Final Cosmic Joke Of The Year, 2019

December was a shit month; full of alarm, depression, turmoil and health scares. I'm exhausted and spent. Everything tires me and wears me out quickly with minimal exertion. A spate of doctor's visits and numerous tests find my childhood Asthma has resurfaced, with a vengeance and in debilitating fashion, exacerbated by severely decreased lung function, necessitating the use of new prescription inhalers. Quel drag...

It's been my habit to stop for lunch at a little family restaurant in a shopping center near home after these appointments, to regroup and cheer myself up. Greeks run it. A nice menu, cheap prices, large portions. A cozy place. Comfort food. I hate eating alone, and feel self-conscious, so I always try to have something to read with me. I stopped at the drugstore and while my depressingly expensive new ‘scrips were being filled, grabbed a paperback novel called NO EXIT, by Taylor Adams—a thriller about a woman --stuck during a blizzard at a highway rest stop-- who discovers a child shackled inside a van. (Chewing gum for the mind, you know? ) I’m feeling really lousy; hungry, tired, depressed about my health, out of pocket a shitload of cash for 3 new prescriptions, and am generally pissed off about the ersatz jollity and fake-ass holiday atmosphere pervading the shopping center as I enter the restaurant for some much-needed lunch.

I sit down, order a sandwich and some coffee, and try to relax. A few minutes later, j-u-s-t as the waitress sets down my plate, the Muzak in the place changes from the cheesy, Greek instrumental stuff they usually play, to... canned Christmas music. Oh, great. Bing Crosby crooning WHITE CHRISTMAS. What a cliché! Could my day *possibly* get any shittier? (“Fuck off, Bing!” I shout, in my head.) I take a bite of my sandwich, sigh, and open the book...


”SCREW YOU, BING CROSBY!” Darby Thorne was six miles up Backbone Pass when her windshield wiper broke, and that bass baritone voice was just kicking into the second chorus. It was official: he’d be getting his white Christmas. He could shut up about it now.”

(I swear to God this is verbatim.)

Well, I snorted and coughed, choked and heaved and spat a mouthful of semi-chewed sandwich right across the tabletop. What cosmic timing! God will have his little jokes... at my expense. I'm now convulsively hacking and gagging, barking like a circus seal. Tears are streaming down my cheeks, drool and bits of sandwich are dribbling from my mouth, and I'm also giggling like a demented schoolgirl, aware not only of the insane coincidence of the music and the timing of it all, but also how this involuntary spasm of a reaction must look to the other customers...

Then I had to frantically paw thru the drugstore paper bag to fumble one of my new inhalers to my lips, or risk blacking out from hyperventilating and gasping for air. Everyone in the place is staring at me. The waitress runs to my side, asking if I need help. I have alarmed, annoyed, disgusted or frightened pretty much everyone within line of sight and earshot. A pretty dismal goddam lunch experience. I wonder how many people went home and told a story about the poor man who was having a seizure at lunch that afternoon..?

But it WAS my last good laugh of 2019.
How alarmingly funny is 2020 gonna be, and what are the odds I survive it?

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