Laughing at life through the looking glass

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that laughing at the stupid things I do and think about is good medicine for me.
For starters, it would seem I quite simply have forgotten that two plus two equals four.
Early one morning, I went to the local car wash and put a $20 bill in the change machine in order to get loonies for the automatic car wash bay.
I wanted an $8 wash package and with four loonies in my hand, I shoved them into the coin slot.
“Two, four, six, eight,” I said out loud and then spent at least five minutes trying to figure out why the door to the wash bay wouldn’t open.
“What do you #@$%! mean ‘enter more coins!’” I shouted at the coin machine as dark clouds began to form over my head.
I got back in my truck and called the carwash hotline on my cellphone to inform somebody that the coin operation system wasn’t working.
I was cold and I was crabby.
“We’ll have to come over,” said a polite voice on the other end.
While I waited for the manager to arrive, I opened my wallet in a huff to count my loonies, muttering that I’d probably put more than eight bucks into that stupid machine already.
Sixteen of the original 20 loonies still remained in my possession.
Uh-huh, maybe I shouldn’t have dropped out of math class in Grade 10 after all.
And while I may not have mastered my math tables, I do know it only takes one stinky diaper in the kitchen garbage to make the house smell like the barn used to, especially when another toddler is found playing with the swinging lid and fanning the aroma of his little sister’s poop into the surrounding atmosphere.
“Granny Daycare” mirrors a game of sports. There is no ending you can write beforehand.
It’s a new adventure every time, including the one that gets you down on the floor playing “Pop-Up Pirate” and gingerly sticking plastic swords into the sides of a toy barrel in anticipation of the pirate jumping straight out the top.
When the game is all over, I almost always want someone to take me to the hospital for anti-anxiety medicine and to the chiropractor to get me out of the seized-up cross-legged position I am stuck in.
I’ve also learned that if I’m going to play “Pop-Up Pirate,” I must not do so before baking peanut butter cookies.
I was so frazzled that I forgot to add the peanut butter in the mix, and didn’t figure it out until all the kids were stumped by what was missing in the taste test when the cookies came out of the oven.
Hide and Seek—the ultimate outdoor game for all ages. And where does Granny decide to hide when it’s her turn? Usually it’s my husband who’s in the dog house, but. . . .
Getting inside the doggie doorway by the count of 20 is not easy when the width of the thing is much less than that of my derriere. In a desperate effort to disappear, I’m sure I dislocated my pelvis as a shot of adrenaline pushed me inside the doghouse, where I don’t think a canine has slept in months.
I know this because as I scuffled around in the cramped space to sit down, I came face-to-face with a pile of sunflower seeds and a red squirrel.
Startled by our sudden face-off, we both screamed—me in my girly voice and “Red” in a buck-toothed, high-pitched “chee” identical to the squirrel in the “Bridgestone” TV commercial from the 2008 Super Bowl.
And there wasn’t room for both of us.
In the moment of terror that I saw in the beady eyes of my nemesis, I envisioned that if I tried to escape, “Red” would launch himself into my long hair and have to be cut out with scissors.
I didn’t have a chance.
In a swift plan of reaction (and torn right out of a movie clip from “The Matrix),” as the squirrel leapt towards me, I veered to the side and he shot straight out the doggy door.
“Fiction is a bunch of little lies making up a big truth.” (W.O. Mitchell).
I felt like Alice in the rabbit’s house. I shuffled around and sat on my butt, and processed what had just happened in the last 30 seconds.
I could hear “Dot,” who undoubtedly now had the little monster treed and under quarantine. Or did the barking and “chee-cheeing” sound like animal laughter?
I couldn’t quite tell.
Just then, a spider the size of my thumb crawled out of the straw in front of me, rolled over on its back, and appeared to hold its stomach with four of its eight legs and giggle before it disappeared down a crack in the floor.
I just sat there half-expecting “Ozzie” the cat to appear in the doghouse doorway with a Cheshire grin.
“How’re you enjoying the game?” he would ask.
“They don’t play fair,” I’d retort, of the jokes the dog and the squirrel had conjured up for the Alpha.
“No one does if they think they can get away with it. That’s a lesson you’ll have to learn,” Ozzie would advise.
But instead, a grandchild peeked into the small space where a 49-year-old would-be contortionist sat composing herself.
“Granny! I found you Granny! How did you fit in there?”
There are some things money can’t buy.
The very moment—when I started to laugh—was one of them.

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