all of the selves we Have ever been
I love to laugh.
Thankfully, life provides many opportunities.
My funny bone seems to be more ticklish than that of others. Sometimes I become tangled in a fit of laughter, tears streaming from my eyes, while everyone else around me stares blankly and wonders if I’ve fallen off the deep edge. The observers are too bewildered to attempt rescue, and I am laughing too hard to attempt explanation. By the time I am finished laughing and try to justify my outburst, either the subject is no longer funny, or it makes no sense to the listeners. My failed explanation becomes further confirmation of my burgeoning psychosis.
Of course, it is possible that my humerus is just fine, but my thoughts are poorly cataloged. My mind can link serious topics to outrageous thoughts. Someone starts telling a story, and my mind goes to the wrong closet and pulls out something completely inappropriate for the occasion. I come to the funeral dressed in a bathing suit and flip flops reeking of sweat and coconut oil. This happens at high speed. I’ve had to leave important meetings or abruptly end phone calls.
Here is an example hot off the press. I have a dear friend who grew up on a farm and later became a restaurant owner. She knows food! She can take a few blades of grass and make them edible and enticing. She told me she was making chicken soup. I asked for the recipe and looked forward to receiving it. So far, so good.
This morning, the recipe arrived. I opened the e-mail attachment. The recipe was handwritten on a small pad, a promotional item from a MEDICAL WASTE COMPANY. I folded over in my desk chair consumed by giggles. That was over an hour ago. Giggles continue to escape me. If you are asking yourself why this is funny, you are safe from the affliction that plagues me.
Another time, in the early months of the pandemic when we were worried about the food supply and food shortages, a friend shared concerns that if the meatpacking plants closed down, another friend’s poultry farm would be affected. The chickens would have to be killed. It sounded like a potentially devastating loss. Not knowing much about the poultry business or farming, I asked why the chickens could not be housed until the meatpacking plants resumed operations. My friend explained that the hens’ breasts grow too large, and the birds fall over and can’t get up.
Now, don’t think I don’t know better. The proper response should have been sympathy and concern, but I had to leave the room. The image hit me suddenly and with force, an embarrassing premonition: “This is how I am going to die!” If you are a woman of a certain age, you might get the picture. That was months ago. I still laugh when I think about it. Thankfully, the meatpacking plants remained in operation and the chickens remained upright.
Of course, there is a lifetime of examples. Believe it or not, I’ve never been committed. That experience may be yet to come. If the authorities allow me to have a pencil, you will hear all about it. After I stop laughing. In the meantime, I will enjoy the chicken soup with a side of chuckles.