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.

In Which I Discover The Senior Menu at Denny’s

OK, it has finally happened; I ordered a meal from the “Senior” Menu at Denny’s.

I know.

Since my sixtieth birthday earlier this year, I gave up my ski boat to spend more time on the pontoon boat. Then I started driving a mini van. Next thing you know I’ll be pulling my pants up under my armpits and wearing socks to church.

I know.

I Can't Wait To Be A Grandpa

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you just finished doing something spectacularly stupid, and then your mom would say, "You just wait, Buster. Some day you'll have children of your own, and then you'll get yours..."

As with most things, my mother was right. My son spent the better part of his childhood doing heroic duty to her memory, picking up and channeling every one of my childhood sins so that they could wash back over me in a giant dose of Kiddie Karma. Now that my son is grown and married, I've decided that I’m going to raise the ante.

You see, as parents it was our job to teach our kids to say, "Thank you" and to keep their pants pulled up when we had company. We had to convince them that it is generally a good idea to flush the toilet. It was our responsibility to mold them into future doctors, lawyers, astronauts, politicians, armed robbers, or televangelists.

A grandpa is free to be nothing more than a kindly old coot with an endless lap and a bottomless wallet.

My Favorite Holiday Treat

Today is Christmas Eve. In my circle of friends and family, this marks the last turn into the home stretch of the season's Holiday parties. This year was more hectic than usual because I had readings and signings to promote the new book*, along with a bit of guitar-strumming and speaking for Lost Voices.

 

Now when most folks write about Holiday parties, it seems like they just want to gripe about them. I think they are just mad because they have to put on clean socks. Or, in my case, socks. 

 

But you won't hear me griping. If you know me you know that I love all kinds of parties. I particularly love the kind that feature eggnog with rum in it, tables creaking under mountains of candy and fruitcakes, and sappy Christmas music. Especially the music. After fifty-eight years of listening to Bing Crosby croon "White Christmas," I still can't get enough.

 

Of course my favorite Holiday treat is what happens all day long on Christmas Eve. 

The Story of Carlson the Christmas Angel

Carlson was not a particularly happy Angel. You see, he wasn’t allowed to live in Heaven. He was a Guardian Angel, which meant that he had to hang around on Earth, taking care of his Client, Bob.

Now, Guardian Angel duty was about the most difficult job an Angel could have, even under the best of circumstances. Angels couldn’t change what their Clients said or did; they could only try to protect them from accidents. Or, more commonly, from the consequences of their actions.

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