the last time you laughed hysterically? Not just laughing hard, but
uncontrollable, difficult to breathe, tears and snot rolling down
your face, completely unable to stop yourself laughter? It’s
cathartic, but I’m not sure it’s healthy. I laugh a lot. I know a
lot of funny people. I’ve been told I can be a funny people. But
it’s been a long time since I was out of control hysterical.
not be the last time this happened to me, but it was certainly the
worst. Best? Most memorable.
the end of my first semester of grad school, without a doubt the most
difficult academic semester of my life. I think grad schools plan it
that way in order to weed out the people who aren’t going to make it early. I’ve always been a pretty solid B student without having to
work very hard. As a result I have crap study skills. I can get
really motivated when it’s something I’m interested in, but have
little patience for the topics I’m not. That semester was full of
things I just didn’t care very much about. That same fall Fred and
I had signed a contract to produce our first comic book, which ended up never appearing, so that was
taking up a lot of my time and attention. That alone should have
clued me in on where my actual priorities were.
even though I had dropped a class in Research Statistics to be taken
again later, I still had four final exams and a major paper due the last
week of class. The story I have told for years is that I got about
eight hours sleep in the course of four days. That seems unlikely to
me now, but nevertheless, I didn’t get much sleep. I was living on
caffeine. The area I lived in was a test market for Jolt Cola (‟All
the sugar and twice the caffeine!”). My routine for those four days
was a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, a can of Jolt, repeat. There’s a
reason I wasn’t sleeping.
came when we were all finished. It was the day before we were all
leaving for Christmas break. A bunch of us were hanging out at the
apartment, trying chill and relax and have fun before we left. I
should have taken the opportunity to crash but I was really wired. Our
friend Holly made chocolate fudge. I want to go on record by saying
it was possibly the worst fudge in the history of fudge. We all
thought so. Holly thought so. Somehow it seemed like a really good
idea that instead of eating it we should wad it up into a ball and
toss it around the living room.
my reaction, this must have been the funniest thing to ever happen.
Ever. Anywhere. Another friend was there, reading quietly on the
couch, somehow completely oblivious to our shenanigans. At one point
the fudge landed in his lap. He held it up like it was an alien
artifact. The look on his face was the final straw for my
sleep-deprived, caffeine-addled brain. I lost it. Completely, rolled
up in a ball on the floor, shivering, uncontrollable, difficult to
breathe, tears and snot rolling down my face, completely unable to
stop myself from laughing.
time I thought I was getting some semblance of control, I would look
up and lose it again. I eventually made it to my bedroom, closed the
door, turned out the light and curled up on my bed, still shaking in
the throes of mirth. It took awhile, but I got my shit together and
went back to join the others.
immediately collapsed to the floor again, all composure gone.
time my friends were getting seriously worried about me. I think I
may have been on the verge of some kind of breakdown. Miriam came to
my rescue. I was still reeling, but she took my arm, grabbed our
coats and made me walk her back to her dorm. I think the combination
of the cold December air and her calm presence may have saved my
sanity that night.
are times I feel like it’s been way too long since I have indulged
in genuine hilarity. I like to laugh until I ache, especially in the
company of good friends. I never want to be that out of control
fudge for me.