The rain fell hard with angry loud drops that blocked out the sound of everything else except the occasional crack of thunder. It was not a torrential calamity storm like the one that flooded my old friend Tom’s southern Louisiana neighborhood last week but it was a harsh enough rain that I kept checking the seals around my new skylight, watched the street for flooding and certainly wrote off any chance of mowing my shaggy lawn the next few days. My elderly dachshund opted to hold rather than risk a brief dog paddle through the belly high backyard puddles and the cats decided to skip part of their daily 22 hour nap schedule and stayed very close to me becoming an odd looking 12 legged shadow to my every movement.
The morning rains reminded me of those blistering Florida tropical storms the Miami weathermen would call gully-gushers where roads instantly turned into rivers. Those downpours were as blinding as an early morning English coast fog and felt like someone shooting a thousand BBs at the top of your head, which is a particularly uncomfortable experience for those follicly challenged folks like me.
Eventually my grey faced old dog’s bladder overtook his desire to stay dry and he started doing his ‘I need to go’ dance, which is very similar to his ‘give me treats NOW’ dance except it is performed a little closer to the backdoor with a few less spinning circles and a lot more grunting. I carried him to the small swatch of grass covered by the eaves of the house where the two of us huddled keeping relatively dry until a gust of wind shifted the angle of the hard rain. Already wet, the dog decided now was as good a time as any to prove again that he is hollow by emptying out so much bodily waste that he appeared to be breaking scientific laws of weights and measurements by leaving behind what appeared to be double his own body weight and mass.
This gave me time to think. A sort of follow up ponder to my somewhat semi-self-motivating head trip I took late last night while sitting in my yard watching the clouds amass in between storm waves. Yes, the wife and I have a lot on our plates right now but lots of folks do. Many, many people have it way, way worse than us. I convinced myself it’s time to slip on my tight fitting big-boy pants (which unfortunately look like those stretchy faux-jeans that everyone’s grandmother seemed to have had at some point) and face the world with my usual optimism and humor instead of wallowing in the sticky mental muck that sloshes around one’s feet and drags you down when they are feeling out of sorts and overwhelmed.
I don’t have it so bad, hell, my friend Tom’s whole city was underwater, his parent’s house flooded, neighbor’s rescued by boat and helicopter, yet with his same twisted sense of humor that I loved back when we were in High School together, he posted a photo on FACEBOOK of multiple unearthed caskets washing down his flooded muddy deluged local streets with the caption “Looking on the bright side, I have seen old friends and neighbors I haven’t seen since before they died.”
That’s classic Tom; no wonder we always got along, he has the same warped sense of humor as me. Of course it’s even funnier nowadays because he is a judge! More important than that, he is a good guy. When the floods receded he rolled up his own sleeves and did back breaking manual labor to help get his family, friends and neighbors back on their feet again. I think both selflessness and wackiness are necessary reactions to adversity.
I am in general a positive person and my off kilter humor has always helped me. When I was working on my degree, the head of the Florida State Advertising department once walked into my office, looked at the guy I was working on a major project with and said “you just keep this guy around to think of wacky shit. Don’t you?” I was never more complimented.
Just yesterday as the day was getting tense around the office, I almost made coffee come out of a coworkers nose when I told him you could destroy any waiter or sommelier’s chance of selling you a bottle of wine, if you follow up their explanation of it, with saying “wow, that’s the exact same description I used for my last fart”: ‘A rich full-bodied bouquet with a lingering hint of fruit.” or ‘complex and oaky with an earthy opulent finish’. It’s like saying ‘in bed’ after reading a fortune cookie, it always works and it’s always twistedly funny. My cubical neighbor mentioned that he will now never be able to order wine with a straight face again but more importantly he turned around and went back to work forgetting the issues bogging him down minutes before. Success.
So you might ask, what is the point of this blog entry besides rationalizing an appropriate reason to tell an inappropriate fart joke? Well yeah, that was an important part but also it is to point out that for me, sometimes when things feel a bit overwhelming I need to stop and take a break. Stare at the sky, walk in the rain, crack an over the top bad joke… whatever it takes to break that cycle of negativity and put things in perspective and back on track. No matter how long a depressing rainstorm lasts, no matter how much damage it does, it will always end. The sun comes out, the world dries up, the broken can be mended and we keep moving on.