Laurie Notaro Writes a Handy Manual for Her Husband ... In Case She Dies Before He Does

Categories: Literary
You may not know it, but take it from me, a dead person, that your mortality is as fragile as a piece of cheese bread that has fallen apart in an electrical appliance.

First a few common-sense things that you probably already know, but a dead wife has to cover all bases:

1. Never put a fountain in the front yard unless you just joined the mob.

2. When your next wife has a birthday, it is not enough to invite people to a party. You actually have to throw one.

3. Do not let your second wife wear my clothes.

4. Go back out to the garage and move my goddamn clothes back into the house. Now.

Heidi Klum
5. Never do your Heidi Klum impression out of this house. No one will ever get it when you say, "That dress makes me sad," and sends an otherwise terrifying message. You sound like you swallowed a chunk of banana whole and are about to throw two small children into an oven.

6. Bring your sleep apnea machine with you on dates. Yes, I know showing up with a suitcase full of medical equipment might be a deal breaker, but so is waking up next to a corpse.

7. Just to reiterate: Theoretically, yes, you're right: you are clean after a shower, but again, that cleanliness does not translate to the towel, especially after you have used it 20 times.

8. Never again list watching every single episode of Law and Order on Netflix as an "honor."

9. Keep the food in the basement in the basement. You will so eat something that expired in 2009 if it's the bona fide Apocalypse (Anderson Cooper will let you know when that is).

10. You have no street cred. If you want a second date, don't say things like street cred. Ever.

11. Don't eat the left over Mexican food you forgot was in the trunk yesterday when you find it today. Just because opening a hot trunk feels like opening an oven doesn't mean they share the same interest in not incubating botulism.

12. Never clap at skunks in the garage to "scare them away."

13. If the milk has crust on the drinky part, go to your Drink Plan B, and when your fruit juice is bubbly like soda, chew something tangy-flavored to generate saliva (if you are really that thirsty).

14. You cannot wait out the smell in the refrigerator. The house will eventually be nothing but stink and rubble. The fridge will win. Every time.

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@Veronicatheblog Stop tweeting and get some chamomile tea in you! :-)


@IvyLeague_AKA sigh. Sigh. Siiiiiigh.


@Veronicatheblog You want to ask the undergrad frat to track her down? I'll do it!!


I think your husband and mine might be related.


antoniamurphyNZ 1 Like

Surely these tips are superfluous, since your husband plans to fling his weeping body on your funeral pyre?

laurienotaro 2 Like

Just so's you know, that picture of the pear in the story is the actual one he bit into that made me write that entry.


So funny!  I love all your books, and articles!  Wish we could hang out!  :)

belindadcarroll 1 Like

<3 you! A native Portlander, I read all of your books while stranded in Austin, when I found out you lived in Portland. I'm a stand-up comic and also a humor writer and I really appreciate what you do! 


It seems my Y chromosome has somehow mysteriously short-circuited my sense of humor--very odd. I do realize (or at least I hope) that this was meant to be 'tongue-in-cheek', but frankly all this article does for me is make it seem as if your husband is a fat, ignorant, controlling, slob who places little if any value on your relationship. It may be a stretch, but I'm going to guess that that is not the case. Perhaps, if you live long enough, you might consider penning a short sequel in which you grudgingly acknowledge that the man has at least three redeeming qualities. Think hard. I don't know him or you, but even with a Y chromosome impediment I can come up with that many.


@Nicolas ~ Like being color blind, some people lack the ability to understand humor. You are obviously one of those starved souls.Here's a quick tip. When you see something that is written with humor, try to keep your inside voice inside. It's better for all of us.

laurienotaro 2 Like

 @Nicolas My husband, however, just said he loved you. Maybe you guys can hang out after my funeral.

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