by Brenda Roger
On Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were starving, and so we bought a bag of French fries and a coke from McDonald’s and shared them while sitting in the parking lot at the Tractor Supply Company. That was the glamorous part of Saturday night.
You see, we were visiting family in a town that shall remain anonymous. Names will be changed to protect the guilty. While munching on our fries, which were a successful solution to a skipped lunch, we joked about how we were going to choose the restaurant where we would eat the next hour with the previously mentioned family. We knew it would be safer not to leave the decision up to them.
Blasted cell phones! We were informed via cell phone that reservations had already been made at a restaurant named after a type of bird in the mystery town. “You know, the one across from such-and-such funeral home.” Egats! It did not sound promising.
We walked in through the bar, which had not contained a molecule of fresh air since about 1965, and which wreaked of Salem cigarettes of yore. The hostess led us through the smoke cloud into a room with carpet on the ceiling where acoustic tiles were not. The tables were covered in the bastard child of gold lame and vinyl. The chairs were huge and had that bent bamboo/cane look of the 1970s. I could tell you more, except I’ve blocked out most of it. I will just say that there was stained glass and foil wallpaper involved. I remember that because it is burned on my retina.
Needing to rid myself of the coke from an hour before, I excused myself to the ladies room where the extreme nature of the manifestation of our fears about the restaurant struck me like a slap across the face. I started to laugh. Then, in an attempt to stop laughing in order to make the act of nature easier, I laughed even harder. Then, breathing became difficult and funny little crying gasps were escaping from me. The more I tried to suppress it, the funnier it became. Finally, I regained composure enough to make it to the sink, where I spied a floral “arrangement” above the sink, and the whole thing started over again.
When I made it back to the table without the help of CPR, I was so grateful that I tried to focus on war and famine in order to keep the giggles away. I would tell you about the rest of the evening, but selective amnesia has taken over and the whole memory may not resurface until sometime in 2020.
I did a little research on Sunday morning and determined that I had suffered from an episode of PLC –pathological laughter and crying. Of course, I found that information on a trivia Web site where people were trying to determine if there was a name for such a thing. You see, they were trying to name a racehorse after uncontrollable laughter and couldn’t find a sexy way of putting it. Perhaps, I should write to the owner of the horse and suggest that she name the horse after the same bird as the hilarious restaurant.