I love to laugh. I really do. I mean it! I love it. And I love making people laugh. It’s like a drug to me. I’ve never used cocaine or heroin or uppers or goofballs or, Jesus – I’m so uncool…I’ll just say “illicit drugs”….but to me I equate enduring gut-busting laughter, or causing it, with that kind of high. Any of you hard-core drug users out there might disagree with me but you can’t prove me wrong so, piss off.
It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so hard that I felt like I couldn’t breathe and like I was going to pass out, and I really need a fix.
So I started compiling in my head the things that I can remember laughing at the hardest in my long, illustrious life. This is one of them:
College. 1988? Probably Midnight. Eating at “The Junction” with the usual suspects… a bunch of dirt-poor, over-worked, never-paid Theatre students. This was “our place”. We OWNED that place. You could write a check there for a buck-fifty. ‘nough said.
So I’m eating a taco salad (not their signature dish, but it cost like $ .12 – so it was pretty popular). I start choking and gasping for air. My friend “Sue” (I’m protecting her identity, from what I don’t know…but she’s the same friend with whom I shared Super Mario life-lessons) is sitting to my left eating her who-knows-what.
I’m gagging and can’t catch my breath. Other friends start to notice and become passively concerned, doling out the intermittent, obligatory “are-you-okays”. Sue doesn’t flinch and continues eating and I was pissed she wasn’t trying to help me. She was, after all, the only one there who had taken Nursing courses and was, I assumed, my best chance at survival.
I dramatically, natch, grab my throat, look directly at Sue and sputter out the word “HEIMLICH!” in my raspy, nearly-deadness. She. Does. Nothing.
Someone from across the table leans over and smacks me on the back in a pretty half-assed sort of way, rolling their eyes the whole time. That pissed me off too. I cough and the offending piece of something dislodges in my throat. I breathe hard and drink some water, slamming the glass down with a flourish.
Once I compose myself I turn to Sue, and with arms flailing in their ridiculous Italianness, yell…
“What the FUCK!? You couldn’t HELP ME??!! I said Heimlich!!!”
Without looking up and continuing her meal she said……
“If you can say it, you don’t need it.”