I couldn't bring myself to post yesterday. At first I thought I was just in a piss-poor mood and didn't want to spread it around, but then I realized it was more than that--I felt depressed. If someone had looked at me cross-eyed, I would have burst into tears.
It's the holidays. I know I'm not the only one who's finding the holidays to be particularly tough this year; last week's tragedy has put a pallor over everyone's spirit. And yesterday was the day where every depressing thought I could muster hit my mind at once. I'm so lucky in that I am blessed with not one, but two beautiful families and enough friends to fill the biggest showroom on the Strip. But instead of focusing on the joy they bring me, yesterday I was consumed with the sorrow I feel for many of them. My thoughts began a downward spiral.
Off the top of my head, I can think of four friends who will be spending their first Christmas without their mothers. That got me worrying about my own mother's health, even though at 78 she's looking good and goes to water aerobics three times a week. I can think of three friends who are seriously ill; one is on the list for a liver-kidney transplant. But a Christmas miracle--the call he's been waiting for--would require the passing of another soul. Another dear friend, Tena, will be spending the holidays alone for the first time in over a decade after the loss of her partner, Ed, who died in August. Then I got to thinking about my relatives who have passed--my father, grandparents, and Beautiful Aunt Joyce--and was ready to lose my shit.
The other day as I stood in line in K-mart, I looked at the cashier's name tag and thought, "Wow, you don't see too many black Courtneys." How Courtney didn't make the Top 20 Whitest Names, I don't know. I'm sure it would have if the list didn't include four variations of Kaitlyn. Anyway, the woman in front of me was buying hundreds of dollars of Christmas decorations, and judging from her interaction with Courtney, she was a regular customer. I jumped in the conversation, too, and learned that the woman's husband died recently and this would be her first Christmas without him.
I expressed my sympathy and then Courtney said, "I'm hoping her daughters surprise her for Christmas." The woman explained to me that shortly after her husband's death she was contacted by her daughters in South America. They had been kidnapped by her first husband when they were very young and despite years of effort, she hadn't heard from them since. Oh, how I hope those girls show up--that would be a Christmas miracle where everybody wins.
So of course, yesterday I had to worry about that lady in line who I'll probably never see again, too. It was one of those days.
The night, however, was a different story. There's nothing like a good dive bar to shake some happiness into you, and last night Mike and I met my friend Kri and a bunch of other nice folks at Dino's Lounge on Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of the Stratosphere. I've written about this place before, and my second time there was just as joyful. Seriously, this is one of the best dive bars ever--right up there with The Deliri in Plattsburgh.
Dino's has karaoke on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the singers are generally much better quality than the average karaoke bar. The DJ was fantastic and last night he sang Elton John's "Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters" just beautifully.
It would have brought joyful tears to my eyes, but I had to laugh instead as I remembered that for decades I thought Elton John was singing, "Rocket man.... Rocket man... burning all the Jews I've ever known." Then I got to thinking about another mondegreen I recently heard of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: "The girl with colitis goes by..." That's a good one!
We had to leave Dino's early to head over to a party at my comic friend Joe Lowers' house, where he had a spread complete with a 23-lb. turkey dinner. It was packed with comedians and their significant others and there was never a moment when you didn't hear somebody laughing. The sorrow that had filled me all day was replaced by joy. And alcohol. Yeah, probably had a little too many last night, but I enjoyed every drop.
I got an email from my friend Tena the other day with a photo of a beautiful newborn baby attached. The infant is Ed's new grandson. Life goes on. We'd be crazy not to enjoy it while we can.