It is a gray day, gray clouds covering the sun, there is that damp mist in the air, not enough to inconvenience a cigarette but heavier than dew. I am sitting in the smoking patio with a few other dedicated smokers. We are all sitting silently smoking staring out through the chain link fence into the gray mist.
“Hey you all ever watch that old TV show Hee Haw?” I ask.
“I wasn’t allowed to watch TV when I was growing up.” Says my roommate Mary Ann blowing a smoke ring as she speaks. She is very good at blowing smoke rings, a trick I’ve never mastered.
“Well that explains why you’re here.” I quip. “How about the rest of you?”
No one had.
“You didn’t miss much. I hated that show. I’m not a fan of country music and all that cutsie, fakie hay seed hillbilly shit works on my nerves like a dull dentist drill. My grandparents watched that show every week. There was one bit in that show that I liked, the gloom and despair song. Would you all like to hear it?”
No one objected.
So in my very best down home country twang I began to sing.
Gloom despair and misery on me. Deep dark depression excessive misery, If it weren’t for bad luck I’dd have no luck at all. Gloom despair and misery on me.”
I ran it through a couple more times.
“Ok now you all join in. A Onea and A Twoa..
And they did. The Gloom and despair song rang out. Everyone really got into it, grinning and rocking back and forth in their chairs. Until a helpful nurse looked in on us with a worried frown. Laughter makes the staff nervous. As soon as she popped her head in everyone dummied up. But after that from time to time I would hear the song being softly sung from patients through out the hospital.