By Jan Martinez

Dear Mom and Dad,

I want you to know that the stories from my childhood still have the power to crack me up. What a funny expression, crack me up – to break apart, like a fragile egg, or the shell of one of those buildings on a wild west set, pure façade designed to break apart in a staged explosion. An explosion of laughter, in our case. Oh my, we had so many of those together.

Like that time in high school, Dad, when I was on the phone with Pam, extra long phone cord, curly like a piglet’s tail, wrapped around me and stretching over the kitchen island as I stood next to the refrigerator whispering and giggling. How you walked up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and held up a giant green bug inches from my face, its acid chartreuse wings fanning calmly as I screamed and drop the phone. And you there laughing your ass off. I was so mad, but all that cracked away as my own laughter burst through.

Or Mom, do you remember that time in the Ozarks? You and Barb were in the front seat of Nana’s car. Nana was in the back between me and Bambi. She was the only one who knew how to navigate the winding roads to get to the picturesque town at the top of the mountain, but her directions were vague. At best. Beyond comprehension. Yet at every wrong turn you made, she let you know it. “Why did you turn there, Honey?”

Bambi and I were so car sick by the time we arrived, we talked about getting Halcyon along with our double gin and tonics. You and Barb were frustrated and furious. Nana of course was just fine. But after lunch we all laughed, and Nana ordered a chocolate dessert so rich she said it gave her tongue 10 orgasms. Yeah, Bambi and I still crack up over that one.

So Mom and Dad, I need you to know we’re still laughing. And I hope you all are too.

I don’t want to know the answer to all of life‘s mysteries. All of life’s questions. For example, why one bird sings before another. Why one person becomes dear and another does not. Or how it is a friend can climb high onto a cliff, so high that he then has to affix a cot horizontally onto the sheer rock face. Then to sleep risking a rain shower of pee from climbers higher above. Why this appeals to some and not others is something I can never know. Nor do I really want to. Somethings just are.

Something else I don’t want to know

To a fellow diner at Taverna Rossa:  I don’t want to know your excuse for sitting down next to our table in a crowded restaurant and greeting your friends with a joke: How many Mexicans does it take to cut down a tree?I don’t care about the excuse that led you to this place. The way you sat down, opened your mouth, and didn’t stop talking for the hour we sat near you. I don’t take it personally. I doubt you noticed the friends sitting across from you, so how would you ever possibly think I might be offended?