Laughter Through Tears

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What if M’Lynn would have taken advantage of the opportunity to take a whack at Ouiser?  Most women from the south will understand this reference.  Fellas, if you’re lost watch a chick flick once in a while.  There’s some great lessons to be learned.  Laughter through tears is a very powerful emotion.  If it weren’t for laughter I wouldn’t be writing any of this now.  I would be locked up in a padded cell with a straight jacket tightly fastened behind my back.  Yesterday morning reminded me of the importance of a good laugh.  I often think of our normal daily occurrences and how absurd they must seem from the outside looking in.  Sometime the only way to keep on trucking is to keep on chuckling.

The eggs were sizzling in the pan.  Coffee was dripping and the smell of morning was in the air.  Cade entered from the hallway.  “Dad,” he greeted as he walked by.  “Paul’s naked at camp.”

“Paul’s naked at camp?”   I queried.  Cade states odd phrases and waits to have them repeated back to him.  “That’s weird,” he replied as he made his way to the table.  I continued cooking as Cade engaged in conversation.

“Dad,” he went on.  “What happens if you fall off the tall building in the city?”

“I don’t know Cade.  What would happen if you fall off the tall building?”

“You might…” he cued for my reply.

“You might fall?” I questioned.

“Yeah.  You might get…” again he cued me.

“You might get smashed?”

“You might…”

“You might get hurt?”

“You might…”  He continued in hopes of getting the response he was seeking.

“You might get a scratch?”

“Yeah,” he acknowledged my correct answer.

These types of conversations can go on for quite a while.  Fortunately, I was able to figure out that you might get a scratch if you fall off a tall building.

“Dad?” He again asked for my attention.  “You might scratch your…”

“You might scratch your leg?”

“You might scratch your…”  He was obviously not satisfied with leg for an answer.

“You might scratch your foot?”

“You might scratch your…”

“Your butt?”  I continued until I got it right.  “Your head?  Your arm?  Your hand?  Your knuckle?”

“Yeah.  You might scratch your knuckle.”

With a big smile on his face he sat at the table waiting for breakfast to be served.  Slowly the smile faded and a blank stare took over.  I approached with an omelette in one hand and his Superman cup in the other.

“Dad,” he asked.  “When are you going to Uncle Darrin’s house?”  He doesn’t comprehend when to use “I” and when to use “you” in speech.  As a result, he speaks of himself in the third person.  Other people call him “Cade” and “you.”  Therefore, he also calls himself “Cade” and “you.”

“You are going in June buddy.”

When Cade asks about going to Uncle Darrin’s house it’s a clue that he is in pain.  More than likely a bad migraine is approaching.  Another thing he does while experiencing pain is attempt to make me say the word “happy.”  I have learned not to repeat the “H” word back to him while this is happening.  It can get very tricky sometime.

“Dad, you can’t hit Nick’s locker.  He is not going to be happy about that.”

“No,” I tell him.  “Nick would not like that.”

“He will not be ha…..”

“No,” I replied.  “He might get mad.”

Cade looked me in the eye while slowly moving his lips.  “He will not be ha…ha…”

“No,” I did my best not to laugh.  “He doesn’t want you to hit his locker.”

“Dad,”  again  he attempted to have me say the “H” word.  “You can’t make the Hulk angry.”

“No Cade,”  I assured him.  “You can’t make the Hulk angry.”

“You can’t make the Hulk angry,” he professed.  “If you make him angry, he will not be ha…ha…”

“No he will not be ha…”  I almost slipped.  “He will not be Hulky.”

“Dad,” he tried a new approach.  “Twizzlers makes your mouth ha..ha…”

“Happy!”  Oh shit.  He tricked me.

His fists pounded the table as he let out an alarming scream.  “HAP….PY!  HAP…PY!  HAP…PY!  I am not HAP…PY!  I am not HAP…PY!”  Cade has a piercing scream.  The shrieking noise created often makes me jump from within.  The eggs bounced off the plate as the pounding continued.  I advanced toward him holding his favorite Batman tumbler and his headache medication.  The migraine pain reliever usually starts working within a few minutes.  I placed a mental block on the spit he was casting in my face as I held his head back.  Once he swallowed the pill I placed his tumbler on the table and walked away.  With massive force he smashed it to pieces.  Fortunately he did not get cut.  He then picked up one of the fragments and shattered it with his fist.  This time he wasn’t so lucky.  One of the sharp edges sliced his hand.

Cade has broken many objects around the house.  Doing so, he has discovered that injuries sometime occur.  I always hope that the injury teaches him not to do it again.  Some children will refrain from touching a pot if informed that it’s hot.  Some children have to touch the pot themselves to discover that it’s hot.  Getting burned once teaches them a valuable lesson.  Other children, like Cade, will touch the pot regardless of being warned.  They get burned and touch it again.  They keep testing knowing that sooner or later they may get burned once more.

With a first aid kit handy I cleaned Cade’s wound.  He continued spitting on my face as I reached for the bandage.  His hand drew back and he smacked me across my chest.  My face was now splattered with spit and blood.  I did exactly what any dad would do in this situation.  I grabbed a towel and tied it around my neck.  I placed my fists mightily against my  hips and shouted, “I am Superman!”  I began flying around the house.  I landed back near the table.  “Who are you?” I asked.

“I’m Batman,” he proudly proclaimed as blood dripped from his clenched fist.

“Well Batman,” I went on.  “Let me put this bandage on you so I can kick your ass.”

The horseplay continued and he eventually made it to school.  I met a friend for lunch and laughed about it the rest of the day.  I understand Cade’s desire to break something or hit somebody when faced with severe pain.  I learned that from the movies.  In a well known scene from Steel Magnolias, Sally Fields’ character M’Lynn breaks down.  The pain from losing her daughter is immeasurable.  “I don’t think I can take this,” she deplored.  “I just wanna hit somebody ’til they feel as bad as I do!  I just wanna hit something!  I wanna hit it hard!”

“Here,” her friend Clairee chimed in.  She grabbed Ouiser Boudreaux and placed her in front of M’Lynn. With a great big smile she shouted,”Hit this!  Go ahead M’Lynn, slap her!”

I will gladly be Cade’s Ouiser Boubreaux anyday.

Kelly Jude Melerine

  •  Steel Magnolias, Directed by: Herbert Ross, Screenplay written by: Robert Harling, Released by: Tri-Star Pictures, 1989.