WASHINGTON, D.C. A crowd estimated by the National Park Service at almost 250 filled a corner of the National Mall today as part of the first “Walk for Relief From My Spouse’s Sense of Humor,” a cri de coeur by men and women who are featured in allegedly humorous articles written by their husbands and wives.
“246, 247, 248, 249 . . .”
“It’s a new day,” said Karen Dunham of Oak Park, Illinois, who appears regularly in her husband’s writings, which mine the overworked vein of humor that explores the differences between men and women. “We’re here to tell the wives and husbands we live with ‘That’s not funny!’”
Humor columnists frequently use their spouses for material, often distorting or exaggerating the facts for comic effect. “It is not true that I spend all weekend in my Barca-Lounger watching sports,” says Mike Bonitto whose husband Theresa writes “Terry’s Terrors!”, a bi-weekly sketch for the East Boston Courier-Advertiser. “I often get up to get a beer, and also go to the bathroom.”
“You promised you’d take the sarcophagus out!”
The first weekly humor column was written on papyrus by “Thesh,” an Egyptian who wrote for the Cairo Picayune-Ledger from 3104 to 2996 B.C. “Thesh was a real card,” says archaeologist Norton Benninger of the University of Iowa-Keokuk. “He is believed to be the first male to make a joke about leaving the toilet seat up, in a special Pharaoh’s Day Sale advertising supplement pull-out.”
“Next time show me what you write so I can kill you first!”
Advocates are pushing for a right to review columns before they are submitted, or at least 48 hours’ prior notice so they can leave town before they are embarrassed. “I can’t tell you how I’ve suffered,” says Donna Virgule of Reston, Virginia, whose husband Ed pens the “Thoughts While Shaving” column for the Four Corners Sentinel-Times. “If I use a depilatory on my monobrow, that’s my business.”