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I have been a bent-shouldered, shuffling mess this past week. Totally because of the stories south of the border that creep into my internet and sneak out of the radio before I get a chance to turn it off. Words like despair and depression and insanity are ever close to my lips. But I decided that that doesn’t help anything — especially me and my world. I’m not ignoring the mess that a certain person is making of my country of origin, or even suppressing the profound sadness that it gives me but I have to pull back a little. I am not alone. Amidst all the craziness on the internet, I saw that some good folks are putting out a 1-2-3 on how to stay sane and healthy and still resist.  I would have to add another: laugh loud and long and often. (I read an article about Al Franken who has been studying DT and remarked that he never laughs. He smiles, sneers, growls but no laughter. That says a lot, eh?)

I realized this week that I have not been laughing nearly enough or at all. I had been trying to find things that would lighten my mood and my outlook. That’s why on Wednesday morning at 10 am, I was sitting in a concert hall listening to music. I don’t usually spend my time at that hour of the day listening to live performances of Listz and Prokofiev and Brahms and Schubert, but I had these free tickets and it seemed like a very sane thing to do.  It wasn’t really a concert but a competition of very talented piano, violin and voice students strutting their stuff for judges. We in the audience were there just to give them ears and bodies to play to. When they started playing, I smiled and teared up at the same time. But no laughs were to be had at such a serious occasion for the students, at least.

I had invited my friend, Leslie, to go with me. As we were walking over, she said, quite seriously, “I don’t want you to be shocked when I take my hat off so I’m telling you right now I’m wearing a wig.” She tugged at a loose strand just to prove her statement. She was so serious about the whole thing, it brought a smile to my lips but not a laugh. Later, at the intermission, I kept losing her in the crowd because I was looking for her short-haired self and not this page boy beauty. I ran into Margaret from across the street and asked her if she saw Leslie. “Sure, she’s right in front of you.” That too made me smile — but not laugh.

Later she said to me, “You know, Ann,  you’d look great in my pink wig.” A chuckle but not a guffaw escaped my lips and I just smiled it off. Then, true to her direct approach on life, she stopped by later that day to lend me her pink wig to see what I would look like in it. I had never worn or even tried on a wig before. Now, that’s img_1422 boring, eh? Anyway, putting on that pink wig gave me the first laugh-out-loud moment I’ve had for the last couple of weeks. That laugh just rolled days of stress off my back and shoulders and lightened my heart. She told me to keep it for a few days and I have. I, of course, took a selfie. Rose took one look at me and turned her back. Nick went upstairs to hide from whatever had just entered his home

I sent the selfie to Aquafit Instructor Extraordinaire, Sue, who, the week before had said to me, “Ann, I keep expecting you to come in here with a purple streak in your hair or something crazy.” She dared me to wear it to Sunday morning aquafit.

I wasn’t sure this morning whether to do it or not. I had to walk up and wondered what reaction I’d get from other walkers at 8 am with my pink hair and red beret. I needn’t had worried since no one really pays much attention to an old lady — even one wearing a pink wig. And, anyway, Sue did dare me and what did I have to lose, eh? Outside the gym, I ran into my social-media-and-all-things-technical guru, Sarah, who, upon seeing me smiled and said, “That makes me very happy.” And, then, unlike most Sunday mornings, there were guffaws in the locker room so that by the time we all got in the pool there was a spirit of lightness and happiness. I’d like to think it was because I took up that dare and wore that dollar-store pink wig.

Leslie and I are going wig shopping soon. We both think I should have one around the house for those times when I just need to forget about the heavy stuff and have some laughs.  Hmmm, with things being the way they are, maybe I should buy a few.