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 Essay Collection Review    



Life Is Short, But It's Wide (In the Southern State of Reality)
by Ann Ipock
Carolina Avenue Press, 2003
Trade paper, $14.95 (167 pages)
ISBN: 097182312X
  Female humor is often situation humor based on family and the daily activities that lean to a quirky slant. Ann Ipock looks at life with a smile and adds to her observations the influence of the southern culture.

The collection of sixty-nine essays is divided into six sections: Haute Cuisine (aka Cooking & My Goose); Hobbies and Other Dangerous Diversions; You Talk Funny, Guess You're Not Southern; General Observations from the Nut House; Fighting Technology and Other Culprits; and Granny Pinky: The Grand Dame.

Before becoming a columnist, wife and mother, Ipock was a dental hygienist. Yes, she was trained to make you laugh while her hands were in your mouth. Unfortunately, she dream career was cut short by one important patient -- the mayor. She went to extreme measures to make everything was clean and in order for the high profile client. As she was busy cleaning his teeth, the mayor made her aware he was in pain. Her power tool had been wrapping his mustache around it. In horror, Ipock couldn't think what to do, but call the dentist. Taking the dental tool, he put it in reverse releasing the mayor's mustache. The event tramatized Ipock to the point of packing up her tools and leaving the profession. She is still uneasy around men with mustaches.

Teeth play a part in "Real Southern Ladies Don't Use Toothpicks," where she discovers that it is impossible to remove trapped food particles behind your napkin with false nails. Dinner parties are a southern tradition, but hard for someone who doesn't cook. "Supper Club Night on a Budget? Not at $2,942.45!" is a great laugh at how a simple dinner party becomes a comedy of errors or the anti-Martha Stewart episode. "Losing Your Mind in Aisle Five" is something most women have experienced, coming across a friend in the grocery store who really isn't sure why she is there, but won't leave.

"Friends, Gamecock Football, and Amazing Grace" captures the southern obsession with football and the after game tradition of the Carolina Band playing "Amazing Grace." Beach music and a dance known as "the shag" are traditions in both Carolinas. "Shagging After He Left the Farm" is the memory of Ann teaching her husband Russell to shag...and trying to save her feet and arm.   

Life is Short, But It's Wide is packed with two-minute escapes that will leave you smiling for hours.

Ann Ipock writes a biweekly humor column for the Georgetown Times, South Carolina's oldest newspaper; her works appear in other publications. She is often in demand to speak before organizations and groups. Born in New Bern, North Carolina, Ipock currently lives in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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