She was the funny one. Or, the funnier one. The more fun one. We would fight about who was funnier, funny girl and I, but she definitely was the funny one. She wasn’t silly, or crude or over expressive. She would never do stand up comedy or hold court at a house party. She was much too shy for that. But she was simply funny, and I loved that about her.
I am not sure funny is the right word to even describe her, but it’s the only word that I can truly use for someone that would always put a smile on my face, on the face of everyone she met. She wasn’t crude or malicious, nor was she slapstick. She simply talked, and smiled, and that sense of calm and warmth radiated across space and embodied you. She was funny when trying to be funny, but even funnier when she wasn’t.
Her smile was like a giant moon that broke the darkness of her surroundings. She made everything better, and by doing so she made life fun. Funny girl simply made life fun. She was the funny one. Just to look at her made you feel good about things, all the things, because that is what funny is, the absence of sadness and worry, and she pulled those emotions from you like the cancers they are. She was funny because she could do magic, the disappearing act of sadness and worry, she was simply magical with her funniness.
She was funny when she was trying to be serious, because you can see the seriousness in her scowl. She was like watching a 5 year old debate the merits of owning a unicorn, not that she was childish or out of touch, but because she fully believed in everything wonderful and to see the wonder behind her process was to wonder why anyone could not love her. Love funny girl.
She was not the life of the party, she didn’t bring attention to herself, although you couldn’t help but notice her. Everyone noticed her.
Except for me. I didn’t notice her.
I saw her, I loved her and I thought she was funny. But I didn’t always see that funny girl also wanted to be taken seriously. And that is where I failed. Funny girl got tired of holding her breath, because you can’t laugh without oxygen, but you can certainly cry.
I thought funny girl would always be funny because I thought I was funny, but I wasn’t, I was simply trying to be entertaining. I realized my juggling act was a false front, a true circus act, a comedy routine. I was a boy playing with matches, and she didn’t think that was funny. Funny girl got tired of getting burned, and I don’t blame her.
I have always been bad with being the funny one. I have always tried to think I was doing well, to hold court, to make the jokes, to bring the smiles. My record was that of a silly clown, trying to to entertain the girl, but never really taking off the nose. I was trying to please the face, all the while destroying the soul, and by doing so, I wasn’t being funny, only cruel. I had good intentions with my act, but I never realized that most people love coming to the circus, but they really don’t want to live there, under the big top, in the dark.
Having children helps you learn a lot about being funny, they help you realize that laughing is essential to life. They also teach you sometimes you have to be serious, that you have to lead by example, that you can’t get scared and run away. Sometimes the love you give isn’t enough to change the world, that you do have to find new ways, you have to work harder, you have to compromise. Sometimes you have to be the adult.
Funny how you can look back and see the mistakes, the sadness we cause with others in our silly attempt at being funny. The good relationships that could have been great, the great ones that could have lasted, if we would have just taken off the clown nose, taken off the makeup to reveal our true face, to leave the big top. Funny how being a clown isn’t funny, but being a person can be.
Funny girl didn’t live in the circus, she didn’t wear a nose and she certainly didn’t hide her face. In all of her wonderful glory of being funny, she was serious about the things she wanted, and I failed to see that. I didn’t realize that funny people want serious things. I was simply trying to be fun.
I think about funny girl, and how she was funny, and how she probably still is today. I think about places she has gone and the people she will meet. I think about the lessons she taught me and the pain I may have caused her. Funny girl is out there, making the world better with a smile, making the space warmer with her presence.
I’d like to think I have learned to take off the nose, that I have learned to leave the big top and live in the big world with the big people. I am a fan of funny, the real kind, and one day, with some more work, I hope to be funny too. I am grateful for funny girl, grateful that she helped me see my ways, whether she knows it or not. The world is a much brighter place once you leave the darkness of the circus tent, you can smell the roses a bit better without a clown nose on. The funny thing about taking off the makeup is you are now free to smile at the world and yourself, instead of wearing a fake one all the time, pretending to be funny. Pretending to be living. Learning to take off the nose and the makeup makes a sad clown happy.
Funny how that works.