Weekend Wanderer: It’s Really Not That Bad if You Laugh


weekend wanderer

It’s been almost a year since Indy went to Marion’s bar in Nepal

So it was weird when he walked into my house last week. 

Kidding, guys. Kidding. This isn’t Dallas and Indy isn’t Patrick Ewing.  

Ooh. What if I had him upstairs in a rocker while I ran around pretending to be him, all Norman Bates-y? 

OK. That’s just wrong.  

But it’s kind of my point. 

Sometimes, when everything has gone sideways, you need to laugh. 

There’s research backing me up. 

I’ve tried — as much as I could — to find humor in a world without Indy. 

A little aside here — The New York Times piece I linked above quotes a humor writer. 

Named Wendi. 

Yeah. This girl has my name.  

And my job. 

I don’t like Wendis who spell their name with an “i.” That’s my name. My spelling. 

It’s proprietary, that spelling. You can’t — you can’t just have my name.  

And you’re a humor writer, too? What — do you want to marry my husband? Take my dog? Parent my kids? 

Tell me you have a cabin in the woods and we’re having words. 

I just — I’m not going to cope well knowing another funny Wendi is writing her funny little stories out in the world. 


A few days after Indy’s funeral, my friends sat me down over wine and pizza. 

And dished on everything I didn’t know was going on. 

Because you’re not gossiping, you’re not getting your mean girl on, when you’re busy being both Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt to Willie’s Meryl Streep

Even though she wasn’t wearing Prada

Because Willie sat in a high-backed chair in the receiving line at Indy’s funeral.  

Like she was Queen Elizabeth

The first or second. Take your pick.  

As each mourner approached, Willie turned to me expectantly. I’d whisper each person’s name. Even though, you know, she knew almost everyone there. 

Things got ridiculous when I was introducing fellow Temple of Doom residents. 

But Willie insisted. 

After shaking hands with Willie, then me, I’d introduce my husband. 

Maybe, my husband joked, I could introduce him as Indy’s son, instead of as my husband. 

“Can I introduce you as both?” I asked. 

I bet that other Wendi wasn’t as funny as all that.  

See? I told you this wasn’t good for me. Do you know she’s written books? What if the universe can only accommodate one funny book-writing Wendi-with-an-i? 

No, no, no. We won’t do this. That’s ridiculous, right? The world can have other Wendis besides me. 

I just can’t know about them. 

In the days after Indy went to Marion’s bar in Nepal, my husband’s outdoorsy friends — whose love for me, I think, is only outpaced by my love for them — sent me condolences.  

The thing about outdoorsy people is they know getting outdoors is good for you. 

But they know me well enough to know the forest is not especially restorative when I’m on the lookout for snakes. 

In December. 

So they brought the indoors to me. 

I received plants. Lots and lots of plants. Flowering plants and big leafy plants and plants I accidentally killed. 

One plant arrived at 9:30 at night. 

We thought it was an intruder. 

We answered the door with knives and 911 dialed into our phones. 

Then, of course, there’s the whole introvert thing.  

Nothing sends people scurrying like your dad and uncle going to Marion’s bar in Nepal four months apart. 

I have the cheese touch. The rest of the world, eager to avoid my fate, slowly backs away, their thumbs to their foreheads. 

And that’s just fine. Do you know how many documentaries I’ve watched? Enough that I’ve worked my way through plane crashes and scuba mishaps.  

Now I’m onto sharks. 

Willie, of course, is a constant source of entertainment. 

“Here,” she said to me one day, handing me a pile of checks. 

There were six or seven of them. A few made out to Willie. Two made out to Indy.  A check made out to one bank but endorsed by another. 

All were over three years old.  

“Deposit those,” Willie said. 

“With a time machine?” I asked. 

Hey — do you guys think that other Wendi would want my Willie? I mean, she has my job, my name. Why not let her have my Willie? 

Because I’ll be honest. I don’t know how to deposit — into Willie’s account — a check made out to a bank Willie doesn’t bank with and endorsed by another bank Willie doesn’t bank with. 

And why does Willie even have that check? 

There’s probably a book in that story. 

And I just gave it away to that other Wendi. 

Well, at least we know it’ll be funny. 

And I could use a good laugh. 

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