So I started this diary challenge with the tongue-in-cheek title: Dairy of a Wimpy Adult, because honestly, I’ve felt quite wimpy all my life. People who know me perceive me as confident, outspoken, strong and principled, but if you were me, you’d know that I’m meek, and wimpy, and scared, and insecure.
At the moment (was it only the 3rd working day of that whiny little bitch who has now started a conspiracy theory about the 4-5 million illegal votes who ALL must have voted for Clinton? He also signed documentation for that damned wall of his and talks about bringing back torture as if it were the next best thing after Kentucky Fried Chicken which he eats when Melania goes to bed and cries herself to sleep), I’ve been wondering how a wimpy adult like me is going to survive the daily onslaught of bad news. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and hibernate in a cave somewhere with whoever wants to join me, as long as we have some food that we don’t have to go hunt for, heat, a base level of hygiene and books… part of me wants to engage in activism… part of me wants to move to another country.
But the largest part of me has a job, obligations, two kids in college and bills to pay. So the cave will have to wait.
However, in the spirit of comedian Mary Tyler Moore, who passed away today, I can tell you that the best survival tool is humor. Erma Bombeck said this: “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” Last summer when we were in Kauai I picked up a second-hand Erma Bombeck book of essays (also devoured Dickey’s Deliverance, boy oh boy!) and I was laughing out loud on the beach, turning the yellow pages and really admiring Bombeck, for she’s not merely funny but got the art of the essay down.
I related so much to her because I, too, as a hapless mother, wife and woman, have had many an unfortunate event where, when I was in the middle of it, I hated life and felt defeated by life, but lo and behold, over time, it became copy for a story that I would tell my students in class, or share at a cocktail party. The bigger the tragedy, the better the story became and the more potential for humor. Which is why, of course, comedians are having such a field day with Trump right now.
The takeaway from all of this is that even when you think you’re in deep doodoo, you need to have the perspective to realize that doodoo is material and the opportunity to process and the possibility to laugh… in retrospect… at a later point in time… Spontaneous, slapstick kind of humor exists, too, but the best humor is the recollected, processed, worked-on story whose layers may only become visible to you when you start to articulate it after you think you’d almost forgotten it.
On that note, I’d say, yes, maybe things are truly tragic right now as we’re in the midst of this dumpster fire called the Trump White House, but soon we may laugh, and let’s hope that may unite us in the end as well.
Here’s to tragedy… and comedy in the making– it’s what saves us in the end.