under the furniture to make sure something important is not left behind. Is that my good pen? OMG, will this trip ever be over?
And of course, it is over way too soon.
Photos: SK, "Tommy Trojan" and Little Ernie, a childhood favorite of Boy, Esq., on campus at the University of Southern California, where parents can be divided into "those who carry childhood attachment objects in their luggage for college orientation, and those who don't."