I think I have a disease.
I claim to have caught this disease as a kid, watching Abbott and Costello, Bugs Bunny and Road Runner and Little Rascals and similar slap-stick type shows. They desensitized me and deadened my “initial compassion nerve endings” such that when faced with someone’s stumble or awkwardness, it’s like witnessing Curly go “Wub, wub, wub, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.” Were we supposed to first feel sorry for Lou Costello when his pants fall down? How about when Alfalfa hit a wrong note? Exception: I did feel sorry for Wiley Coyote. Also when that “America’s Funniest Videos” program shows their obligatory baseball-bat-to-the-privates--that makes me cringe.
Don’t believe me?
My husband, Fred, was walking through our bedroom and stubbed his toe on the bottom of our bed. I laughed out loud at the “OW” position his mouth made, the inflection of the word “YOWF” and the “hip-hopping” he did on his good foot. I didn’t show concern at all until his toe started to swell. It turned out to be broken. Fred still brings that up.
But I didn’t learn my lesson from the Fred-folly.
My friend told me about her bike ride with her dog. It was going fine, until Daisy, the black lab, decided she’d had enough and crossed in FRONT of her bike, which caused my friend to wipe out. Bravely, she righted herself, and climbed on the seat to ride again. That’s when…”Whoops Daisy did it again.” My friend was describing a traumatic event, but all I could think of was the visual I was getting and laugh. I feel bad, but I’m chuckling as I type this.
Recently, my 8-year-old daughter was taking a swim class. She was doing really well, but just wasn’t catching on to the side stroke scissor kick. As she attempted a lap-line voyage across the pool, she looked like she was being operated by some spastic remote control signal, “ziging” over the lane markers, sinking and kicking wildly. I BURST out laughing…..and she heard me.
“I was just thinking a funny thought.” I said to her later.
During another swim class, my friend and I were watching her daughter struggle with the dolphin kick. She’d sink and then every…… few…. seconds…… you’d see just her rear-end slowly surface and rise up out of the water like she was trying to take a breath through it. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. Of course we laughed. God would have laughed at that child. Luckily, her ears were underwater.
I did have the tables turned on me. On a recent weekend up north, a bug (I still don’t know what kind) flew in my mouth and down my throat. I coughed, sputtered and fussed for a full 15 minutes while my eyes watered and I tried to squeak out, in a rough voice, words like:
“Hey—A BUG just flew in my mouth!” and
“Hey---A BUG just FLEW IN MY MOUTH!!” and
It’s a good thing it was a small bug and I wasn’t truly choking, because Fred was useless to help. He had witnessed the whole thing and was paralyzed with laughter. Laughter at my potentially life-threatening bug swallow!!
I don’t blame him, though. He watched the same shows as I did as a kid.