The Hilarious Book I Did Not Write
by Pam Victor
Catherine Newman wrote the book that I should have written, and I’m trying not to hate her for it. “Waiting for Birdy” is the hilariously neurotic tale of the year she was pregnant with her second child. I’ve passed around the book to every woman I know, saying “If you’re not laughing out loud by the second page, then just put it down,” under my breath adding, “and get a sense of humor.” This author represents Everymother, and even people without kids laugh in recognition of her maternal angst. In fact, my friend Laura passed the book along to me with her “You gotta read this!” recommendation, and she doesn’t even have kids yet. (Though she and her wife do have a poodle, which I think counts.)
After turning the last page, I was delighted to read that the great author herself lives in my town. Thus the bizarre hand of fate gave me a push, and I promptly decided that I just had to meet this woman. I fantasized we’d share an instant connection which lead to collaboration on well-received projects until destiny plopped us across the desk from Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” Not to mention walking the red carpet at the Oscars with Julia Roberts and flirting strategically with George Clooney, the stars of our fabulously successful and artistically rendered screenplay.
But really I just wanted to thank her for writing such a true story that enabled me to laugh at, and perhaps forgive myself for, my second pregnancy paranoia, guilt, and general kookiness. And then as I got to know her better, I might do something mildly passive aggressive like use chicken bouillon in her vegetable soup, just to get back at her vegetarian-self for writing the book that I should have written.
So I set about trying to find my connection to her. I live in such a wonderfully big small town where we’re all connected by, at maximum, two degrees of separation. Strangely enough as soon as I started asking around, I suddenly found myself surrounded by people who had had their own sightings. One friend met her when their kids were in the same choral group. Another friend turned out to be her husband’s client. Someone else ran into her at the top of Skinner Mountain. Everybody was meeting this woman but me!
But I plodded on, finally inspired to ask was my jolly CSA farmer friend if he knew her. Turns out she’s a member of the farm! I shyly asked Farmer if he would assist me in my effort to make this funny woman my new best friend. (I don’t think those were my exact words, but he got the picture.) The very next week, the stars aligned just right, and Farmer found himself socializing with her. So he asked the great author if he could give her my number. (She said yes!)
I was horrified! I had envisioned a more casual, not-so-stalkerish introduction. I thought Farmer could just point her out to me. Then I could begin by handing her a stalk of broccoli one day at the farm. Maybe the next week, I would lend her my scissors in the flower patch. And perhaps in the dog days of summer, we could share a laugh about global warming among the tomatillos. But to have her actual phone number! As if I would just call her out of the blue, and say, “Hi. I’m funny. You’re funny. Let’s be friends.” Having graduated from kindergarten, that’s just not the way I meet friends these days.
Weeks stretched into months, and I just couldn’t bring myself to cold-call this woman. Months have stretched to years, and now it’s too late. If it were meant to be, it would have happened already, right?
Plus I’m afraid she’ll take out a restraining order on me.
Damn, I just realized something. Do you think she reads online blogs? Don’t you dare forward this entry to her. I swear, don’t you dare. Now I’m really embarrassed.
Pamela Victor is the author of the not-nearly-as-hilarious but still really good children’s book “Baj and the Word Launcher.” Her blog "My Nephew is a Poodle (and Other Random Thoughts
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"Waiting for Birdy
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