Monday, April 10, 2017

"Reality Check-Up"

You know, like when you go for a medical check-up where they ask you “How do you feel?” and you say “Great!” and then they do a few tests and they prove you’re mistaken?

Arguments on a blog are a virtual one-sided conversation, leaving you believing that you are right about everything.  (As there is no rebuttal blog entitled, “Earl’s Wrong About Everything And Here’s Why”)

This perception is “ditto” and then some for comedy.  You put something down, you laugh, you think it’s funny – case closed.  No one to dispute your chortling reaction, as you are writing in an audience-free room, except when your housekeeper slips in, looks over your shoulder and says, “Your screen is so dirty.”

You think that’s funny?  I do.  Ipso facto – that’s why it’s in there.  But, as the cable news mavens neglected to include last November,

“I could be mistaken.”

One of the many reasons I enjoy going to this fitness place we go to in Mexico, aside from the primary reason, which is,

I feel like nothing terrible can happen to me there.  And if it does, I can’t imagine a more idyllic spot for a terrible thing to happen.  (I imagine succumbing while on the magnificent “Woodlands” hiking trail, my departing words being, “Dig the hole here.”)

Okay, so here’s what happened… wait, I forgot to finish that sentence.  Sorry.  Let me go back.

One of the many reasons I enjoy going to this fitness place we go to in Mexico is that my visits inevitably provide much-needed (although hardly infrequent) “reality checks”. 

Like the following:

One night, early in our week’s visit, we planned to attend a classical trio’s concert in an exercise venue called Oaktree, in which is permanently located a top-of-the-line Steinway & Sons grand piano.  (The same piano where they’d be playing Mozart and Beethoven, I had snuck in earlier in the day and practiced, “Hey, Good Lookin’, What Ya Got Cookin’”.)

We believed the concert would begin at eight, but it turned out it was actually seven forty-five.  Arriving the five-to-eight with the concert already in progress, we were required to remain outside (among several arrivals who also believed it started at eight) until the trio’s initial offering was completed.  When it was, the glass doors were slid open and the latecomers were allowed entry.

Passing the musicians after they completed their first piece, somewhat embarrassed for arriving en retard, I heard my mouth reflexively say,

“Can you play that again?”

Suddenly, I was surprised by a substantial laugh emanating from the audience.  Though I had not meant my casual remark for them – just for the musicians (in the form of an apology for our interrupting lateness) but primarily to amuse myself, I had apparently spoken louder than I had (at least consciously) intended. 

And there was that big laugh.

Indicating – one of the perks of escaping the solitary confines of my daily existence – that

I’ve still got it!

DISSOLVE TO:  The Following Morning.

We are assembling in the lounge for the seven o’clock Morning Hike.  As I enter, I notice a number of guests huddled around a giant unlit fireplace.  (It was too warm that morning to light it.)  Once again, I heard my mouth reflexively remark,

“Are you enjoying the imaginary fire?”

And once again, there was this confidence-boosting reaction.  With the exception of this one stone-faced woman who, seemingly out of identifiable context, said,

“‘I thought it would never end.’”

Followed by,

I thought they played extremely well.”

And that’s when it hit me.  Apparently, at least some of the concert’s audience the evening before had reacted to a line I had never said.  To them, “Could you play that again?” had entered their ears as the less humorous and much bitchier, “I thought it would never end.”  (Imaginably as a response to our being exiled outside the facility until it did.)

Suddenly, the confirmation of my continued funniness was in challengeable jeopardy.  It was like the votes Patrick Buchanan had accidentally received in the 2000 election in Florida.  The voters had not really meant him.

And those laughers, who had somehow heard what I’d never said or intended…

Had not really meant me.

This was hardly the first occasion the “Ranch”, as they call it, had, like a chiropractic maneuver, brought me “readjustingly” back to earth.  I had experienced this leveling phenomenon before. 

I was getting a “Classic Massage” from Caesario, a resident of the nearby municipality of Tecate.  Breaking an extended silence, interrupting the rubbing (him) and the grunting (me), Caesario quietly observed,

“You remind me of somebody.”

Well, sir (and madam), did my imagination run wild.  In those days, before relocating to ritzier locales, many movie stars and magazine-cover celebrities had visited the “Ranch.”  Inflamed by the glamorous possibilities, I wondered which of them Caesario believed I resembled.

“Who do I remind you of?” I excitedly inquired.

To which Caesario quietly replied,

“You remind me of somebody from town.”

There are risks, departing the sanctuary of Personal Infallibility.  Still, I find it healthy laughing at myself.

I just wonder…

Does it have to happen so often?

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