Yesterday morning Harris went to our town’s annual Halloween event, Monster Mash, dressed as Obama. The faux president was a volunteer and I worried that someone might think he was making fun of our country’s leader or worse yet he was a “white boy” being a racist. Nevertheless, we dropped him at the corner near the Bogue Falaya Park and Karl yelled to the policemen on watch, “Hey can he get an escort please? His code name is Big Bird!” Harris hollered back “Hope and Change, Dad!” and ran off to meet his buddies.
Oh boy I thought we’re gonna get arrested. Fortunately Sgt. laughed and we went to our local haunt, Toad Hollow, for fresh blueberry pancakes. I worried that Harris was being heckled by little girl princesses or stabbed by miniature pirates. Afterall, he was probably the only Democrat, fake or not, in a sea of a red state populous. “He should’ve dressed up as a hobo or something”, I said as I ate the last bite of my organic chicken sausage. “Yeah…” laughed Karl, “he could’ve made some extra change!” That’s my husband, the funny guy, normally finding wit and humor even if is a serious or dire situation. I guess he has what some would consider”gallow’s humor” but for the most part he is that ray of light one might hope to see if you were trapped in an underground cave.
Okay at times his humor borders on buffoonery or shall we say it pops up at inappropriate moments like the Sunday we were at Mass and he gave me a wide-eyed look during the offertory procession. Then, he did the head nod for me to look right at the lady standing in the aisle with the basket of soon-to-be consecrated Hosts in her hands. Let’s just say she had what my Mama would call “goat in the garden”, a lovely euphemism for something that happens when your drawers are not where they should be!
Finding humor in life is a gift. Aristotle said in his Nicomachean Ethics (which by the way I have NEVER read!) that we all need to pray for the virtue of Eutrapelia, which is literally translated to be “wittiness” or “well-turning”. The Institute of the Incarnate Word (www.iveamerica.org) says that “it is the ability to turn deeds or words into relaxation.” There is a balance necessary for eutrapelia between making fun of someone or something (buffoonery) and boorishness or the inability to take a joke. The trick is to find mirth and joy in any situation. The last few weeks of our lives have been like a ride on a crazy roller coaster, the kind that make you close your eyes, hold on tight, and pray the rosary until the ride ends. I’ve been so exhausted that in my mind’s eye I am the person in Munch’s The Scream. Karl just announced that the painting is called The Cry, and I argued, “No it isn’t; It’s the Screamer. He said, “I was an Art History minor at Baruch College “…(which FYI no one has heard of unless you’re living in Manhattan). I looked it up on Google and we were both wrong. The painting by Edvard Munch is The Scream. Karl says the painting is really about a guy whose wife is turning fifty, about to go through menopause and trying to give up her nightly glass of red wine because apparently she has too much yeast in her system. The guy is so stressed he runs outside in the street and yells, “I can’t take this shit anymore but Munch shortened the title to The Scream because it fit better on the brass plate.” Karl says on the back of the painting it reads “Ya can’t make this stuff up!” Basically THAT is eutrapelia as its finest.