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I Can’t Breathe for Laughing!   6 comments

Here we go. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already!

April 1, 2019

What’s the one thing guaranteed to make you laugh?

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This is an EASY one for me!

My husband makes me laugh! Some people think this is a paradox – like some sort of space-time loop that’s going to eat the universe – because Brad has seriously made me cry some real tears in our 35-years of acquaintance. He is a many-layered person and not all of those layers are fun to explore.

But the ones that are – OH, MY, WHAT A FUN HOUSE!

A part of growing up in an extremely dysfunctional family is that you either learn to laugh at all the shenanigans that go on around you or, sometime in your teens or twenties, you put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger. Yeah, that’s a horrifying word picture, but metaphorically speaking, it’s what you do when you pick up the bottle or the bong or any one of a thousand other activities that numb you out instead of legitimately making you feel better.

Brad has a baggage train that, metaphorically, stretches to Anchorage. Mine only maybe ever stretched to Nenana and, thanks to the self-examining nature of writing, I’ve paired it down to a small carryon and a laptop bag. One thing I haven’t jettisoned is the ability to laugh at things that most people consider horrifying because I too had to learn to laugh or start heavy-duty substance abuse and I prefer to be able to feel my body and emotions. The fun part is that the oxygen deprivation of not being able to draw a breath because you’re laughing too hard kind of approximates the endorphin rush of substance abuse.

To understand this – my favorite professional comedian is Christopher Titus.

Brad’s family stories — good times … NOT. He could give Christopher Titus a run for his money in parental horror stories. But you laugh or you put a gun in your mouth (or in Brad’s case, drink a liquor store), so laugh it is. Oh, yeah, laugh until you need a shot of oxygen and you pee your pants. WAY better than tequila and without the hangover!

Like Titus, sometimes Brad is telling seriously funny stories that anyone would laugh at. He sees the irony in everything. He catches the humor people don’t intend and reveals it. Other times, the hilarity is the punch line to Armageddon. And you’ll notice that I’m not actually sharing any of these jokes. That’s because they’re organic and they wouldn’t be funny taken out of context.

Like – “post-homicidal depression”. Not funny, right? Brad coined that phrase to explain what happened to a friend of ours after he killed a guy in a drunk driving incident. Not funny? Very serious, depressing topic (background biographical for my work-in-progress What If Wasn’t). And, our friend has struggled for a quarter century with the guilt and PTSD from that incident and the resulting prison sentence. What could be funny about that? Yeah, well, the friend and I can’t breathe for laughing when Brad spins up the jokes on the topic. Some people would think that is really insensitive, but he turned an incredibly depressing topic into something not-quite-so-depressing by teaching our friend how to laugh about it. And, no, no one (especially our friend) thinks what he did is a joke (notice I called it an “incident” not an “accident”), but laughing is better than sticking that gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger, and yeah, 24 years after the fact, the guy deserves an occasional break from feeling like crap about it. The sad will return. Make no mistake about that.

So what is GUARANTEED to make me laugh? Christopher Titus, my husband, and anyone else who can see the light at the end of darkness and have hope it’s not the fires of hell — AND can share that scorched perspective with great timing.

By the way, if you want to read something I’ve done that tore a page from Brad’s “How to Laugh at Things Far Too Many People Take Far Too Seriously” book, check out my political satire Hullabaloo on Main Street, where I laugh at the era of Trump from a libertarian perspective, which means I get to poke fun at EVERYBODY. And, I didn’t make any of it up. Most of it is what’s going on in my head when other people are freaking out about the bubble wars. Currently, both sides are spun up about the overview of the Mueller Report, each interpreting to their own confirmation bias. And, I find that utterly hilarious in the same way I find Brad’s horrifying family stories utterly hilarious. And therein lies a GREAT reason to laugh until you nearly pass out and the couch needs a steam cleaning.

Honestly, this recovering dysfunctional child is here to tell you – if you can’t laugh at the shenanigan’s going on now, you are taking American politics WAY TOO SERIOUSLY and need a literary intervention.

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