Life is laughable 99% of the time, I think. Even in tough situations, I’d rather choose to laugh than cry, wouldn’t you? During the darkest times in my life, I have found silver linings in the clouds, or at least an ironic aspect of the situation to amuse me.
A few days ago, a new friend I’m just getting to know wisecracked about my clothing, then suddenly looked surprised and apologized. We have developed a running gag about her disdain for wearing socks with flip-flops and the fact that my feet are frequently garbed in that very fashion. (I even buy special flip-flop socks.) Maybe she thought she had gone too far this time by moving on to other articles of clothing? I chuckled and told her I’m not easily offended. With a relieved expression, she said, “Good! I wouldn’t joke with you if I didn’t like you!” It’s funny how many times I’ve heard that phrase.
I was raised in a house full of humor. My father, especially, has always been a big jokester. Surviving certain unique friends during junior high school (what an awkward time of transition!) also added to my slapstick slant on life. After being antagonized and embarrassed to a certain level by those classmates, nothing phased me anymore. Strangely, it seems I can embarrass myself constantly, but the things others say to me rarely ruffle my feathers. Ok, I’m rambling; back to the topic…
Have you ever met (or been) someone who has absolutely no sense of humor? I have encountered a small handful of these personalities before. These are the people, in my experience, who stay grouchy — angry, even — almost as if they prefer to be miserable. Or, they are those who go through every moment somberly and react as if speaking with levity is degrading or hurtful. These latter are the ones who overhear a friendly jibe, throw their hand over their gasping mouth as their eyes bulge in surprise, then furrow their brows in confusion when the recipient of the joke laughs. With these types of people, I reign in my urge to quip, so as not to upset or annoy them.
Then there are those who seem to enjoy humor but aren’t completely sure how to participate in the fun. This idea brings a funny story to my mind of an experience I had while shopping in a home improvement store. My husband and I were seeking to purchase a new toilet (the highly-chlorinated, terribly-hard water in our town ruins toilets and water heaters). While standing with our heads tipped way back, examining the signs beside the shiny porcelain bowls mounted way up on the top shelf, a couple approached and assumed the same position. One sign amused me because it sported a large photo of a bucket of golf balls that it claimed could be easily flushed down due to the commode’s extraordinary flushing power and capacity.
The lady nearby asked me which one I was thinking about getting because she couldn’t decide what kind of toilet was the best. Leaning in closer to her while pointing at the sign I was studying, I replied, “I don’t know, but if you’re really wanting to flush down a bucket of golf balls, I’d definitely go with that one.”
Her gaze briefly focused on the sign. Then she straightened up, took a small step back, cocked her head and stared at me for a second. I thought, “Oh, no, I guess I shouldn’t have said that.”
Suddenly, she smiled from ear to ear, reached out her arm, and gently slapped me across the shoulder. “You’re…so…funny!” she slowly ejected in a high-pitched voice.
I had never had anyone react like that to one of my lame jokes, so I just stared at her with my eyebrows raised. “You are!” she reiterated while wagging her finger accusingly toward me. I composed myself enough to thank her, and we proceeded to discuss in detail the merits of several toilets.
This post was not intended to be an analysis of humor, but rather a simple declaration of appreciation for it. I guess I’m doing more of a freewriting or stream-of-consciousness writing style today.
The thing I was originally intending to write was a story about my cute daughter. Though she is homeschooled, she takes choir class at the local public school. On the drive there today, I was telling her about a funny conversation I had with photographer/blogger Willis Kier in the comments of his recent post. I facetiously accused him of getting angry when he was too cold. He concluded that if hungry + angry equals “hangry” then cold + angry would equal “cangry.” My daughter thought that was funny, too.
I thought to tell her about the conversation because of how she was dressed. Though it was 40 degrees outside and she was in a short-sleeved shirt, she would not follow my recommendation to grab a coat. (Sometimes with kids, you have to ask yourself, “Is this really worth the fight? Maybe she needs to learn this one the hard way.”) As she climbed out of the car, cold air rushed in. I called to her, “Hey! Don’t get all ‘cangry’ now!”
Her laughter mixed with the sound of the car door slamming. She quickly leaped onto the sidewalk in front of the car, pumped her fist into the air, and pretended to shout at me. With one foot forward and her front knee bent, she looked like someone stepping out of their vehicle in a fit of road rage or like a Viking warrior raging on the bow of his ship. I roared with laughter as I imagined a horned Viking helmet atop her head. I’m very thankful for my girl; she’s so fun to be around!
Do you have your own version of a “cangry Viking” who keeps you laughing? Please tell me about them in the comments below because I love happy stories!
Thanks for reading. Here’s wishing you a beautiful, laughter-filled day!