Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Was a Joke Dammit!

As defined by the Internet, and if it is on the internet, it must be true, a sense of humor is “the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous.” I would like to add that a sense of humor is the ability to take a joke as well as make one.

My favorite is the dry sense of humor, which is defined by the internet, again totally true, “as people who don't get jokes or don't find them funny even if they do get them.” In other words, no sense of humor.

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend, Ed. Actually, when you have a conversation with Ed, he talks, and you listen and interrupt every few minutes, so he is sure you are still there and breathing. Or, you just breathe heavily; he likes that. Ed has a great sense of humor, so he will find this to be funny, or he will never speak to me again, but Ed is chatty, so that will never happen.

Where the hell was I?

Oh, yes, I was listening to Ed on the phone and breathing heavily, when the subject of a mutual acquaintance came up. I then interrupted to say that this individual takes everything I say seriously. Ed said, “He has a dry sense of humor.” I disagreed violently, hung up the phone, went to a bar, ordered a drink then called Ed back.

I said, “A dry sense of humor is just another way of saying someone has no sense of humor and by default, no personality either.” (Please see the definition above.)

People with a dry sense of humor have an advantage. They get hired easily, move up the corporate ladder, and offend no one. When they do quit their jobs, no one can remember their actually being employed by the company, so references are sent to HR, who can only confirm they showed up and cashed their paychecks, but they cannot provide a physical description of the employee.

Those of us who like to make jokes rarely get promoted because someone will be offended at something we said on a daily basis, or our co-workers like having us around so much that they do everything possible to keep us in our present positions. At least that is what I have convinced myself. I have been in an entry-level job for twenty-five years, so I must be really funny.

People with no personality are a curiosity to me. All seriousness aside, how do they manage to have the longest lasting relationships? Answer: They are usually married to some loud talker with a big personality and a wild sense of humor – or just a loud mouth.

So, where is my humorless lump of flesh/life partner?

In reading what I have written so far, I realize none of this is funny, but I will continue anyway because there is a point in here somewhere.

There are all kinds of funny people. My favorites are the unintentionally funny.

Grandma, my father’s mother, was unintentionally funny. When a young couple moved in next door to her, she said to them, “You must have bought a new record; you were playing it all night long.”  When she was in assisted living, another resident took a liking to her, and he would sing whenever she walked by. One day, he wasn’t singing, and she asked why. He said it was his day off. She said, “You’re off every day.”

Nana, mother’s mother, had no sense of humor. None. My father, of course, took advantage of this. Once when she was visiting, she disappeared for about an hour and when she returned, she said she stayed in her room because she thought we had company. My father said, “How do we imitate company.” Later that same visit, she was standing in the kitchen holding a broom, and he said, “Leaving so soon?”

Dad thought he had the greatest sense of humor because he would make fun of everyone, but God forbid anyone should make fun of him. You know the type, can dish it out but can’t take it, and as I have noted before, he and my mother would accuse everyone else of not being able to take it.

Speaking of Mother. She had a wicked sense of humor. Mother would say something to you that would make you laugh, and an hour later, you would realize you had just been insulted. Or, if she was in a particularly wicked mood, she would just insult you directly with a mean joke. She asked to see a friend of mine’s necklace, then said, “It is amazing what they can do with aluminum these days.” It was gold. Mother once said to my sister-in-law, “I am glad you found a flattering shade of lipstick.” She wasn’t wearing lipstick.

However, I have a marvelous sense of humor, which brings light and joy to all who encounter me and my witty remarks. Oh, how I crack myself up.

I have been told I have a very strong personality, which goes with my being a number eleven (read my former posts to see what a number eleven is). I have also been told that my humor can grate at times. Or is it great at times? And contrary to popular belief, I can take a joke and often make jokes at my own expense. A former boyfriend once told me that I was no fun because I never gave anyone a chance to make fun of me, for I would beat them to the punch. For example:

At work, they asked if any of us had a picture of ourselves at five years old for an Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday campaign. I asked, “If I give you one of mine, can you scan a cave drawing? Will you be able to crop out the spear?”

Last weekend, I was at the beach, and four Green Peacers (is that the right term) tried to throw me back into the ocean.

Whenever I go into an all-you-can-eat restaurant, the owner cries.

When I sing, cats commit suicide.

If you really want to see how funny I am, have sex with me.

As I get older, hair is growing in all the wrong places. I now sleep with curlers in my ears.

I walked by a plastic surgery center last week, and the receptionist grabbed me. I then spent six hours there, and that was just for the estimate.

Stop me. Please. Seriously, stop me.

Many years ago, when I was working at Sammy & Nick’s Steak House in Williamsburg, this particularly disagreeable waitress said to me, “Do you ever say anything serious.” I said, “Yes. You’re ugly and you smell like a goat ... and you may want to reconsider that blue eye shadow.”

The point is I can be serious, but if you have no sense of humor, and by default, no personality, you will not be able to tell the difference. You will either take me totally seriously or think everything I say is a joke. More often than not, you will be offended, which is a win-win for me because I love nothing better than offending people. Political correctness is for pussies.

For the record, I did not spend six hours at the plastic surgery center; it was three. I also don’t sleep with curlers in my ears; I braid the hairs. The picture of me at five years old is not a cave drawing; it’s a daguerreotype.

Cats may hate my singing, but dogs love it when I belt out a Harold Arlen tune. Those were Esmeralda's favorites. 

If you have a sense of humor, follow me, join me, forward me, buy my book, The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Kindle and available in hard copy September 2012, and that is no joke!

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