I once had a co-worker who would laugh uproariously at her own amusing anecdotes – except they weren’t amusing so much as horribly depressing. I always laughed with her at the punch-line but always awkwardly. “My husband is an alcoholic, so I hide his wallet every night!” Haha ha h ah hahah aha ha! “After I chased him around the house with a hammer, I let the air out of my husband’s tires!” Haha ha haha ha! … And the worst/my favorite one: “I made my husband do coke on Christmas but now he has to take a drug test for his new job – and it’s a hair test so there’s no way he’ll pass! But he already quit his other job and the house in sold!” Hah aha h ahhahaha!

Ha! Ha, ha, hmm … awkward. But ok, funny. But awkward funny.

One of my favorite friends –the most cynical of all my friends, she reminds me of Miranda of SATC and who doesn’t love Miranda? – is the only one who can find humor with me in the awkwardness. Laughing at awkward without being awkward … if that makes any sense. I don’t have to pretend with her because there’s no judgment or pity, just humor in our pathetic and awkward lives. I can say, “I think I am still in love with the bastard who broke my heart!” and she will answer with, “I am in love with my best friend’s ex-boyfriend!” Haha hah ah ha hha!

Ha! Ha, ha, hmm …

She called last night to invite me on a weekend trip this summer and, as always, our awkward lives were in the open and continued to amuse us. Sometimes, we even try the lying thing which is only awkwardly funny because the lies couldn’t be farther from the truth.

“Mol, you HAVE to come! You and I will have so much fun! I immediately thought of you when they planned this trip!”

“Are you inviting me only because I understand the situation and will leave you and your [boy of secret and eternal love] alone?”

“No, but he and his friend do need two more people for their hotel room, ha, coincidentally … we will hang out with them, but you and I will share the second bed.”

“Ha! Fuck, I am going to have to share a bed with the friend, aren’t I?”

“No, of course not. Mol, I plan on having a boyfriend by then. July is a far away. [Boy of secret and eternal love] will be done and I won’t WANT to sleep with him because hello, I will have a BOYFRIEND by then. Ha!”

“Oh yeah, ha ha, totally me too; and I’ll be over whatshisname –see? I barely think about him now, it’s working! – and by then, my new boyfriend and I will be ridiculously in love.  And haha, the friend better not be cute, I don’t want to be tempted!  But if he’s ugly, I’ll probably do him anyway, because I don’t have standards anymore!”

“You better get really drunk to pass out cold and avoid hearing any sex noises from my bed!  Ha ha, good thing we’re old and should know better!”

And then we laughed until the tears fell and our sides ached.  And as I share this story with you, Internet, and realize the different interpretations, I now know how my co-worker must have felt about laughing about her awkward life.  Laughing and lying are totally better than pity or compassion.