“…If I did not laugh, I should die.”

                                   Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever I’m done having coffee with you I’m exhausted.”
And with those words, Ed shook his head, rose from the table and left the patio. He, like me, was worn from hilarity.

(My mother used to chide: “Bruce, not everything is funny!” Ed, like I, would disagree. Together we not only find EVERYTHING funny, but everything fun).

To the outside world my friend is tough-nosed, hard-charging, angry… I’m lucky, though, having seen the man behind the curtain. Brother Ed, alas, is but a pussycat (afraid to show it).

Perhaps destined to be pals, we met though our daughters in the late 80’s. Little league. My marriage was running out of gas; his looked just as happy. Kismet.

“Hey,” I asked him—the game over…walking to the cars….”You want to go to Scooter’s? We need to have a roster meeting.” Sadly, he too was in no hurry to get home.

And so it was that our friendship melded. One part escape, two parts laughter (his and mine). With humor we’ve shared blood, sweat and tears. Through humor we’ve sidestepped deaths, divorce, economics…and together, in humor, we’ve gone from mailing in life to living it, Indeed, I’m convinced that if not separately, at least TOGETHER, we could make light of anything. I was reminded of this again just recently.

Thursday our friend Barry resurfaced. For forty-five minutes, maybe more, we had fun at his expense. Don’t get me wrong—our bud loved it—it’s just that throughout it Ed and I shared eye contact, telegraphing each next aimed insult.

Then, Friday I lost my keys. Had to be driven in from Willoughby— to sleep at Hal’s. The inconvenience, of course, was short-lived. By Saturday we were holding court at the coffeehouse: Bruce regaling of the misadventure, Ed sitting shaking his head …like he’d heard it all before.
(And he had).

“Remember the last time?” I opened.
“Don’t get me started!” he urged….already laughing.
Ignoring him (of course), I continued.

90’s…”Damn Yankees”—a Friday night. The cops pulled me over for expired tags. Those were the radio days but calls to Ed and Bob went unanswered. I stood in Hudson, Ohio…stranded…in a blizzard. A friend drove me some thirty miles to the real world: Mayfield Heights.

By now weather had pushed Ed’s return call to voice mail. The boys were at Chammps—grand opening of a new restaurant. Standing at the bus stop I saw the sign. High, up.., neon-bright:


The light bulb lit up! Stumbling in from the cold, inquiring:

“Do you delivery to Landerbrook?” (The street, back then, was somewhat new. The clerk had to check).

“Yes,” she concluded.
“Fine, then I’ll have a large pepperoni, and go for the ride.”

Triumphantly some thirty minutes later I strode into Chammps, bringing pizza for the boys. (Free delivery— but I tipped).

That was years ago, of course. It’s no longer Coffee Creations—it’s Caribou now. And each of us is older, maybe even wiser. Still, if you close your eyes, it is the same laughter that sustains us.

Rich Lichau was a regular on Chagrin then, at Richmond now. He’s a good man and has watched our show as long as anyone.

“They should give you guys a mic,” he mused just Sunday…”And charge admission.”

Rich is prejudiced; he just likes our humor and he likes us. My guess is not everyone agrees. And it matters not.

We’re still standing—me and Ed. And smiling. And…Mr. Lichau aside, we’re our best audience.

Laughter IS the best medicine.

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