Here's the latest of my controversial opinions: 7th grade was a kind of hell.
I'll let you calm down so your anger at my obviously controversial opinion won't get in the way of hearing what I'm trying to say here.
I remember walking home from school (actually, walking home from the elementary school. where the buses would drop off the town kids), hating the misery that was my life. I remember cutting across Shawn's Grandma Great's front patch of yard to cut across our side yard to get to the back door of our house.
I remember it was a very warm afternoon. I remember thinking I couldn't stand how complicated and stupid everything was. I remember I was just entering our yard when I thought, "Someday I'll look back on all this and laugh."
You'd think it wasn't much consolation. I imagine if someone had approached me with it as a piece of advice, I'd have told them to go away, only with an f-bomb. But it did console me. The hope of future laughter was enough to make me think I could survive it all.
I can even remember what "it all" included: the thought I had to play football because Wade played football and Todd played football, and the thought that I just wasn't a football-playin' kind of guy (never had been, never would be, never will have never been (for you time-travelin' folks)). I was just starting to figure out who I was, and it was beginning to look like the world was a round hole, and all I saw when I looked in the mirror were the edges of what could only be a square peg.
I suppose what I was consoled by was simple hope. But to me that specific piece of information that I would look back on that moment and laugh... that made all the difference.
I got the super-power of persistent laughter from my mother. She was a big fan of saying, "You just as well laugh as cry," and I guess at some point it sank in.
For a long time, I thought everybody had this. I suspect most people do, as it seems to help to make stupid jokes when people are going through a rough patch (either that or they're too polite to hit me with a shovel to shut me up). But I've also found people who aren't able to think about these terrible times as something to be looked back on later.
To be truthful, there have been times that the hope of future laughter didn't kick in immediately. (I was about to say didn't work, but when I think back to these times, I realize I was too busy mourning my situation and looking backwards at what I should have done differently to think of that hope of future laughter.)
I don't know. I guess I put a lot of stock in laughter. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and it made me think of that day in 7th grade... I've shared that story with some people in the past (sorry if it's a re-run for you), but I hadn't thought about it in such detail.
May your days be filled with laughter, or at least the hope of future laughter.