I’ve been in funk for the past year and decided to begin this journey with a humorous book by one of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum. I’ve read the majority of Fulghum’s books and always come away with a sense of respect for his work along with a lighter heart.
Earlier this year, I came upon this book at the library book sale and it has been staring at me ever since from its resting place on the bookcase on the lower right hand side of my computer desk. It was the white title on a deep blue background on the side of dust jacket, What On Earth Have I Done?, that caught my eye earlier this week and it struck a chord in me the other day when I felt particularly frustrated with life in general.
I’m 54 years old, working 5 days a week in a part-time job I abhor. The job market has been so poor that oftentimes, I find myself asking questions similar to those in the book – “What the hell” being the most frequently used at work however, where my obsessive compulsive boss makes me wonder regularly, “What the hell am I doing here?“.
After working for over five years to obtain my college degree, I graduated in an economic recession beyond all belief where very few jobs are available and many people are out of work. Hence, I’ve held on to the crummy job I took during my last year in school with high hopes of something better coming along. I’m tired of looking at want ads and even more tired of trying to make ends meet. At my age, I wish I could be a published author like Fulghum with a a long list of book titles to my credit and a publisher who is on a first name basis with me. “Where did I go wrong?”
It must have been that turn in the road I took after high school so many years ago. When the majority of my classmates headed off to college, I turned the other way and got a job because I wanted my own car. I got the car, but it took me another 30 plus years to obtain the education that might have led to a better job to drive a car to every day.
So here I am reading a book written by a man who has made a living sharing his life observations and doing it very well. On page 39, he quotes Thornton Wilder – where Wilder said the play Our Town was “an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life.” This quote blew me away, especially since Our Town is my favorite play and the quote, one I’d never read before. Reading that line, I felt connected to Fulgham and wondered if he loves the play as much as I do. Maybe we have that in common in addition to our need to tell stories.
I am loving What on Earth Have I Done? and the fact that it is lifting me out of the doldrums. Laughter is the best medicine and it feels good to pick-up this book throughout the day when I need a lighthearted chuckle or two. Fulghum’s hysterical observations and interactions with total strangers (“Players” he calls them) help me to remember to see the humor in daily life. “What the hell?” I think I’ll laugh more often. It feels awfully good! Thank you Robert Fulghum.