You know, there are few things in life that are guaranteed to cause my friends and family to collapse with what I like to call “laugh cramps” than when I injure myself. I don’t mean to suggest that they are not generally sympathetic and concerned, but ... well, yes, I guess I do; these people are cold, I’m telling you, stone cold, heartless human beings.
Every summer, my brother-in-law, Gregg’s, parents rent a house at Emerald Isle, and Gregg’s whole family – including my sister, Susan, and their three teens – comes down from Ohio for a week’s vacation.
There is one kind of husband that invariably causes a longing envy in virtually every woman on the planet. He is not necessarily the hottest or even the cutest; he isn’t always the smartest or the funniest; he’s not automatically the tallest or the most romantic. No, this husband has something much greater, much more important than any of these virtues: This husband can actually fix stuff.
True story -- Friday, June 27, 2014, 3:40 pm:
Robot: Hello! Welcome to AT&T customer service! I see that you’re calling from 555-GET-REAL. Is that the phone number you’re calling about?
I’m going out of town today, to Blowing Rock for the month of July. This is thrilling for me, since the heat and humidity here have reached approximately the same temperature at which I bake lasagna.
Selling your home is like a formal ball, where you accept an “invitation” from an interested “suitor,” wondering if he’s The One of whom you have dreamed.
I make a lot of fun of my family, telling hilarious stories about my visits to Ohio, about my parents, who are becoming more “seasoned” citizens every day (Dad is 87 now, and Mom turned 86 in March). And yes, hand to God, it is like “otherworldly” crazy up there, like being plunged into a family tornado ... or, maybe a family hurricane, which is not quite as destructive, but is much wider in scope, you know?
I’m up in Ohio visiting my parents, who are getting along in years. I normally come up at the end of the school year, but I was summoned by my sisters because in the past few weeks the family dynamic has sort of ... uh ... “collapsed” would be a good word.
My sister -- who shall remain nameless due to her behavior on the occasion herein described, but let’s just call her Susan -- is celebrating her birthday today, and she doesn’t want anyone to know her age (which is 60) because she’s just sick about it. Not about having a birthday, but did I mention that she’s 60? Not that I want to keep bringing up her age ... which is 60 ... but that’s what she’s having a fit about.
It’s graduation time, and I know all of you in the Class of 2014 are eagerly awaiting the moment when you are thrust into the world on your own, ready to tackle your dreams, excited to take on the responsibility of making your own way, making your own choices, making your own mistakes, making your own bed ... or not ... it’s up to you! And, let me tell you, it’s a blast out here!
Of course, unless you’ve already gotten a job in your chosen field (snicker) you’ll be heading home to Mom and Dad’s for a while as you send out resumes and “weigh all your options.”
An alert and devoted reader (thanks, Mom!) recently sent me a short article by Lee Berk, Ph.D., MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist (a big word I use quite often) at Loma Linda University. The best part of the article reads as follows:
“There is scientific evidence that laughing is good for your health. Researchers recently looked at laughter’s effect on people with diabetes. In this one-year study, 20 diabetes patients received medication for their diabetic condition … but one group also watched humorous videos for 30 minutes daily. After one year, 26 percent of the “laughter group” patients had higher levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, compared with 3 percent of patients in the other group. Based on this research, people who have diabetes or are at risk for the disease may benefit from … a good dose of laughter every day. To follow this advice, choose any form of humor or comedy that appeals to you (such as movies, TV shows or books) and that produces joyful laughter.”
It’s Mother’s Day today, and I am so lucky to have my mother still with me that I thought I’d dedicate a column to her ... again. I wasn’t going to because I’ve done a couple and really, what more is there to say? And then it started coming to me ... all the “more there is to say.” Like:
My mom is the laughter I hear in the night as I fall asleep, down in the living room with my Dad, clearly talking about us; she’s the wave I look for as I leave for school; she’s the hopeful smile I cling to as I mount the steps to the stage for my piano recital; and, she’s the implacable voice of censure when I’ve done something stupid ... which, honestly, I did ... a lot.
I took my dog, Kasey, to the vet today. She’s sort of a small-medium size, looks like “Benji” from the movie. Turned 13 years old on Valentine’s Day, she’s been slowing down quite a bit in the last year or so. Naturally, I first noticed this with a jovial “Join the club!” kind of response. But, today, when I lifted her onto the table to be examined, she looked at me, and my heart suddenly seized.
The look in her eyes is new; it’s different. It wasn’t her regular, “Whoa, why are we here again? I hate this place!” Her gaze is beginning to say something else these days. Waiting for her veterinarian to come in, the two of us locked eyes for a long moment, and her expression spoke so clearly it was like hearing Kasey’s voice.
Today's column is titled “Morons: Why So Many?” Now, don't get all offended -- we each have our moron moments. I know I do. (For the sake of brevity, I won't address my own stupidity today, except to say that it is occasionally stunning.)
Example 1: I subscribe to The Wall Street Journal (as well as The Herald-Sun). I went on spring break last week, and canceled the WSJ during that time. When I got home Tuesday, my neighbor brought my mail along with a pile of newspapers that had been delivered every day while I was away. I called to tell them they messed up: No problem, you’ll get full credit.
It’s Easter, and my love to you all! (No, I’m not in the bourbon, I’m on spring break … FINALLY!) In honor of this wondrous holiday, I began the following poem: