My adolescence was spent as a ward of the court. I lived in an all girls group home from the age of 13 until I graduated high school. I saw it as a county funded boarding school. Anything was better than living in my home. I had run away enough times that I had finally gotten to stay away.
Teenage angst aside, I made a real effort to do well while in the house. I went to an outside high school and excelled. There were pretty straight-forward rules I had to follow. One day I was on a pass and went somewhere other than where I said I would be. I could have easily gotten away with it because I didn’t get caught. But I felt bad about it and I decided I was going to take the opportunity to be honest for a change. I would tell the director of the group home, a man that to this day I have a great respect for, what I had done.
I expected to be in trouble. I expected to be grounded. Instead, to my shock the director said, ”It’s up to you to make this right with the Universe.” He told me there were some branches in the back of the house and that I could throw them into the compost pile. No one was going to check to see if I did it – it was between the Universe and me.
Determined to make it right now that the entire universe was involved in my deception, I marched to the back of the house, picked up the first branch and it cut open my finger. As I stood there bleeding, I could have thought that this was proof that the Universe was out to get me. I could have thought that I deserved it for lying. But instead – instead of those thoughts – I laughed. I laughed because it was funny. Here I was for the first time in my life attempting honesty with an adult, and the consequence? An open wound. But – it occurred to me at the moment – if that were funny –.that meant my current predicament was funny. That meant retroactively my whole life was funny. That meant the whole world was funny. And that meant if I laughed –I could live through anything.
That was the first moment I was introduced to irony and this I believe. I believe in the Irony of the Universe. I believe there is no fine line between comedy and tragedy. There’s just comedy and really dark comedy. I believe that the ridiculous will happen. I believe that I won’t see it coming. I believe in being pleasantly surprised by events both personal and universal. I believe that comedy isn’t just entertainment, it’s a survival technique. And I believe that if life isn’t funny, you’re not paying attention.
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