It started with a puking dog. As all good comedy should.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The author Spider Robinson once speculated that the universe is connected by a number of invisible switches, set to activate at certain times. For example, the switch that rings your telephone is located in the bottom of the bathtub, guaranteeing a sales call as soon as you sit down. Meanwhile, the switch that turns traffic lights red is just under your accelerator pedal, for maximum fun on mornings when you’re running late to work.
I say this only because I seem to have a switch in my life that’s labeled “Chevy Chase.” And I’d really like to find the plug before someone dies laughing.
I’m not alone here. A friend of mine used to flip that switch any time he tried a home improvement project. An oil change would drain the transmission fluid. An attempt to stain the deck would also paint the house … or the fence … or would see the dog get out and run right across the wet surface and into the yard.
But even he, in his genius, would be hard-pressed to top the comedy routine that erupted when Blake began to heave.
The sound of a dog about to throw up on your bed is like nothing else in the world. It brings every sense to full alert, like a Mission:Impossible tape announcing “Your bed comforter is about to be irrevocably stained in 10 seconds. Good luck, Jim.”
Did I mention the dog weighs 80 pounds and is not easily moved?
“Towel!” I called out, jumping up and dashing to the bathroom. Somewhere … somewhere … here, the old ratty one we were about to throw out. Success!
I turned in triumph. And smacked nose-first into the door.
The door rebounded. Hit the frame. And smacked me a second time.
I staggered forward, vaguely aware of my wife Heather and our ward Missy trying desperately not to laugh. It didn’t help their struggle much when my next step went into Blake’s water dish.
True laughter now, as I woozily reached the bed in time to get the towel beneath Blake’s chin. The first “shot” hit the terrycloth perfectly … at which point Blake decided he’d feel better on the floor.
“Not on my book!” Heather called out, seeing his head perilously near a discarded paperback.
Round and round the bedroom floor I danced with the Canine Puke Machine, alternately offering the towel or yanking an endangered item out of the way. Finally, both of us done, we collapsed on the hardwood floor, panting side-by-side.
As my adrenaline lowered, I recognized the sound of music in the distance.
Missy’s stereo. At full blast.
Playing KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Keep It Comin’, Love.”
I couldn’t help it. I started laughing, too.
Sometimes that’s all you can do.
The universe contrives to put us in some pretty ridiculous places sometimes. Ranting and roaring about it only raises the blood pressure and (more often than not) extends the chaos. A good laugh frees you to be human, lets the stress go, and just makes you more pleasant to be around.
After all, you’d pay good money to see someone do this on purpose. If you’re the star, why not just enjoy the show?
You might even live longer.
At least, until that bathroom door comes back for a third swing.