We're All Damaged

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Everything is Awful and I Want to Die But Here's a Joke I Heard

Like about half the country, I'm hurting badly right now. It's an overwhelming feeling, complete with nausea, hopelessness, and sudden bouts of startlingly raw emotion.

I've done my best over the past 24 hours to avoid lashing out. It'd probably feel good to point fingers and chastise those who disagree with me, but, I know that I'd ultimately regret it, and I'd just find myself with something else to feel shitty about.

I don't know why the election turned out the way that it did. I don't know if there's anything, reasonably, that anyone could have done to make things go differently. But, what I do know is that I can't work on my novel-in-progress in this emotional condition. A novel is a delicate thing--particularly a first draft--and me showing up at my keyboard on the verge of tears would almost certainly send things off the rails. I am, after all, a comedic novelist.

So, while I take a day or two off to wallow and eat mint chocolate chip ice cream in Costco-size portions, I thought I'd share a joke I recently heard that really made me laugh. My hope is that it makes you laugh, too, and maybe feel at least a little better.

I was in Oxford, MS last week with a friend to see a college football game. It was late Saturday night. I didn't particularly care about the outcome of the game, but, my friend did, and his team had lost, so we decided to get drunk at some college bars.

When it came time to go back to the house where we were staying, I discovered that the Uber situation in Oxford is delicate, and there isn't really a "traditional" taxi company in operation. Instead, the locals share random gypsy cabs to get around when they've been drinking. These cabs could be vans, sedans, SUVs, or, in our case, a stretch limousine from the 1980s with a big dent in the fender.

"Flag that guy down," my friend said. "See if he's got openings."

"What?" I said.  "You mean that limo?"

The driver--a small man with an exotic Russian accent--told us to hop in. When we did, along with a great deal of neon lighting, we found two large African-American men. One was tipped over on the plush seat with his eyes closed; the other smiled and said hello.

We exchanged pleasantries. The sleeping guy briefly woke up to say hi. After a chat about the football game, we collectively ran out of things to say, which led to a few minutes of silence.

"Well, this is awkward," said the awake guy. He had a big, booming voice. "How about I tell you guys a joke?"

Technically, I wasn't in the mood to hear a joke, but I liked that the guy was talking. Silence freaks me out, especially in small, neon-lit spaces, so I encouraged him to continue. This is what he said.

"So, an Asian guy, a Mexican guy, a white guy, and a black guy all climb Mt. Kilimanjaro together.  When they get to the top, they're all very excited, and they discovered that each of them is the first member of his race to make it to the top."

Side note: I really liked where this joke was heading. He went on.

"Out of nowhere, the Asian guy turns to his new friends and says, 'I'm doing this for my people,' and then he throws himself off the side of the mountain. Everyone was like, holy shit. But then, inspired by this act of selfless valor, the Mexican guy does the same thing. 'I'm doing this for my people!' and then he throws himself off the mountain, too. The white guy and the black guy just stand there and process what they've witnessed. I mean, they can't believe it. Then, suddenly, the black guy shouts, 'I'm doing this for my people!'...and then he throws the white guy off the mountain."

Stay strong, America. We'll get through this.



  1. Great post all the way around. Stay strong, finish wallowing and get cracking on that next novel - I can't wait to read it.

  2. I feel as devistated as you about the result of this election. It's going to be a scary world. However, I started reading "We're All Damaged" two days ago and it lifted me out of the doldrums. What a great book! So, please, get back to work on your novel-in-progress and help us to forget for at least a little while

  3. I just finished "We are all Damaged" and I really enjoyed it. You seem to be a good writer. However I am elated with the election results and I'm looking forward to the future for the first time in a long time.

    1. Thanks, J. Glad you liked the book.

  4. Great book - enjoyable read that took my mind off the election.... I'm so glad I went to your blog for the hilarious joke - I needed it after the terrifying results of November 8th.....

    1. Hey, Unknown. Thanks for visiting the blog. I need to write here more than I do. Maybe I'll make it a resolution for 2017.

  5. Love the title of this blog and your sense of humor..i also read Were all Damaged a few days ago. I didn't want it to end ! It felt good to laugh out loud again. Since the election, I feel
    like this is just some warped nightmare. Thanks for helping to pull me out of the fog I was in. (Still upset but know I'm not alone!)- Jane

    1. Thanks, Jane. Glad I could help a little.

  6. Ugh !! I meant "We're All Damaged" - not WERE ! - Jane

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  8. There are many good reasons why writers should not project their politics. The main one being that the artist is charged with the task of addressing the human condition and should be able to see the wider picture.You are still too much of this world to appeal to those whose politics you despise. I wish you well with your target market as you have a rare gift for written comedy.