Welcome to What I've Learned So Far...

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.

Banjos, Boats & Butt Dialing on TV

Fox 2 Detroit had me on the air to promote the new book. Check it out!

The Zen of Summer Camp

As we Americans work our way through Summer in this great land, a time marked by metric tons of bratwurst, watermelon, beer, and tepid potato salad, our children are facing a terror that most of us adults have blissfully forgotten. This is because we have spent years trying to methodically stamp out all memory of it.

I am, of course, talking about Summer Camp. In case you grew up on one of the moons of Jupiter, Summer Camp is a place your parents send you when they figure it's about time for you to learn how to braid plastic lanyards and cry yourself to sleep. 

Scooby-Doo, I Facebook You


Facebook is fantastic. It gives us an unprecedented opportunity to appear in public in our underwear. Unfortunately, for most of us this turns out to be brightly colored Scooby-Doo boxer shorts.

I mean that metaphorically, of course.

One Sunday evening not too long ago I came across a Facebook post by an old friend. He said: “Started watching the Super Bowl while eating supper, and am still waiting for a truly creative commercial.”

This woke me right up. Here I was, chowing Twizzlers and finding out (with detailed photographic evidence) whose grandkids had spent the day making snowballs, and at that moment I was supposed to be at a Super Bowl party, chowing hot wings, watching the most important sporting event of the century, and finding out if we were going to be treated to a Halftime Wardrobe Malfunction with somebody more interesting than Janet Jackson.

I hate missing out on hot wings.

Fighting off a surge of panic, I looked below my friend’s post at the comments from some of his other friends. The gist of what they were all saying was, “The Super Bowl is next week ... you’re watching the Pro Bowl.”

What a relief!

Fighting the Resolutionary War


It’s New Years! Time to write up your List!

We all know pretty much how this resolution thing works. You approach the coming year with good intentions, so you write down a bunch of stuff like, “I hereby resolve to tighten the screw in the downstairs door frame.” 

As your List grows, so does its variety; you want to lose 30 pounds, write a historical novel about the turbulent days of The Captain And Tennille Show, and maybe find out exactly what is in that drawer in the kitchen - the one over by the window that’s got something jammed in it so that you haven’t been able to get it open since 1997. 

By the time the ball falls on New Year’s Eve, you have your List stuck on the refrigerator under the Little Bear with Skis and a Santa Hat refrigerator magnet, ready to fuel your all-out assault on all those personal priorities. OK, maybe it did take you longer to write down most of the tasks on your list than it would have taken you to do them, but still...


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