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Life in The Slow Lane, Volume I - by Joan E. Herlong

Life in The Slow Lane, Volume I - by Joan E. Herlong

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Publicado porwilliam_herlong
Joan Herlong writes with verve and panache. Her “Life in the Slow Lane” is anything but slow. She grips us, her avid readers, with rapidfire wit and shakes up our view of mundane happenings. The ordinary is transformed with her comic and often wise perspective. After reading her columns, we never leave a Ladies Room without thinking of the waste basket placement (it should be close to the exit door); we would think twice before forsaking our hair stylist for another; we definitely reassess our relationships with bright, outspoken teen-age children, and look with fresh eyes at our own “Reason for Living.” In this collection of columns, we readers have a chance to revisit her brisk advice: Joan reminds us how to pass on compliments to friends instead of malicious gossip with TL (“Tell Last”), and send children to GO PLAY, not with Nintendo and computers, but with siblings, friends, and imagination.
Sue Lile Inman
Teacher, Writing-on-the-Spot workshop
Author, Voice Lessons and Miriam in the Wilderness

Joan Herlong is a shrewd observer with a gift for storytelling. In her hands, a subject as commonplace as dinner becomes a column worth reading. Her sense of humor is immutable, her barbs sharp, her compassion, when merited, deep. Like fellow Illinoisan Finley Peter Dunne she believes a newspaper’s role is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. These columns do just that.
Lyn Riddle
Editor, Community Journals newspapers
Joan Herlong writes with verve and panache. Her “Life in the Slow Lane” is anything but slow. She grips us, her avid readers, with rapidfire wit and shakes up our view of mundane happenings. The ordinary is transformed with her comic and often wise perspective. After reading her columns, we never leave a Ladies Room without thinking of the waste basket placement (it should be close to the exit door); we would think twice before forsaking our hair stylist for another; we definitely reassess our relationships with bright, outspoken teen-age children, and look with fresh eyes at our own “Reason for Living.” In this collection of columns, we readers have a chance to revisit her brisk advice: Joan reminds us how to pass on compliments to friends instead of malicious gossip with TL (“Tell Last”), and send children to GO PLAY, not with Nintendo and computers, but with siblings, friends, and imagination.
Sue Lile Inman
Teacher, Writing-on-the-Spot workshop
Author, Voice Lessons and Miriam in the Wilderness

Joan Herlong is a shrewd observer with a gift for storytelling. In her hands, a subject as commonplace as dinner becomes a column worth reading. Her sense of humor is immutable, her barbs sharp, her compassion, when merited, deep. Like fellow Illinoisan Finley Peter Dunne she believes a newspaper’s role is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. These columns do just that.
Lyn Riddle
Editor, Community Journals newspapers

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Published by: william_herlong on Sep 20, 2011
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09/21/2011

October 8, 1999

Those of you who think that ladies tennis is an idle diversion
for otherwise idle ladies are sadly mistaken.
Since returning to tennis two years ago, I have yet to encounter
any idle games, and very few ladies indeed. Is it ladylike to give
someone a solid beating?
I love tennis because it’s the only quick-fix stress reduction
method I know of that offers the potential of thrashing others at
the same time. I used to like to walk around the indoor track at the
Life Center, but lapping octogenarians did nothing to quell my
competitive yearnings.
Tennis not only quelled them, it almost extinguished them. For
a while there, if I started feeling just a little too good about myself,
all I had to do was schedule a tennis game and my self-esteem
would be yanked right back into proper balance.
Tennis also provides ample practice in losing one’s temper
without resorting to profanity (although some might argue that
one could use even more practice in this area).
It’s also the one sport I know of that is an excuse for shopping
for cute new outfits. If your game is not so good you can at least
LOOK good.

Because it is rude to just show up and play, ladies tennis is a
marvelous social lubricant, whereby players regularly swap some
great gab in addition to great shots. Some extremely avid players
have even sharpened their skill in the gab department to such an
edge that one can often learn about the topspin on one’s own life
long after THAT ball has been bounced around the courts.

48 Life In The Slow Lane (vol. I)

In 90 minutes or less of decent tennis, you can exorcise your
demons, work up a cathartic sweat, and if you are really having a
good day, play so well that you ruin someone else’s day. If you are
having a truly excellent day, you can even beat your Reason For
Living. The consequential thrill it provides is well worth all the
moaning and excuses he can come up with about lousy backs and
shoddy equipment.
If you are beginning to resent the way work or volunteer
activities are cutting in to time that could be spent playing tennis,
then you are finally showing an appropriate commitment to the
sport.

Ladies tennis allows one to see the red hot competitive edge
smoldering just beneath the skin. Twenty two hours a day, these
women are doting wives and mothers. But on the court, they
easily leave all that emotional baggage at the gate. They are there
to play. No, to WIN.
I learned this up close and personally when I had the poor
judgment to hit my own knee during a first serve in ladies doubles
the other day. Although I clearly need more practice in losing my
temper and my cool without resorting to profanity, my cohorts
were very solicitous. At first. They were all over me with the
Fireman’s carry, lots of ice, lots of supportive murmuring, and lots
of ibuprofen. But even with my head down to ward off fainting, I
knew they were glancing at their watches and at one another over
my head.

As I mentioned, these erstwhile loving wives and mothers had
already checked those roles at the sidelines. It is a very jarring
thing to become nursemaid to someone you were trying to thrash
just moments before.
If I had been really lucky, Sherri would have been there. She is
by popular acclaim the best Team Nurse. Instead, I was playing
with team members much more like me. My own boss (for lack of
a better word) has even called me a “Closet Nice Person.” I do not
like to name names in this column, but their initials are Sallie,

Life In The Slow Lane (vol. I) 49

Cathy and Carline. It could have been worse. At least Harriet was
not there.

I knew the clock was turning back to “tennis time” when Sallie
pointed out that BOTH my knees looked pretty bad when you
considered my shaving job. Cathy went to get a pro from the
tennis center -- not to carry me off the court, but to give them a
lesson during the time they had left!! When he arrived, his only
question was whether my serve had gone IN!!
I really don’t mean to seem unappreciative. I know this is
Ladies Tennis -- the Big Leagues. They actually saved me a trip to
the doctor because I hobbled off with no significant swelling or
hideous discoloration. They were as nice as they could be for as
long as they could stand it, which was probably longer than I
would have stood in their shoes.
When I am 100% again, we will take up our match where we
left off. And while I love you for all that soothing ice, the score
WAS ad-in, Carline. Cathy and I will make our big comeback on
strong, clean-shaven knees as we bring you and Sallie to yours!!
And afterwards we’ll all swap some more gab. :)

50 Life In The Slow Lane (vol. I)

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