You know those weeks. Your car gets a dent in the parking lot of the dentist office where you just went in for a check-up and came out with a surprise root canal and seven fillings and instructions to stay away from solid foods for the next ten days. Your car, previously only slightly used-looking, now has a lovely scrape of red and yellow paint all along the side of it and you can’t afford to get it fixed anytime soon. Who even has a red and yellow color combo on their car?
You suppose this explains a whole lot about the driver who hit your defenseless car and didn’t even leave a note. You arrive home to discover that your entire apartment has been infested with brown widow spiders, a lesser-known cousin of the black widow, but even MORE poisonous! The insect killer professionals tell you they’ve taken care of it but it turns out that they accidentally sprayed something lethal to humans as well so you’ve got to take your swollen face and jacked-up car and bunk on a friend’s couch. You get a text from your mom that your childhood dog of fourteen years has died under a bush in your backyard. Your boss doesn’t really care about the multiple tooth casualties you just suffered and you’re forced to continue on with the work week as planned. Your bank account has a negative balance and you’re overdrawn on that one credit card you have with the hideously high interest rate. Therefore, you are forced to eat boxed pasta and ramen noodles and scrape jam out of the jar for dessert until payday. Throw in a significant other cheating on you or a flame turning you down and you are officially having one cosmically awful time in life.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes, bad things come not in pairs, not in triplets, but in spades. When it rains, it pours. It often rains cats and dogs and they fight each other in the sky. I’m sorry, this metaphor got away from me. What I am saying is that there are days/weeks/months and, sometimes, in my case, entire years that make you want to shake your fist at the sky and beg “Why, WHY?!?” while a concerned elderly neighbor looks on, standing at their mailbox in their slippers and pajamas.
You know what I mean, right? When it just feels like the universe has decided to poop on your entire life? If you don’t know what I mean about cosmic crap I don’t know if we can be friends, but I’ll still try to fathom your gloriously pain-free life. These little life phases in which everything and everyone has decided to turn against you are actually nuggets of opportunity. Mine your pain for laughs! That’s what all the cool kids are doing right now. Have you seen 30 Rock? Liz Lemon’s entire life is pain for laughs, misery for humor.
I have an example. Last week I just had a super down-and-out, lower-than-low week. It was a build-up experience, a domino effect, a collapsing Ponzi scheme. It all culminated in one of my professors pulling me into his office and asking me how my life was going because he was concerned about me. Boy, did he not think that decision through. I burst into tears in front of my professor and tried to explain through hiccupping sobs that I wasn’t trying to get him to give me a better grade, but life was just “really really hard” right now. You know what they say – you’re not a true collegiate until you’ve had a break down in front of one of your professors! Right? This was a Liz moment if there ever was one, except my professor wasn’t a horrified Jack Donaghy, he was a horrified older man in charge of my grade.
This is what I did with this humiliating, mortifying, melt-through-the-earth-inducing experience: I made it funny! The next day I told the story to a friend, and by the end of it we were both laughing. Pain, mined for humor. Misery, mined for laughs. I feel like there’s gotta be a Disney song about this somewhere.