A Funny Thing Happened While on Zoom
My Fourth La Danse Macabre

While I chatted with my family on Zoom the other day, everything was perfect. We enjoyed our chat-time together, linking two parts of one family, one in Myanmar and the other in America. And then it happened. I did my fourth dance with death.

My first two dances occurred over a dozen years ago. In both dances, I successfully lead death on my dancefloor of life. My third dance was with the coronavirus. That dance I shared with the rest of the world. I avoided getting it and have had both shots. While those in the know would be cautiously optimistic about my dance, I am confident that when I do die, it won’t be due to COVID-19. However, my fourth la danse macabre happened while chatting with my family on Zoom.

However, I am getting ahead of myself. Allow me to set the stage for you. I, fortunately, discovered a part of my family living near Inle Lake in Myanmar about eight years ago. My tour guide’s name was Moh Moh, and she had to pick up my itinerary and hotel reservations at her home after I left Inle Lake. While there, I could meet Ti Ti, her nine-year-old daughter.

We walked into the living room and were greeted by Ti Ti with the question, “Do you want to play some games?” Ti Ti was the bridge that linked our families. She was a firstborn and driven. She wanted to play some games, which is true. She asked me if I knew how to play Scrabble. I told her that I did. Nevertheless, she was more interested in beating me. I discovered then that Ti Ti was brilliant.

I have been back twice; the most recent time was during winter break just over a year ago. That third journey was the best four-week trip that I have ever taken. We toured together as a family. Since Moh Moh and Ko Ko, her husband, are both tour guides, they put together a list of places about which I had never knew existed. I wanted to go back to a couple of places about which I had been on previous trips. Additionally, I wanted to attend an awards ceremony where she received the best in math award for Shan State.

During our Zoom chat, I listed a litany of things that we did on our family tour. I would mention various fun things we did by asking, “Do you remember….? We’d laugh, and I would then recall another event.

During our Zoom chat, I listed a litany of things that we did on our family tour. I would mention various fun things we did by asking, “Do you remember….? We’d laugh, and I would then recall another event.

This was the elephant ride.

This photo is of my granddaughters in the Myanmar version of the movie, Titanic.

This was getting ready for our balloon ride over Bagan.

This was our family’s Thanksgiving Day…when I wasn’t there.

Finally, I looked at my clock on my desk. It was after 11:00 pm. We had been chatting for over two hours. As we were saying our good-byes, one of my family happened to notice Ginger walking around behind me as I sat at my computer. As they were saying their good-byes to Ginger, I told Ginger to come over so that they could see her better.

Ginger was a bit irked at not playing with her for two hours. When I called her over, she jumped up on my lap, happy as a lark. Finally, I was paying attention to her. Well, I was trying to get her to look at my Logitech camera that I was holding in my other hand. She wouldn’t look away from me so that my family could see her. She was happy that I was paying attention to her. Ginger is an affectionate 82 lb. Irish Setter. She was attempting to lick my face, which was her reciprocal way of showing her affection.

The next thing I noticed was that the desk chair went out from under me, and I am falling off the chair with Ginger still on my lap as we bother headed for the floor. BOOM! There I was on my back trying to get Ginger off me so that I could get up. As I attempted to right myself, I could hear my family saying, “Are you alright?”

I kid you not. As I was falling off the chair, it seemed like the fall last 10-seconds when it was less than two seconds at the most. It was a strange feeling as I fell. All sorts of questions raced around my head. I wondered what would happen when I hit the floor. As I wondered what would happen to me, I could hear my family ask whether I was okay. There I was on my back, Ginger on top of me, and I was still holding in one hand the Logitech camera. Fortunately, this fourth dance with death yielded nothing broken or even bruised. I finally managed to stand up and assure my family that I was okay.

Additionally, Ginger is fine also.

After we said good-byes, I recalled reading George Eliot’s novel while I was in high school. In English class, we had to memorize 100-lines of poetry or prose each semester. My mind floated back six decades prior and memorizing this one line from Adam Bede, “We are children of a large family, and must learn, as such children do, not to expect that our hurts will be made much of—to be content with little nurture and caressing, and help each other the more.”