Comedy Stories


You never asked for this much insight.

But you can’t have both innocence and experience. Experience. A charming euphemism for pain and suffering. Either one will drive out innocence altogether.

Isn’t that what you’re really after—a return to Eden? Minus the snake. Minus the apple. Minus Adam, for that matter.

However, if you had stayed in an unspoiled world, you would have learned nothing. You would have felt nothing. You would have seen nothing.

Better to have loved and lost—etcetera etcetera.

Now let’s talk about your baggage.

Put it down.

You’re like a paranoid vagrant pushing around your prized possessions in a wobbly shopping cart. A shady businessman shoving his shredded tax returns into a nondescript briefcase. A hobo hoarding cans of ham and beans in a big red handkerchief tied on the end of a stick. A church lady clutching her oversized handbag full of mints and tissues and unanswered prayers.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

You aren’t the only one who is tracking Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief like an air traffic controller on a Friday night at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

So put the bag of grief down.

You can pick it up later.

You’ll have to.

It’s yours.

🜋 🜋 🜋


But at least open it.

(Are you afraid to open it?)

It’s been long enough.

What could possibly be in there that could hurt you more than It already has?

It. The incident that handed you your bag of grief in the first place.

The bag is purple velveteen with a gold tassel drawstring. “Drawstring” starts with the letter D. So do discouragement, disappointment, delusion, damage, deceit, divorce, disease, and death.

Pick your poison.

🜋 🜋 🜋

Be brave.

Put your hand into your bag of grief to find out what’s really in there, not just what you’ve imagined. Goblins and gremlins and goldfish feasting on your peace.

Reach in.

Know what you’re dealing with. It’s the only way to live while dragging that sack around for the rest of whatever. (You aren’t going to find anyone else to carry it for you.)

🜋 🜋 🜋

Good for you. Kudos for taking some initiative.

Fortune favors the bold.

Dig deep. Deeper…

Ah, you see?

It’s only a camera! Something both useful and harmless. (What kind of camera, you ask? I don’t think you get to pick. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Any more upset, anyway. I mean, you’re beyond grief stricken and lapsing into something biblical. Like “woe.”)

Frankly, it doesn’t matter if it is Daguerre’s camera obscura or a pixel-shifting digital camera—your memories of who or what you lost will be continuous snapshots taken over and over in your mind, conveniently stored in your hippocampus, neocortex and amygdala.

So the experts think.

But you know that those pictures of memories are stored in your heart. Sometimes they fade, sometimes they sharpen, sometimes they morph into angels or demons or both.

How you wish you could burn the negatives! Unfortunately, those past remembrances are part and parcel to whom you’ve become.

It would be easier to untangle your DNA than to forget what you longed for, what you will miss every day until you cease to be.

Hey, what are you doing? You can flick through the pictures later.

When it’s quiet.

Or when you’re alone.

Or during the holidays.

Or while you’re in the cereal aisle and you see a box of Froot Loops.

🜋 🜋 🜋

A little farther…

It’s such a capacious bag. It could hold anything. It might hold everything.

What else?

Ooo. A magnifying glass!

This will be useful in enlarging the things you’ve been berating yourself over. Afterall, your loss was entirely your fault. There were a dozen decisions you could have made to affect a better outcome.

You could have set up decision matrices or run calculations or hedged your bets. A magnifying glass will be useful in rehashing all the missed opportunities.

But you have time. You can ruminate on what might have been forever:

What you should have done.

What you should have done better.

What you should have done differently.

Pull out the magnifying glass again. Feel the thick glass oval, quaintly affixed to a wooden handle. Spend the blue-black hours of the morning reexamining your life in grotesque detail. Agonize over every jot and tittle. Relive every moment before It came into your life. Wallow.

Surely your own actions called down this plague of grief upon you! 

As if you had that much control over random events.

Please. You aren’t the god of this world or any other for that matter.

You’re a victim of circumstance, not consequence.

Just like the rest of us.

🜋 🜋 🜋

Anything else?

Check the bag of grief again.

There must be something heavy, I bet.

Saints preserve us—it’s a telescope!

A lovely one, too. Brass and leather.

Hold it up—like you are on the bow of a sailing ship heading north for new adventures!

(All right. We both know you are going back to bed. Existing is so exhausting.)

But note the artful arrangement of curved mirrors and lenses. See how the rays of light collect to magnify the image.

Now you can make distant things appear closer—just slightly out of your grasp!

Like the job you wanted.

Like the lover who spurned you.

Like the would-be friend who always suggested grabbing coffee.

Like contentment.

🜋 🜋 🜋

So, is that it?

Have you changed your perspective on grief while rummaging around?

Then take out the last optical instrument.

Behold the kaleidoscope. (Trumpets sound.)

See how the mirrors are tilted towards one another at an angle, causing an endless reflection—the backscattering more interesting than the simple colored objects it refracts.

Rotate the cylinder. The glittering bits shift. The symmetrical patterns are impermanent, ever-changing with a flick of a wrist.

Like your moods:

You are fine. You are not fine.

You lay prone. You lay supine.

You look at the kaleidoscope again, spinning the tube, shaking the colored shards, trying to decipher the mosaic in front of you. (Surely, the intricate patterns must mean something.)

And that is where you are stuck, my love, trying to find the meaning of It all.

Perhaps accumulating experience is the point. Experience buys strength and wisdom. You’ll need both for the next time It comes.

But this time, you will see It much more clearly.

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