Nancy Roman

Look On The Bright Side

Don’t you just love it when someone you think is pretty smart makes an observation that matches exactly an opinion that you happen to have?  I so enjoy that validation.

This week I was reading the latest post by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. (If you haven’t read The Bloggess, and if your taste runs to humor that is weird, wacky, and often in terrible taste – like mine does – you may want to check her out.) This week, Jenny recounted her bout with food poisoning, which was really terrible, except for the satisfactory side effect of having lost a couple of pounds.


I have always looked at the bright side of serious illness. At least you lose weight.

Which reminded me, in a weird wacky and tasteless way that would make the Bloggess proud, of a coworker from many years ago. I’ll call her Barb. Which is an appropriate thing to call her since that was her name. Barb was born with a birth defect and only had one arm. She wore a prosthesis. One day over lunch she told me with a laugh that her artificial arm was an extremely effective weapon. And on top of that, she took it off when she weighed herself.

Well, I was impressed. Not by the usual  “positive attitude of the poor handicapped person” – but by the very convenience of having a built-in weapon. She actually had me a bit envious of her prosthesis. I wished I could take off a piece of myself before I stepped on the scale.

Yes, illness has its benefits. And not just the fact that people feel bad for you and take care of you – even though that is really really nice.

For instance, I have long had the idea that one advantage to being in a coma for a while is that you could grow out your hair without having to put up with that awkward in-between stage.

A stretch in prison could have the same effect.  (And to my male readers – all 3 of you – think of all those prison movies where the inmates are always working out. Think how buff you could be with some time in the slammer.)

And speaking of crime – many years ago my purse was stolen. It was a real pain in the ass. I was scheduled for a business trip in just two days, and so I had to replace my driver’s license and credit card in one day. But there was a silver lining in that aggravating cloud. For the next several months, every time I couldn’t find something, instead of tearing the house apart in frustration, I just figured that the missing item must have been in the stolen purse. I saved about a zillion hours searching for shit.

Breaking stuff can turn out okay too. Once I dropped the lasagna just as I was taking it out of the oven. I cried so hard my husband not only picked up the glass-and-marinara mess, he took me out to dinner. Not so bad.

Of course, it’s a tricky balancing act to enjoy the bad stuff when it comes to husbands.

Do you remember the 1990 movie “Crazy People”? Dudley Moore is an ad executive, who has a nervous breakdown and starts to write honest ads. He ends up in a mental hospital and all the other insane patients team up to help write ad copy.

One of my favorite ads was this:


Not long after we got married, my husband was leaving on a business trip.

As he was packing his suitcase, he said, “Just so you know, I bought the extra traveler’s insurance. I have a $250,000 policy if I should die in a plane crash.”

“Oh great,” I said. “Now what I am supposed to hope for?”

Well, my husband had not seen that movie.

It was quite a long time before he spoke to me again.


  1. Food poisoning is painful but yeah, I’ll take the bonus of weight loss. The prosthesis story cracked me up. We take off our shoes, our jewelry, our jackets or sweaters and hey, I have an extra arm I can take off. True female thinking. 😀 😀 😀


  2. I always said the upside to sick children was that they were so good while they were sick. Didn’t get in trouble, just laid out on the couch. A mother’s dream.


  3. A heavily overweight work colleague was suffering terribly with toothache. Like me, she hated the dentist, but eventually had to go because she couldn’t eat.
    Another colleague told her ‘Never mind. At least now you can lose pounds!’


    • Not very sensitive, but yet, a silver lining.


      • Yes, tact was not her forte, and this particular girl always seemed to open her mouth before engaging her brain.


  4. Great sense of humor. Weird, but great. Haha!


    • Thanks. At times I can be almost as tasteless as The Bloggess. It’s something to strive for.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Why is it that it is the tasteless stuff that is really so much funnier than the stuff we say/write/do in perfect good taste?

    I love the Bloggess. I discovered her a couple of years ago when I judged a book by its cover and chose her memoir. I have never laughed so hard in my life.


  6. The men can be so sensitive. Sheesh. What’s so wrong with finding a sliver of a silver lining in this crazy life? 🙂

    And I was inspired to start my own blog after reading Jenny’s memoir. There’s this whole (amazing) blogging world I didn’t even know existed before!


  7. Funny how all the men in prison get buff, while all the women get fat. Maybe those are our hard-wired tendencies when nobody from the opposite sex is around to distract/inspire us.


    • I never thought about that… but you’re right!


  8. Dana

    I have that yucky thing, where I stay fat, even if I don’t eat (jerk metabolism) and then when I start to get back on solid food, I gain even more! (Bastard metabolism!)


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