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Bad Jokes

Once Upon A Time in 2022, my friend had a hen party on my birthday. The details aren’t especially important to the story, but I like the way the sentence sounds.

As part of the preparation for the hen party, we compiled a party playlist. Now, I contributed some excellent specimens to the list; from Steps to Dragonforce, Pokemon to Craig David…but one particular selection would come back to haunt me. Or…all of us, I guess.

See, at some point, moderately deep into the festivities, a few of us were in the kitchen making drinks, and someone said “what is going on with this playlist? It sounds like it’s haunted!” because Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love had started playing and we were all gradually coming to that awareness. “I don’t know” another said, in a drawn-out, bemused wonder.

I did. I knew. It was me.

In my defence, I had meant to remove it before it came to this, but I’d forgotten.

See, during my brainstorming of songs to add to the hen party playlist, I’d had the thought that, as my friend likes Leonard Cohen, maybe I could add a Leonard Cohen song, but that’s absurd because it’s Leonard Cohen, but maybe I could challenge myself to find a happy Leonard Cohen song, and Dance Me To The End Of Love is romantic and thematically aligned with marriage, so maybe in some sense appropriate, but it’s also dark and intense, and not at all appropriate to the tone of a hen party, and thus the song itself feeds beautifully into the absurdity of the very idea of putting Leonard Cohen on the hen party playlist.

By this point I’d added it to the playlist and tittered to myself a bit, so then I thought I should remove it, because this was only funny to me, but if I removed it immediately it would be like it never happened, and I wanted it to have happened, and I needed to come back later anyway, so I would remove it then, even though that was playing a dicey game of brain roulette, and I already owed the house.

I never returned, and now we were standing in the kitchen and the music was haunted.

“That’s my fault.” I admitted into their confused laughter, and their expressions compelled me to explain.

But, you see, this group of people included people I had known for a long time but had never been very close to, and certain events in more recent years had left me feeling like a stranger in their presence. And so I wasn’t really sure how to be around them. How to act; how to speak; how to properly convey myself. So I said:

“It was supposed to be kind of a joke, because it sounds romantic but it’s actually about the holocaust.”

Now, I don’t believe that was the correct selection of words.

I was both deeply dissatisfied with what had exited my mouth, and completely incapable of ameliorating it. Apparently, it also did not invite more questions. So my fellow hens simply integrated this new information, carried on their duties, and left me to think about what I’d done.

Moral of the story?

I don’t know how many times I will have to have the experience of prophesying the very thing I’m later going to forget before I start listening to the prophesy, but I fucking knew that would happen.

So, given the fact that I don’t seem able to heed my own warnings, maybe I should start preparing my press release for when the prophecy is fulfilled.

I think I need media training.

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