Skip to main content

6 Things That Make Me Cry Laughing (Indulge me! It's my birthday!)

The past eight weeks, I've been in Montana with my mom, who is dying of Alzheimer's, and my dad, who is showing his true colors as a devoted and extraordinary caregiver. There's a garden level apartment below the main floor of their home, so I have plenty of living/office space, and he doesn't have to have me all up in his grill. He's created a place of peace and music. The sheer power of his love for her is humbling and wonderful.

I cook breakfast and dinner every day and sit with Mom for about 90 minutes, playing ukelele and singing, reading from the Poetry Foundation iPhone app, holding her hand. She's no longer able to communicate really, but she seems to engage with the music and every once in a while, she breaks out in a huge smile. Most of the time, Mom is vacant or cries, as is typical with end stage Alzheimer's, but sometimes she laughs.

Of course, I'd like to think that these are the moments she is most lucid, because laughter has always been the coping mechanism of choice in our family. Years ago, when I was going through chemo for blood cancer, Mom came down to Houston to help Gary care for me, and we laughed a lot. We'd laugh until we cried, and those were the most cathartic, open-hearted, soul-cleansing tears. Tears of anger or sorrow you squeeze into your pillow are so much less satisfying. It's like that great line in the play Steel Magnolias: "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

So without further ado and at the risk of revealing my sophomoric side, here are six things that never - no matter how bleak, broken or lost I feel - never fail to make me laugh:

1. This photo of my kids with a terribly unlucky Easter Bunny. Self-explanatory. I will add that my children are now full grown, well-adjusted people who both love Donny Darko.

2. Penguin falls over and makes squeaky toy noise.Why is this so dang funny? I don't know. But I defy you to look at it only once. I can't stand it. I showed it to my daughter-in-law, who is a psychotherapist, and she thinks it's funny too, so I don't feel too bad.



3. Mitchell and Webb: "Write this." Oh, Mitchell and Webb. You got it so agonizingly right. My own private giggle: He suggests, "What if the main character dies at the end of Chapter One?" I couldn't help myself. I had to write that.



4. Radiskull and Devil Doll! Back in the day when Elf Bowling was hi tech and my darling middle school age son Malachi (now a grownup married man) was discovering this new thing called the Interwebs or Interest-net or something like that, I kept pretty close tabs on what he was consuming online. And it was this. I cannot explain why it slays me. Maybe there's a bit of middle school boy in all of us.



5. The Doors do "Reading Rainbow" theme song. Having heard this little ditty hundreds (if not thousands) of times while my kids were growing up, I got a huge hoot out of Jimmy Fallon's rendition a la Jim Morrison. I also love everything Fallon does as Neil Young, especially "Pants on the Ground."



6. Contemporary Dance How To with Contemporary Eric. So you think you can dance...




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.