Funny Things to Ponder

Impersonating Happiness


My mother was never a reliable narrator of her own story. Once, she had a heart attack. It was the very best kind of heart attack a person can have. It was the kind that happens when a person self-diagnoses, well actually misdiagnoses, her own panic attacks. She was immediately given a clean bill of health from her cardiologist. The second and third opinions concurred with the first. Out of habit and suspicion, she continued walking around holding her chest for several weeks while,swearing off anything that spiked her blood pressure. Unfortunately although i was born for greatness, I was born into the wrong family, full of eccentrics.
My family communicates through extremes: comedy, silence or drama. Speaking directly, or from the heart, is too "on the money. It would eliminate all the anxiety of a surprise, of nuance. Nuance, it turns out, is very convenient. The perfect scapegoat. You don't necessarily have to mean what you say. You can even pretend to be misunderstood. Often humor impersonates happiness.
When my parents divorces, they joked about it for months. My mother would giggle and make snide remarks about my father's appearance, or his inability to dress himself properly without someone laying out his wardrobe. She once joked about if it wasn't for her he wouldn't be able to find his way home, which I thought would have been fine, since he wasn't welcome to come home anymore, anyways.
My father laughed about how my mother would be afraid to leave the house without him. All dressed up with no where to go, is what he would say. He once joked she would have to live her social life talking on the phone, which I thought would be fine, since she never stopped talking anyways.
Neither one of them were ever kidding, and neither one of them appeared funny to me then. At least not on a topic so close to them or so damaging to me. Their marriage wasn't, as fate may have it, a mistake. They were perfect for each other even if they couldn't manage to be happy. They did fit, in that peculiar way that incomplete people sometimes do. They failed in different areas, and when they felt up to it, they picked up the slack and helped each other out. I always thought I saw them "happy" as a child. Turns out neither of them could tell you the true definition of happy. My parents needed structure, needed to be steered by love. They had no confidence and no self worth. Thus made me realize it is so simple and ignorant to impersonate happiness.