Do you remember that Saturday Night Live skit? It's been done by everyone from Christian Slater to Rob Schneider to Adam Sandler, and it's still funny. Every time I watch it, I laugh. If you haven't seen it, youtube it. Basically, customers go into an antique store, pick up an artifact, and ask the shop keeper, "What is this?" So the owner explains what it is and where it's from then ends the exchange with, "Dude, you can put your weed in there." For some reason, I thought Steve Martin and Bill Murray did the original, but when I looked, I couldn't find any reference before 1993. However, I digress... kind of.
Bear with me for a minute.
Two weeks ago, when we were in Montana for DB's dad's funeral, it brought back memories of when my own father died in 2006. We were very close, and there isn't a day that passes where I don't miss him. He liked a good beer and a bad joke and is the reason that I love Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, and SNL. You see, growing up, if a boy broke my heart, my mom would say, "There are a thousand fish in the sea," and that would be that. My dad, on the other hand, would say, "Was it a Buster Keaton kind of break up or the Monty Python kind?" In other words, was it 'Hard Luck' or 'just a flesh wound?' Regardless, we would sit on the couch and watch something funny, and when I wanted to laugh more than I wanted to cry - the world was alright again.
It's still how I lick my wounds when life has become too brutal. In fact, after my dad's Wake, when I left Pennsylvania and finally got home to the Midwest, my best friend met me at the door that night. We didn't say a word to each other, we just went inside, opened a bottle of wine, and watched the Great Dictator - my dad's and my favorite movie of all time. Then, as "The End" rolled across the screen, TB held up her glass, toasted my father, and added "So that had to be pretty fucking awful." When I finally stopped sobbing, and I actually started laughing, I knew I'd be OK. I also knew that I owed TB a huge favor for pulling me through that night, a favor she's already requested. One that all of us could benefit from.
But, as always, to tell you that part of the story - I have to tell you this part first.
After a death, you have to decide what to do with the deceased person's... stuff, and neither my sister nor my mother could go through my dad's things and decide what should be kept, what should be tossed, and what should be donated. Emotionally, they just couldn't, so the task fell to my brothers and me. Now you should know something, these two men have tortured me all of my life. They are my big brothers. And, even though we're adults now, nothing has changed. No event is too sacred and no person is exempt. We still torment each other, and we still love a good game of, "Would you rather?" Have you ever played it? It's where you provide two untenable scenarios then make the other person pick the lesser of two evils. The best part of which is when they have to explain their choice.
So while going through our father's clothes and shoes and hats and ties and prescriptions, we found ourselves asking each other morally-reprehensible, completely hypothetical questions like, "Would you rather die and have people find out that you liked to buy porn or that you liked to make your own?" And, "Would you rather die and have people find out that you needed Viagra or that you didn't?" Etc. Etc. And, YES - it was WRONG of us. And YES - FOR THE RECORD, had my mother heard us, we'd have been grounded until she died (or we died because she'd killed us), BUT - to paraphrase Churchill ... its better to have vices that you admire than virtues that you dislike.
At any rate, when I was back home, telling TB everything, I told her that we played 'Would you rather' while going through my dad's personal effects. I honestly thought nothing about it. I just thought it was funny. That's when she said, "Oh sweet Jesus... when I die, go straight into my bedroom and get the Adidas box on top left shelf in my closet. I don't care who's there. I don't care who tries to stop you. You are morally obligated to get that thing out of my house before anyone goes through my shit, and if you ever look in it, I will haunt your ass." The only thing I could say was, "Really... an Adidas box? What if I grab the wrong one? What if there are just SHOES in the box I grab? You won't even let me open the damn thing to make sure... Why don't you put your 'unmentionables' in something that's unique?" Then, without skipping a beat, TB and I said, "Plus, you can put your weed in there..." While we may not get high, we certainly get each other's sense of humor. And in thirty years, if I outlive TB, I promise to sit on the couch, watch a movie, have a glass of wine, and laugh... because sure as shit - I'll have the wrong Adidas box.
Talk to you next week.