Monday, January 31, 2011

Humor

I think everyone has a distinct individual sense of humor. For some of us, the things we view as humorous do not fit in the same category as others. For example, I have witnessed people reaching near asphyxiation and wetting their pants while viewing a father get slammed in the "kibbles-n-bits" while playing a backyard game with his children. I will admit that the idea of a man losing his reproductive capabilities while he enjoys what he thought was going to be a testicular-injury free game of softball with his children does give me a slight chuckle....it's just not what I think of as funny.

To me the funny things in life are often the most tragic. I had a friend who - after we lived together for a while, and turned out to be not so cool - came down with Bell's Palsy. The condition left him with half his face half paralyzed into a frown. This was funny for two reasons: First, he sort of had it coming.  Second, I just thought it funny that when someone told him a joke they really couldn't tell if he was amused or pissed.

I also have a tendency to say the wrong thing.  When this happens, instead of shame or regret it just provides me this warm, glowing feeling that reaches straight up to my funny bone.

Example:  During an encounter with a co-worker recently, I wasn't paying much attention to what he was saying, therefore, not looking him directly in the face. This went on for a few minutes, and when I did finally turn around to speak with him, all that came out of my mouth was a screech. Not a simple screech, mind you, but a screech a mother bald eagle would sound to ward off a predator trying to steal her hatchlings. When my outburst subsided, I looked at my co-worker and said, "WHAT'S ON YOUR LIP?!?!?!?!" Everyone within in a ten foot radius stopped and looked.  To my honest surprise, what looked like to be the result of a severe bitch-slapping turned out to be just a cold sore, much to the embarrassment of my co-worker, who tried to play it off...rather unsuccessfully.  Funny at the moment? Not really. Funny in the long run? Absolutely.

Another incident of this nature occurred several years ago when a new friend showed me a picture of her baby. I normally don't have a lot of interest in pictures of children, or really pictures of anyone's family at all. Unless, of course, they happen to be extremely unattractive, and I can walk away feeling just a little better about myself.  So, my colleague showed me this picture of her baby, which was in a clear plastic sleeve to protect it.  With my co-worker staring relentlessly at me to gauge my reaction, I feigned interest and studied the picture.  Despite all of my attempts to be interested in this ugly baby, my attention was directed only to this smudge on the sleeve I had noticed, which I mentioned to my friend.  I began to rub my finger furiously over the smudge in an attempt to remove it, and when that failed, like some sort of OCD, cracked-out maid on a binge, I pulled out a napkin.  "OUT DAMN SPOT!" I bellowed, all to no avail.  That was the moment I realized the plastic sleeve was actually clean...as was the picture underneath.  The "smudge" turned out to be a baseball-sized strawberry birthmark on the top of the kid's head.  Reluctantly, I stopped rubbing the sleeve of the picture.  "Adorable," I said, and casually handed the picture back to my friend.

For me, humor is what arises from the uncomfortable, awkward, and the often trying and tragic times that life throws at us. It's whether we laugh or cry at certain situations that often determines how everything else turns out. Isn't there that saying? Something like..."Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it."  I usually react with laughter...especially when I shouldn't.