This post is dedicated to one of my favorite cousins who I love dearly. (You know who you are!) The topic is finding humor in situations that aren't particularly funny. (Usually after the fact.)
I'll start by telling you all that my house is the party house. We have a huge deck, a screened in porch, and an oversized family room. Every year my family and I host all the major holiday gatherings. And even though, from time to time I complain about all the work involved, I wouldn't have it any other way. Now I'm not a great cook, but over the years I've perfected a few dishes....turkey, chicken soup with matzo balls, and matzo kugel. And these delectable treats were on the menu for my annual Passover seder held this past Tuesday.
So after hitting the seder highlights, my family, friends, and I partook of the festive meal I'd prepared. Afterwards, while I was doing the dishes, my cousin walked into the kitchen complaining she didn't feel well. She grabbed onto my arm for support, and I assisted her into the family room. I got her settled on my new couch, elevated her feet on my new coffee table, and got her a cold compress for her head. I ran for my mother-in-law, also a nurse, but didn't need anyone to tell me that my cousin did not look at all well.
Was it my food? I wondered. Had I purchased a diseased bird? Had I served my loved ones tainted turkey? I strained my brain to remember the signs and symptoms of food poisoning. Botulism. Listeria. There were so many possibilities. I considered a Google search, but after another quick glance at the gray color of my beloved cousin's skin, opted to speed dial 911 to get some trained professionals on site PDQ (pretty damn quick).
While on the line with the 911 operator, I did a quick head count to make sure no one else had succumbed to a foodborne illness. I started to feel nauseous. I considered telling the operator to send a fleet of ambulances because I had a potential culinary catastrophe on my hands, with the possibility of mass casualties. (Well, fifteen total. But there was no way we could all squeeze into one ambulance.) I started to sweat.
I took a calming breath, surveyed the crowd once more, and decided not to overreact. The first responder arrived, lights flashing. I told him what happened. "After our Passover meal my cousin felt sick. It's not from the food. I swear. Look, everyone else is fine. I think it's her heart." Yeah. That's it. Because no way did I want to be responsible.
The EMTs arrived, lights flashing. I gave them the same schpeil...... "It's not from the food! I swear!"
The police arrived, lights flashing. I gave my account of what happened. "......It's not from the food! I swear!" The officer gave me his 'just the facts ma'am' look. I prattled on. He summarized, "So she fell ill after eating." I glared at him. He smirked. I made a mental note of his badge number.
Mobile Life arrived, lights flashing, bringing the total number of strangers in my family room up to about eight. By that time my cousin looked much better. And despite one paramedic taking her blood pressure while another attached EKG leads to her chest, that dear sweet woman came to my defense muttering through her oxygen mask, "It really wasn't from the food. The food was delicious."
I wanted to scream out , "See. I told you so!" I'd been vindicated. Whew! I was off the hook!
But still.... when the phone rang in the middle of it all, and I saw my neighbor's number on my caller ID, I picked up the phone and immediately said, "It's not from the food. I swear!"
Prior to my cousin leaving for the ER, she announced she'd eaten half a pickle and maybe that was the cause of her ailment. I made a mental note to remove pickles from the menu of all future parties.
Of course I've embellished a factoid here and there for effect. And at the time, my cousin's condition was anything but funny. But when I look back on it and think about my irrational fear that I was somehow responsible for her falling ill, and the measures I took to clear my good hostess name, I now get a bit of a chuckle.
I'm happy to say all turned out okay in the end. No one else reported feeling anything more than the satisfactory fullness that accompanies an EXCELLENT meal, and my cousin is doing well.
Does anyone have a holiday story you'd like to share? Or a serious situation that, after it was all over, tickled your funny bone?
- It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
- A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
- You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
- Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
- Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
- I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan