Comic Timing…



…I don’t have it. But I know enough to chuckle along, even to start the laughter when given the opportunity. It’s like applause and it’s fun to be first. I know people who teach this skill and live it every day so that the less-funny, like me, can imitate and play along.

It’s a good thing too because workwise, May is a bear for me. I’ll spare you the gory details. They aren’t funny. In short, my workload doubles so that I can take July and August off. If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

This particular month included two periods of unexpected overnight guests plus lots of homework and parties as the school/church year cycles to a close. Yes, there is always a wonderful built-in degree of frivolity and joyfulness, but I started this May with a doozy of a cold (see photo). Rob had another gout flare-up. And several of our friends are sick too; some hospitalized. It’s been quite the ride for all of us.

Still, remember when I promised myself I’d post once a month?

I’ve decided the best approach is to record the highlights that set me to giggling:

  • First, Murder for Two. Our favorite Seattle theater, The Fifth Avenue, added this musical to the season, recognizing that given the political course of events, we’d need some comedy. Sadly, the show got lukewarm reviews. At the same time my friend, Ruben, a long-standing, exemplary and recently-retired high school drama teacher, learned as he neared 65 and Medicare-eligibility, that his immigration status was being questioned. Because he always laughs loudly at the least provocation after the curtain rises, I decided in his honor, that I would laugh as often as possible during Mf2. Surprise, surprise. I earned myself several deep belly guffaws. Plus I flew to my feet at the end of the show joining my theater-going friends in a standing ovation. Ah, Laughter. Reviews be damned!
  • Later I stretched a lunch break – something I really have no business doing, especially at this time of year. I went to the hospital to visit my friend and her husband who’d had a stroke. You know how it is with dear friends. As hard as the situation may be we got around to quietly chortling together. We were spurred on by reading Billy Collin’s poems aloud from my phone—gems like Forgetfulness (we could all relate) and The Lanyard (since Mother’s Day had passed, we decided to dub May “Mother’s Month.”) When I got home, I found my favorite of his: Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House. That story never fails to cheer me.
  • Finally I heard my friend and colleague Betty talk about her career as a counselor in a high-poverty elementary school. Thank God, she has it, because she told us some sad stories. Again, the comic relief helped. So did her understanding about interventions and resilience. Since this presentation was designed as a send-off into retirement for Betty and her husband John, I was responsible for bringing the festive cake. It was decorated with two photos I’d furtively swiped from Facebook—a cute one of John and Betty as college co-eds when they first met thirty-some years ago and a classy one from their daughter’s recent wedding. I must admit I was proud of myself, yessirree; that cake would be a great centerpiece. As I showed off the goods to my social-committee buddies pre-party I suffered a moment of panic when one of them asked, “What if this person from the past is an old flame and not her John?” Sure enough, that guy from long ago is Betty’s brother. What a way to blemish a retirement gig?! Then again, Betty’s a comedian and has assured me, “Our family will retell this story for years with great hilarity.”

Ok, ok—you probably had to be there. Long and the short of it is, might as well laugh. It helps.


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