Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Humor in my Life---Part 8 -The Mask

As I've said before, it's the things that don't necessarily seem so funny at the time that, with a little perspective, can be brought forth with more light and levity. I was always one to take life so seriously and I had an ego as big as a mile. Of course, egos only serve to cover great insecurities. Such was the case with me.

As a young man, I had created a mask that spoke to the undiscerning that I was the best thing since Twinkies. I was an up and coming business executive and I planned on making my first million by the time I was thirty. Thanks to addiction and depressive illness that didn't happen. That was part of what was not funny in my life. The good news is that I got past that.

Speaking of twinkies, I married at twenty-three. “What does that have to do with twinkies?” you ask.

It just so happens that that was the same year I came out of the closet as a gay man. That was another story that contained both humor and suffering. Let me find my way back to the topic of humor.

After my short-lived, wonderful career in the business world, I became a social worker. Throughout my years, I met a wide variety of people from every walk of life. Let me tell you about one of them.

I'll call her Marti. She happened to be very eccentric. She liked her clothes and she was a pack rat. She was also very skilled at getting herself evicted from her apartments every six months or so. Marti wasn't playing with a full deck, but it didn't bother her in the least.

She could drink the best of them under the table and she smoked more cigarettes than Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. Those habits gave her a voice that sounded like a bull horn. She also had a stereotypical Irish temper.

Marti wasn't big on formalities. One time following an eviction, I was storing her clothes in my office. Unbeknownst to me, she traipsed into the office and began to rummage through them. Not a minute later, a colleague of mine tapped me on the shoulder. Marti was in the middle of the office, totally nude and picking out a new outfit!

She also had an interesting relationship with her own gay man. I'd frequently run into the two of them at gay bars. That gave Marti the upper hand in our own relationship and she wielded that with a knife when she became angry.

One day, while visiting the office and not getting her own way, she spat at me, yelling “C...sucker!” in a waiting room full of people. Never one to hold a grudge for long, later that same day, she gave me five dollars for Christmas and said, “I'm sorry.”

I wasn't allowed to accept gifts, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. Consequently, I passed on the money to someone else in need.

Marti didn't live a long life, but she lived life on her own terms. They may not have been the terms that most of us would have described as a happy life, but Marti took her lumps and handed them out as she saw fit.
The bottom line is that Marti was one of my most unforgettable characters and I will be telling you about many more.

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