Posts Tagged ‘inappropriate giggling syndrome’

I find humor in the oddest places. In fact, I think humor finds me.

Like nervousness, humor sneaks up on me. It replaces my nervousness. I can list all the times where I have giggled uncontrollably in places where I should, instead, have been somber.

Jim’s parents’ Thanksgiving dinners. I’ve now gone to how many years of them? Almost twenty. I have giggled during Grace at every one except for one. The one I didn’t giggle at, I actually wanted to giggle. But I had a good reason not to.

I had had a miscarriage on about November 10. It was close enough to Thanksgiving that I told myself, Think of the miscarriage, think of the miscarriage. And it worked. That one Thanksgiving I did not dissolve into uncontrollable laughter while Jim’s father said Grace.

Nothing very funny about that.

There’s no way to get across how immature I can be. I have laughed so hard that I had to pretend I was crying at three different funerals. Well, one was technically a rosary mass. And I don’t know why.

Is laughter really the flip side of sorrow? Was I grieving something that I didn’t even realize I was grieving? I laughed so hard during John Dunne’s funeral that the whole pew rocked. Jim laughed, too, and Andrew, and the three of us tried to pretend we were sobbing. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like grief.

John Dunne was a nice man. He died when his bicycle got hit by a car. We noticed the bike on the six-o’clock news. John was the only guy we knew who had a red ten-speed with a white seat. We called the news station and asked if they could tell us who the person was that got killed. No, we haven’t notified next of kin, the man on the phone told me. If I say a name, will you tell me whether it’s him or not, I asked. He agreed. I said John’s name. Yes, I’m sorry, he told me and we hung up.

I laughed in the zendo when L farted. After that I dreaded sitting in the zendo for fear of someone farting. I avoid yoga retreats for that reason. Surely people fart all the time when they’re bending their stomachs the way you do in yoga.

I dread having to go to either Mom’s or Dad’s funeral when they die, not only because I dread either dying. I don’t actually dread them dying. Mom and Dad are both peaceful about life and death. I just dread the funeral.

I will have to take something, an anti-anxiety pill, to make sure I don’t laugh all the way through it like I did when Aunt Barbara died. I sweated so hard trying not to laugh that I could feel the drops of sweat rolling down the sides of my body. I laughed because the priest was dramatic. When it came to the Communion, he boomed up there at the altar, THIS IS THE BODY OF CHRIST!

I find humor in America’s Funniest Videos. I laugh when the big woman boing-boing-boings on the trampoline and boings right off into the hedge. God, I can even feel a physical reaction to the pain she must feel, something that hits deep in my stomach, and still I laugh. I laugh until my girls yell at me, Mo-om!, that’s not funny!!

I laugh until Jim laughs at my laughing. I laugh in bed afterwards, thinking about my laughing, and sometimes I am laughing so hard I can’t even get out the words to say what it is I’m laughing about.

I find humor in the stupidest jokes. I have three from my “brown series,” one of which is, What is brown and floats in the toilet of the SS Enterprise? The Captain’s log.

I sometimes laugh so hard at that joke that I can’t even tell it. Funny, it doesn’t strike me as the least bit funny right now, and I feel as though I’m failing as a writer to convey how funny it is when I tell it.

Humor finds me, I tell you. It’s like a gremlin, creeping up on me when it should be sleeping. When more appropriate emotions, like sadness or empathy or disgust should instead be by my side. Inside of me.

Humor resides somewhere deep in my nerve system, and I no longer know if I should even call it “humor” at all.


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Offering, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedOffering, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedOffering, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

Jim went to the Taos Solar Music Festival for the weekend; I stayed behind with the girls. I needed to get us ready for a week-long trip of our own. Besides, I enjoy time with them alone. We ate soupy spaghetti for dinner, and they slept with me. I woke up throughout the night, although nothing to do with them. We kept the window open, and all night I heard a bullfrog outside, his lonely vibrating call floating in and out of my dreams.

The last time Jim was gone I did the Pablo Neruda reading. I was relieved Jim couldn’t come see me read. One glimpse of him in the audience and I would have been struck by “inappropriate giggling syndrome.” As it was, when Christopher, one of the male performers, and I read the early love poem “Juegas Todos Los Días,” he had a smile on his face that looked like he was about to lose it, so I kept my eyes on the page or the audience from that point on to avoid cracking up.

I read “Solo La Muerte” with a woman named Enid; we wore black shawls and sat with straight spines in our chairs. The words came out in eerie monotone from somewhere deep inside. Later, someone in the audience asked us each which was our favorite poem from those we read. I told her mine was “La Muerte.” “Me, too,” she said.

We covered Neruda’s life from his early, tortured love to his exploration of existentialism, then political activism, mature love, and, finally, acceptance of death. A woman left agitated at intermission and we wondered if she was offended by the political nature of the poems. Each of us who read Neruda’s political works did so with passion. It was cleansing in many ways to assume Neruda’s fury at the corrupt governments and corporations of his time; doing so was an outlet for our own, current discontent.

It’s Sunday night; I’m preparing this post to publish tomorrow. I wish I would have written up something when it was fresh. Yet, it’s taken me weeks to let Neruda sink in. His voice (I tried to find a recording but couldn’t get one that worked) is haunting. I feel haunted, truly, but rather than him haunting me, I feel like I’ve crept into him somehow and am swirling about, sniffing him out for something I’ve forgotten to take away.

And now, I hear the sound of Jim’s Harley. He’s back from Taos. It’s always good when he’s been delivered home safe after a long ride.

Nace por Pablo Neruda
Yo aquí vine a los límites
en donde no hay que decir nada,
todo se aprende con tiempo o océano,
y volvía la luna,
sus líneas plateadas
y cada vez se rompía la sombra
con un golpe de ola
y cada día en el balcón del mar
abre las alas, nace el fuego
y todo sigue azul como mañana.
It Is Born by Pablo Neruda
Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.

Offering 2, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedOffering 2, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reservedOffering 2, drawing © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

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