I don’t consider myself a very funny person. Sure, I can make people laugh if I’m imitating someone who’s funny, or I develop a character, or embellish on a story. But as me, in person, most people don’t really laugh out loud at what I say. A couple years ago I took a stand-up comedy class to try to rectify this. I found out stand-up comedy wasn’t my calling. There I stood, nervous as hell during the final class, complete with invited guests who politely applauded my lackluster performance.
I have, however, a dozen or so people in my life who at times can bring out the humorist in me. Put the combination of me and them together and we’re yucking it up until our sides ache and are about to become incontinent. Once a friend of mine and I were chaperones (I use that term loosely) for a trip to New York City with some high school students. We took the students to West Greenwich Village and walked into some of the bawdiest shops of Manhattan. As a souvenir gift to ourselves we bought matching lighters of a hand that flipped the bird, with the flame coming out of the middle finger. Until it broke from overuse, I would keep it in my purse, and when people became overwrought with stress I’d light it in front of them. Some laughed, some rolled their eyes, but overall, my lighter brought a little levity to others.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a musician and an author, and they say, “How fun!” Well yeah, sort of, but unless I’m collaborating or rehearsing with someone or performing, it’s just me and the keyboards. It’s work, albeit work I love doing.
I’ve come to realize that loving what you do and having fun at what you do can be two different things. If you love your work, are you still “having fun?” Granted, if I were a neurosurgeon and a person’s ability to be mobile would be in my hands, I may love my job but I wouldn’t categorize that as being fun, nor would the person I was cutting into.
I believe, however, that even in the mundane moments of life, a person can create something funny out of them. Like the time I cleaned an apartment I was moving out of and spilled half a glass of cherry Kool-aid on the dining table. My roommate was snickering at me for my clumsiness, so I poured the rest of it over her head, watched it drip across the clean carpet, clean kitchen floor, and into the clean bathroom where her colorful language resonated throughout the apartment. Of course, I had to clean all over again, but it was so worth it.
My favorite humor is droll humor – the Oxford dictionary defines it as “curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.” I’d poke my eyes out to have that kind of spontaneous wit. Actually I wouldn’t, but that metaphor was droll so I used it.
As an artist I’m always looking for a challenge, to be better at what I do. I think it’s time for me to discover, or possibly rediscover that funny part of me. Lately I’ve become blasé, lasse, désagréable, in a state of ennui. Maybe I should stop listening to French torch songs.
Humor may not move my career forward, but it certainly won’t hurt my everyday existence. If I don’t look for my funny side I may end up becoming one of those people who calls the cops if you’re blowing off fireworks on the 4th of July, just like my old neighbor Elsie did when my friends and I were kids. Killjoy.
So as you ponder your own existence and decide how you can bring more chuckles into your life, I leave you with some droll humor. “Deep Thoughts – by Jack Handy.”
“When you die, and you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, pick pie heaven. It might be a trick but if not, mmmm boy.”
“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. So when you criticize them, you’re a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”
“If God dwells inside us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.”
Droll. I love it.