"This one is a comedy drama," said my sweet Sven.
"What year is it?" I said.
"Is anybody in it?"
"How many stars?"
"One," he said.
"No," I said.
Sven is in charge of evening entertainment at our house. I am not sure how he got the job. Probably because he always has the remote. And if I complain he hands it to me and then I get stuck in pay per view and have to give it back.
"That's a good one," I said, watching him scroll through the guide.
"Yeah, I read the book. Remember when I was crying on the plane on our way home from Mexico?"
"That's when I finished it," I said.
"It says it's a comedy. Why were you crying?"
"It says it's a comedy, drama."
He looked at me suspiciously and reluctantly hit select.
"When are the funny parts?" he said about a half an hour later.
"These are the funny parts."
You know when they say the book is always better than the movie?
This book was better.
I remember boogie boarding, ordering cervezas and laughing out loud while reading that very book on a white sand beach.
Anyway, I was in and out of the kitchen browning Italian sausage and checking on the pasta situation in the upper cupboard when he hollered, "Millie, seriously, when is this movie going to be funny? His wife just died."
"Oh," I said, reaching for a package of angel hair, I think we are past all the funny parts. You might want to find something else."
"Are you serious?"
"It goes downhill from here."
"How can it go downhill from here? She is dead."
"Well, her parents are going to take the kid from him because they think he is a loser. His racing career isn't going to go well for a long time. And the dog is going to die."
"What? How can this be a comedy?"
"It's a comedy, drama."
"What does that even mean?"
My sweet Sven does not care for trouble in a story. And if there is trouble, things better work out in the end, or else.
"Why can't anybody ever just write a story that is all happy?" he asks.
"Who would read that?" I say.
"Me," he says.
A HAPPY STORY FOR MY SWEET SVEN, BY MILLIE NOE
It is a sunny day here on this tropical island. Aqua blue waves are rolling over the white grains of sand, leaving little patches of sea foam behind. I am resting under the shade of a palm tree and sipping milk out of a straw that my handsome and loving husband, Jake, carved for me and inserted into a coconut. Jake is building a sand castle with our two golden haired children, Luke who is two and Serena who is four. Jake's back muscles glisten in the sun. Their chatter and laughter bring a smile to my face and I glance up just in time to see a dolphin flip out of the water and dance upon the surface, before disappearing into the vast, beautiful and undisturbed ocean.
The sun rose again this morning creating a glorious repeat of yesterday. Only today the milk from my coconut is even more sweet. A humpback whale shot a spray almost to the heavens. Higher than I have ever seen. The castle that nobody stepped on while we slept eight hours is again under construction by Jake and our golden kids. The tower is now a foot taller than our youngest. And just this morning we learned that our little Luke will soon be our middle child, as our prayers have been answered once again.
The sky could not be more blue than it is on this day. The coral reefs are not endangered and neither are the sea turtles. There is no abuse of any kind in our big and beautiful world. Every pet has a home. All pregnancies are wanted. All races are born equal and wealthy and nobody cares what gender you are or what gender you care to screw. We are all one big fucking, happy, vegan, global, family. Corona is merely a beer. I laugh out loud as I turn the page in such a funny story that I am reading where a wife does not die, a child is not taken away, and a dog tells the hilarious story of his master who happens to be the best car racer in the rain, who has ever lived. Thankfully I look up just in time to see my unbelievably gorgeous hunk of a Jake, set our little Lukey on the back of a friendly shark who is going to take him for a joy ride. Not to worry Serena. You are next. Life is so fair, you could almost puke. But you will not puke. Because this is a happy story, for my sweet Sven.
"Really," says Sven, bringing me back to the couch. "What does comedy, drama even mean?"
"You better change the channel," I said. "This movie is not for you."
"How about Grumpy Old Men?" he says. "Looks like there are two in a row. And it says, comedy. Nothing about drama."
Well, after a real nail biter of a night, Jack Lemon ended up with Ann-Margret, Walter Matthau snagged Sophia Loren and that prize fish they'd been fighting over?
They let him go.
"Those movies were pretty good," said Sven.
"What about all the feuding?" I said.
"Yeah, I could have done without all of that."
I rest my case.