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Adele Elliott: Smile therapy

 

Adele Elliott

 

This new year is getting off to a very bleak start. We are still grieving over the apartment fire in Starkville and sending prayers to Haiti. 

 

It seems everyone in the world hates us. How angry must someone be to attempt to blow up an airplane full of Americans with his underwear? Well, Abdulmutallab may not have succeeded, but surely travel will get even more complicated. And we thought removing our shoes at the airport was a problem. 

 

China loaned us billions of dollars, give or take a few. However, they have tried to kill our children with lead paint on toys and poison on jewelry. They sent us tainted pet food and toxic drywall. One lethal product may have been an accident. But four? F. Lee Bailey couldn''t defend that one. That sounds like murder in the first degree, completely premeditated. Still, we do owe them money, so, we must "play nice." 

 

Even the late-night comics are unhappy and unfunny. All that shifting of time-slots has made them cranky. 

 

Our pipes are bursting from the cold. The economy is horrible. And no one seems happy with the president. Maybe he is too black, or not black enough. That answer is determined by whomever you ask. Whatever, his popularity rating is way down. 

 

Things are so bad that even a pound of really good chocolate is not enough to lift a gloomy spirit. 

 

What we need is comic relief. We are desperate for a good laugh, or a bit of silliness. Some people know this and are working on the problem. 

 

My friend, J.D., hosted a party this week that ventured into the area of absurdity. Every guest was expected to wear flannel pajama bottoms. It was a reaction to the bitter weather and a nod to comfort. We behaved like teens at a slumber party -- juvenile, but fun. 

 

It appears that others have adopted some ridiculous styles. I suppose it is just an attempt to keep warm. People on the street are layering their clothes with only protection, not fashion, as the goal. Unmatched wraps, faces hidden under hoods, and long scarves are the current chic. I think I recognized my neighbor, Qua, walking her dog on a freezing morning, but I can''t be sure. 

 

In the South, we just don''t have a vast wardrobe of winter clothing. We just pile on anything that makes us warmer. Come to think of it, we might be leading a revolution of kooky combinations. Move over, "Project Runway." 

 

 

 

No Dead Authors 

 

For those who choose more traditional garb, but still need a laugh, I suggest an afternoon with Paul Swain. You probably know him as one of our great local musicians. However, he is also a writer and raconteur. 

 

Paul''s books are filled with charming, hilarious stories. He will be at The Tennessee Williams Welcome Center (300 Main St., Columbus), Sunday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m. This is another in the series "No Dead Authors," sponsored by The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

 

Paul''s stories are filled with Damon Runyon-type characters, lots of men''s men. It is a thrill to hear him read from his work. I plan to ask where he gets his inspiration. You will probably have your own questions. 

 

This will definitely not be a "ladies only" afternoon, so bring your husbands. As always, "No Dead Authors" is free, open to the public, and refreshments will be served. 

 

No matter if you fight the blues with silly clothes or funny stories, at least we can be fairly confident that our underwear will not explode. Now, that''s a reason to smile.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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