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∗∗∗ What my roommate said irritated me for a long while, and my unwillingness to admit guilt made me bitter. Humor is an integral part of who I am, yet apparently it had pigeon-holed me in the role of “good time friend,” the kind of friend you would never go to for perspective on a depressive episode. “It’s bullshit,” was my most coherent summation of the dispute. This isn’t to say that I don’t want to give people a good time; I always want people to have a good time when they’re around me. I just felt betrayed that my friend had looked at the years we spent stitched to one another’s side, sharing everything from cringy details about lackluster sexual pasts to a single glass of water in the dining hall, and could say that she didn’t know me at all. Having a good time and being close aren’t mutually exclusive, I wanted to snap at her. I was frustrated, reactive. It wasn’t until months later that I could get past my kneejerk self-righteousness and begin to wonder if my best friend was right, that perhaps I had joked about not feeling so much that I had actually forgotten how to feel. This would certainly explain why my humor was so dark, why I had become so “bitterly amused” by sinister topics like death and depression, as Ulrike Willinger, researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, puts it.4 Maybe I was trundling through life in a hamster ball, always separated from the outside world by three feet of sterile space. But did that mean I was broken? ∗∗∗ Weeks after my roommate moved out, I cocooned myself in my comforter and stared at her barren half of the room, yearning to have her bar soap smell back. Without her excessive pile of throw pillows, even her twin-sized bed looked too big. I took out my 4 Willinger, U., Hergovich, A., Schmoeger, M. et al. “Cognitive and Emotional Demands of Black Humour Processing: The Role of Intelligence, Aggressiveness and Mood.” Cognitive Processing, vol. 18, 2017, pp. 159-167. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10339-016-0789-y. 100 hoffman

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Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

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