Work with me people. We’ve got to find the funny in this. I know it’s there, but I’m looking at it from the inside. Did you think my mortgage modification was official? So did I. Evidently, it is somewhat up for debate. If we don’t find ways to laugh at trauma, the trauma wins. No. I won’t give it that much power, because persistence can succeed regardless. So, okay, a drink beside and partly inside me, let me tell you about yet another bizarre episode in my mortgage modification history; an episode that caught me by surprise.
Mel Brooks said it well, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” In my opinion, the wise man will know that cutting a finger could also be funny from the right perspective.
Today I received an “EXTREMELY URGENT – PRIORITY OVERNIGHT” package. Evidently, the folks on the mortgage side of my bills didn’t like the way the paperwork was filled out. The part they didn’t like was the part that they approved of when I talked to them prior to submitting it. Whether through a quirk of MS Word formatting or different standards in different states, according to a local Notary Public there was no way to legally notarize the document while also meeting the mortgage servicer’s specified instructions. I’ll spare you the details, but simply putting signatures and seals on paper has been more of a disruption than almost any other detail in this process.
That summary is the long answer compared to my reaction. WHAT?!?!?! I’ve already got the signed document from the mediator. The mortgage statements are coming in the mail the way they’re supposed to. My business is doing well enough to pay me well enough to pay the bills. I even fixed the fence. What do you mean when you say the agreement that was agreed upon is no longer agreed upon? If we agree to a new agreement, why should I think that agreement will mean anything?
The Trimbath Sanguinity slipped away for an hour or so. One of my closest friends can attest to that. I called him up to vent, he said one small innocuous phrase that hit a nerve, and I become downright boisterous in my response. It wouldn’t surprise me it feathers were ruffled on rudely awoken neighborhood owls. In retrospect, I think I managed to unleash a heavy dose of anger without using a bit of profanity. Hey, I might have enough vocabulary to become a writer yet!
If you want to laugh at something, step back from it. I was livid. My friends were sympathetically angry. A few steps further back and there will only be shrugs. Take enough steps away (without running into or falling off something) and imagine what an alien would think. Okay, we can’t do that; but imagine trying to explain that the agreement involves pieces of paper stained with ink, and that even though all of the documents were signed and stamped, the precise location of the signatures and stamps makes a difference even when everyone said it was okay the way it was.
“So, you each make squiggles that represent yourself. Why not?
“But one person uses a stamp instead of a squiggle and that is more important. If you say so.
“And you all agreed that one of the squiggles could be shifted because the various instructions for the locations of the squiggles are mutually exclusive. Sounds reasonable.
“Which was good because it meant other squiggles could be made on other pieces of paper that meant that everyone agreed. Good.
“Until a month or so later someone else points out that one of the squiggles isn’t where they expected it to be, so start over. Really? Does the rest of your planet work this way? Good. You’ll be easy to take over.
Ah, what would Robin Williams do with such good material? His riff on golf is a great example on how a different perspective changes the entire view.
Robin has been on my mind. Mentioning him creates a sobering moment, and also inspires an insight. I’m known for being generally upbeat despite momentary upsets like today. I avoided writing about Robin’s death partly because so many were doing a better job, partly because I’d just written about another impressive person’s death, and partly because I know too many people who find themselves in tortuous episodes because of finances or family. I’ll try to bring this back around to the funny by the end, but stay with me for a bit. Opening the letter kicked off an anxiety attack. They’ve been far too common over the last few years. Heart rate up. Breathing quickens. Sweat arrives. Muscles tighten, and may not loosen for days, or ever. Others I know have experienced worse. It is easy to imagine such a reaction becoming an overreaction. It isn’t polite to mention, and I won’t name names, but too many people I know understand Robin’s choice and struggle though the cause was different. The consequences of financial upheavals aren’t just houses and dollars. Up through 2012, more than 10,000 suicides can be attributed to the recession. That is more than the US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. (And I am amazed at the non-US deaths.) Another reason I didn’t write about Robin’s death is because, as someone else said, if we are going to focus on the celebrity we should focus on all such people equally. There are too many to write about.
Sad. And yet, I am that much more determined to find the sunshine.
Something else I noticed when I started watching the lists of Robin Williams’ videos was how little I’ve laughed lately. I laugh, and I mean it; but, I’ve also been so busy working to navigate my financial turmoil that I rarely have time to watch or read a comedy. I watched Robin and I laughed. I laughed with abandon. For those few moments, I felt better, much better. I felt my body chemistry change. I felt muscles shake then loosen. I found myself in the moment, not worrying about whether I was using this moment to its maximum financial benefit. The life of a billable consultant involves intense scrutiny of thoughts and actions throughout the day. Laughter broke past the details to the shock and surprise that touched my soul, and reminded me it was there.
Sanguinity can be based on keeping sight of hope, which is valuable and necessary; especially when dealing with bureacracy. Realizing how much of the world is just a cosmic farce may just be one key step towards wisdom – as long as you laugh along the way.