It was Friday night and I had been at it for almost six minutes. "At your age, I'm not sure your heart can take this," said my wife. Then to show how concerned she was, Mary Ellen burst out laughing.Achoo! If I had known it was this easy to get such an appreciative response, I'd have sneezed 35 times in a row a lot earlier in our marriage. Here I am, every week, trying to write this column and the most I hope for is a smile and an approving nod. With any luck, I'll then be granted a solid B for my endeavors. But my persistent sternutation (that's sneezing) was, for some reason, a source of great merriment, far outweighing my fall last week down a full flight of stairs while I was vacuuming. In fairness to my wife, before the guffawing there is a brief span of time while she confirms I have not broken my spine or suffered a head trauma. Then let the fun begin.As a student of slapstick comedy, I'd say a vacuum cleaner with a long hose is an excellent prop to accompany a pratfall, especially if you are backing up at the time and you then pinwheel down the steps. FYI: The more 360s you do, the better, and be sure to land squarely on your butt — especially if you are also looking to bring sheer joy into the life of your significant other.Achoo! (Number 36), although in all honesty this is just an estimate, because you don't start counting sneezes until you realize it may be the beginning of a historic run, and then it may be too late to get an accurate count. I don't feel this way about hiccups, where I begin a careful tally from the very first one, hoping to break an old record of 52 set in college in 1968 when I hiccupped through my entire American Poetry final.Achoo! (Number 37) and now Mary Ellen was wiping away the tears, asking me if there was possibly some grass stuck up my nose. At least I think that's what she said. It was hard to understand her. However, in 33 years of marriage, that would have been the first inquiry of this nature. And we grew up in the '60s.Achoo! (Number 38) and we were nearing a point where my wife's side was starting to ache. I wondered if her reaction to my situation had now equaled her hysterical response to my walking into a glass door at the Haversticks' or banging my head under the kitchen sink after fixing the garbage disposal.Achoo! (Number 39) and my sneezes were now more closely spaced which meant that poor Mary Ellen had virtually no time to breathe and was gasping for air. I felt bad for her. She had been having such a good time.Achoo! (Number 40), but at that sneeze, I sensed a slight decline in her enjoyment of my predicament. Then I made the mistake of asking for a Kleenex. She handed me one of those tiny squares from a little package in her purse and for some reason this made her start laughing all over again.There was no 41st sneeze. Calm reigned in the Wolfsie home. I wanted to watch a movie on cable so I picked an old favorite: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Mary Ellen went upstairs to read. She said she wasn't in the mood to laugh.Dick Wolfsie is a television news reporter, syndicated humor columnist and author. He can be reached at Wolfsie@aol.com.
- Take city up on its offer It was about 2 a.m. when the tornado touched down in Henderson County, Ky., Nov. 6, 2005. The twister crossed the Ohio River and churned into a mobile-home community near Evansville, picking up some of the trailers and pitching them into a nearby pon
House of Burgess: Like déjà vu all over again
A historic photo seared into my brain at an early age came back to me this week. It was taken May 28, 1963, in Jackson, Miss., by photographer Fred Blackwell of The Jackson Daily News. “Those are the bravest people I’ve ever seen in my life,” Blackwell told The Associated Press on June 2, 2013. “What they went through ... pictures don’t tell the story.”
- March 5, 2014: Letters to the editor Senate bill is harmful to God's creation The Indiana House of Representatives amended Senate Bill 340 last week to obliterate a statewide energy efficiency program, known as Energizing Indiana. Still in its infancy, this successful program has alread
- TOM LoBIANCO: Money pledge exposed in Indiana gay marriage fight A former Repub li can Party chairman's pledge to provide campaign cash to protect House members who were considering voting against a constitu tional gay marriage ban offers a rare look at the private power game that plays out on tough issues at the
- Words can discourage development Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, incensed some Howard County Republicans won't stop badmouthing the city's dealings with developer Jeff Broughton, took a jab at Howard County Republican Party chairman Craig Dunn in his State of the City speech last week.
- Prepared for a disaster? Even before we closed the book last May on our five-week series of disaster preparedness, headlines came pouring in about tornadoes ripping through Texas and Oklahoma. And the season was just getting started. Bulldozers used to clear the way for resc
- MAUREEN HAYDEN: Lugar's legacy: Cooperation to save the world In October 2012, at a dinner with friends, I found myself sitting next to woman who'd grown up in Russia. Finding out I was a reporter, she demanded to know why Indiana Republicans had months earlier cast aside longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar. She c
- BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Poverty, inequality and opportunity in the Hoosier State New national research reveals America is still a land of opportunity, but many Indiana communities rank poorly in fostering upward economic mobility for children and youth. According to Harvard University's Equality of Opportunity Project, despite a
- March 4, 2014: Letters to the editor Vanderbilts' vast, mysterious mansion George Washington Vanderbilt II died 100 years ago on March 6, 1914. He was the third generation back from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who started the family fortune with steamship vessels for shipping, and l
- March 6, 2014: Letters to the editor Closure of U.S. 31 for 7 months 'insane' In case it was not noticed, the Tribune published a small article a few days ago from The Associated Press with a dateline of Carmel, Ind. It was a small article, but the content should have caught the attenti
- More Opinion Headlines