Sunday, September 13, 2020

Humility and hilarity

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, May 2020 

Some things are more humbling than others. Sometimes things are humbling and also hysterical. For instance, getting a new pair of shoes that have a little more heel than you’re used to, practicing walking in them so you don’t look like a frozen-toed chicken, then sashaying across the room all sassy-like only to twist your ankle and fall. That’s just humbling. Or accidentally saying the wrong word - a DIRTY word - in place of another, in front of the whole family at Christmas, trying to correct it, messing it up again, then messing it up THREE MORE TIMES before your mother finally says, “Enough! Stop trying to fix it!” That is humbling and amusing even while you mortified your grandfather. Or getting tickled with your best friend at the Tastee Freez and laughing so hard you pass gas very loudly (if you remember the old Tastee Freez in Miami, the place was small, sound carried, the booths were very hard and….resonant). That’s just downright hysterical. 

The other night I had an experience so humbling and hilarious I can only write about it and share with you, Constant Reader, because that’s just what I do. 

I’ve been doing some extreme social distancing since March, plus I had been in school for almost a solid year and had very little social interaction even before the pandemic hit. Only recently have I emerged from my little groundhog hole, eyes squinted, skittish, and very, very wary. We have limited our interactions to only our kids, my sister and her crew, and my mom and pops. Even those interactions are distanced and there isn’t the usual hugging and close proximity we are all accustomed to.

Last Thursday Paul and I had dinner at Mom and Pops’. After dinner, the fellas went to the living room to watch TV while Mom and I stayed in the kitchen and visited. 

You ladies know how it is, you touch your chin and accidentally discover a chin hair, and then it’s literally all you can focus on. I was trying to get it with my fingernails to no avail and Mom said, “Well, you can’t just sit there and fiddle with it, come on.” I protested, telling her I had car tweezers (because y’all know that car light is the best light to nab chin hairs) and would get it on the way home. She insisted I follow and as I entered the bathroom she unfurled a giant magnifying mirror from the wall. That thing had to be about 97,856X magnification. But I’m so short all I could see was my eyebrows and those were another story altogether. I tried standing on my tiptoes but still couldn’t get my chin in the frame. Finally, Mom got tired of watching me hop and stretch and said, “Give me those!” She snatched the tweezers, abandoned all social distancing rules, and grabbed my face. The hair was actually down below my jaw and still pretty small. She couldn’t see it. I found it and said, “There, right by my fingernail!” With a surgeon’s precision, she honed in on the hair. The room was quiet. And then…she started laughing. Then I started laughing. My chin in her hand, tweezers between us, both of us were laughing so hard that one of us passed gas. And one of us - okay, probably both of us - peed a little. The more we laughed the funnier it got and both of us were doubled over, wheezing, until Paul got concerned enough to come check on us. I heard him say to Pops, “I don’t know what was going on in there, but they’re both bent over and neither one of them can breathe. They’re probably fine.” When we finally composed ourselves we decided to just count our losses and leave well enough alone. 

The next day when I plucked that sucker from its little hiding place, I got to giggling all over again. Few things humble - and amuse - us more than chin hairs and having someone else attempt to pluck them for us. 

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We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...