Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Laughter Goes a Long Way

Disclaimer: I haven’t written in a while. No valid reason – just that I’ve been crazy busy. Which is really admitting that I suck big time.


I recently had a tough week. So tough that my Facebook post indicated I would happily greet Friday with a kiss.  My friend aka WTF replied, “with tongue.”  I immediately realized why we were friends.  But really, what makes a good friend?  Loyalty, kindness, listening – blah, blah, blah. Of course all those things matter – and they should.  They really do make for long-lasting and meaningful friendships.

But what is the other stuff that makes people click? Those things that someone says or does that makes you realize –for good or bad – that that is why you are friends.

For many – so very many – of my friends, it’s their twisted, often adolescent – sense of humor.  In fact, I think I can happily say that every single one of my friends makes me laugh.  I can tell each of them a joke – be it political, dirty, sick or twisted…and they will laugh out loud. Even if they really don’t like the humor and are likely laughing at me trying to tell it while I’m laughing so hard I wheeze.

But more than their sense of humor, it’s their ability to laugh at themselves.  As you know, my Big Susan Neiman has breast cancer.  During my visit, she was wearing “Serena” the long, dark wig of her alter ego. While driving, several guys did a double take and I reassured her by pointing this out and telling her that men would still find her beautiful. Her response? “No, they were just saying that bitch can’t get away with a wig.”  I nearly peed my pants.  When Legs was out and about and her purse spilled in a parking lot….and out came a bra…she held it up, showed her kids and laughed out loud.  When Lips drove into her garage…with a bike still on the roof rack, she was pissed – but laughing when she told us.  When Beach was so excited to show me how the cute skirt she was trying on was really a skort and flashed the flap – only to reveal that she wasn’t  wearing panties – all while standing in the mirror in the unisex changing area of Banana Republic? We both doubled over with laughter. (This was more than 15 years ago – we still laugh.) When any of my mom friends admit to a big “parenting fail” and then laugh about it.  This endears me to them.  There is a time and place for being serious –but knowing when not to is way more important. 

Now, I’m a wee bit sarcastic. I know this and most people that know me realize this, too. And, for some – it may not be in a good way.  Some Many of my friends are also sarcastic. This makes me love them long time.  Because some things just require a certain amount of snark and friends that can deliver it well, appreciate it often and use it wisely are to be cherished.

Some friends are a bit self-deprecating.  I’ll admit to calling myself a bitch and assume the neighborhood kids think so, too because I’m strict and I yell. A lot.  Doesn’t seem to stop the little buggers from coming over. The Bomb always says she really doesn’t like anyone.  But she doesn’t lack for friends and is the first to volunteer.  But what I really love is when my friends just get me. I was giving Lips a pair of wedge sandals that I never wore. I couldn’t really articulate how unattractive I felt when wearing them.  She said, “Oh, you mean like an amazon tyranny? I know just what you mean.”  Or when talking to Neiman about a man-boy and I admitted that I wasn’t sure I could get over a particular bit of snobbery and admitted to being horrified that I sounded just like her. She laughed, agreed and told me to get over it.  She has no idea how much I can't wait to throw those words back to her.

Seriously, who hasn't laughed this hard at a friend doing something stupid?
My friends know that I may laugh at them and laugh with them – but at the end of the day, I’ve got their back. I laugh at myself as often as I laugh at my friends.  Yes, I’ve walked out of the restroom at work with my skirt tucked in my panties.  I’ve laughed, coughed and sneezed at the same time – and for women of a certain age who have had children – well, that never ends well. I was just happy I was in my own house so I could quickly go change my pants.  I’ve tripped, slipped and fallen – all with an audience.  And really, who hasn’t let one slip during yoga class and then looked around to see who you could blame? And then laughed hysterically about it later with friends.

It's often the sense of humor, or lack thereof, that prevents us from becoming friends with someone. I would be hard pressed to be good friends with someone who didn't have a similar funny bone. Or at least the ability to talk smack about folks while people watching.  Nothing like an inappropriate comment, politically incorrect joke or well-timed snarky response to bond two people together. It's like finding a secret relative you actually like.

At the end of the day, friendship takes work. Like any other relationship, friends require patience, compromise, nurturing and care with a deep talk, good cry or silent understanding.  Blah, blah, blah.  But it's the other times, with a large bottle of wine, a really good joke and some big laughs that keep you coming back for more.  Humor is the icing on the friendship cake – the stuff that makes it more fun and oh so much sweeter.

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YOur comments and/or story about your Big Susan are most welcome but don't hide behind "anonymous". If you have something to say - by all means say it - but stand behind your comment with a recognizable name.