Every year, on October 1st, Lindsay and I go out for a fancy steak dinner to celebrate another year of sobriety.
The first time we went, something beautiful happened.
Do you know what “magic funny” is? It’s when something is so funny there’s a magical quality about it. Usually it’s in a circumstance where laughing feels inappropriate or out of place. Where your body’s convulsing and your eyes are crying and you’re the only one laughing. Maybe accompanied by a partner in crime.
Here’s the scene.
We were at Shakespeare’s in Hamilton. REALLY DELICIOUS SCHMANCY FOOD. Like I would bite a mushroom and then thank the mushroom for letting me bite it. That’s how good the food is.
Lindsay and I were sitting across from each other. I was facing towards the front of the restaurant. I could see a couple at the far end. The girl looked disinterested and the guy had a balding pattern that could only be describes as “90’s denim”. Lindsay was facing me. Which is also facing the kitchen.
We were having a great time.
I’ was telling her about my show at The Staircase earlier that night. She was telling me about her day at work. We were being super married.
Halfway through our meal, Lindsay’s eyes perked up. “Oh my god…”
Lindsay: “I think I see fire.”
That’s not something I usually like to hear.
The only exception being Lorne Michaels looking into my eyes for an extended amount of time, only to finally say, “I think I see fire.”
I’m like “WHAT? FIRE!?” But I don’t turn my head at all.
Probably due to laziness because turning my head burns calories and that’s not what I’m about. Instead, I just say there and faced Lindsay, watching her reaction to everything that was about to happen.
I can only commentate on the events from my perspective so here’s what happened from how I saw it!
LINDSAY: “I think I see fire…oh my god….oh the fire’s getting bigger! I see the flames on the wall. OH WOW! Cliff! There’s a lot of fire! I think something’s on fire! OH NO! THE MAN IS RUNNING WITH THE FIRE!!!! HE’S RUNNING WITH THE FIRE!!!! CLIFF! CLIFF! I THINK THE MAN IS ON FIRE!!!! CLIFF SERIOUSLY THIS GUY’S ON FIRE!!!”
The words couldn’t leave her mouth without the both of us DYING of laughter.
Not laughing at the possibility of a man being on fire.
But the play-by-play. Everything ESCALATED VERY QUICKLY.
Each time Lindsay added to the story, it got more and more bizarre, and unbelievable, and her reaction was so animated and joyful and zany that I was losing myself.
Laughing so hard.
Tears running down my sober face.
And remember… I didn’t turn my head once.
Just watched Lindsay experience this and I experienced her experiencing it.
It was very weird.
Just the idea that a waiter could be casually on fire in this fancy restaurant felt very surreal.
Eventually, our waiter came out.
And this is my favourite part.
Because he sees us holding our guts from laughing but still holds onto his professionalism like he’s working for the Queen.
“Unfortunately, we are no longer serving crème brûlée.”