Tag Archives: humor as a coping strategy

What’s Funny Got To Do With It?

9 Jan

My inability to remember details is really starting to annoy me. Lately, I can’t remember lots of things that I really would like to remember. Like my New Year’s resolution. Completely escaped my mind. I may even have written a post about not being able to remember what my resolution was.

I refuse to call these senior moments. I’m busy; I’m distracted. It could even be my meds. I googled one of them. Apparently, lots of people blame it for their short-term memory loss. One woman wrote: “Yes, this medication causes memory loss with me. (laughing)” What could be funny about memory loss escapes me, but at least she’s got a sense of humor about it. This weekend, I forgot where I put the medication that might be causing my forgetfulness. I begged the pharmacist for enough to keep me sane while I looked for the mother supply. I couldn’t find it. I sent my daughter on the hunt, primarily because I know she will move things in her search, thinking that the lost item might be under something. My son will enter a room, look right, look left and declare, “It’s not in here.” My daughter found the drugs. They were in the medicine cabinet. I did not laugh.

So, I am not surprised that I can’t remember what event why siblings and I were discussing this weekend with my dad. The event was to occur in July, so maybe we were talking about Independence Day. My dad said, “I might not be around for that.” My sister and I froze for a beat.

“Dad,” I said. “You’ll be around. You’re going to fight like hell.”

He looked at me quizzically, clearly thinking I had lost my mind. I knew I was sane as my daughter had found my meds and I hadn’t forgotten to take them.

“I might be on a cruise,” he said, then gave me a “what were you thinking?” look.

I was thinking the same thing my sister was thinking. My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. We weren’t thinking “not around” like in going on a cruise; we were thinking “not around” like, you know, not around.

I haven’t written about my dad’s diagnosis because it’s not my cancer. Well, and because I haven’t wanted to write about my dad’s cancer. I’ve struggled, too, with how much of my personal life really belongs in my blog. I usually write about funny things and I haven’t found a whole lot that’s funny about cancer. At least not my dad’s. At least not yet.

There are any number of things that have happened in my life that I haven’t written about. My friends, my family (especially my kids), deserve their privacy. I respect my kids wishes regarding which stories I can tell and which ones are theirs to tell or not. I would love to tell you about one involving my son. It’s a riot. It’s really not even just his story. But, I’m not going to write about it. My daughter, on the other hand, reads every post to make sure she’s been mentioned at least once.

I don’t write obscenities, either. If you know me, you know that I have a mouth like a sailor. I worked around sailors for a time, but I can’t blame them. I’ve had a foul mouth for years. Still, I won’t use the “F” word, the “S” word (unless necessary, like when I wrote about the four-year-old who said “Oh, shit” when she realized she’d forgotten to bring something to school), and a number of other “single capital letter” words.

My son would give permission for me to write about the funny things he does and says. Unfortunately, most of them fall under the no obscenities rule. My son is the funniest person I know and he is also the most foul. I’ve read that Bob Sagat (the Full House dad) is a truly dirty comic. He’s credited with telling the dirtiest joke ever written. However filthy that joke is my son has one that’s filthier. It even makes my husband, who generally hides his head in his hands when my son gets his comic mojo on, laugh with glee. Ok, maybe not glee, but he’s laughing, feeling guilty over it, but laughing.

Right now, we’re in the beginning phases of coping with my dad’s illness. My sibs and I each have our ways of handling the stress. My sister wants to get to work. She’s one of those constantly in motion people. I know she naps, but I’m pretty sure she does it so she can go back to being in motion refreshed or because she stayed up too late being in motion. Even a dynamo needs to rest now and then.

My brother deals with the pressure by smoking. While I think that’s a really lousy way of coping, I certainly appreciate it. I smoked for years and it was hard as hell to quit. Took me five serious tries. When they invent a cigarette that doesn’t kill you and/or make you smell terrible, I’ll be sorely tempted.

I cope by running. Unfortunately, I can’t run every day without incurring some injury that keeps me from running at all. My other coping mechanism is laughter. If I can find the humor in something—and I very often do—it isn’t quite as scary.

But, so far, my dad’s cancer isn’t very funny. I’m still running, taking it easy so I can keep it up. Maybe I’ll plan on running an American Cancer Society-sponsored race. I look pretty funny after a run and my kids assure me that I smell pretty funny, too. I might even find another pressure release outlet. I hear yoga is good for that. I tend to fall over when I do yoga so that can be pretty amusing. I’ll probably forget where I put my yoga mat, though.

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