I worked with a chap for many years who kept neat to-do lists on post-its. As he progressed up the slippery pole of management, the post-its got bigger and the to-dos more important. They were always laid out the same way. A neat set of columns, with a bullet denoting the start of a new to-do with the to-do itself in squared capitals. He had the habit of leaving a space at the bottom of each column, probably to be able to add in another to-do should the need arise. What I never discerned, when sitting opposite him and studying that day’s little square of yellow, was how he prioritised. ‘Bank’ might jostle with ‘see senior partner’, but after ‘buy stamps’. Some wag, relishing the opportunity afforded by the space at the bottom for a bit of boyish waggery, began to sneak in and add some items that had clearly been forgotten that day: ‘worm Harold’, ‘boil client if they’ve not paid’ and ‘incinerate cheese plant’. No one knew if he got the joke but he wasn’t put off and the lists remained a constant. You’d know if he’d gone home for the evening, not so much by the lack of a jacket and bicycle clips as by the pristine list, sitting atop his in-tray just waiting to be struck through on the author’s return.
I was put in mind of these lists when reading Barb Taub’s latest work
Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies
This book comprises a set of blog posts, newspaper articles and other digestible pieces that cover the gamut of family life: holidays, pets, children, being a child, parents. Many take the form of lists. Each post is an education, but of the kind that most parents really really hope their children will not get being less from the national curriculum and more from the Bill Sykes School of Subversion.
Can I pick a favourite amongst so many? The family car and her father’s approach to making camp by denying urinary relief is a peach, as well as his driving-as-a-forced-religious-experience. But probably the section headed Death ticks all the right boxes. She doesn’t hide from the humour in the dying, especially when admitting to having garlicked her mother to death nor does she shy away from causing the odd tear to flow but the smile is ever present, even after the lips have gone.
This book is a classic dipper-inner; read it in a session and you’re wasting the opportunity to savour each morsel – like finishing the whole cheeseboard in a sitting, it is self defeating and risks an outbreak of comic constipation. I took to reading it at all times except bedtime because I hated knowing I’d probably fallen asleep five minutes into a gag and might miss the juicy gem of an analogy the next day if I didn’t make sure I turned back a page or two.
Tuck this little doofie into your travel bag and pull it out when you need a pick-me-up-and-throw-me-straight-into-the-spin-cycle kind of moment. You won’t regret it. Well, not unless you read it near your great aunt Isabel’s antique antimacassar, because, frankly, there’s no eradicating some stains…
And the lists? Well, I tried to think up additions but, it’s pointless because, honestly, you’ll not be able to type for laughing and, anyway, she has all the funnies covered.
Here’s the blurby bit…
Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married.
Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after. THE END**
**Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom.
And that’s before Chapter 3 even starts.
And the linky to a buy-me site; go on you know it makes sense…