When last we met, I shared the cryptic, terse, stilted, cheerless, eleven-word email response from comedian Gary Gulman to my complimentary, heartfelt, clever, compassionate, disquisition (it’s a real word, People) on my concerns about his mental health.
“Thank you for caring. I’ll be OK. Happy Holidays. Gary”
What does this mean…except for he is grateful, he’ll be fine and he wants me to enjoy the holidays? You know as well as I do as things are never that straightforward.
So, let’s figure this out.
Just the Facts Ma’am
Fact #1: I’m not a stalker. This is important. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and simply don’t have the energy for that kind of crime. Let’s say I did have the energy. I’ve managed to live 59 years without a rap sheet (police record or rapidly spoken lyrics to awesome syncopation). Stalking is not on my “Bucket List.” Having a “Bucket List” is not on my “Bucket List.”
Fact #2: Gary spoke openly and at painful lengths during his comedy show about his current struggles with depression (trouble getting out of bed, not having energy for personal grooming, self-medication via comfort food). In other words, he invited me (and the rest of the audience) into his pain. I may have been the only one who accepted his invitation seriously, though.
Fact #3: I’m a Highly Sensitive Person. I have ESR (Emotion Seeking Radar). Just think of Heat Seeking Missiles, only much kinder, less shiny, and less expensive to taxpayers; but just as accurate, fast and potentially damaging. Once deployed, there is no way to stop it (no matter what you’ve seen in Mission Impossible or Chick Flick movies).
Fact #4: Although exhaustive by no means, I scoured the Internet for any science showing that comedians suffer disproportionately from depression or bipolar disease. I didn’t find anything. Between ten and twenty percent of Americans are depressed (this varies by gender, age, geographic area, and other factors like elections—I made that last part up, but maybe not, we’ll see). When Robin Williams died, a flurry or articles were written about comedy, depression and suicide. The consensus seems to be that comedians “think and cope differently” than the rest of us. Wow! Give those researchers another government grant.
Are you tired of facts? Good. Me, too. Let’s move on to edumacated guesses about what Gary’s message might really mean.
As a PhD. sociologist, I never liked the definition of a hypothesis as an “educated guess.” It’s oxymoronic.
I don’t know the meaning of Gary’s message or if Gary even wrote the message. So, I’m just spit-balling here. But, let’s give it a go anyway.
Here are my guesses on the possible meanings of his response.
- He meant what he said. Nah. Too boring.
- He’s a Jewish comedian. I’m one-quarter Jewish. I know Jewish sarcasm. “Thank you for caring. I’ll be OK. Happy Holidays.” Oy! He should have sent me some aloe vera cream for the burn. If he had been in the room, I would’ve gotten the eyeball roll and the sigh.
- He has his manager handle all his “fan mail,” and his manager is not a creative writer.
- He forgot he was responding in email, not Twitter. Come on, Gary, with spaces and punctuation, you still had at least 120 more characters of love you could’ve sent me.
- He’s intrigued. He made his response purposefully cryptic so I would email him back. His plan? A whole new act based on this weird Portland fan with the email handle “dizzylorna.” It’ll be hilarious! Only I didn’t email him back.
- His girlfriend saw the email and stood behind him and watched as he typed the email SHE dictated to him to be sure to end this “thing” between us before it even got going. You know, I have this Scorpio Vibe that I have very little control over.
- He was trying out new material on a live audience. Being the consummate professional, he dressed (or dressed down) the part of a depressed person.
Okay. I’m all out of ideas, guesses (educated and otherwise).
Do you have any theories?
Do you care?
I’m only doing this because I’m guessing you’d like to focus on something other than the weather, aging, dieting, aging, writer’s block, aging, politics, aging, or taxes. Or aging.
That’s not completely true, which is to say, that’s false. I’m doing this because I said I would. But I still want to know your edumacated guesses!