"ha, ha, HAAA...!"
"you're totally copying k.'s laugh", my k. declared.
it was true. i loved k., loved everything about her. her slamming style, her adorable anxieties and her take no-prisoners wit, graduated summa cum laude from the "chris rock academy for the slyly subversive". this soldier of god wielded a mighty double-edged sword, for behind her christian shield, she would slay the pop culture landscape until sliced and diced into a caustic soup of chunky sound bites.
and i would laugh.
when julia roberts' and her neigh heard 'round the world deafened us all. when gere's billionaire to her happy hooker teasingly snapped shut the little blue box of diamonds upon her experienced finger. when predictability pulled our attention away from the shiny, corporate adaptation of "eat, pray, love", like the lunar tide, a drinking game was born. take a shot every time julia laughs. good thing i'm sober, or the double-digit tally would've plunged me dumpster diving for more, as the end credits rolled.
and i would laugh.
ah, midsummer night danish dreaming. it was a tricky, trippy dance, mastering the nuances of the world's most ridiculous language - danish. often i'd declare, "that's funny!" in my native tongue and like a puppy, my bedstemor was up for the challenge. eyes alert, tail wagging, never did she leave a room without sniffing every corner. she'd zone in on my fascination, head cocked, ears radared, sirening an APB in our commedia d'allegro.
she'd cry, "is that funny-strange or funny-ha-ha?"
and 9 times out of 10 we'd burst into peals of "funny-ha-ha!", grabbing each others boobs, screaming in public places or deliberately interrupting as Teller to her Penn, Bedstefar, only firing the flirtations that never ran cold through their endless love.
and i would laugh.
then came the silence.
silence louder than the cacophony of latexed throws against a punching-bagged man; slapping him silent. silence thick like fog, gassing us into glassy-eyed zombies.
one drugged, the other dragged.
and our cabin in the hills went very, very still.
[it's hard to laugh when you have a mouth full of pills.]
hospital life is by definition, absurd, but, i'd always play the fool, rattling the bells on my jester's cap as my jazz hands splayed.
"check out my positive attitude, duuuuude...."
[the joke's on you.]
like a fellini film, my revolving hospital door, on any given day, undammed a flood of random characters. but beneath the masked chaos; the pills, the pokes, the phantasmagoria, frantic, i'd peek, seeking order; sense out of non.
the technician's animated surprise that i was sleepy, nay, catatonic for her 5 am draw. she'd flick on the overhead florescent, atomic wattage shocking me awake, spotlighting her stunningly thick paint job, and i'd wonder how anyone could apply so much makeup, so early, when the sun's not even up...
shake, shake, shake me like a polaroid picture. groggily elbowing myself raw, defibrillated out of my non-REM-ed doze, my blood pressure'd sky rocket. ducking the laser gaze; the skeptical arch of a nurse's brow, i'd gasp, "really? REALLY?", choking on the hermetically-incorrect amount of perfume she'd sanitized herself with...
the medical students with less than zero bedside manner. they'd park in a cul de sac around my bed, shooting off questions like a backfiring jalopy, searing like gunshots into my unbullet-proofed vestige; my remaining hope bled dry. rendering gentle smiles and nods as gifts, i'd trudge through their cerebral cementing of questions, laying it on so thick i could stiffen and harden into a bitch, if i didn't pour it on just as thick...
the cylindrical, 3" x 12" tube, kidney by proxy, slurping my toxins through a maze of plastic linguine, red sauced.
oh, i would laugh.
through my tears.
when we Meet, Sharing tales from the darkside, laughter rumbles through, rolling like the thunder that sends a dog running for the safe and dusty underworld of the bed. startled, i squirm in my seat. with every lightning strike of laughter, our old behavior flashes skeletal bright. too soon? always too soon, but never soon enough, to laugh through what strikes dead. with head-bent giggles, we spiral back down the rabbit hole, not scraping and bleeding up against the walls of rock bottom, but softly landing in a pile of giggles, able to climb back up to the light,
tittering. tag teaming. together.
and i laugh.
he looks me in the eye and dances, gyrating with all the arm-swinging, butt-thrusting glee of an 80's video, light on substance, heavy on MTV rotation. and you're crushin', crushin' hard as he covers the almost-original boy-band's monster smash, "Girls On Film"...
"hen . on . pills...two minutes later...hen . on . pills..."
what is nightmare morphs into the impossible dream. we crest and land upon the time-honored shores of comedy = tragedy + time, refusing to implode with all the neon drama of an unplugged, burnt out building deserted along The Strip,
and we laugh.
i had an audition the other day. it was as surreal as any frame plucked from "8 1/2" and easily as raucous. i'm surprised they could hear my slate over the soundtrack of my heart. the casting director made a joke, cheesy, but kind, and i laughed.
he glanced over and smiled,
"i like your laugh".
i didn't recognize it.
it was too big for my body, and then, not big enough.
but, it was my own.
"i like your laugh."
so do i, dude, so do i.