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Guitar MikeWelcome to the online home of Erma Bombeck award-winning humorist Mike Ball. Mike's column is a syndicated weekly feature that pops up in newspspers all over the United States. If your local paper doesn't carry What I've Learned So Far... call or email the editors, give them a link to this site, and tell them to get with it! We also have readers from around the world who subscribe online. Join them - it's free! 

And if you want to meet Mike, check out the Schedule Of Appearances for a book signing, concert by Dr. Mike and the Sea Monkeys, or writer's workshop near you.

USA TodayIn another life, Mike is the founder of Lost Voices, a nonprofit group founded to bring creative writing and roots music programs to incarcerated and at-risk kids. He was recently named USA Today Kindness Community Hero for this work.

Confessions of a Christmas Music Junkie

Silent night. Holy night.

Only it's not really all that silent, is it? Aren't we actually making all sorts of racket about this alleged "Silent Night" instead of enjoying the silence of it? Could this be the reason we find our world in a never-ending spiral of moral decline? Or of Jingle Bells? I start asking myself questions like these every year, the first time I walk into a Mall and hear the soulful strains of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.

Help for the Shopmentally 

The Holidays are here again, and throughout the land families are getting ready for the fun. The average mom is working day and night, addressing the cards, planning the merry-making, and doing everything in her power to make sure that this Christmas will be the best ever. The average child is erupting in a sustained explosion of anticipatory excitement, like a little bottle-rocket in matching mittens and stocking cap.

And the average husband is curled up somewhere in a fetal position, sucking his thumb and counting the minutes until the specter of Christmas shopping has passed.

A Brief History of Christmas

O Holy night, The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.

A soft coating of pure white snow blankets the countryside. Stars twinkle in the cold winter sky. The welcome-home aroma of wood smoke drifts from my neighbor's chimney. Somewhere in the neighborhood, cookies shaped like angels are just coming out of the oven. Santa is finishing up his last couple of shifts at the Mall, and all my credit cards are toast.

Christmas is here at last!

Finding the True Meaning of the Holidays in a Glow-In-The-Dark Plastic Reindeer

You know, I'm willing to bet that there's some guy in your neighborhood whose roof is literally sagging under the weight of a giant Santa, a small herd of reindeer, and a life-sized nativity scene – complete with "lowing" cattle, a couple of shepherds who look pretty nervous to be stapled to those roof shingles, a trio of really strung-out Magi, and a fiberglass Holy Family with the infant Messiah lit up by a 450 watt halogen bulb stuck right up his manger.

The guy who owns this house is my personal hero – I love Christmas decorations!


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