Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Laugh

Posted on 05 February 2009

My brother-in-law Bill’s party on Ground Hog Day reminds me of a Danny Kaye song. Around 30 or so guests were willing to make fools of themselves for a laugh and although I felt like a little old lady in the bright yellow wig my sister gave me, I wore it most of the evening – for a laugh or two. 

Earlier in the day, as I was slaving over the lavish cakes for the celebration, I thought of another man who was celebrating his 62nd birthday on Ground Hog Day. Strange as it may seem, every year on this day, I think of my first true love – the beautiful dancer I met when I was 15 years and send him a silent message. This year I sent him a real one… and he responded, noting that “so many life ingredients were added to the mix in impetuous youth.” I continue to think on this… am I the same person today who I was then? Is Malcolm? Is Bill with his subdued afro? 
One of my favourite movies is “Ground Hog Day”. I love the idea of doing the same thing over and over until I have it right. And also the idea that there’s time to do anything I want – like learn how to play the piano and impress the one you love.
I am feeling a little breathless these days, feel that the world is spinning faster and faster, and there’s no time to catch my breath, no time to do everything right, and I’m trying, in the pause between breaths, to sort of out priorities. What must I do and what is unimportant in the business of selling a house? 
I had an email from another friend who noted something that she felt was profoundly true: “You always give up what you love.” This tore at my heart. As I look around the house that I have lived and loved in for 25 years and try and cover its flaws so someone else will want it, while at the same time, knowing that the flaws give it character, and whoever walks in and loves the place, will accept its imperfections; and I think also about the business accounts that our accountant is asking for (and which I haven’t begun), and all the things that one must do each day, each week, to keep body and soul together, I feel inadequate and not up to the task. 
“You always give up what you love.” I remember a scene from a movie – can’t remember which one –  where a nuclear bomb is about to explode and the husband tries to urge his wife into the bomb shelter, and she won’t leave until the dishes are done…. Priorities. I have said that I want to write a book before I die and I’m scared that I will never find the time to do what I love… though saying this I do a lot of little things that I love – like baking and decorating a beautiful cake and donning a hideous wig, like sitting in a cold restaurant, wearing my coat, and sharing a meal with good friends, like standing in an empty square in a little village in France with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a flute in the other, bringing in the New Year with two loved ones… 
And sometimes, I catch a glimpse of a solution to my battle against time… but at the moment it eludes me.

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