I'm not sure when the right time is for funny. I am an amateur comedian at best. In light of the death of Joan Rivers, I realize that funny can happen fast. In fact, Joan would encourage funny to happen fast. It probably happened much faster than her daughter Melissa was ready for, but she knew her mom. Joan would have wanted funny fast.
In my family, my immediate family, the one I grew up with, funny is important. If you are going to sit down with my dad, my brother, and I you better be prepared to keep up. There is a sarcasm and quick wit that runs through our blood.
My grandmother passed away in her 94th year. She was 93. We never say 93. I always say, "in her 94th year." I am both mocking her and paying tribute to her when I say, "94th year." It is a long story, but it is definitely important to note that is important she get credit for the 94th year.
At my grandmother's funeral, my brother was late. He was young, in his 24th year, and had zero concept of time or responsibility. I was old, in my 34th year, pregnant with child number three and had so much responsibility it was choking me. I was peeved at his tardiness.
Fashion and style were important to my grandmother. I have lived in the shadow of that expectation my whole life. She passed it on to her daughters, and they have passed it on to their only daughter and niece. At heart, I just may be someone that could live happily in sweats and leggings and a big fleece shirt. It is her legacy that forces me through the doors of Gap, White House Black Market, and Ann Taylor each season to "get it done" so to speak.
My mother is a fashionista. She has style. Naomi is 71, looks 50 and with grace dresses like she is 40. She was about 60 at the time of my granmother's passing, had the body of a 30 year old and was in a word, "hot." She wore leather to the funeral. She looked good.
I was prickly with my brother for being late. Until...he leaned over the pew at the church and in the middle of the service whispered in my ear, "I didn't know we were wearing costumes. Why didn't anyone tell me mom was coming as cat woman." And just like that, all was forgiven.
There is a 9/11 story I never tell. It never seems like the right time. It never seems like the right thing to do. But it is funny. It was the first funny. It was told to me about 8 that evening. And I laughed. I laughed for the first time in about 10 hours, and for me that is a really long time without laughter.
My friend Mary and I were very close. Taught together, pregnant together, similar lives. Her daughter Annie was 5 on the day of 9/11. She probably sat on the couch all day. She probably heard her mother tell our story on the phone about 100 times. She had it down cold.
The brief version of what she heard goes something like this:
Corey was in New York
Corey was in the World Trade Center
Corey was there for Morgan Stanley training
Corey was on a break during the morning session
Corey was in the bathroom and when he came out and everyone was running
Corey never looked back and ran down 50+ flights of stairs and out the building to safety.
At five o'clock on the evening of 9/11, after hearing the above ALL day, with the news probably on the tv ALL DAY, and being left to her own devices ALL day....Annie had a friend over. And the friend asked, "what happened." And Annie said,
"Oh, our friend Corey was in New York...for bathroom training and....."
The rest doesn't matter because, I laughed. At bathroom training, I laughed. Long and hard and with total sincerity, I laughed.
I don't know when the right time for funny is. But I love that story, and today, on year 13, inspired by Joan Rivers, it seemed like the right time to tell it. You have heard all my deep thoughts on this subject, today, for me, it was time to share the laugh. Be inspired to be better, be inspired to be strong, be inspired to love, be inspired to care, but always laugh when you can. You need the laugh to get you through the moments where you never think you will again.