I thought it was a bit. I didn't think it was real, but I couldn't quite grasp the joke either.
I went to class, and there wasn't a teacher in it. Instead a television was on in the corner of the room. Because we didn't have the flat screens back then, this big cubic monster with a convex screen was showing the twin towers in New York with smoke pouring out of them. Then we all watched as a plane hit the other building on repeat.
All of us stood around talking, but we didn't look at each other. We had full conversations standing in a classroom full of chairs staring at the screen.
"Classes are cancelled."
"Did you hear? She's gone because her uncle works in the building."
"No one knows what's happening."
"I'd stay away from Indianapolis if it were me. Thank goodness we're not in a major city right now."
"He was just crying. I didn't know what to do, so I drove him back to the apartment."
Some people were in tears. Some people were in shock. No one knew what the "right" thing to do was in that moment. And maybe that's because there is no one way that's better than another for every person.
I don't remember a lot more than the moments before and inside that classroom on 9-11. I do remember the pain felt across the country, and the people holding signs and flags over the overpass for months afterward. The whole country was holding their loved ones and each other tight.
One thing I vividly remember is the first time Saturday Night Live came back on after the twin towers fell. I remember the wash of men and women in uniform who had fought to save lives and continued to clean up ground zero. I remember Lorne Michaels looking to then Mayor Giuliani and asking "Can we be funny?"
The mayor replied, "Why start now?"
And I laughed.
Amid all the news coverage, with the overwhelmingly somber tone on every radio show and television personality, I laughed that night. I hadn't realized how much I needed to laugh until it was out of me. And I think in that moment I realized the beauty of humor. I realized how much I needed laughter in my life.
Comedy, in all forms, is worth more to me than "a good cry" will ever be to me. Because the two most vivid memories for me about this time of year are the moment I felt the pain, and the moment I was able to laugh again.
Every year around this time since the first "9-11" people are all over social media telling us to never forget. And while I was isolated in my little college town, I still felt the impact left by that moment. So I can only imagine the pain and heartache others who lost loved ones deal with. I don't know how they cope, or claim to understand how they would want the world to treat the tragedy.
But as someone who has dealt with other issues in her life, I can say that for me...I need the laughter. I need the happily ever after of a good book. I need something like a killer Kevin Smith movie that gives me boner jokes and stink palm humor.
So if you see someone not talking about this tragedy today, or about any other tragedy, don't knock them down. Those people who are bringing out the bright spots...those people who are putting humor into the world...they are giving something that directly combats the darkness. Laughter is a light that is damn hard to diminish, and someone might just need that laugh or that smile today more than any other day.
I don't usually talk about things that make me sad, because I want to do for others what some authors and directors have done for me. I want to be the place they come to smile.
Does it mean I'm insensitive, or don't have the capacity to feel the sad parts of life? No. It means I want you to come my way if you're looking for some smartass characters, or a cheap wine review.
There won't be any television watching today for me. I'm going to watch Dogma and Mall Rats, with a possible showing of the new DeadPool 2 Blu-Ray hubby brought home.
Hug your loved ones, tell them how special they are to you. Then laugh with them. That's what I plan to do today.