Sunday, August 26, 2012

Possum Balls: A Story of Hope (and perhaps my best blog title ever)

If something was bad, I used to say it "sucked donkey butt." I don't know where that lovely expression came from, but it certainly has applied to the valleys of my life.

Let's face it, though. It's a crass expression; it's beneath me; and it's so 2008. As a pretend-writer, I need something much more ... poetic ... to sum up the past week.

Folks, the last week sucked possum balls.

I know. I know. I truly waste my talent here on the Porch. I should write for Hallmark.

Yes, I'm weary of my own complaining. I've worn myself out with it - and likely those who love me, too. At least I'm assuming that's why they automatically pour a glass of wine or hand me a cupcake when they see me. They know either of those will temporarily shut me up.

I was already working hard to embrace that whole it-is-what-it-is concept of life, when fate threw another curve ball. I'll spare the details for now, but trust me when I say it was one of those take-your-to-your-knees moments, when all the air in your lungs whooshes out at once, leaving you irrevocably altered. I hate those moments. They suck armadillo titties (too far? Really? Worse than possum balls?).

But this isn't about me. It really isn't. And believe it or not, this isn't a downer post.

This is a post of gratitude.

In the midst of a big, bad ol' storm, I found rays of light.

Anyone who knows my family knows that we have an irreverent sense of humor. I don't know where it came from, exactly. Perhaps it is genetic, or perhaps there is a gas leak in that big, old, rambling house we grew up in that resulted in permanent brain damage. Whatever the case, nothing is sacred with us. Nothing. I learned this week that not only will we do what is hard, but we will, somehow, find a way to laugh our way through it. Gallows humor is not for everyone, but it works for us.

It must be what inspired us to keep changing the dry-erase information board in a bleak hospital room this week, adjusting the patient's allowed activities to include "popping and locking" and "slip and slides." No, the nurses were not amused. But we were.

My family also spent some time each morning discussing stories in the local newspaper. One day, when I asked where an accident had happened, someone else misheard and thought I asked, "What were they wearing?"

That led to a discussion about how entertaining it would be if all news stories - instead of the who, what, where, when, why and hows - immediately reported on the outfits individuals involved in the event were sporting. This is where I should add that my family was in the newspaper business for a long time, so it's entirely possible we've absorbed too much newsprint ink.

Soon we began to make up news stories [insert Fox News joke here], including detailed descriptions of the subject's fashion ensemble:

President Obama announced today that a huge asteroid is slated to hit the Earth in December, most likely ending all life as we know it.
Obama was wearing gray, baggy sweatpants with a "Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong" t-shirt.
"This is a sad day for the world," Obama said, "But it's a pretty damn good day to be a Mayan."

Soon my mom and I had those cathartic, non-stop giggles, the kind that brings to mind that wonderful scene in Steel Magnolias when Clairee tells M'Lynn to hit Ouiser, and soon everyone is laughing through tears.

That's good stuff when you've had a week of a rotten stuff. It's the stuff of hope.

And I'll take that any day over possum balls and armadillo titties.


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