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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)

TITLE: Even So, Laugh
By Susan Mendenhall


The first thing that entered my consciousness was an uncomfortable shiver down my spine, as the grinding wail of an alarm clock grasped my ears. Without opening my crusty eyes I shut them tighter with a moan, my hands clenching the comforter and drawing it closer over my head. “Gah”, the full exactitude of my fury at having to awaken to another day of exams and droning lectures, filtered out into the still-dark room.


My eyes flew open as my body jerked straight up with a catapult effect to see my dorm infested with daylight and the continuous shrieking of that hated wake-up machine. “Ten seventeen?!” Nearly choking on disgusting morning-mouth saliva, I dug my feet out of a tangled mass of sheet and stumbled across the tiny room, clicking off the alarm on my way to the bathroom. My thoughts whirled in a sleepy cyclone as I hastily popped my contacts in and, reaching for a comb with one hand and my toothbrush with another, tried to remember what day it was. “Wednesday!” I nearly screamed, spewing toothpaste foam on the tiny mirror reflecting my horror-filled face. Today I was expected to give my speech in Political Science – worth a quarter of my grade and beginning in less than 15 minutes!

Leaving the splattered mirror and not registering the gentle “plop” of my toothbrush’s fatal decent into the toilet, I threw on the T-shirt and jeans I had worn yesterday and sat at my desk. My legs bounced anxiously, as if willing the computer to hurry up, as I tried to download my speech document. A gasp of disbelief escaped me as an ugly pop-up appeared: “You have a virus. Your computer will be shut down.” “Blast you Spyware!” I yelled in frustration, cringing at the sound of my own voice in the tiny, quiet room.

I took a deep breath as I willed my mind to focus. “Lord, you have to help me!” I kept repeating under my breath. Could I remember my speech from memory? “Lord?” It had to be a minimum of twenty minutes. “Lord?!” I grabbed my backpack and stuffed my study book and notes inside, clutching my outline (thankfully THAT wasn’t on the computer) as I fumbled for my keys, phone, and Bible. Oh no. I was in charge of leading Bible study that night. I hadn’t even had time the past few days to do laundry, let alone do extra studying. I sighed in annoyance as I slammed my door shut behind me and flew down the empty hallway, muttering. First I wake up late, then my computer blows up and I’m left having to recite an important speech I can hardly recall, now I have to lead a study I haven’t prepared for! How could it get any…


I nearly threw my head back and screamed with animalistic rage. No car. Just a nice towing ticket, from “Bailey and Bailey – We’re The Good Guys!” fluttering mutely on the parking meter next to me.

I glanced at my wrist to check the time, just as I realized I hadn’t thought to strap my watch on in the frenzied rush earlier. I stood on the chipped sidewalk in the late morning sunshine, my shoulders slumped in defeat and desperately willing myself not to cry. Lord? I still clutched the outline to my speech in my left hand, my Bible tucked under my arm and my left hand holding the now-useless car keys.

Well, this is as good a time as any to have a devotional.

My lips were already fully bloomed into a smile by the time I had sat down on the sidewalk, and I couldn’t help it – I laughed. I thought about my alarm clock and my computer and my 4-foot high pile of dirty laundry and my unspoken speech and the fact that I had mismatched flip-flops on. I gazed at the empty parking space and the note from The Good Guys, and tears started streaming down my face as I shook with silent laughter. No doubt most of the people that passed by were struck by the sight of me; I was too busy looking up verses for that night’s Bible study – joy seemed like pretty good topic.

Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey10/25/04
Susan, Welcome to Faithwriters! This was a very good telling of a very bad day :)
Hope to read more from you :^)
Corinne Smelker 10/25/04
Very funny, and having been a College student (many years ago) I can totally relate! I once was late for an exam because I got a flat on my moped - the lecturer very kindly created a whole new exam just for me!
Verlie Ruhl10/26/04
Your story made my heart speed up--I had to check the clock to make sure I'm not late for work! Great response to a horrible morning.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/27/04
Great piece we can all relate to! Even more wonderful how you decided to laugh in the midst of it all!
You have a gift for story-telling and will be a wonderful addition to FaithWriters! Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
L.M. Lee10/27/04
very descriptive!
Melanie Kerr 10/28/04
Excellent description. I think I would have cried! Nah - I'm too much of a control freak not to plan ahead for every contingency possible!
Deborah Porter 10/28/04
Oh my Susan! I had a stress attack just reading it. Not what I'd have expected in a "Laughter" Challenge, and yet it fit perfectly. Thanks for the smile (at your expense). Love, Deb
Debbie OConnor10/30/04
YIKES! Been there, girl! Great job laughing it all off and a great retelling for our benefit. Well done!
Roberta Kittrell10/30/04
Susan, Welcome to FW. I could relate to your entire happening. How many times do we have to go through days like that before we realize that we must begin each day with our Commander-in-Chief and studying His Manual. No matter how busy we are, I am realizing, things will go much smoother if we keep our priorities in proper order. Very well written. Hisservant, Bobbi