I think I’m only really funny when I’m talking about things I don’t like and/or find absurd. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing?
Things I enjoy I have trouble being funny about. In fact, I have trouble expressing myself about things I like. I just like them. And in my mind that’s enough.
I don’t talk about how sleek and sexy my new iPod Nano is and how awesome it is that it holds more music than my old, beloved Shuffle. I don’t have to make up any sort of limerick about how sophisticated it’s shiny, grey case is and how it gets all the fellas at the bar with just a little shimmy and a dirty martini.
I can’t talk about how my five-going-on-one-hundred year old computer is like a rickety table. Even with books propping up one leg you still don’t want to place your drink on it because it will most likely end up on the carpet and your shoes. But man does it chug along, just a little slower than it used to, hobbling with a walker through the Internets and Word Processor. Pauvre little computer, like a grandpa without his teeth. It must read ‘The Little Engine That Could’ on Google Books whenever I accidentally leave the browser open overnight, ’cause it tries, bless it’s little microchip heart.
Well, maybe I can do it, it’s just easier and more fun to do with things I don’t like:
Like this skirt I got at a consignment shop in college. It was a fifties style, pleated a-line made out of this weird polyester blend, light blue material. I’m not sure why I bought it. I think it was a “phase” or something. It was the color of the sky in a PBS cartoon and felt like it had been done over with a belt sander then mangled in a clothes dryer with a pair of workboots. It was a stiff material, reminiscent of the times when furniture was upholstered with horsehair. And it was horribly unflattering. Perhaps because I didn’t have the right shirt or shoes to wear with it, perhaps because it was just a skosh too big for me, perhaps because the only time one should ever dress like a ’50s housewife is when playing one on the stage. This skirt was so ridiculous that I only ever wore it when I decided I didn’t have anything “nice” to wear if I had to give a presentation for class or something. And because I didn’t have the appropriate top to wear with it, I always ended up looking as if a colorblind 13 year old girl had put my outfit together.
I realized years later that I was much better as throwing together “casual” clothes than I was anything “nice”. Instead of just going with what I was good at, I’d always pull out this thrift store reject and pair it with an actually very nice embroidered top from White House Black Market and a very hot pair of ankle strap pumps I picked up at WalMart for ten bucks the summer after freshman year of college. It was the most ridiculous ensemble I’ve ever worn. And this even takes into consideration one of my favorite “layered looks” in high school that had me wearing brown knockoff Doc Martens, tan cargo pants under a red “India print” wraparound skirt, a lime green sundress and an oversized zip up hoodie (no I don’t have any pictures). Therefore to say my junior year of college “nice” ensemble was bad, means it was bad.
The top and the bottom weren’t so bad — I got many compliments on my High Cost of Low Prices pumps — but that skirt, oh that skirt. If I thought the material would catch I would have burned the damn thing instead of donating it to the Goodwill. It was ugly and faded and I think there was a vague yellow stain somewhere in between the pleats; maybe if I were taller I could have pulled it off… even then, it still would have been awful. (Have you ever had that happen? You pick up some horrible article of clothing for a play or a buck at the Salvo and you can’t stop thinking how terrible it is until the right person puts it on and all of a sudden wham-o! it works and you see the garment in a whole new light? It looks amazing on the chicky wearing it and you can’t understand what it is about her that she’s able to pull it off and you never-in-a-million-years could?)
Man, I hated that skirt.
Now, the thing is I like being funny. I decided many years ago that one of my main purposes for being here is to entertain others. If I say ten absurd things at lease one of them has got to amuse somebody, right? I mean, of course, right! Maybe this is why I opt to work with children. You can say five absurd things and most of them will think at least three of them were funny. (It might also encourage the Mini Mes out there to be more comfortable with saying weird things and not care what the other kids think.)
I also think I’m pretty good at expressing how I feel through humor. And, again, its usually negative. I’m not so good at saying I like someone’s jewelry or a dish they’ve made, or (yikes) that I like them. It always comes out so awkward and lame: “I, uh, I like your earrings?” Or “Wow, this is really good. It’s, um, tasty?” Or “Well, um, so, I, ah, I think you are, like, um, the bees knees, ya know?”
If it were the other way around it would be all (not to the person’s face, for starters): “That ring was hideous. It looked like something Claire’s would bump down to Icing!” Or “Oh my god, that was the saltiest, most foul thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Yes, that includes penises full of semen!” (ew I can’t believe I just wrote that.) Or “What a fucking douche!” (Ok, there’s nothing clever about that last one, let me try again.) Or “I can’t believe that asinine ape has the comprehensive power to be able to figure out how to unhook the cage latch and let himself out of the zoo!”
I wonder if exercises would help. If I start writing humorously about things I like once a week, maybe I’d not only get better at it, but get better at expressing myself.