The Sound and the Fury

Photo by AJ Gazmen/Flickr

I have a penchant for humor. People around me slap me on the back and say “Oh, you’re sooooo funny.” And that’s usually when I’m just being wry or sarcastic.

But it’s partly true only because I observe and remember things around me. Sometimes I sit and watch events unfold and they seem hysterical to me, though nobody else is laughing. I can find humor in the mundane, the trite, and the ridiculously predictable habits of humans. We are fickle and flawed and yet so determined to be clear and bright. But the key is not only in observing these things; it is in remembering them. And I’m good at it. Or at least, I used to be.

Over the course of the last four months I’ve been so focused on the transition of my husband and my family and my marriage and myself (in that order it seems) back into this non-deployment life that I seem to have lost my funny bone. I’ve either not seen the funny, or I’ve forgotten it. And that’s a crying shame because a good funny bone is an awful thing to waste. I once wrote that my motto was “quit taking yourself so seriously.” Huh. I guess I forgot about that.

Figures that I forgot to take my own good advice.

But today, I remembered. Today, I found humor in the mundane. Because today my six year old protested against his normally yummy after school snack so vehemently that it required cross examination which, after tears were shed, revealed that the true reason for his disgust was the slimy load of boogers he stealthily and invisibly smeared all over the granola bar when he thought said snack was designated for his sister’s snacking pleasure. I momentarily and silently considered making him eat it anyway, until his sister (drunk with power upon observing the scowl on my face) suggested exactly that notion which I was contemplating. Once I saw the resulting look of horror on my second born’s face, it was like a free test drive and I was relieved that I had not suggested it. So of course I did what all good mothers do: I admonished the first-born for uttering such a terrible thing.

At this point, one child was crying and the other was pouting. And suddenly, I laughed.

Oh sure, the gesture drew ire from the crying, booger-infested peanut gallery. But I laughed anyway. I laughed at myself. I laughed at the seriousness with which I approached a courtroom-like exchange regarding boogers. I laughed at the pure maniacal genius of my son and the ironic twist of fate which befalls all evil geniuses: being ensnared in their own booger trap. And I laughed at the thought that he had been unwittingly undone by his nemesis, who, after becoming momentarily power-hungry, had turned to the dark side.

Ah humor, I’ve missed you so. You are so lovely.

What is it about this ridiculous reintegration process that so completely occupies the entire space of my mind and prohibits these exchanges from making it into my memory synapses? Because these are the things worth remembering and talking about, aren’t they? These are the events that will become dinner table fare, homecoming date fodder, and legendary family fable. These are the things I want to think about. Tell you about.

So I’m resolving to focus on the mundane. Not so much because it’s entertaining, but because it’s not reintegration. If I find the funny along the way, we’ll all benefit. But as I told you last year, the shortest distance between two inevitable points is an impossibly long line of distractions. Back then it was in reference to Husband’s departure. This time, it’s in reference to his full return.

To my full return.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DogBoy
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 11:04:33

    I would have made him eat it. OR! gotten another bar without him seeing and pretend to eat it and love it.


  2. The Dad
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:59:32

    I was intrigued by your headline… “The Sound and the Fury” and remembered the full line – …”it is a tale told by an idiot FULL OF SOUND AND FURY, signifying nothing.” And then I read the booger encounter and it all made sense! Glad to see that your humerus has returned!


  3. Gail
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:44:05

    Love you, Lori! We welcome and praise your full return.
    You, and your humor, are both so lovely!


  4. Marcie
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 12:01:42

    Could you or any one voice what is SO difficult about the reintegration? What is going on? Do you and your husband talk about it? Does he feel the same? I need help understanding!!!!


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:07:34

      Well Marcie, it’s difficult to identify, but I can tell you we do not feel the same, and therein lies the challenge. It’s the whole “first step is admitting” thing. War, separation, and independence change you – in different ways, separately. It’s like making apples from applesauce.


  5. Kathy
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 07:34:52

    Welcome back. I will share this story with my daughter in hopes that it alleviates her pain in being an only child. 🙂


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