Loser's Guide to Life
In the café today, I saw that someone was telling a new joke.
There was an appalled silence. One woman seemed torn between wanting to get up and leave or burst into tears. The man sitting next to the speaker didn't know where to look, and very much wanted to keep the company in one piece, but had no idea what palliative thing to say. He permitted himself a frozen grin, clearly not to be taken as a result of the joke, but a sociable reflex. I could see that he knew how to deal with tragedy, always providing just the right phrase, the confident manner, but here he was at a loss. And no wonder. It fell to some less central figure to break the spell by comparing lattes: are the ones at Dino's better?
And I thought: Don't worry—years from now, after we're all dead, people will laugh at your joke, uproariously.