A few weeks ago, I watched a hilarious skit on Inside Amy Schumer. The skit centered on a four-women panel, speaking at an innovation conference. They were smiling, sitting confidently, waiting for the questions to begin. There was a sense of importance, pride in each of their faces. The moderator, who was a man, began with quick introductions down the line. When introducing Amy, he mispronounces her last name. Amy sheepishly smiles, mumbles, “Sorry!” and rushes into an apology for his error. The moderator continues, barely acknowledging her, then continues to the next woman. The introductions progress with more mispronounced names, or inaccurate credits of accomplishments. The apologies become more frequent and frenzied; they’re sorry for asking questions, asking for a glass of water (but got coffee instead). The skit ends with a panelist losing her legs, screaming she’s sorry for ruining everything.
This weekend I’ll be hosting (and trying not to fall a third time onto the stage) at the Rhode Island Comedy Connection for the super hilarious John Porch!
Come on down to laugh at me and with everyone else!
I was driving on the highway recently and passed a friend of mine. It was a quick exchange, no big deal. After she passed me, I felt a huge sense of relief that it happened on the highway and not in city traffic. If any of my readers drive a car, you will know what I’m talking about.
This past weekend, I had about an hour and a half of uninterrupted television time. It’s Easter season and I was trying to get in that cheery, “mob kills a man who then comes back from the dead to save your soul” mood. I found myself settling on the critically-acclaimed HBO series, Six Feet Under. Yes, the same Six Feet Under that premiered in 2001. I know, I’m a bit of a late bloomer.
For those of you who DON’T know what the show is about (mom), it depicts the Fischer family, whose family business is running a funeral home. There is the overbearing wife and mother, Ruth. David, the neurotic, perfection seeking, closeted middle child. Claire, who is a late-teen/early twenty-something who’s only concern in life is getting high and living recklessly. Lastly, there’s Nate. He’s the eldest son, the one who escaped to Seattle and away from death. Alas, he didn’t get too far. Why? Oh, because (14-YEAR-LATE-SPOILER ALERT!), the patriarch of the family dies in a car accident and he now needs to run the business.
What was interesting to me as I watched was how much I could relate. It wasn’t that my family ran a funeral home. It was the sudden and tragic loss of the father, and what happens after that. I’ve written about this loss before, but more on funny stories of him when he was alive. I’ve never really written much about him dying and what happened after that.
While I watched the episode, I was flooded with the memories of thinking how absurd life is in the face of death. There’s a great scene when Claire gets the call from her brother. It’s Christmas day, and she’s supposed to be home with her family. Instead, she chose to go hang out at a friend’s house to smoke crystal meth for the first time. Suddenly, in an instant, everything changed. Instead of enjoying her high, she had to literally tell her friends, “Sorry, can’t stay. My dad got hit by a bus and now he’s dead.”
I totally related. (Well, except the high on crystal meth part). For me, I was at a party the night he died and had gotten home about 15 minutes before my mother called me. I wasn’t exactly in the best frame of mind. Nothing sobers you up more than getting that phone call late at night.
My dad died on May 18th, 2001. When I think back to that time, what I really remember is how confused I was. I recall thinking how strange it was that the following day was beautiful, sunny. It was the end of my junior year at college and I was already in the process of moving back home for the summer. One of my roommates was helping me because I was completely useless. We were driving on Route 95, steadily passing cars in traffic. I remember looking out the window and thinking, “How are people driving along, moving on with their lives?” I couldn’t wrap my head around that concept, that people were going about their lives. Didn’t they KNOW that my father died? How can that woman be laughing with her friends? Or that man, casually pumping gas, on his way to work? Didn’t they understand that this was all ridiculous? My processing abilities were gone. Nothing made sense. I had to focus on the trivial things because it was the only thing that grounded me. “What kind of dress should I wear to bury my father?” or “Should I get my nails done? I don’t want to have ugly nails when I’m BURYING MY FATHER.”
It was an out-of-body experience, like I was moving under water. I don’t remember crying much. My instinct was to get through it, move on, don’t dwell. If I thought about it, I would crash. I busied myself with the details of the funeral. Who was doing what? Where were we going after? Anything other than thinking about the loss my family endured.
There are a lot of details that go into a funeral. A LOT. You never think about it; why would you? You have to make so many decisions at a time when you don’t even know how to have a coherent thought. It’s expensive, time sensitive, sad and scary. And….also hilarious.
My family and were at the funeral home, picking out the casket and writing the obituary. We had covered all the important things, but needed to finalize a few details. One of those details was what kind of prayer cards we wanted for the wake. You may recall, my mother is a devout Roman Catholic, so there was definitely going to be a religion-heavy theme. My mother, two older brothers and I were all taken to the office of the funeral home to go over the options. I was at the end, sitting next to my middle brother. The funeral director was the nicest guy in the world; quiet, comforting. He explained that he had an album of cards that he would show us, and to pick out our favorites. Page after page, he pointed out the names of the cards and a brief synopsis.
“This is the Virgin Mary. The reading is of finding salvation in death.”
“St. Francis and a prayer for peace.”
“Head of Christ……..”
Jesus does not find this funny.
I lost it. I knew it was going to happen, but I hoped it wouldn’t. I could feel it coming out of me and there was no stopping it. I had the world’s worst case of church giggles. It was awful, and I knew my mother was going to kill me, but I couldn’t hold it in. Maybe it was that this man was kneeling in front of us, holding a photo album of cards with weird bible verses and saying, “Head of Christ”, like he was offering up a fine wine. Then, out of the corner of my tear-filled eye, I could see my brother cracking. Hard. The two of us are convulsing, laughing directly in his face. He’s continuing on…like a BOSS. It wasn’t long until my mother and other brother looked at the two of us and had to relent. The more I tried to apologize, the harder I laughed. Finally, the funeral director closed the book and gave us a few minutes to compose ourselves. I don’t remember what we picked out. I didn’t care.
It’s been 14 years, but feels like yesterday. I’ve learned a lot from my loss; it’s ok to feel sad, confused, and alone.
….and it’s also ok to laugh in a funeral director’s face.
Yesterday was “International Women’s Day”, so of course I made a snarky comment about celebrating in the kitchen. I don’t believe in God, or karma, or any of those things, but I woke up today feeling like a pile of poop threw up another pile of poop. I think Gloria Alred put a curse on me. I got about 3 hours of sleep total. It was awful, especially since I was laying next to my boyfriend who seemed to be having the best sleep of his life. I’m pretty sure he smiled at one point. I was miserable.
Being the independent woman I am, I woke up and dragged myself into the shower (read: I have to go to work because I don’t have a sugar daddy). Every 20 seconds or so, I had that gun-to-your-head decision: puke or poop? Absolutely awful. Somehow, I managed to get out of the house and into work. As soon as I stepped in, my coworker literally said, “Yikes. You look like you’re still asleep.” That just translates into, “You look like garbage.” Awesome. Continue reading “Dr. Feelgood”
Can you believe Groundhog’s Day was just three days ago?? Wow! Time really flies. Can you believe Groundhog’s Day was just three days ago?? Wow! Time really flies.
Repeat, ad nauseam.
Holidays are tough. For me, Christmas is the worst. It’s not because of the presents. I don’t have any particularly memorable Christmas dinner memories. My family is small, so we didn’t have a huge party.
What I miss the most can be summed up in this picture:
My dad and this amazing outfit on Christmas morning. Everyone, take note. THAT is the look on Christmas. Bathrobe, white tee, no pants, pipe. If there was a shit to give, my father did not have one. He would make his instant coffee (Sanka, of course), get his pipe, and park it on the couch where he would unceremoniously unwrap ties and homemade ashtrays.
Then, my dad suddenly of a heart attack when I was 21 years old.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cleaning up the house. Now, when I say “cleaning up the house”, I mean cleaning all of the pieces of garbage that his stupid dog gets everywhere. I came to the area in the bedroom where his dog bed was and stopped abruptly. “Um, babe? Could you do me a favor and just grab that stuff on the floor real quick?” I asked sweetly. Thinking there must be something heavy or gross on the floor, he came around the bed and looked down. “What? What is it?” he asked, looking very confused.
If you have read this previous post of mine, you can probably see where this is going. He, however, clearly did not read that entry. Great. I gave him the quick and dirty version of why I don’t touch foam. Normally, he is a loving and compassionate man. He’s very sweet and kind to me. So, you can just imagine my horror as he proceeded to laugh hysterically, pick up the foam, and chase me with it. I’d love to tell you all that we had a really good laugh about it, but, I’m not a liar. As I was running for dear life throughout the house, hysterical, almost on the verge of tears, he shouted “NERD!!!”
I’m not sure what it is about me, but I have this uncanny power to have complete strangers tell me the weirdest, most personal details of their lives within minutes of meeting them. I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but I promise you it’s true. There’s the time I was getting a pedicure and the woman pretty much told me that she was human trafficked here from Vietnam. Or the time that I was in TJ Maxx with a friend and a woman blocked our path and demanded our opinion on some crappy things she was buying. This small traffic stop resulted in a 15 minute conversation about how she is living with her ex husband, whom she hates, but loves his money. I don’t know what it is about me, but I just bring it out in people. It’s actually not a bad thing; it’s great for me because it gives me awesome stories. However, there is a time and place for a story, and when I’m laying on a table getting a facial, it’s not the time to talk about your bowel habits.