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(C.12) Laughter is The Best Medicine – Part 2 (1 Viewer)


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“You mother and you seem to have such a beautiful relationship. It is hard to believe you even dare to doubt she likes you.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Isn’t that obvious? You’ve gone through so many tough times together, including the losses of your father and your brother and the many health problems you both had, and still you both are able to laugh about your misery, by repeating your grandmother’s sayings.”

“Well, that’s right. I suppose now our relationship improved, and I became the daughter she always wanted to have. I became her companion, I could say she is my friend, and I am hers. We don’t only enjoy the sayings, we also play old songs. I look up the old songs she wants to hear on the Internet, and she is so contented when I find them. We also watch old movies. I do what I can to prevent her from crying, from feeling alone, or from feeling she is getting too old, and her body is not responding to the commands of her mind as she’d like it to do.”

“I suppose this is what companionship is all about.”

“I enjoy being with her, I always did, and now that I am more mature, and decided to be here for her, I don’t feel it is such a sacrifice. It is my pleasure, it is a honor, to be at her side.”

“Do you have more sayings you would like to tell me?”

“Of course, I do, there are 272, I could spend the whole night just talking about them. Let’s see… this one: Quem as onze não vier, comerá do que trouxer. which means ‘If you’re not here on time for dinner, you’d better bring your own’. In this case it doesn’t mean there isn’t any food left. It means there are rules in the house, and everybody must be home on time for dinner, otherwise, if someone is not on time, the only food they’ll get is what they got for themselves on the way home.”

“I can see that those sayings are also related to family rules, rules everybody should respect.”

“And this is how my mother brainwashed all of us. It was something good, I am not complaining about it, but it was brainwash.”

“Give me another example of being brainwashed?”

“Another saying that terrified me, and made me think my mother would be with me all the time was this one: O que mamãe não pode saber, filhinha não deve fazer. which means, ‘If your mother wouldn’t like it, you probably shouldn’t do it.’ You see, whenever I was doing something that I considered wouldn’t fit my mother’s moral standard, that saying kept playing inside my head, and it made quite difficult for me to actually decide how to behave. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do without checking with mother inside of me.”

“Oh, that certainly is brainwashing. I couldn’t see it from any other perspective. It seems to me that you are right. Do you have another example of it?”

“In fact all the sayings had that effect on me. The only thing is that some sayings were less aggressive, and therefore less annoying, they wouldn’t create any conflict on me. But let me try to find a saying that could create an embarrassment, let’s see… maybe this one: Quem quer ser bonita sofre. which means ‘If you want to be beautiful you’d better be prepared to suffer for it.’ I was never interested in being beautiful, I am not a vain person, and the idea of having to suffer for it didn’t attract me at all. But I had a long hair when I was a child, and I must admit, it was hard to comb it, and I neglected it many times. So, whenever my mother tried to comb it for me, she would find many knots, and in order for her to undo those knots, I had to suffer, and she’d say that saying.”
“Nowadays this saying seems to apply just as it did then, women go through so much pain trying to become more beautiful, just waxing is already so painful, to say nothing of plastic surgery. I myself humbly came up with ‘The Ritual of Beauty’, things I’ve learned from women in India, and this seems to be a good path. Making beauty care into a ritual, something sacred, a moment for women to meditate and think of beauty as an internal thing, rather than only the worship of the body.”

“Is there any connection between your grandmother’s sayings and things you’ve learned in India?”

“I couldn’t say that. These sayings come from Europe, and India is philosophically deeper. But they are okay too, I like them, and they are usually funny, and even when they aren’t funny, my brothers used to change them and make them funny.”

“What do you mean? They changed the verses? They changed the words?”

“Yes, not only my brothers did that, even my mum’s physiotherapist did something really funny with one of the sayings. You see, there is one saying that has a beautiful meaning, it goes like that: Mais vale um pássaro na mão do que dois voando. which means ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ What is being said here is that you should take advantage of something that is already in hand, rather than to pursue something that is distant. But the physiotherapist made a parody of this saying. He said: Mais vale um na mão do que dois no sutiã. which means ‘One in the hand is worth two in the brassiere.’ Can you see what the guy did? Instead of talking about birds, he is talking about women’s breasts.”

“But of course, he didn’t say this version in front of your mother.”

“Of course, he did, and when he did, her response was: ‘Hold your boobies!’ We always say that, when we want to say we are powerful people, and nobody can curse like us. Our family curses a lot.”

“Oh, Vilminha, your family seems to be composed of very happy people.”

“As I said, Sam, we laugh and laugh. The last time Eduardo called me from America, both of us were so good at cursing and making jokes, it seemed a ping-pong game, one with Chinese players, one you couldn’t see the ball. He said something, I replied, upon hearing my reply he said something funnier than what I had said, and in this way we even didn’t have time to laugh, otherwise we would ruin the game. My mother was listening to the conversation, perhaps she wanted to control us, but she couldn’t, poor thing, it was impossible for her to even try, because whenever she thought of it she was already laughing herself.”

“Such a happy family.”

“But it is torture too, Sam. I want to be a serious person, and with Eduardo it is impossible. Going out with him, going shopping is so embarrassing, you wouldn’t believe the situations I go through with him, and with my beloved Hrday things weren’t that different. I was the youngest of 4 siblings, the only girl, 3 boys and me, it was hell.”

“You love them.”

“Well, I do. And they love me, it is okay by me. But I always wonder if the cause of my insanity isn’t in fact my brothers, and the way they took ‘good’ care of me.”

“I am happy with the result.”

“I am happy I can be who I am with you. Sometimes I must think if I can be who I am in front of other people. But with you, Sam, I am who I am without thinking about it.”

“Yes, Vilminha, you can be.”

“And from you, Sam, I don’t want anything. I just want you to stay with me.”

“That’s good, Vilminha, because I don’t intend to go anyplace else.”

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