I am here retelling an old story . I do that . If you’ve heard it , then just turn away for a few minutes . Please don’t give me an exaggerated ” Oh , no ! ” as someone I know sometimes does. Well , I will admit that’s more often after I tell a joke again . She’s heard them fifteen or twenty times , so I can’t blame her .
I had a brother-in-law who , all through his adult life , had the mental capacity of about an eight year old . He and I were pretty much on the same mental level , therefore , and we got along swell . His memory was what my memory is rapidly becoming . He could remember things that happened years ago , but not what he had for lunch that day , or what happened yesterday . Now , think about that . I could tell him the same dumb joke over and over and he laughed freely and heartily every time . He hadn’t remembered that I told the same one to him last time I’d seen him . ” You’re a card , Dan ! ” he would say to me . With his Boston accent it sounded like I was a cod , but be that what it may . Or he would sometimes say to me , ” Hey , Dan , you belong on the stage .” Then there’d be a dramatic pause . ” The first stage out of town ,” he’d finish . He’d sit there in his wheelchair and laugh and I’d laugh and it was great fun .
You gots to have a sense of humor . That’s what I think . Luckily , most people do .
Ada and I stopped by a fish shack last night for some clam chowder . She got hers served in the bread . That’s the way she likes it . I got just the chowder in the styrofoam cup . They had the three sizes out on the counter with “small” , “large” , and “other” written on them with black marker . They weren’t cheap . I ‘m usually kind of a cheap guy , so I weigh those factors . The “large” looked like it was pretty small but the price for it was not . Don’t ask me about the “other” For that one I guess you take a second mortgage on your house or put your car up for collateral .
Ada said , ” Why don’t you order the ” other ” when I mentioned my astute observation that the ” large ” was pretty small . No , I don’t travel in those circles , so I ordered the “large” . I tried to joke a bit with the girl who was taking the orders . ” Is that the ” large ” ? I asked . ” It’s not very large , ” I said . I tried to make it a light humorous comment . I tried to make a light humorous face , indicating that I was joking in case she missed other hints . .
I guess she was tired from a long day in the fish kitchen and in no mood for jokes . I suppose she had no snappy comeback , so she just frowned . The frown was verging pretty close to a sneer . I dropped my smile then , too , and ordered the little ” large ” cup of clam chowder . It was pretty good , by the way .
But , as fellow blogger Dan over at No Facilities often says : But , I digress . My story is not about clam chowder or brothers-in-law .
When I was in high school I worked at Redman Van and Storage in Santa Monica , CA . It seems to me the warehouse was over on Santa Monica Blvd and 23rd Street , but it was a long time ago . Santa Monica’s transformed itself into a jet-setter’s paradise , or something like that . Do we still use the designation “jet-setter” ? Probably there’s some hipper term nowadays . But , you get the general idea , I guess. They took the sleepy streets of my youth and made them all one-ways ; they stretched them and narrowed them and made them , somehow , uncomfortable to travel along . I’m always on edge when I ride through Santa Monica these days . But , then , that’s me . Lots of other people like it that way . Edgy is cool , I know .Anyway , I’m pretty sure the old warehouse is long gone , turned into part of the Saint Monica Hospital’s complex ,or UCLA’s , or into a high end health spa , or something .
But , my tale has little to do with cities jumping head-first sans helmets into the 21st Century . It does have something to do with Santa Monica , though . You might be happy to find that out .
” Oceans and mountains ! ” , she kept repeating . The old man was frowning . Maybe he was on the verge of scowling . Maybe he’d been listening to this ” mountains and ocean” stuff all day long . He looked a little like the fish shack girl ,now that I think of it .
They’d driven Highway One all the way from Seattle to Santa Monica . If you’ve ever done that , you know it’s a beautiful drive , but , yes , it’s mountains and ocean . The old lady was stuck on that motif.
After several “mountains and oceans ” minutes , she finally switched to ” We have everything in Ohio . We never should have moved out here . All you’ve got in California is mountains and………. ” And she got stuck with the ” We have everything in Ohio ” line , while her husband cringed and kept silent .
After several ” We have everything in Ohio ” pronouncements , I decided to answer her . ” Except for mountains and ocean , ” I said . It shut her up for awhile . She probably reported me to the bosses up in the front office . They probably put another red mark next to my name . They didn’t like instigators on the payroll .
You can’t take life too seriously . Otherwise you’ll keep repeating yourself and wish you were in Ohio or something . Or you’ll turn into Santa Monica before you know what hit you . Hawking clam chowder from an open window in a fish shack will lose its thrill when you , for whatever reason , can’t see the humor in it . You stand the chance of going crazy , or worse ,and not in a good way . Amen.
Ada and I were driving along Highway 1 today and she was the one who began saying “Oceans and mountains! Oceans and mountains ! ” Not me . Neither of us had to re-tell the Ohio story to get another laugh out of it .