Today, I turn your attention to Judi Coltman, whose book, Is it Just Me, or is Everyone a Little Nuts? is a humorous look at marriage, parenting and aging. Short chapters written in an Erma Bombeck style look at the day to day occurrences in life through the quirky filter of a peri-menopausal woman. What happens when a simple morphs into a nationwide movement? Why does "look" mean different things to different genders and who's right? Was it wrong to offer to bring popcorn to the 4th grade puberty movie?
Judi's bio reads:Raised in an affluent suburb of Detroit, Judi Coltman grew up in a female heavy household with an urban sense of "normal."
Coltman attended Michigan State University, majoring in Journalism until a professor requested she switch majors - "Apparently making a story better with added features isn't acceptable in the news world," Coltman laments.
With a BA in English from Northern Illinois University, Coltman has written for local, regional and national publications.
Most recently, Coltman has been writing a weekly blog called, "My Life in a Nutshell," from where her book material was born.
Coltman lives in northern Illinois and is working on her second book.
Judi provided me with an excerpt from her book and asked that I share it here.
One Word is Worth a Thousand Meanings
The English language is one of the most difficult languages for anyone not raised speaking the language to fully comprehend. What with words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same yet have vastly different meanings. . .words like, well “Like,” it’s a wonder we can understand each other at all. I can like (as in enjoy) something (Facebook encourages me to like lots of things) or something can be like. . .as in math: Are the amounts like? We've all seen the homonyms like (meaning, "as in") read and read. Or lie and lie. However, it has been my experience that perhaps the complicated meaning surrounding the simplest words is more of a problem for the average American - specifically the average American male. . .with the name Moondoggy.
I learned early in my marriage that the male of my particular family species tend toward the extremely literal when they speak and are not capable of stepping back to see the deeper meaning of even simple words unless prodded and, yes sometimes even shamed. It's not a fault exactly, it's more like (meaning, "comparable to") a handicap. The sad part is that they don't seem to understand WHY the entire population of females in their lives think it's a problem. Pity. Take, for example, the word LOOK.
My sister-in-law, who likes to be thought of as Queen of the Universe (and we allow her that moniker only because she can dispense professional medical advice to us for free) lost her beloved Portuguese Water Dog, Kelsey, last summer after a long and love-filled life. My brother-in-law, her husband, would rather chew broken glass than to have a pet but tolerated having a dog all of those years for his daughters. Tolerated. Rarely did he refer to Kelsey as anything more than, "dog" and "it." The truth is, he believes the best pets are ceramic (an opinion held by my own Moondoggy as well.). So, when Kelsey died, in deference to his heartbroken women, my brother-in-law didn't say much and reserved his "Happy Dance" for private moments in his man cave.
Several weeks after Kelsey was gone, Queen of the Universe announced that she was going to look at Golden-doodle puppies. Brother-in-law grunted but didn't say much. Queen made this trek to "look" at the puppies four times. FOUR TIMES! When she announced that she had, in fact, fallen in love with a puppy and made a deposit - Brother-in-law’s head spun around three times and he spat," I thought you were only going to LOOK!" Now I ask you, if you are looking, (meaning, "observing") at your better half going to look (meaning, "bond") at something four times, do you think she WON'T eventually come home with a something? How many times did he "look" at a 2009 Corvette before ordering one and do you think for one moment that the Queen of the Universe thought he was "just looking" without the intent to purchase?
So it should come as no shock that I witnessed the following story unfold at the annual family Christmas last weekend.
My sainted, cat-loving other sister-in-law had just recovered from a fairly traumatic fall fraught with invasive surgeries, obstructions, nose tubes and other horrors not for the faint of heart. And stoically, she made it through. Sainted Sister-in-Law did all of this without the comfort of her two beloved cats who had both passed on to the great scratching post in the sky within the past two years. Now, my other brother-in-law, is not a fan of cats, but had been a good sport with Sainted Sister-in-Law’s cats. After all, Sainted Sister-in-Law and the cats were a package deal. As her recovery progressed, Sainted Sister found herself yearning to get out and about. Other Brother-in-Law suggested it might cheer Sainted Sister up if she were to go to the SPCA and look at cats. She thought that was both thoughtful and sensitive of Other Brother (and, I might add, worth several hundred valuable Husband Points redeemable at moments of poor judgment) and took him up on the suggestion.
Over dinner that evening, an excited and re-energized Sainted Sister informed Other Brother that she had found three cats and one dog that she connected with and even asked if he would care to go back and help her select a pet. Other Brother’s eyes bulged out of his head meeting the lenses of his glasses and he spat, "I thought you were just going to LOOK, not bring one home!"
Can you imagine? I mean really, why not just offer a chocoholic a Godiva and then take it away, risking certain maiming? I am pretty sure that when Other Brother decided to look at SLR cameras, Sainted Sister knew it meant he was going to BUY one (which he did - a really expensive one!)
Funny thing about the simple words like (meaning, "for example") Look-- you can take them at face value or you just might find yourself looking (meaning, "eating your words") into the furry face of a brand new family member and it might be a smart move to like (meaning, "pretend to be thrilled by") it.
Visit Judi Coltman's website here: www.judicoltman.com
Her blog can be found here: jcoltman.blogspot.com
And look for Is it Me, or is Everyone a Little Nuts? in paperback and on the Kindle.