Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Pleasure In the Pain...

My brother is all kinds of awesome.  More than a brother, he is my friend. Not only is he generous with his time and his money, but he is always there for me with a listening ear and another perspective on whatever I'm going through.

But my brother is one serious dude.  He's an engineer by trade and I'm not sure if it's the chicken or the egg here, but his brain is definitely hard-wired for logic.  Not that being ultra-logical should also make one ultra-serious, but in my brother's case, it does.

I've made it my personal life mission, since I was a very young child, to ensure that my brother laughs pretty often.  Being five years younger gave me a definite advantage when we were kids.  I could make silly faces or weird noises, engage him in burping contests or otherwise act like a complete fool and wait for him to crack a smile.  Now, it's not always so easy. Sure, I can still do all of those things but they're less funny now that I'm 36 and he's 41.  Well, they're no less funny, but we pretend that they are.

So, now, thanks to the internet, I send my brother funny videos and photos that I know will reach his twisted funny bone (a twisted funny bone that we both share and when I say twisted, I mean twisted...stuff like this).  But then there are times where I make my brother laugh without quite intending to. Just by being my neurotic, verbose, tall-penguiny self.

The other night, unable to sleep, I sent my brother an email.  And well, you read my blog, you can imagine what my personal emails are like.  I won't go into the details of this particular one, but, suffice it to say, it was a beautifully-crafted lamentation on heartbreak, entanglement and the dilemma proposed by Schrödinger's cat.  

Dear Brother calls me the next day and leaves me this message:

"Got your email.  (snicker)  Yes, I hear your pain.  (snicker, snicker)  I noticed you even managed to work Schrödinger's cat in there.  (snicker, snicker, snicker)  All very entertaining.  (full-blown laughter)  Call me later."

So, I call him later.  "I'm so very glad that my pain entertains you," I say, pretending to be angry.  Well, half-pretending.  Fine, I was a little pissed.  My heart's broken.  Work with me here.

"I never said your pain entertains me.  I just find the way you express your pain entertaining," is his reply.

"Okay fine," I concede, "But shit, who else do you know that can work a historical thought experiment and quantum mechanics into a commentary on love and grief?  No one.  That's right.  No one but me. So fuck you."

And then we both start laughing.  Because sometimes, pain is funny.  And sometimes, even your own pain is funny, because, well, it's just as ridiculous as the rest of your life.  

Sh*t My Dad SaysWhich brings me to the book I'm currently reading:  "Sh*t My Dad Says" by Justin Halpern.  This is one very funny book.  It's what the title says it is and Justin's Dad says some really funny shit.  There's this gnawing pain inside as you read the book because you wonder how it is that Justin was able to become a functional adult growing up with a father who says what his father says. Stuff like this:

"On Getting a Dog:

"Who's going to take care of it?  You?...Son, you came in the house yesterday with shit on your hands.  Human shit. I don't know what happened, but if someone has shit on their hands, it's an indicator that maybe the whole responsibility thing isn't for them.""

But still, as painful as it is, you have to laugh, because it's just so damn hilarious.  And it seems that time has given Justin the perspective it gives most of us in relation to our parents; all said and done, they're alright.  And although time doesn't heal all wounds, it gives us the distance to find the humor in them.  And sometimes, that's enough.

tall penguin

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