Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funny, Unfunny

[At a paint-it-pottery place in suburban Chicago, circa 1990, with my best friend's birthday party.]

Adult 1: So the new thing now is to put plaster on a pregnant woman's belly.
Adult 2: Huh?
Adult 1: For real. They come in and it's like a party. Then they take it home.
Adult 2: Well, what do they do with it then?
Me, 11 year old snarky pre-teen, who shouldn't be eavesdropping on adults: Maybe they make a planter out of it.
Adults 1 and 2: (Uproar of laughter)

That was the first time I remember being funny to anyone else besides myself, on purpose.

Am I funny? Do I think I am funny? Maybe. But in all honesty, I write what I do to merely amuse myself. Somewhere along the line, I figured out that other people laugh in all-the-right places, too.

(And yes, I do go back and read my old blog posts. And laugh. Even though I wrote it...mere days ago. I'm okay with this, but probably shouldn't be.)

Oh, there are plenty of people that don't think I'm funny.

Warning: this girl can put lame 80s sitcom theme songs on your work computer.
My dad didn't think I was so funny when I changed the Windows Start-Up chime to his work computer to the theme song of Facts of Life.

My theater professor didn't think I was so funny when I stapled a ham sandwich to my supposed "collage" of things related to Hamlet. (Got an F on that project. Even though I justified it. But come on...a college junior having an assignment of making a collage for Hamlet? Does anyone else see this as beneath them?)

My newspaper editor didn't think I was so funny when she assigned one of my beats as Adams County -the county where she lives- and I asked if people in Adams County could read.

My brother didn't think it was so funny when I whipped the covers off him to wake him up (about 10 years ago...when I was in college) and discovered he was only wearing some sort of animal print undergarments. (Side note: I may still be blind. And in therapy.)

And this is why I blog. Because even though the actual outcomes of all of these situations were not pleasant, I still laugh that I did them. Like I'm 12.

But you should know that it's not always Skittles and Beer for me. I'm a published poet. I have written serious articles for newspapers. I'm a book contributor. (Hell, it's only 6 words, but I'm in there. AND I made the study guide. Question 25. And thanks, Harper Collins. I wasn't nearly as suicidal until you pointed out what a crappy life I lead.) I'm a mom....a funny one, but a strict one, and God forbid, a MEAN one. (Or so I've been told.) I cry at animal movies and sad songs and magazine articles.

But yes, I've also described a former school employee as "That horrible woman with cankles," to Larry Potter's teacher. And she knew exactly of whom I was speaking. Snarky seeks out snarky.

So I guess it's my own fault when people's first instinct is to not take me too seriously. (But come on, this lady's cankles were unavoidable. It was like Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright were in an ankle threesome with Janet Reno. And maybe she had circulatory problems or something that made them so bad. Or maybe it was because she had no soul and no heart so the only place all her blood could go was to her lower extremities.) But I digress.

Yes, primarily why I started writing all of this was to amuse myself. But also, I have realized, as an extension of my former self. I had a small nervous breakdown in the passenger seat of my friend's car earlier this month about how my life is not how I thought it would be. Since then, I figured out that I may not be an academic writing poetry with an MFA (seriously, this would be the degree I would get if I went for my Masters...and then I could pick up my PhD in basket weaving, too) or doing hard hitting news reports or even my book tour and novel-signing, but I'm not exactly dead to the world. I write this blog. And as self-indulgent as it may seem (or even be), it's a contribution.

God, I'm full of myself.

Maybe I should just stick with funny.


  1. I think you've always been hilarious! Now you've got me thinking about Mrs. Solomon's class; the comedy bar was set pretty high there, and I think it's where my own present-day snark was really groomed.
    (It always comes back to Mrs. Solomon's class.)

  2. I think you're funny Jess! ~ Michele

  3. My friends usually laugh pretty hard at the stuff I say and do and I'm usually not trying to be funny....I just say it how it is. My husband doesn't always find me funny though. One time he had to run up to our apartment to retrieve something. I'm waiting in the van with 5 irritable children. My hubby seems to be taking forever so I get out my cell and call his. I asked what was taking so long and he responded that he needed to use the bathroom. I thought I'd be funny so I said "pinch it off and get down here already!" When he got back to the van he didn't look very amused. He told me "sometimes I don't appreciate your humor" Sheesh! Sor-ry! I do like making myself least I get my humor and I appreciate it. I don't think life would be very bearable if we couldn't laugh at ourselves and some of the situations we've been in.