Henrietta Hat Column March 13, 2009

Reason to laugh, even on Friday the 13th

Some days it hardly pays to get up — especially if it is Friday the 13th. But even if it is, it is wise to laugh, or it will turn around and bite you.

Last Friday the 13th, the day my column on the dangers of falling appeared, I fell! It was not a bad fall and I was not hurt seriously. But I have been remembering the advice of my favorite columnist of all time, Molly Ivins. She told me to keep on laughin’.

Of course, bad luck can happen any day of the month. I have a friend who believes in laughin’ at trouble, although sometimes it takes a while. She really had to work at laughin’ one day last week. She got up early and went to exercise on her stationary bicycle. It had a broken pedal, and she went out to the shed to get a wrench. Of course her dog, Quita, went along. When she got the wrench she turned and looked for Quita: no dog. Then suddenly out of the bushes came Quita tearing toward her, with a skunk at her heels.

Two body washes for the dog and two long showers for her and she emerged — laughing.

I have one friend who considers Friday the 13th to be a lucky day. On one of those Fridays we went to breakfast at Village Inn. She drove me home and went off peacefully. But then she realized she had left her wallet at the restaurant. She rushed back, and found that some kind soul had found it and turned it in. Later that same day she left her MP3 player at the gym. When she went back Saturday morning she found that someone had found it and turned it in. Friday the 13th was a lucky day for her.  She laughs about it when she is not being embarrassed.

At 94, I have sometimes caught myself thinking that I already know all I need to know. Wrong.

One morning my mouse died. Not a live mouse, but the cordless mouse for my computer.

I dashed down three stories (well, I took the elevator) to the Commons store. They were out of AA batteries, but a kind staffer loaned me some. I put them in the mouse: no light. I carried the mouse downstairs again to the communications office. The tech looked it over, pushed something and asked,  “Did you press this?” No, I had no idea the tiny button was there.

Back upstairs I tested it. Still no movement. In utter frustration I started to the elevator again, and to my amazement, two techs were standing in the hall talking.  I invited them in and they accepted. Josh looked at my mouse and my computer, reached behind it and pushed something. Eureka. It worked. “Did you push that button?”  Nope, I had no idea it was there.

After that goof up, all I can do is laugh.

I have another friend here at the Commons who is 98 years old. She recently spent a few days in the hospital and in rehab, but she is back with her old independence.  She had to use a wheel chair for a few days, and got bored pushing herself around the halls. She needed fresh air, so she went out the front door with great confidence, a little too much. She failed to notice a curb and she and the chair landed on the parking lot. Someone saw her fall, and she was cared for immediately. When the staff was satisfied that she was not seriously hurt, they gave her some new rules: No going outside without an RA, and NO speeding.  She is laughing — now.

You’re right, Molly.  Let’s keep on laughin’ whatever the date.


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