Welcome to What I've Learned So Far...

Guitar MikeWelcome to the online home of Erma Bombeck award-winning humorist Mike Ball. Mike's column is a syndicated weekly feature that pops up in newspspers all over the United States. If your local paper doesn't carry What I've Learned So Far... call or email the editors, give them a link to this site, and tell them to get with it! We also have readers from around the world who subscribe online. Join them - it's free! 

And if you want to meet Mike, check out the Schedule Of Appearances for a book signing, concert by Dr. Mike and the Sea Monkeys, or writer's workshop near you.

USA TodayIn another life, Mike is the founder of Lost Voices, a nonprofit group founded to bring creative writing and roots music programs to incarcerated and at-risk kids. He was recently named USA Today Kindness Community Hero for this work.

Banjos, Boats & Butt Dialing on TV

Fox 2 Detroit had me on the air to promote the new book. Check it out!

The Nana Factor

I started writing this on Mother's Day, a holiday dedicated to all the moms in the world. The way it works is that our moms give birth to us, then they do a twenty-year stretch of washing our laundry, saving us from malnutrition, and keeping us from killing or being killed by our siblings. 

 

In return for all that, we set aside one day a year to give them a pancake breakfast, a basket of flowers, and a cheesy card. The amazing thing is, they seem to like it.

 

So when my son gave us a Mother's Day FaceTime call, the apparent purpose of which was to let our granddaughter, fresh from her bath, flash Nana and Papa a full holiday moon, it was all a normal part of the plan. Then I got to thinking about how all the grandmothers of the the world fit into the lives of kids. 

The Zen of Summer Camp

As we Americans work our way through Summer in this great land, a time marked by metric tons of bratwurst, watermelon, beer, and tepid potato salad, our children are facing a terror that most of us adults have blissfully forgotten. This is because we have spent years trying to methodically stamp out all memory of it.

I am, of course, talking about Summer Camp. In case you grew up on one of the moons of Jupiter, Summer Camp is a place your parents send you when they figure it's about time for you to learn how to braid plastic lanyards and cry yourself to sleep. 

Scooby-Doo, I Facebook You

 

Facebook is fantastic. It gives us an unprecedented opportunity to appear in public in our underwear. Unfortunately, for most of us this turns out to be brightly colored Scooby-Doo boxer shorts.

I mean that metaphorically, of course.

One Sunday evening not too long ago I came across a Facebook post by an old friend. He said: “Started watching the Super Bowl while eating supper, and am still waiting for a truly creative commercial.”

This woke me right up. Here I was, chowing Twizzlers and finding out (with detailed photographic evidence) whose grandkids had spent the day making snowballs, and at that moment I was supposed to be at a Super Bowl party, chowing hot wings, watching the most important sporting event of the century, and finding out if we were going to be treated to a Halftime Wardrobe Malfunction with somebody more interesting than Janet Jackson.

I hate missing out on hot wings.

Fighting off a surge of panic, I looked below my friend’s post at the comments from some of his other friends. The gist of what they were all saying was, “The Super Bowl is next week ... you’re watching the Pro Bowl.”

What a relief!

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