People process grief in odd ways sometimes.
For those of you who do not remember, years ago in the mid 1970’s there was a show called The Mary Tyler Moore Show … and in one episode the character of Chuckles the Clown, dressed as Peter the Peanut, was tragically killed in a parade.
By an Elephant.
Who tried to shell him.
A little song,
A little dance,
A little seltzer down your pants.
One liners abounded in this award-winning episode.
Lou Grant: Lucky more people weren’t hurt. Lucky that elephant didn’t go after somebody else.
Murray Slaughter: That’s right. After all, you know how hard it is to stop after just one peanut
Ted Baxter: [ad-libbing an on-air obituary] Ladies and gentlemen, sad news. One of our most beloved entertainers, and close personal friend of mine, is dead. Chuckles the Clown died today from – from uh – he died a broken man …
I don’t know his age, but I guess he was probably in his early sixties; it’s kind of hard to judge a guy’s face especially when he’s wearing big lips and a light bulb for a nose …
Chuckles liked to make people laugh. You know what I’d like to think, I’d like to think that somewhere, up there tonight, in his honor, a choir of angels is sitting on whoopee cushions.
Suffice it to say that the staff could not help but laugh … except for Mary.
She waited till the very serious funeral … and then could not stop laughing.
And if you want to laugh, here is the whole episode …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLJrcS8lsg (start at about 6:03)
I am also reminded of my friend Fred, who as a Civil War Re-enactor made it clear that when he died he wanted to be remembered in a very specific way.
Upon his death, his widow carried out his final wishes. She had Fred cremated. Then with his best friend dressed in his Confederate uniform, they went to his favorite re-enactment site, gathered his re-enacting friends around, said a few words, prayed a few prayers …
… and blew his ashes out of the end of a cannon … all over the field.
Always makes me laugh when I think of it.
And why am I remembering these humorous things having to do with such a serious subject?
Because it happened again … today. At two in the morning.
You may recall the ongoing story of my roof here recently. And how the Handyman came here, after much encouragement and a whole lot more avoidance, and put up a ceiling and a temporary roof on the front of my house.
This morning, after falling asleep with my netpad on my lap, the Facebook page dinged. It was a gal who occasionally helps me clean around here.
She: Hey did u hear abt (the handyman)? Hello?
Me: no, what happened?
She: He died today.
Well, that woke me up to say the least. And we chatted briefly about what had happened, and how sad it all was.
This morning I called a few people who knew him, or more specifically knew of my efforts to have him help here … and his creativity in excuses for postponing work.
And the responses were like something out of the examples above.
I tried not to laugh … seriously I did. But I failed miserably.
Me: Bad news.
Friend #1: Whats that?
Me: (Handyman) died.
Friend #1: (long pause) You mean the guy who always had excuses for not showing up?
Me: Yes, that’s the one.
Friend #1: Now he REALLY has a good excuse for not showing up. Sorry, don’t mean to be disrespectful…..
So I made another call.
Me: Thought you might want to know the news.
Friend #2: Know what news?
Me: (Handyman) died today.
Friend #2: The one with all the excuses?
Me: Yes, that’s him.
Friend #2: I don’t want to think unkindly of the dead….but….Oh Gee, I supposed he’d do ANYTHING to get out of repairing your roof! There I go …so sorrrrrry…
One more try.
Friend #3: Hey, whats up?
Me: Bad news. (Handyman) died.
Friend #3: WHAT??? The guy who did your roof?
Me: Yes, him.
Friend #3: He was really nice … and funny. I liked him.
Me: Yeah, me too. It’s such a shame.
Friend #3: Your roof just wasn’t the little piece of heaven that he thought it might be…. So he had to go find it elsewhere…
Me: (stifling giggles)
Friend #3: Sorry, taking steroids here … steroid effect……loopy!
Not sure if it is a reflection of me or my friends or just that once you reach my age you just want to not grieve any more than you have to … but I have to admit, it did feel good to think of him and smile.
Somehow, I think he would understand … and approve.