For some reason that is beyond me, I woke this morning feeling hung-over. Now, as it’s New Year’s Day, this wouldn’t be too surprising, except for the fact that I haven’t had a tipple since Christmas Day as I was ill and then it snowed on New Year’s Eve, so I stayed in. I’m a chicken in the snow.
I knew this wasn’t a true hangover, of course, because instead of being at the mercy of my body’s whims and lying around feeling sorry for myself, I powered through and got the dishwasher going, the laundry machine going, the Roomba going and even made a half-assed attempt at cleaning one of my bathrooms.
It is, perhaps, a comment on one’s housekeeping skills when the act of cleaning freaks your dog out because he doesn’t respond well to change.
I am slowly sliding into 40 and, I assume, mornings like this which used to be a sort of badge of honor (“I can’t believe I drank that much last night…now, where am I, who are you and where are my pants?”) are now going to become a matter of course (“I can’t believe I forgot to take my fiber last night…now, where am I, why are you on my lawn and I reject pants!”).
Even as I contemplate my slippery slope slide into senility, it’s good to know some things never change. As I took the wash down to the laundry room this morning, I noticed a tan disk on the ground. It turned out to be the crinkled corpse of a fucking HUGE spider. Not one of those little ones that the wind blows around like at the end of Charlotte’s Web, but a spider with weight, importance. That arachnid had gravitas, even in its closed chrysanthemum of pure evil death. This thing had lived all summer and fall long, growing to disturbing proportions, and I just became aware of it today when it crawled out of whatever hiding hole it had occupied to serve itself up before me. This made me think.
Truth be told, this first made me shriek like a little girl, throw the laundry everywhere and run back up stairs yelling, “NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!” at the top of my voice. This, in conjunction with the Roomba clearly stalking him in a very circuitous fashion, made little Berkley lose control of his bladder all over the living room.
Nothing brings you back to your senses like dog urine.
Eventually, I got back to contemplation. For those that don’t know, there is a term called “corpsing”. Essentially, it’s is when an actor simply cannot stop laughing, sometimes ruining the performance and other times saving it. Apocryphally, this term comes from a stage production where an actor playing a corpse couldn’t stop giggling because his fellow cast-mates kept trying to make him break. This origin story comes from the English, though, so it may or may not be true as we all know you cannot trust the English any farther than they can throw their sociopolitical influence post-empire.
Every actor has a corpsing moment now and then, either intentional or unintentional. Many year ago, while I was lucky enough to be playing the role of a doctor in Martin City Melodrama and Vaudeville’s production of Jezebel, the actress playing the young sister of the title role had to run out on stage and announce a death. Given that, as this was a MCMV show, seriousness was at a low, but still she got out there on stage with myself and the romantic lead and simply could not get her lines out because of a giggle-fit. Patrick and I just sort of looked at each other and, because we were professionals, egged her on mercilessly. The audience loved it and, as we later found out, we had made Amy pee a little bit on stage which was not the worst bodily fluid to have been spilled on the stage of the old MCMV, but I digress.
And since I’ve digressed, side story. My character had a stutter where I had to hit myself in the back of my head to get my lines out. It was funny. However, another actor in the cast was dating this guy who he brought to the show. The guy got all pissed because he felt my stutter was making fun of the speech disabled and he worked with the speech disabled. I should probably have been more apologetic or something, but my response was more along the lines of, “Goddamn ‘issue-queens’ ruining it for everyone else. Get over yourself.” This led to some icy moments in the dressing rooms and a rift in a friendship between myself and the other actor, which was never a particularly healthy friendship in the first place, but eventually the actor broke up with the date and the date later died from complications of HIV or some such nonsense, so problem solved, really.
So there I was, picking up my undergarments from the floor, my sissy reaction to a dead, albeit huge, spider actually bringing me closer to the spider’s crinkled corpse. I thought about it for a moment and then burst out laughing. I’m not completely sure what I was laughing at. Certainly my predicament, possibly my impending mortality, definitely Amy losing bladder control on the MCMV stage and maybe the whole notion of entire lives lived out of sight or in fear.
When I regained control of myself, I realized I owed that spider a bit of respect. I picked up the corpse with an old bit of newspaper and carried him upstairs. It didn’t seem right, somehow, that he should rot away in the basement. He deserved to be outside. So that’s where I put him. Gently, like last night’s snow, I settled him down on the fresh snow of my yard.
Berkley, my dog, who had snuck out after me, darted forward and ate him.
Just goes to show.