Another sleepless night tossing and turning…flipping and flopping….as that perpetual video in my mind refused to fade to black not even for a moment.  Well…not until around 3 a.m. that is.  Unfortunately, my body clock is set to awake at precisely 5:00 a.m. on most days (no matter what) which means I “enjoyed” about a whole two hours of sleep.  A cat nap after lunch surely is in order….

Yep…I’ve got a world of stuff on my mind…not just my stuff, but others as well.  And yes,  I’m all too cognizant of the fact that I shouldn’t complain about any of it; I’ve got it pretty good despite the whole living in “middle earth” thing.    There are poor souls on every continent who face trials and tribulations far greater and more challenging than mine…unimaginably horrific trials for many, as in for example, those who survived and those who didn’t from typhoon-ravaged Philippines.   My heart is heavy for those souls.

Determined to shake my sleep-deprived fog and this heavy heart I headed out the door earlier than usual with the poodle.  I just wasn’t in the mood to be gym-bound and figured a shot of fresh air would be far better for my soul than four walls.  Sure enough, a power-walk outdoors was just what the doctor ordered!

We (poodle and I) are just back from a lovely three-mile walk and my spirits are certainly much the better for it.  It’s a lovely fall morning here in “middle earth.”  There’s a strong breeze and the air is crisp but not cold,  The poodle’s fluffy ears were nearly sticking straight back as we headed down the hill straight into the wind.  I think he’s smiling just to be out in the fresh air.  I found myself lost in watching leaves of brown, red and orange helicopter down from the trees ever so gracefully despite the strong wind.  The sun is shining and the sky is blue and, for now at least, I’m able to put aside the worries of the day and feel pretty darn good.

Another reason for my uplifted mood?  Two words. Car Talk2  Car Talk.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi....also known as Click and Clack

Tom and Ray Magliozzi….also known as Click and Clack

I’m listening to a Car Talk episode on NPR; it’s playing on my Stitcher Radio phone app.  I’ve been listening to “Click and Clack,” the Magliozzi brothers since I was in my late teens living in Colorado.  The radio show features two brothers of Italian ancestry (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) who offer their advice and expertise on all things pertaining to cars….and then some.  Callers dial in to the show and describe their particular car problem as in….“My car is making a ____ fill in the blank noise:  So what’s the problem and how do I fix it?”  Often the conversation spills over to things other than cars such as relationship issues, food…and, well…you name it…all of which adds to the wonderful flavor of the hour-long show.

Here’s the thing.  The Magliozzi brothers are terrifically funny!  Their humor… goofy,  wise cracking, and most often self-deprecating is never boring.  Their insight, as well as the lively interchange with their callers, is such a breath of fresh air in a world filled with too much negativity and madness.  Not only that but their laughs are like beautiful music to me.  Let’s just say there is a whole lot of laughter …sometimes side-splitting in nature.  It’s the kind of laughter that often causes tears to roll down the cheeks not to mention piglet-like snorts flying all over the place.  I love it!

If you’re in a bad mood….a sad mood….if you’re cranky for any reason all you have to do is listen to Car Talk.  Mind you, in the thirty years that I have been listening to the show I’ve learned little about cars and automotive repair!   Mostly it’s in one ear and out the other…like a lot of things with me I’m afraid!  But that’s not why I’ve been a loyal listener to the show for all these years.  I listen because I literally crave the laughter.  I listen because it lifts my soul to a place of happiness particularly in times of despair and anxiety.

Car Talk got me through the tremendous stress of my undergraduate college years when I was trying to take care of my mom and my baby sis –and myself as well–while handling a full course load at college.  I paid my way through college, barely making ends meet with jobs at McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Every day was fraught with worry but not for an hour on Saturday mornings!  No siree!  All I had to do was tune-in to Car Talk and for an hour I was transported to a happy place laughing with the Magliozzi brothers and the callers who would call in with their car-life problem.

Running surely saved my life when I was going through a divorce years later when I turned 40 but there’s no question that Car Talk came in a close second.  That show turned tears of sadness and pain into deep belly laughs (snorts and giggles included).

Which is why I nearly had a stroke when I heard the news last October.  Tom and Ray are retiring!  Um…say what?  Wait a minute!  Guys….Click and Clack…You simply CANNOT retire!  Unacceptable!  Besides….I just moved to freaking “middle earth” and I cannot get through this chapter without you guys in my life!  I  know….pretty selfish, don’t you think?  I’d rather they keep entertaining me than retire.

Fortunately, re-runs continue to air on NPR.  I’m hoping they’ll continue until the day I kick the bucket.

So today, I was able to rise up from that sleep-deprived fog and find my bliss in something so simple and sublime as the comedy and laughter of two old guys from Boston, Massachusetts.

Mille Grazie (a thousand thank-you’s) Tom and Ray…. for the laughter!