I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.
Today is my niece’s 18th birthday, but I received a fabulous gift myself when I called her this afternoon.
Victoria, one of my two beautiful nieces, has been a character ever since she was born and things have only gotten wilder as she’s grown.
This beautiful young woman—I still can’t believe those words—had me roaring with laughter when I called her today, something I never would’ve thought possible given the current state of my mind and body.
In addition to the Saga of My Aching Back (SMAB), I’ve had some kind of sinus infection for the last 10 days that keeps threatening to go away before coming back to hit me twice as hard.
Things really hit bottom early Tuesday when I went through a dark and stormy night of my own making.
I was coughing, choking, and cursing the fates, the course of my life, and my traitorous immune system. I felt like a two-legged lab rat waiting for his next toxic injection.
It could’ve been another episode of Rage, Regret, and Repeat, but this night was particularly bad. My mind got so messed up I actually scared myself with my twisted thoughts.
I kept thinking about all the days I’d been sick since first contracting mononucleosis back in the Eighties—it would probably add up to years by now. After factoring in all the good times and great opportunities I had missed, I was really wondering what was the sense of being alive.
I haven’t reached the point where I can live with this condition, where I can accept myself whether I am healthy or not. Anger makes the situation worse and the fact that I can’t remember this when it counts only adds to my frustration.
I was feeling pretty miserable when I got up this morning after another night of coughing and wondered just how much 2013 was going to suck.
And then I called Victoria.
Step On It
My niece and I tend to talk for a while and our conversations resemble a drive on an endless country road. We have no idea where we’re going, but we do enjoy the ride.
Victoria started talking about annoying drunken young women at clubs and dances and I felt compelled to tell her about my alcoholic misadventures at the company’s holiday party.
This information had Victoria howling as she demanded to see video evidence of my spectacular crash and dance. To the best of my knowledge no such recording exists, praise the Lord, and I explained to Victoria that I only shake my booty when I’m properly plastered.
She promptly challenged to me to a dance off and I warned her that I knew a lot of old time moves. Then she cranked up the tempo.
“If I get married,” Victoria declared, “you have to dance at my wedding reception!”
“Are you going to get married just to see your drunken uncle dance?” I asked.
“It’ll be worth it.”
And then we started laughing like loons, each one trying to out-crazy the other. It was definitely a “you-had-to-be-there” moment and I’m so glad I was there.
“What are you going to do?” I asked between yuks. “Go to a shelter and pick out some homeless guy just so you can have a wedding?”
I didn’t recognize the happy idiot I had become. Was this the same guy who just a few days ago had wondered if life was worth living?
I don’t know if laughter really is the best medicine, but it sure worked a hell of a lot better than that vile-tasting cough syrup I’ve been guzzling.
Victoria and I logged in a few more miles on the wedding routine before our moveable funny farm went off in another direction and we wrapped things up a short time later.
But before we rang off, my niece, who is now old enough to vote, reminded me about her dance-off challenge.
“It’s on!” she said.
Oh, yes, it sure is. And I want to be around to enjoy every minute of it.