By James Thurber
I like reading memoirs and autobiographies, usually either of well-known entrepreneurs and leaders, or average people who have gone through an extraordinary event. When I recently picked up Thurber’s My Life and Hard Times, I had no idea what to expect. Would I be inspired by the life story of someone who has endured unusual hardships and overcome obstacles? Would I hear a tale of a man who became a great leader – a mover and shaker? I didn’t get either of those. What I got was a really good laugh. Fortunately, I was reading it in the privacy of my own home. Otherwise, I would have gotten strange looks from my uncontrollable giggling.
Thurber tells a few stories of his life growing up in Columbus, Ohio. He has a way of making fun of himself and his family members in a way that is still respectful. I can tell he really cares for his family, but he doesn’t hesitate to talk about some of the ridiculous things that they have done.
Reading this book is like being at one of my crazy family’s parties. There, the same mishaps and adventures from previous years are told over and over again, but they still provoke as much laughter. I will always laugh when we recount the adult jelly bean hunt from several Easters ago. My sister fell down (or was she pushed?) so hard that she ended up in the emergency room with stitches in her head. The best part about it is that she lay on the floor bleeding and the rest of us kept right on looking for jellybeans. She was still conscious after all. The competition can't stop for a little blood.
What makes up a life? It’s not just the goals met, hardships overcome, or awards won. It’s the collection of little moments – little stories – that bring smiles to our faces.