What’s So Funny?

Dryden participating in attack training of niece Olivia’s puppy

In magazines, on the Internet, during interviews, whatever, one is frequently invited to answer questions about various topics. What traits you would value in a date, employee, partner, traveling companion, on and on. I have only a nominal interest in these challenges, but can’t resist a quiz. An example of what qualities you might find appealing, rank these in order:

A. Physical characteristics (broad shoulders for men, shapely legs for women [or vice versa]

B. Intelligence

C. Peanut allergy

D. Great wealth (never hurts)

E. Good sense of humor

Of considerable importance to me is “Good sense of humor.” I love to laugh, and I really enjoy making others laugh. Example: I was the only white person in a sparsely attended voting place, a designer purse on my arm. The volunteers looked bored and a bit hostile. I complimented one of the ladies on her attractive outfit, and she in turn complimented me on my purse. I seemed now to be the center of attention. Not always a good thing. I announced that this was a magic purse. Anything I put in it went straight to the bottom and could never be found again. I got lots of friendly laughs.

I don’t listen to music while driving. I play all the non-XXX rated comedy stations on Sirius. I know many of the comedians’ routines by heart and try to figure out what about the dialogue was funny. Ray Romano is hilarious, as is Ellen DeGeneres (in spite of all the negative publicity currently surrounding her). Ellen does a routine about walking into a glass wall. Augh. I have done that. There is no way to survive the situation with any remnant of dignity. The louder the thump accompanying the crash, the more attention one can attract.

My particular episode occurred in a crowded restaurant when I was attempting to exit. BAM. There were not one, but several glass walls. Seriously? I bumped from one to the other in a reverse mime act. Several of the diners took pity on me, as they attempted to stifle guffaws, and gently extricated me from the glass closet or whatever the heck it was that had trapped me. Family members that had initially been with me had apparently been beamed up, as they were nowhere to be found.

In my much younger years I desperately tried to understand the intricacies of televised professional sports. Not the intricacies so much, as a basic understanding, truth be told. I was watching a football game on TV, with my boyfriend-du-jour and his raucous friends. The quarterback of one team attempted an incredibly long pass, which would have won the game. Alas, the pass was intercepted almost at the goal line. Oh, no. Groans all around.

Lo and behold, on the very next play, the hapless young quarterback attempted the same pass again. Again, an interception. I was incredulous. “Oh, no it happened again!” A moment of silence in the room, then laughter burst out loud enough to shake the walls. Instant replay. How sad. That ended all my efforts in pursuing a career as a sports announcer (kidding).

Maybe their laughing at me was mean-spirited, or maybe they just couldn’t help it. When I was a child and occasionally became the butt of ridicule, my mother would try to comfort me. “They’re not laughing at you, they are laughing with you.” What a ridiculous thing to say. I was not laughing. In the heinous TV show, America’s Funniest Home Videos, a large percentage of the filmed disasters show some poor male hit very hard in his private parts by a skateboard, baseball, ill-positioned railing, whatever. Awful. That poor victim never seems to be laughing.

The pratfall has been a standard of comedic routines since the Three Stooges. Maybe since I have such a fear of falling I am not amused about the effects gravity can have on the unprepared. My daughter will laugh at someone who falls on ice and spins around several times before coming to a stop. Unconscionable. Years ago, our family enjoyed our cabin on a lake in North Carolina. We had a boat for water-skiing and a wave runner, a small motorized vehicle one or two people could straddle and zip around the lake.

Once I was sitting behind my daughter on the wave runner when we turned too sharply and I went flying, first being air-born and doing air cartwheels, then crashing down, bouncing on the back of the wave runner, and eventually hitting the water. I must have been quite a sight. I shouted at Samantha as I broke the surface of the water. “If I hear even one giggle out of you I will swim over there and wring your neck.” The threat was effective, and she didn’t let out a squeak.    

Prayers, especially for victims of injuries, are always appreciated. Everyone stay save over the holiday weekend. And other times.

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