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Laughter in unlikely places

Local media personality, former military spouse writes book on humor

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Have you ever wondered, "If cops arrest the Energizer Bunny, would they charge him with battery?"

Further, do you know how to, "get cat urine out of luggage, what to do about speeding tickets on DuPont Steilacoom Road, or how to make a bra-purse?"

In her new book on humor - "No Assembly Required - The Pocket Book of Answers to Questions You Never Got Around to Asking" (NAR), Dorothy Wilhelm answers these questions and much more.

"I call it my "teeny tiny book" of humor," she said of the 116-page, 3 ½" x 5" book, released this fall. "My philosophy in life is to find what makes me laugh and carry it around. (NAR) is a combination of humorous excerpts from some of my best columns and stories from my life that all end with tips and ideas that are uplifting. It will make you laugh, but there's also something deeper - life lessons underneath the humor that you can hang onto. It makes you feel good - like we're all in this together."

Wilhelm was a military spouse for 20 years before her husband, Army Lt. Col. Roger Wilhelm, died of cancer. With no "discernible job skills" and little post-secondary education, she didn't expect to become an "expert on finding humor in the most unlikely circumstances," she said, "especially when I, too, was diagnosed with cancer a year after (Roger) died."

Today, her career timeline is a true success story. She's worked for KIRO Radio and TV in Seattle and was the host and producer of TV's "My Home Town," which ran for more than 10 years. She currently has a newspaper column in the "Tacoma News Tribune" (going on 20 years now), is a motivational and professional humorist with her own show, "Never Too Late," and is a writer, speaker and keynote speaker. The winner of a Beacon Award for Excellence in Public Affairs Broadcasting and a college graduate of Oregon's Marylhurst University (at age 52), Wilhelm has six adult children - three of whom are retired military.

"Everything I learned professionally, I learned as an Army wife volunteer," she said. "When I started (my career) I possessed the same skills for being a radio talk show host as for working at McDonald's, which is to say I had absolutely none, so I started at the top because McDonald's would always be there. But I had skills - I'd learned how to manage frequent deployments and PCSed 20 times in 20 years."   

Her most memorable military experience was when she was pregnant and desperately ill, and the commander's wife checked her out of hospital (after 3 months), saying, "You're coming home with me - better to stay in a home instead of the hospital for the holidays."

Later, she received an award from President Lyndon Johnson for launching recreational services for Red Cross volunteers in Bangkok.

Hence, NAR is a culmination of her life experiences in the form of humor. From the importance of laughter in life and starting a "laugh library collection," to what to do with worries, to "finding meaningful work that makes a difference and means something," Wilhlem writes about what it means to live, laugh, discover your purpose, and find joy in the little things in life.

"I really believe whatever we need, we have already have," she said. "The answers are there somewhere but we shouldn't sit and wait for them, even if it comes to you when it's ready. Life is about learning something new each day and doing for those less fortunate."

To order "No Assembly Required" ($6.95), visit or For more information call (800) 548-9264.

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