There’s something about the number 13 that frightens people.
When we lived in a high-rise in Miami Beach, it was on the 14th floor, except for one problem. There was no 13th floor.
The elevator jumped from 12 to 14.
I thought it was so strange that buildings everywhere excommunicated the number 13. Ironically, life seemed to open a portal into happiness for us when we lived there.
My sister and I would grab a ride on a jitney and take it to the hotels like the Fontainebleau, which we had access to because we lived in the condominium. We lay on the beach, swam in the pools, and enjoyed the people who visited.
I could’ve seen the number 13 as some sort of omen. Instead, 13 seemed a saving grace, a hidden message, a sign.
So, when Jilly sent me a message, I saw it as a sign.
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When she made me laugh right in the middle of a full-on breakdown, sending salty snot flying from my nose, I knew my sister was my hero.
The first time I saw her perform standup, it left me not just laughing but gaping in awe of her ability to hurtle a crowd into fits of laughter.
So, with her 3,000 miles away, I often use her clips on her website and YouTube to remind me that laughing has a way of turning pain into light so that it becomes far away, and transparent.
On our summer visit in Los Angeles, that light shown even more brightly. On the night we ventured out to watch Man of Steel, it become apparent that she owned the title Woman of Steel and that her superpower is laughter. It was her birthday and she chose it thinking that she would entertain my children and still see a great movie.
After watching Man of Steel, I walked out feeling the same way I normally feel when I leave a much-anticipated film or even television series that I’m disappointed with. I felt disoriented and unappreciated. I felt like Hollywood could care less about what our daughters and sons learn and they definitely underestimate their ability to interpret anything more than cheap lines and renditions of X-Box or PlayStation games.
Then my sister laughed and laughed again. “What was that? My brain hurts,” she blurted. She asked the kids what they thought and they shrugged and displayed that slanted twist of their mouths, their eyebrows raised.
Then it happened. Superhero Woman of Steel mode kicked in and POW! She riddled us with joke after joke, which I can’t remember because it comes at you so fast, this blur of laughter hitting you then wrapping around you so tightly that the only thing you can do is double over in fits of laughter.
She always does this, well, at least most of the time. She, my sister and comedian Jill Michele Melean, always forces us to laugh at the absurd and even more so the depressing.
When I’d break up with a boyfriend, she wouldn’t comfort me as much as make me laugh. “You’re gonna be okay. Now, here are some things to look forward to: You’ll have plenty of time to write. And, more importantly, you’ll lose a lot of weight.”
Again, the snot flew.
Sometimes, I’d get angry and even sometimes cry harder, but she’d wake me out of my coma and laughter always followed.
As kids, if I was sad, which was often enough, she’d come running over ready to make faces and throw a nice smelly fart my way.
She was completely and utterly inappropriate and I thank the heavens for beaming her to down to me.
So, this is for you. For those times when happiness seems too far away, Jill Michele brings us laughter, the perfect weapon.