On Mourning

4th October 2010

Me: The office is an amazing deal.
it even has a widow
and a window

Sarah: hahaha

me: the widow is kind of a pain

Sarah: she came with the place

me: you have to ignore her sobbing

Sarah: she just wanders around, muttering, pulling on her hankie

me: that’s why it’s such a deal
i find it helps me with my writing

Sarah: but she stares out the window a lot which is annoying
no one likes a window hog

me: I’m like, “You. Are. Blocking. My. Light.”

Sarah: and she’s like

me: Ugggh.
What are you gonna say to that. It’s like, “OK! Your window. Bitch.”

37 thoughts on “On Mourning

  1. dooce

    I can’t believe you’d make fun of a widow. I happen to know one, and she only looks out the window occasionally.

    I’m so disappointed.

  2. Kat

    I’m with dooce. Awfully insensitive to make fun of widows.

    Did you know that 38.7% of widows don’t even have windows?!

    God, Maggie. Do your research.

  3. Elsa

    As a sort-of-widow who has spent a long year comforting my newly widowed sister, this punched me pretty hard in the gut.

    I get it — for the lucky people who haven’t watched their partners die, “widow” seems like an outdated word and an outdated concept. But we don’t all walk around in long black skirts waiting wistfully for George to come back from the war. Lots of us work alongside you, stand behind you in line at the post office, and — usually — laugh at your japery.

    But not today.

  4. Shannon

    31 year old widow here. Not funny… maybe if there were some sort of context, but probably not.

  5. Meg

    God Maggie. The internet is a serious serious place and not a place for JOKES. It’s not nice to joke about things. Real things. Thinks that exist not on the internet. Mispronunciations, even. Don’t joke about those things on the internet because the internet is not for jokes.

    Now. Can I haz a cheezburger? Thanks.

    PS New office! Yay!

  6. Window

    Maggie, windows are real. I am one. I don’t like the widows blocking the light from seeing you. Usually you are funny, but today not so much. And get some new Windex, would you? The smears are unflattering.

  7. Sarah

    Completely unrelated, but because of the juxtaposition of the ads to the right I thought someone finally invented strawberry shortcake scented febreeze! Damn.

  8. Willow

    I’m a willow. I thought this post was supposed to be about me. I’m disappointed and feel like weeping.

  9. Allytigator

    I’m thinking this is one of those “you had to be there” vignettes which loses something in the retelling.

  10. Elsa

    Of course, I’m not trying to silence your joke, Maggie — nor should I or anyone else have the right to.

    As a usually-avid Might Girl reader who had a strong emotional reaction, I thought it appropriate to share my feeling and give you some context for it.

  11. bymarg

    I was widowed at 34. My 10th wedding anniversary would have been Oct. 14. Sorry, but I still can’t laugh about being a widow, even if other people can.

  12. Supa Dupa Fresh

    Marcel Duchamp made the joke about Fresh Widow fairly well a while back. It’s only funny because in his case, he knew he was hurting people. He also knew what was similar about widows and windows. It has nothing to do with new offices.

    I respect you, but I really do wish all widows were weepy and Victorian as (I think) I hear in the background of your story.

    In real life, a widow is a woman whose husband has died. Happens to lots of women about your age, some of us with little kids. Some of us have kids your kids’ ages. No fun atall, none atall.

    I suppose I should be grateful you’re not scared of us by that proximity and similarity. Most people are.

    We’re just kind of touchy about being invisible, so.

    I am one of those widows who CAN usually laugh at the jokes (4 years out and remarried), but this wasn’t funny anyway.

    But hey, yanno, congrats on all the advertising, I’m pretty excited about that Febreze. Nah, maybe I’ll just open a widow.



  13. DaBuni

    Actually, a lot of folks say that widows are blocking their light. It can be as simple as when we walk into the room, others silence their laughter. We didn’t block your light baby, your fear and insecurity stole it from you. You are frightened because we are close to your age. You are insecure because in the blink of an eye, you could be one of us.
    In truth, because of your hushed whispers and long face, you’re blocking my light bitch.

  14. Kate

    I seriously doubt that Maggie is scared of or unkind to widows. She’s clearly poking fun at herself and her spelling error and the word she used hit a little close to home for some people. I’ve read this twice now and don’t in any way see it as her making light of someone’s loss.

  15. Minnow

    I’m a minnow who’s also a bad reader. For a second I thought this post was about me, and my heart leapt, but then I looked again and it sank. Thanks for ruining my day and tiny short life, Maggie Mason, you insensitive hater.

  16. Wodiw

    I’m Wodiw, the Norse goddess of horseshoes, and I thought this post was about me. It turns out it’s not, and it’s also pretty funny.

  17. little bird

    @kate, yeah, but not everything needs to be shared with an audience, and people who “take things the wrong way” aren’t necessarily at fault or overly sensitive. it seems careless, at the very least.

  18. NIck The Greek

    I think this post is funny and do not believe it to be insensitive. When being amused by this, we are not making fun of widows, we are laughing in the face of death, and this I believe is all you can do when thinking about death.

  19. Erin

    As a widow whose husband DID die in the war and WILL never see his son, I’d have to say YOU’RE the bitch for being so insensitive in this post.

    Yes, I have a sense of humor. Yes, I know you are just poking fun at yourself for a typo. It’s just horribly thoughtless and I can’t imagine ever making fun of this situation.

    Then again, I guess it’s easy for someone who doesn’t understand. I hope you never do.

  20. Heather

    @Kate: You can’t see anything in this post that makes light of a war widow’s loss? Anything at all? Really?

    “OK! Your window. Bitch.”


  21. Patsy

    And @Heather, you can’t see anything funny in the idea that an office would come with a resident widow, and that the landlord would reflect this fact in the price? It’s the setting of the office for rent that elevates the scenario to the absurd, and that’s what Maggie and Sarah are rolling with.

  22. Heather

    “you can’t see anything funny in the idea that an office would come with a resident widow”

    Not really, no. But hey, that’s just me. And apparently a lot of other readers. And, you know, widows.

  23. Kimberly

    Yes, best to avoid all subjects, since someone will always take offense. Look, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has NOT lost someone. Unfortunately, it’s sort of part of being human. Thank God for humor. Otherwise, we’d all be curled up in a corner. Sometimes you just need to take things at face value and not assume there is malevolent intent underneath.

  24. Patsy

    If memory serves, isn’t Maggie’s mom a widow? Aside from the fact that she was running with a typo that made a situation seem ridiculous, she clearly knows what that pain looks like. So if she wants to laugh about it, why can’t she?

  25. little bird

    @kate: people are allowed to have whatever feelings and reactions they have! that mine are different than yours doesn’t make them absurd or inappropriate.

  26. Kate

    @little bird, flip that right back around and I think we’re settled here. I very sincerely wish you well.

  27. Corinne Noel †

    Wow, it’s a tough room in here…the air is thick and serious…I came here to laugh…maybe if I open a…window…the laughter can come back in :)Until then, I’ll stand over here with this nice lady :D

  28. Marian

    okay, I can see that this would offend actual widows. but on the other hand, this is the old Maggie I miss! it’s funny! and she’s not trying to be Oprah and solve the world’s problems while taking pictures of herself in stylish outfits!

    Please, more of this! but maybe not about widows if it makes people sad.

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