One is a self-proclaimed “walking protest” with fuchsia hair who sparked petulant tweets from the president. The other is a vocal vegan who riled up the Brits with her celebratory tea-time pantomime during a July game against England. Together, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan led the U.S. women’s national soccer team to its second consecutive World Cup win this summer — and are hoping to rack up yet another victory in their next skirmish: a battle for equal pay.
It was 2011, and writer Jenni Hendriks was in her car, creeping through Los Angeles traffic, when a news story on NPR enraged her. South Dakota was imposing a 72-hour waiting period for any residents seeking an abortion — and that was in a state, mind you, where there was only one clinic providing the service in the first place.
“I just thought, these women are already driving hundreds of miles to get access to this! I was super pissed off,” said Hendriks. She called her writing partner Ted Caplan and blurted, “I know what we’re writing next! It’s a road trip — a road trip with your best friend.”
All I ever really wanted to do was to make people laugh: Strangers in the PTA meeting at my son’s new school. Colleagues in a supposed-to-be-serious work meeting. The poor lady doing my mammogram. I especially love it when readers tell me they snorted so abruptly at the local café while reading this column that latte foam spewed from their nose. Propriety be damned, I sincerely believe it’s always the right time for humor.
Except … maybe … right now? Lately, in the face of political, social, and environmental crises, my life’s goal feels sort of futile. And worse than futile, it feels indulgent. Who wants to giggle and guffaw when every day’s news is more sobering than the last and the Amazon is burning, you guys? What could possibly be the value in wisecracking and wit slinging when we could be (should be!) phoning our senators, marching in the streets, shoveling money to sane candidates, maintaining a consistent “self-care” wine buzz and educating the shizz out of the next generation so they don’t wind up screwed and humorless like us?