One of the funniest things I've ever seen was a representation of a laugh. It appeared in a blog post by Michael O'Connor Clarke. It was a work of art -- a long, evolving, rhythmic yeowl of, shall we say, critical delight at something -- it was many years ago, and even if I could recall the "giggle-worthiness" of the provocation, it wouldn't matter. What mattered was the amazing artistry of the depicted laugh -- a kind of verbal equivalent of a hamster dance that just kept going and going for nearly ever.
I thought I'd saved that laugh, but having looked in all the places it should be, I can't find it. While there are many, many amazing things
people have said about Michael
, I would say, even if I didn't know anything about him, if I only had that one string of unearthly leprechaunish giddiness turned to glory (I wish I could find it -- it didn't simply emulate a laugh, but escalated, then somehow seemed to become conscious, and find itself funny, sending it to a higher order magnitude of comicality), it that's all I had, I would know he was, and is, and always will be a marvel.
As he indeed turned out to be a few years later when we met in Toronto, where I was visiting. He and his whole family met us, took us around, and we enjoyed a meal in a tavern before saying goodbye.
|Ruairi and Michael|
There was a warmth, an intelligence, a wit, a care. It was his idea to start a little blog
about the birth of his son, Ruairi, as well as my son, Sawyer, and Gary Turner's daughter Cameron. Three blogging dads talking about their kids. There was a care. When Ruairi was taken ill and back in hospital, the care came through with the same unfathomable intensity* that propelled that astonishing image of a laugh.
A few years later, when his son had injured his head, he wrote of it again with as great a depth of concern. You knew, felt, wobbled with the care inside him. A care now reflected in the thoughts, feelings, memories of many. A hug to him, and his lovely family. They might be needing some help
. We'll surely be needing his.
*That intensity manifested itself as well in attention to detail, as in the final entry on his blog, a recipe for Orzo salad.