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What's funny about this?

I’ve been trying to find the humor in our current situation, and the first thing that leapt out at me are the masks. I mean really!

My older brother sent all of us a picture of himself wearing the homemade mask his wife created for him. It was one of those huge cloth things that covered everything except his eyes, making him unrecognizable. He emailed in a pouting tone, “This is what my wife expects me to wear to the grocery store!” My younger brother emailed back, “Just don’t go into the bank!”

And what about those three weeks or so that you couldn’t find TP anywhere!? I still haven’t figured that one out. I remember the first time I found a package of TP sitting on the shelf at the Co-op — I felt actual joy at seeing TP. And when I was at the register and another customer spied my TP, she said, “There is some?”

I said, “Yes, just go look.”

She returned, treasured TP in hand, and commented, “I never thought I’d be so thrilled to buy TP.”

In addition to TP being like gold, several friends I know got creative. One told me, “I use old wash cloths for urine. It’s amazing how little TP I use.”

All I can say to that one is, go for it.

Another friend bought a bidet and said she hardly uses any TP at all.

My sister commented, “You know, if I was doing those things your friends mentioned, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

I keep thinking this is a time for reflection both individually and collectively. A time to contemplate, evaluate and possibly prepare. We could contemplate who we are, where we are going, what we’ve done, what we want to do. We could evaluate our lives and our world. Is it all as it should be? What needs to be different? And we could prepare for whatever is next.

This final one is full of uncertainty, as we really don’t know what lies ahead. And as uncomfortable as that is, I’m thinking we may as well think about the most uncomfortable idea — our own demise. Are we prepared for that? And what is that anyway?

But back to finding the humor here. You probably think it’s unlikely that a former hospice social worker would have funny stories to tell. But you never met Trudy.

Trudy lived with her sister Stella. When I first started visiting them, Stella hung back and didn’t participate. However, Trudy’s sense of humor had me laughing so much that Stella gradually joined us and even started contributing stories herself. One day, she was reminiscing about gold fish she had as a child. She claimed she used to revive them by putting salt in their water when they lay on their side dying. Trudy admonished, “Now, Stella, when you find me belly up, don’t go putting me in a tub of water with some damn salt!”

I remember Maggie, my 100-year-old lady, who looked at me one day pensively and concluded, “I think it’s time for me to go look for a job.”

I could go on, but those who could laugh when facing the ultimate usually did better. So, although there’s much right now that’s not funny, I think it helps to smile when there is something silly or nice. Like when my sister and I went to get a to-go pizza recently, the young man waiting on us kept thanking us for coming and gave us each a free roll of TP with our pizza. Now that’s service with a sense of humor!

Rachel O’Neal lives in Talent.