I have a girlfriend who gets halfway through repeating some joke she’s heard and then completely forgets the punch line. It drives me crazy. About the only joke she can tell with any success at all is if she’s reading off a Laffy-Taffy wrapper.
Which is kind of ironic, really, because the funniest things I ever witnessed she did. At the time, my friend lived in a ranch-style house with a very long hallway. I can’t recall why but she’d gone into the hall bath to take a shower instead of using the one in the master suite. While she was in the shower, a neighbor boy, age 10, stopped by to play with my girlfriend’s son.
Sure, I told the boy at the front door. C’mon on, follow me.
What I had not counted on is that in the next minute my girlfriend would come out of the shower butt nekkid, walking down the hallway to her bedroom. Did I mention yet that my girlfriend is well-endowed?
Anyway, so there I am escorting this young boy on the cusp of puberty down the hall when my friend opens up the bathroom door and steps out, literally butt nekkid.
I yelled out her name, which happens to be the same as mine. Of course, I was thinking by yelling her name, that she would duck back inside the bathroom. But noooo!!
She didn’t even high-tail it down that long hallway, diving for her bedroom. Instead she turned directly at me and the young lad and began to scream. Giving the boy a memory I am sure carried him through puberty and into latent adulthood. He got the full frontal and backside. Because as soon as she quit screaming, she did turn and run all the way down the hall for her bedroom.
Of course by then, being the good friend that I am, I was on the floor laughing hysterically like a jackal. I laughed so hard I feared I would go into convulsions. It remains, hands down, the funniest thing I have ever witnessed and I’ve seen some pretty wild things.
I attribute my unforgivable laughter to the look on that young boy’s face. It was a mix of sheer mortification and unbridled glee. I’m sure my girlfriend was the first nekkid woman he’d ever seen and he must have been thanking his lucky stars and the God who made them.
She was one fine nekkid woman.
Of course the look on her face was nothing but absolute horror.
What would the neighbors think of her now?
The memory of that moment has the power to make me laugh even now. But I suspect that while you may smile, not a one of you fell over laughing the way I did that day.
Writing a humorous moment isn’t nearly as much fun as living one. Now don’t get me wrong, when Jeff Foxworthy and I exchange emails, he is still always funny. He’s just more funny in person. David Sedaris writes some hilarious stories, but he’s even more hilarious in person.
A writing professor warned me years ago that humor is the hardest thing in the world to write. I think that was right after somebody in class described me as “The Erma Bombeck from hell.”I’m still not sure if that was meant to be a compliment or not.
Of course half of you won’t even understand that comment because you don’t know who the hell Erma Bombeck is.
Wikipedia was developed for people like you.
I’ve been thinking about humor because I’m reading Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, S.J.
The book arrived in the mail wrapped in the same sort of packaging that sometimes holds a white powdery substance that looks like baking soda but has the lethal components of VX. I handed the package to Tim and asked him to open it. Okay. I’m kidding. But yes, the book was a gift from the golden book fairies.
It is not like reading Sedaris.
I’ve laughed more over Foxworthy’s emails.
Martin isn’t trying to entertain his audience as much as he’s trying to educate them. And the point he makes is a good one.
We live in a culture of carping, Martin says.
“Everyone knows a few champion whiners, always lamenting some new fate that has just befallen then, complaining endlessly about their latest malady, confidently predicting an upcoming calamity, and in general worrying everyone around them. Typically, these people are rather self-centered. And unpleasant to be around. If you’re the type of person who thinks you’re always facing some sort of misfortune, when in reality your life is a mixed bag of good and bad, you might end up miserable, not because of your situation, but because of the way you think about it.”
Martin is clear to clarify that “I’m speaking about the person who chooses to focus only on the negative side of life despite the preponderance of evidence for the positive.”
During the last two years of her life, my dear friend The Redhead gave up a couple of things — meaningless conversations and whiners.
She knew her time on earth was short and she simply didn’t want to waste a minute of it indulging people who had nothing worthy to say.
She lived and died by Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
A culture of carping produces cynics and crybabies.
We’d all be better off if we heeded Martin’s insights and followed The Redhead’s example.
So, tell me, have you seen any nekkid people lately that made you laugh like a jackal?