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ANNE'S LAUGHS

Quotes from Erma Bombeck

Spend at least one Mother's Day with your respective mothers before you decide on marriage. If a man gives his mother a gift certificate for a flu shot, dump him.

My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.

Making coffee has become the great compromise of the decade. It's the only thing "real" men do that doesn't seem to threaten their masculinity. To women, it's on the same domestic entry level as putting the spring back into the toilet-tissue holder or taking a chicken out of the freezer to thaw.

I don't know why no one ever thought to paste a label on the toilet-tissue spindle giving 1-2-3 directions for replacing the tissue on it. Then everyone in the house would know what Mama knows.

Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.

Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter productivity.

There's a territorial ritual to an aerobics class. I entered a class for the first time a few years ago and ended up where no one wanted to be...in the front row next to the mirror. It was three years before I could work my way to the back row.

How come anything you buy will go on sale next week?

Most women put off entertaining until the kids are grown.

I have never gone to the bathroom in my life that a small voice on the other side of the door hasn't whined, "Are you saving the bananas for anything?"

Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It's gossip.

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-rearing, they are unemployed.

Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.

There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.

Youngsters of the age of two and three are endowed with extraordinary strength. They can lift a dog twice their own weight and dump him into the bathtub.

Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You're not out of it until the computer SAYS you're out of it.

Why is it when you want a nice souvenir, you find a great shell in a gift shop, but some yo-yo has affixed a ten-cent thermometer to it?

Kids have little computer bodies with disks that store information. They remember who had to do the dishes the last time you had spaghetti, who lost the knob off the Tv set six years ago, who got punished for teasing the dog when he wasn't teasing the dog and who had to wear girls boots the last time it snowed.

Who, in their infinite wisdom, decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.

No self-respecting mother would run out of intimidations on the eve of a major holiday.

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies and the sand out of our belongings.

Mother's words of wisdom: "Answer me! Don't talk with food in your mouth!"

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with white carpet is one of them.

Most children's first words are "Mama" or "Daddy." Mine were, "Do I have to use my own money?"

Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy.

I remember buying a set of black plastic dishes once, after I saw an ad on television where they actually put a blowtorch to them and they emerged unscathed. Exactly one week after I bought them, one of the kids brought a dinner plate to me with a large crack in it. When I asked what happened to it, he said it hit a tree. I don't want to talk about it.

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you?

Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you.

Have you any idea how many children it takes to turn off one light in the kitchen? Three. It takes one to say, "What light?" and two more to say, "I didn't turn it on."

Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.

Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. "Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?" Don't you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?" Wasn't there any change?"

I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes.

The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you a re served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, "Could I get you your check?" and we answered, "How about the menu first?"

Mothers have to remember what food each child likes or dislikes, which one is allergic to penicillin and hamster fur, who gets carsick and who isn't kidding when he stands outside the bathroom door and tells you what's going to happen if he doesn't get in right away. It's tough. If they all have the same hair color they tend to run together.

When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it's a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.

No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there's a wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.

Christmas Shopping: Wouldn't it be wonderful to find one gift that you didn't have to dust, that had to be used right away, that was practical, fit everyone, was personal and would be remembered for a long time? I penciled in "Gift certificate for a flu shot."