Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You had to be there...but you'll laugh anyway

Everyone has one of these.
Something hilarious happens to you, and it is so funny that the memory of it sets you off every single time. Just a quick memory flashback, and suddenly you are in Walmart, holding a box of Tampons, laughing your head off. BUT, try telling the story to someone else. You swear to them that when you tell them this story, they will have tears rolling down their cheeks by the end of it. Then you proceed with the story. Halfway through the story you are giggling, but also realizing that this story isn't coming across as funny as you remember it. By the end, you are barely able to get the story out through your laughter, and finally, you finish, wipe your eyes, and notice that your audience is smiling politely at you, and then they laugh....a moment too late. They just didn't get the humor. I have an experience like that. I have told this story at least a dozen times, and each time I have barely been able to get the punchline out because I dissolve into helpless laughter at each attempt until finally, I force it out. The worst part is that your uncontrollable laughter has set up for your listeners the idea that you are about to tell them the joke of the century!!! They indulge your breathless tale (punctuated with your silent, shaking, laughing pauses) with huge, expectant grins. Then, inevitably, the end comes anticlimactically. But they force the chuckles out so as not to be rude, and in the end you are left with only the comfort of that hilarious memory. But, if this has happened to you, then that memory is usually so great that is definitely compensation.
And lastly before I start, I am sorry if it seems like I am laughing at this poor woman's plight, but I am most definitely NOT laughing at her, just everything else.
My story begins not so happily. Last year Cleve had a weird medical issue that precipitated a trip to the Emergency Room. As is the case in Emergency Rooms, we waited not a few hours to get seen, and then more hours for this,another couple hours for that, etc. Eventually it was decided to transfer him from Apple Valley to a Children's hospital in L.A., so thus began the wait for a superfluous ambulance to take him there. (Don't ask me why, I think HMOs have bizarre policies too) So, at the time of my story, Cleve and I had been waiting there in the Emergency room for 8 or so hours, and it was now 4:30 in the morning. I had not been asleep yet (And I am not an all nighter girl, heck, I am not even a 10 p.m-er!) and was also feeling the strain of being worried for so long. Maybe that's why this was so funny to me, who knows?
Cleve lay asleep on the bed in a semi-private exam room. I sat slumped in a chair next to him, worried, exhausted, and depressed at the knowledge that there was absolutely no foreseeable sleep in the near future. Suddenly a woman was wheeled into the room with her cowboy hatted husband walking beside her, and placed in the spot next to me. They drew the curtains around her for "privacy," but as we were the only people in the room,and the only other sound in the room was Cleve's soft breathing, I could hear every word that was spoken. Their 20 minute conversation with the doctor, though extremely far from being word for word, can be condensed down to going kind of like this.....
"Doctor, what is wrong with me?Is IT supposed to look like that?" (I put IT in capitals because for the duration of the conversation, whatever malady this lady was suffering was referred to as IT. I think she was talking about either a c-section incision, or the incision made for a hysterectomy, but I will never know for sure.)
Immediately I began to be slightly amused (curse me if you want, but I was EXTREMELY tired) at the contrast between the Dr. and the woman. She was verging on hysterical fear, judging by her voice, and the Dr. was absolutely, completely monotone voiced. It could have been a computer talking.
"When the stitches tear, IT does look like that. IT can appear scary, but IT will heal fine as long as you change IT'S bandages regularly,and keep IT from getting wet. We cant sew IT back up because of the risk of infection, so you will just have to take it easy until IT heals."

"But Dr. LOOK at IT! IT is really freaking me out!!! I don't want IT to stay like that! How will I change ITS bandages?"

This conversation went on for quite some time, with the same words from the two respective parties. Up until now, the husband had been completely silent, the conversation strictly between the Dr. and the woman. I couldn't get over how flat voiced and matter of fact this doctor sounded in the face of this poor woman's obvious emotional distress. Finally, he couldn't repeat himself another time, and announced he had to go, and left the room. Though I was dying of curiosity, (come on, you would have been too) I suspected, but never did find out exactly what IT was. But here comes the part of my story that gets me every time. It takes me approximately 4 attempts to tell this story before I can finally quell my laughter enough to do it. Thanks goodness I am typing this, or you'd never have the patience for the ending. I am laughing right now.
As I said, up until now, the husband had been completely quiet. The woman had a nice, unaccented, all American voice, even with the tinge of hysteria in it. When the Dr. left the room, the woman began telling her husband all the same things she had been telling the Dr. How IT was REALLY freaking her out, how scared she was, how she didn't know if everything was going to be OK, why did this have to happen to her, etc. I assumed that after the onslaught of insensitivity delivered by the Dr. she would get loving reassurance from her husband. After a few minutes of this, there was a pause, and the woman said,

"Honey, I don't know how I am going to do everything I have to do and follow the Dr's orders! You'll help me right? With the kids, and changing the bandages?"

And then the woman's incredibly sweet husband finally opened his mouth. In the THICKEST southern drawl I have EVER heard in my life, this hick, I mean sensitive soulmate, droned out slowly (and keep in mind he shouted the last word, shouted)

"Weeeeeell, I suuure wayeell heelp with arrr keeeiiids, and doooo sum of the cookin.....ayand I giss oll hayelp weeith them bandayges tooo...(I sure will help with our kids and do some of the cooking and I guess I'll help with them bandages too)...but I aint NIVER gonna look at IT because.... wayell.....That is GROSS!!!!!!"

This man shouted that last word out as loud as he could! And it did me in. I grabbed Cleve's pillow, buried my head in it, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed until I could laugh no more and had soaked the pillow with my tears.
So. Are you laughing? Or smiling, and chuckling politely? See, no matter how many times I tell that story, I remember it exactly in my head, and cannot help dying again and again with giggles. (Though I did,and still do feel bad for that poor woman) but no matter how hard I try I cannot seem to get how funny it was across! But tell me anyway,did you laugh? And if not, just think back to the story that you cannot express the humor enough of, but die laughing every time you remember it.
Ciao for now!!!