I hate “one foot in front of the other” days. The kind of days where not only my body doesn’t work, but I’m a hopeless, exhausted, hot wired, sluggish, mess. To make my bad day even worse, I layer on a thick, viscous Grand Master Judge, who declares that I’m getting a big fat “F” in positive thinking. I try to climb out of my despair, rung by rung, on a rickety wooden ladder that threatens to break with each tentative hand hold and step. Nothing helps.
I had one of those sucky days last week. Sometimes a long to-do list helps, so I dug in with my pen on paper, sorted out the driving route I needed to get my errands done, and set out wearing my icky, mud-likemood like a Antarctic coat.
I turned on the radio to find Terry Gross. Thank GOD!!! A welcome diversion!
I drove around town as she interviewed Jon Stewarts’ wife, Tracey, who has a newly published book about her life journey with animals, and the animal sanctuary she and Jon started on their property in New York.
Surprisingly, or maybe not, Tracey has a James Herriot, wicked sense of humor. She told one absurd animal story after another, forcing giggles to sneak out through my commitment to misery.
For example, while filming a video, a young bull came up behind Tracey and mounted over her shoulders. Needless to say that interview ended quickly. She’s a great animal advocate, explaining how pigs HATE being dirty-more than most animals. They roll in mud because their skin is so pink and sensitive due to human breeding that they sunburn easily. The mud protects them. Left to their own devices, like cats, they poop in one place. Interesting and sad, given how most pigs live in this country.
Tracey is also allergic to cats, big time, (which is a bit troublesome when you run an animal rescue), and avoided going to Jon Stewart’s house for weeks when they started dating because he had two cats he adored. On her first visit, while she was in the bathroom, one of his cats leapt onto her face and wouldn’t let go. She ended up swollen and scratched as she tried with little success to pull off the kitty, one paw at a time. She couldn’t scream out for rescue as Jon was talking to David Letterman who was offering Jon his first TV appearance. She couldn’t mess that up!
As I turned down the road to my house, her love of life, her passion, her respect for Jon and her acknowledgement of him as a partner, boosted me up a few rungs of the despair ladder. I imagined how their evening conversations, even on the most dismal, stressful days, would be filled with belly laughs, snide digs into the dark side, and accepted embellishments to make any story hilarious.
My dark black mood swooped back over me, a too-small cape strangling my throat. I felt so far from funny in my life in that moment. My husband’s got a great sense of humor, but he’s no Jon Stewart. Who is? (No offense Andy, you do make me laugh-a lot, but this is MY pitiful story!) I also think my dog’s hilarious, but most of the time he’s asleep and not helpful.
A Tabernacle sized chorus of “My Life Sucks” started playing in my head.
“Enough of this crap-ass whining!” I yelled to myself. “Your life is good, I mean you could be a Syrian refugee for God’s sake. Get over yourself!”
Ugh. Then I knew I hit true bottom, below bottom. To compare my struggles with those who’ve lost everything; a home, job, future, family and friends, is obscene. Disrespectful.
I yelled at myself: “You don’t know anything about real suffering! Deal with it.”
As you might expect, the rest of the day continued on in various states of moping. That evening, I finallyI gave up on feeling any better and went to bed and sank into blissful denial with John Grisham’s latest novel.
Thankfully, the next day my dark cloud disappeared as if it had never been there.
But I have to wonder. Since it’s too late to marry Jon Stewart for constant giggles, then maybe there’s a Jon Stewart App out there. Something that would give me the exact joke I need with the touch of my finger any time I start sliding down that slope of self misery. Now that Jon’s retired, maybe he’ll have time to clone himself. I’m all in.