Sunday, March 18, 2018

"DEAR WITBONES" --- Ask A Humorist!

 "DEAR WITBONES"  --- Ask A Humorist!

            DEAR WITBONES:
          I'm a senior living alone, and a polio survivor confined to my wheelchair. No complaints there, but I have two other nagging problems:
            1. I need to find a way to dog-hair proof the wheels. Eventually, it wraps around the axles so badly that it slows me down.
            2. Worse, because of my rolling hairball, when I'm out and about in public, dogs will follow me around, and sometimes come over and "mark their territory," if you know what I mean. Later, when I get home, my dog goes nuts over the smell, and he does the same thing! He's long been house-trained, but dogs will be dogs. What can I do?

            Whenever I’m flummoxed by a submission like yours, I turn my fieldwork to the home of our collective lowest common denominators. Google.
            I asked: "How do I remove dog hair from wheelchair wheels?" and I found a chat room with the following answers:
            "I use drain cleaner and a hacksaw."
            "Try a cigarette lighter, CAREFULLY, and it works fine if you don't mind the smell of burning dog hair." The next comment took that a step further:
            “Have you tried a blow torch?"
            Lastly, my favorite: "A very high-powered vacuum should do it."
            I can't help you much with the doggy urine smell problem, though I did find (again, using my crackerjack research skills) that you could try an application of tea tree and bergamot oils. I don't know if it works or not, but someone on the internet said it did, and because they took the time to write-in about it on a public forum, I'm giving it both a thumbs and paws up. Maybe you should, too.
            Thanks for Witboning, and please keep me posted. 

            DEAR WITBONES:
            I am about to be a remarried woman heading into my late middle-aged years. When I tell my friends and colleagues that they’ll need to update their address books with my new last name, I am often asked: (and rather aggressively, too) "WHY will you change your name?! You don’t have to do that, you know!" It’s really beginning to bother me. I have a hard time explaining it, and I’m tired of trying. Can you help me with a response? 
           DEAR NOM:
            You’re in luck, because I too am “heading into my late middle-aged years” and have recently remarried. For the record, my wife calls me a “senior junior.”
            Before we wed, I non-aggressively asked Diane Lillian Church if she was planning to change her name. She said yes, she wanted to be Mrs. Sherman. When I asked why, she said “because I want to be.” Reason enough. I sense that you’ve been giving your friends and colleagues a similar response, but it’s leaving you peeved and them unsatisfied.
            These days, you do have other options besides a complete birth name surrender and new designation. You could use your maiden name as your new middle name. Or, in nine states, and yours is one of them, your husband could change his last name to yours. Or, (my favorite) you could legally “blend” your names.
            If Diane and I had wanted, we could now be the Churchmans or the Shmurches, or we could’ve even anagrammed Church/Sherman and re-dubbed ourselves: Mr. & Mrs. Hunchcharmers. We actually discussed doing the latter as a way to create exactly the kind of thing you’re trying to avoid. I believe a little public spectacle on occasion is good for the soul.
            “Hunchcharmers?  Party of two?”
            Your call.
            Thanks for Witboning,and please keep me posted.

            “My kids are all grown up but they won't leave home. I thought these would be my Golden Years but I'm still shelling out money for gas, buying milk by the barrel, and I can't find my phones or remote control. What can I do?” --- WITLESS IN WELLS RIVER

            DEAR WITLESS:
            If you’re in your “Golden Years,” then your kids must still be living at home in their fifties. I’m not surprised that you’ve finally lost your “remote control,” because that’s obviously the only kind of control you’ve had for some time.
            If your middle-aged offspring haven’t gotten the hint by now, they never will. At this late date, the only way left for you to change their lives is by radically changing yours. I’d suggest the following:
            Stop buying groceries and remove your car battery. Then, start a naked tuba & bagpipes band and have nightly rehearsals at your house.
            Fake a few heart attacks.
            Start talking to dead people at meals.
            When you write-in six months from now complaining that you never see your children anymore, we’ll deal with it.
            Thanks for WITBONING, and please keep me posted.

Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS – His and Her Love“. You may submit your Witboner via his website at, or write to P.O. Box 300, Bethlehem, NH  03574. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Saturday, February 10, 2018



Dear Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Representative Ann Kuster:
   Please, if you have anything to do with appropriating any money for Donald's "parade," please, please DON'T.
   In my mind, he's a draft-dodging liar proclaiming he wants this unnecessary display of American might to show "support for our military." Bull puckey.
   He wants this to puff up his runamok notions of self-importance, his braggadocio, (despite his recent ridiculous claim of being "non braggadocious", and when I heard that, I did a spit-take that covered my monitor with coffee) and --- I can't say it without being crude --- to make a worldwide declaration that he (not our military) has the biggest one of them all.
   Generally, he's a sick individual who makes me ashamed and embarrassed for my country.
   Specifically, as an honorably discharged Marine, I don't need any lectures on patriotism from this wretched bullying coward.
   PLEASE DON'T support this utter waste of our money. There are hosts of organizations supporting veterans and our families who could better use the estimated 22 million dollars that would otherwise go to this shameful event. The Semper Fi Fund, IAVA, the Purple Heart Foundation, to name a few.

“Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.”  --- Shakespeare, from All's Well That Ends Well.

Thank you.
All the best,
B. Elwin Sherman

Saturday, December 23, 2017


IN THE FOURTH GRADE, I was singled out to perform 'The Little Drummer Boy' in the Christmas play. Took me this long to live and rewrite the tribute:


Come, they told me
doldrum a drum-drums.
A cold malaise there'll be
doldrum a drum-drums.
Our hands and feet will freeze
all numb a numb-numb.
We’ll cough, shiver and sneeze
until we succumb,
to the doldrums,
dumb a dumb-dumb.
Or, we’ll warm our toes
our fingers and thumbs.
We’ll drink umbrella drinks
of butters and rums.
We’ll slurp them down wethinks
and sit on our bums,
bum a bum-bums,
bum a bum-bums.

Shall I pour for you
my rum a rum-rums?
Your butts I'll warm up, too.
Come chum a chum-chums.
We won't care if it's cold
and won't be so glum.
We'll drink 'til winter's old
come spring and then some,
what we become,
Merry Doldrums.

Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS –His and Her Love”. You may contact him via his website at Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


   If we were smart, the first thing we’d do every morning is admit how dumb we are.
   No, not the kind of dumb my dictionary calls: “a lack of intellectual acuity.” That kind of dumb happens when I don’t bring in the suet birdfeeder at night, and by morning, a herd of bears has trampled the rhododendrons and twisted the feeder post into an iron pretzel.
   By the way, when marauding bears collect in a group and savage your birdfeeder (the latter also known as “a squirrel feeder”), the proper animal collective noun is “sloth,” not herd. A sloth of bears. I didn’t know that until researching this column, and that’s the kind of dumb I mean that we need to revel in.
   Uninformed. Unenlightened. Unaware.
   Not the dumb where you know full well that if you don’t bring in the feeder at night, a passing sloth might flatten the perennials, but you leave it dangling out there anyway, thinking you’ll outsmart Mother Nature. Dumb.
   But, I didn’t know until venturing here, that said sloth would deprive the “scurry” of squirrels of their bird food, not to mention the “dissimulation” of birds, specifically the “party” of blue jays. There, now I suspect there’s also at least one fun fact you hadn’t known until just now. You are now less dumb than you were a minute ago, and this may have saved your life.
   I claim this because I once had the privilege of tending to the daily needs of an old woman. She was old. I mean the kind of old where if she’d been ten years younger, she’d have looked the same.
   In one morning conversation we had as I prepared her breakfast, I told her about the “kneeling moose” I’d seen early this summer (more on this coming up). She listened, smiled and said: “There, now I won’t die today.”  She believed that if she learned at least one new thing every day, she’d live to see the next.
   She just recently passed away, probably dying on the day that she felt she’d learned enough. I’ll always have to wonder if she hadn’t known, and might’ve lived another day, if I’d told her that cats can see ghosts, and when two adult felines lie immobile and staring at an empty sofa, that’s a “pounce” of cats probably waiting for the spirit of a visiting dead uncle to yield their favorite cushions.
   Thus, “I’m dumb and I’m proud!” might just be the rallying cry to good health and longevity. After this sentence, you’ll feel livelier knowing that when you find what looks like a scattering of thistle seed on your kitchen counter in the morning and the tell-tale nibblings in your fruit bowl, you’ve been invaded by a “mischief” of mice.
   Or, when you swerve to avoid that cluster of lumbering characters in the road, your mood will brighten when you realize you had a near-miss with a “prickle” of porcupines.
   Or, it just might lower your blood pressure and put a spring in your step, now knowing that when kittens congregate, they do it in a “kindle,” and your neighbor has a new “puddle” of puppies.
   Kitten kindles. Puppy puddles. Say those together three times fast and you’ll be sure to live another day.
   I don’t know why I’d never known that a moose will drop down on its front knees to eat. I discovered this on a respite to a remote New Hampshire cabin, when I saw one assuming this genuflective feeding posture one late afternoon.
   I’ve spent most of my life in moose country, and when I haven’t been swerving to miss that highway prickle, I’ve been preventing sloths from gobbling up suet intended for dissimulating parties but stolen by scurries.
   I’d just never seen a kneeling moose. I’ve watched them eating trees (on their feet), stepping over guardrails and swimming across ponds. I knew their antlers could have a six-foot span. I knew they dropped them after mating season and grew new ones in the spring, thus conserving energy for winter (making them smarter than some other dumb animals I know).
   I knew they could eat 100 pounds of lily pads a day. I knew that one of them had a cartoon sidekick named Rocky. But, I never knew that moose will kneel down to eat up. Makes perfect sense, of course. On your feet all day and bent over?  Forget kneeling; I’d be lying down to eat, and often am.
   But, there’s one dumb animal kingdom enigma which never has been and never will be explained:  One goose?  Two geese.
   One moose?  Two … moose. I’ve stopped asking why moose not meese, though I believe it’s forever been an inside joke amongst our founding lexicographers, and I still feel dumb about it.
   Lastly, you deserve an extended life bonus just for all this learning: I can tell you that geese are also clumped together according to activity and habitat. Ever see geese in flight?  You’re looking at a “skein” of geese. Geese on the water?  You’ve just spotted a “plump.”  Meanwhile, multiple moose standing, swimming, stampeding or kneeling?  Doesn’t matter. Always a “herd.”
   I don’t ever expect to see a herd of kneeling moose, but if one hobbles into view, I’m ready.
   Thomas Edison said: “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”
   Now that we’ve learned that, we’ll have lots of tomorrows to figure out what it all means.
Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS –His and Her Love”. You may contact him via his website at Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.