Let me start by saying that Chris Rock is totally to blame for this post. He might not know it and likely wouldn’t even care, but yes, he is the culprit.
So last Monday night, I stayed up far too late and noticed that Rock’s 2004 comedy special, Never Scared, was coming on. Dude cracks me up, every time, and I’ve been known to watch his stand-up specials over-and-over, even when they run on basic cable, complete with annoying edits and commercial breaks. But this time, it aired on HBO, so it was all foul language sans the commercials, just the way like it. I was in a complete state of bliss, for a bit.
I was sitting in my favorite chair, just laughing, for about a half hour when I realized that I would be really pissed at myself in a few hours if I didn’t wash my face and go to bed. So I decided to record it with a promise to watch ASAP because, as usual, my DVR is at 98%. And besides, I really needed the laughs.
So, fast-forward to a few nights later when I stayed up to finish watching. Actually, I rewound and started from the top, when he talks about being a new dad and realizing that his only job is to keep his daughter off the pole and out of “clear heels.” How funny. How true. That “clear heels” line got me thinking back to a conversation I had with someone many moons ago. Then I started thinking about myself.
A guy I once knew was telling me a story about one of his trips to a strip club. He was hesitant to tell me at first, but I was curious and really wanted to hear it. Confession: I am quite intrigued by the dynamics of strip club culture, so I was all ears. Long story short, he said that there was a stripper up on the stage, on her back, and when he reached over to slip a dollar in her G-string, she laughed. He was surprised and said, “Are you laughing at me?” Her response was swift, but it confused him. “No,” she said. “I’m laughing at myself.”
He didn’t get it, but I did – immediately.
Though I’ve never donned clear heels or danced for dollars (and I mean no disrespect to the ladies who have or currently do), I know how it feels to find yourself in a position where your constant thought is, “Yo, what the f#*k am I doing? How did I even get here?” I’ve so been there and sometimes the only thing that keeps you semi-sane is to laugh, even if it’s at yourself.
Over the past few months, I’ve been in situations with folks that I can hardly believe the Universe would place in my path to share oxygen with. And I’m not being dramatic, not even a little bit. I would like to believe that there is a teachable moment somewhere in the muck and mire, but I can’t see it – not now, anyway. Maybe it’s a lesson in patience, maybe it’s a lesson in tolerance, or maybe it’s just my turn to deal with some nonsense. After all, isn’t one’s true character determined by how one deals with bullshit (or something to that effect), right?
I know what it’s like to laugh to keep from crying or completely flipping on somebody. That’s why that stripper was laughing at herself, and that’s why I’ve chosen to laugh. Otherwise, I might be sipping on some brown liquor and that would be bad for my skin!
So, I thank Chris Rock for the laughs, again. And to everybody out there wearing “clear heels,” metaphorically-speaking (and hating it), I feel your pain. But we have to keep going because there is something better on the other side. There just as to be. Until I’m able to find some peace, I will keep my cool and uncover the humor in all of the madness.
But yeah, I’ll find my way out of this space. That much I know. I hope that stripper, wherever she might be today, eventually figured it out for herself, too.