Today is a birthday of sorts. Well, if you consider birth as the removal of a body part that is unnecessary and unwanted after a certain amount of time. Then, that body part costs you money, time, energy, worry, hair color and lack of sleep. Yeah, it’s a birthday.
Today is the official date of birth of “Lumpy”. My unwanted son of sorts.
You see, Lumpy is not a living, breathing human being. Nah, that’d be too easy. Nope, Lumpy is a lump. A one centimeter mass of tissue living inside someone I care about. We don’t know when Lumpy came to being, but we do know he is about as loved and cherished as the perverted, just released from prison, drunken uncle that shows up at Thanksgiving with a meth-addicted hooker with several cesarean scars on display under her too large tube top.
Yeah, Lumpy is “that guy”.
Yet in my family, where most people talk about the seriousness of the situation, look up all the crazy medical information on the internet, pour over insane “natural” and holistic healing methods. Nor are we concerning ourselves with endless treatment options. Nope, instead we joke, we laugh, we design obtuse and inane scenarios with each other where “Lumpy” becomes a sentient being but with no arms or legs and has to live inside a bell jar on our mantle and he can only communicate through rolling around on a small touch screen computer that is hooked up to a speaker. He’d say things like “Hello? Anyone there? I don’t’ have any eyes, ears or internal organs? Am I alive? What is my purpose? How the hell am I supposed to eat if I don’t have a mouth or even a digestive system?”
You know, shit like that. And we try to one up each other. Come up with scenarios where strangers come over for a party and Lumpy starts typing “What is that thumping? I thought I was alone? Who’s there? I just want to be loved? Why won’t anyone love me?”
Then, when the visitors question us as to where the disembodied voice is coming from we show them the bell jar on the mantle with a little yellow post-it note on it with the name “Lumpy” scrawled across it in purple crayon. Yeah, that’d be cool.
Then we could pump some EDM and have Lumpy try to rap about all his woes. How miserable and emo he is. Or, he could become some sort of death metal singer. Lumpy and the Tumors! That’d be awesome.
Okay, okay, I know, I am going overboard here. I can’t help it. It’s the way I’m wired. When I get stressed, when I’m nervous, when I don’t really know how to handle a situation, I make jokes. I laugh. I make light of the situation at hand. Be it a loved one in jeopardy, danger, pain, suffering or distress, I joke. Same with my own health. Same with any issue or problem I come across.
Call it my base survival instinct. I have to joke, I have to laugh, I need to release the pressure inside me or I’ll explode in rage. Not a good thing.
I’ve been told that both of these reactions, rage and humor are improper responses to stressful situations. I disagree. I used to rage, but it only made me exhausted and hurt more. With humor at least I laugh and feel better afterwards and no one is hurt. Offended? Yes. Hurt? No. Score one for Skip.
I don’t exactly know when this survival mechanism kicked in, but I do know that I like it. I enjoy being able to crack jokes and make obscure references at the most inappropriate time. Offend the sensitivities of people who demand I keep quiet and show respect for the situation I’m in or around.
To them and their ideas of keeping quiet and showing respect in the face of adversity I say “Ha! Yeah, right. Have you met me? I’m about the most impertinent person you could meet. For me to be courteous and respectful I’d actually have to have some sort of idiot. I’m insolent on a good day and discourteous on a bad day. My sarcasm and wit are what keep me from losing my mind and falling into a rabbit hole of general hate for a planet, a solar system, a galaxy and a universe hell bent on killing me and the ones I care about. Don’t believe me? Google things that can kill you in your home town or state. I’ll wait. Or better yet, google where in the solar system can humans survive besides earth. I’ll wait.
Done? Good. See. Scary stuff. Now you could curl up in a ball of humanity and cry. Or, you could joke and laugh in the face of your imminent death. Because that is what I plan on doing. Sure I’m going to have weak moments of introspection, but my humor, my sarcasm and my wit are tools that keep the nastiness of life at bay. It gives me strength in the face of assured doom. It warms my soul and brings daylight at midnight. It makes me who I am and I’d have it no other way.
So, ya, today is Lumpy’s birthday, the unwanted, unneeded bastard of flesh that has come into my life illegitimately. But that’s okay. Why? Because I’m hoping the doctors will actually allow me to take home this new addition to my family. I doubt it, but I hope so. Why? Cause it’ll make me laugh every time I look up at the mantle and see it slowly drying out and rotting away. Its birth and eventual death will make me feel as if I actually have some control over my own life.
Control, we really don’t have any. We live, we survive and we die all on some unseen clock and we never know who the timekeeper really is or where they reside. The only control is over how we react to the life we exist in. We are here, we are present, and we are experiencing history as it occurs. We have a choice in how we handle those experiences. Do we curl up and die? Do we become overwhelmed with stress and shut down? Do we charge into the madness and fray and let loose with furious anger? Or do we step back, take a moment and realize the comical nature that life really is. Do we take into account that none of us will get out of life alive, that our influence is really no influence at all. That when it comes down to it, the only thing we have is the people closes to us, no matter who we are, and that eventually, we all feed the worms and no one will remember us.
We are here now, let us live now, let us enjoy the good, the bad and the terrible. Let us laugh in the face of danger and strife, not because it is crazy, but because it will make you feel better and give your brain a few moments to assess the situation and allow you to react in a more thoughtful method. Well, after you’ve stopped giggling yourself silly.
That is what I choose to do. I choose to laugh, I choose to joke, I choose to be inappropriate in the face of proper etiquette. Not because I’m arrogant and believe I know better, but because I don’t want to be the one who fails at life by being so proper that I’m forgotten. After all, do you remember the guy who got drunk at the party and made an ass of themselves? Or do you remember the guy who sat quietly in the corner drinking club soda all night?
So laugh in the face of danger, in the face of adversity, in the face of strife and in the face of death. I’ve been doing it for years. And I’m going to do it today. So Lumpy, you crack me up, you’re small, insignificant, you can’t see, you can’t breathe and in the future, when you’re dead and gone, the only thing we will have to remember you is the laughter at your expense. Oh, and happy birthday and happy death day too!
Have a great week.