“Life is short. If you can’t laugh at yourself, call me. I will.” (Author unknown)
So far, there are two official members of “The Doofus Club” — Roz Memel, who lives in Encino, Calif., and me. Definition of a doofus: “A person prone to be foolish.”
Last week’s column included a day brightener called Ten Fun Facts. No. 3 was: “You can’t breathe through your nose with your tongue out.” I immediately tried it. Then No. 6 said, “When you tried No. 3, you realized that it’s possible, only you end up looking like a dog.” I laughed out loud, which was a clue to include the day brightener in a column.
Much of the fun of doing this for the News-Times is hearing from readers. People respond via emails, texts and a few with phone calls. Many folks follow this column for a break from all the negative news.
Roz and I became instant friends in early 1970, when we were both in our 30s. Within a week, we were bicycling buddies. Every Thursday was our day to pedal our buns all over Los Angeles, lunch included, and so much laughter it’s a wonder we didn’t fall off our bikes.
Roz was (and still is) the mother of six kids. Now, of course, she has numerous grandchildren and a couple of greats. Like me, she is also a wordsmith. Our Thursday bike rides kept getting longer and longer. We played word games as the miles clicked by. Our back-and-forth banter was often sillier than two teenage girls. One day, we challenged ourselves to ride our bikes from the San Fernando Valley, over the mountains to Malibu and down the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica. By the time we met our husbands for dinner, we had made a pact to pedal the entire West Coast, from Port Angeles, Wash., to Tijuana, Mexico. If we shook hands on a plan, there was no backing out.
I have long believed, as did my husband Burt, that the bicycle odyssey was God-driven. I was worried about his job-related stress but had no idea how to get him to quit the entertainment business. By the time Roz and I were facing 50, we were physically and emotionally ready for our big adventure. After flying to Canada and taking a ferry to Port Angeles, we were on our way. Neither one of us could believe the beauty of the Northwest. We did not camp, but crashed in cheap motels. After 70 miles a day on a bike, all you want is a hot shower, great food and a bed. We never considered a “sag wagon” because we didn’t plan on sagging.
Then something incredible happened for me at the top of Cape Foulweather and continued to the Sea Lion Caves. It was literally like a voice calling, “Bobbie, this is where you and Burt are supposed to be.” I remember calling my husband from Newport (no cellphones then). He was usually holding meetings in his office but had insisted I call several times a day to reassure him I was still alive. “You have to come see this,” I said, excitedly. “There is something magical about the Oregon coast.” His answer? “Okay, but no way on a bike!” The rest is history.
A female friend of ours, whose husband would not let her join our adventure, tipped off the media what two “older” ladies were doing … and that we called ourselves, “The Many-Pause Milers.” Young reporters tracked us down, asking “Why are you doing this?,” as if women of our age had no business being on the road — on bicycles. One day, Roz lost patience with some twerp reporter and said to him, “Listen, buddy, if you had six kids, you’d also want to get out of the house.” That line appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
Fast forward to last week’s column. Roz called to admit she was a “doofus” for doing No. 3 in the fun facts test. When I confessed to doing the same thing, we both laughed and agreed to be founding members of The Doofus Club.
So far, no one else has admitted looking like a cocker spaniel with its tongue hanging out. I might ask my shrink friend to give us her analysis of doofus behavior — but only if she agrees to doing the Ten Fun Facts first.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]