The Everything

Posted by on April 26, 2014 
Filed under Nonfiction

Why can’t I be funny? I try all the time and it seems like I am not very good at conveying a humorous-type emotion to the people I’m around, so why not try it on readers, right? Two questions, no answers, lots of thoughts, and no humor, yet. Let me try to change that.

When I say that I want to be funny, I mean I want to make people smile, hopefully laugh. I definitely don’t want to make them frown. I frown, maybe even scowl most of the time. I don’t know why. My face naturally sets into these solemn expressions. I know I’m serious a lot. I know that comes out through my face, but I like to laugh. We all do, don’t we? Another question. Racking them up. Still no laughs, out of me anyway.

I’m writing this on a Sunday, the least humorous day of the week for me. The work week is coming and I generally am anxious for it to begin, but not because I want it to. I need the weekend back, especially Friday. So, maybe this isn’t the best day for me to write this, being that I’m all anxious or whatever, but what the heck. I can still be funny in the face of a new week. I can be as funny as I want and no one can stop me. I’ll be “Funny Guy Sunday.” I’ll be “Mr.Chuckles.”

Believe it or not, I do have the nickname “Mr. Chuckles.” My good friend Adam has called me this for years, and not because he thinks I’m funny, but because I’m serious a lot. This nickname makes him laugh every time he calls me it, and I always smile when he calls me it too. Adam will call me up and after I say hello, he will invariably reply, “Hello Mr. Chuckles.”

I’ll snicker back, “Watster,” because that’s my nickname for him, being that his last name is Watten. We enjoy this. We’ve been pruning this banter for quite a while.

Actually, I think I like “Funny Guy Sunday” more than “Mr. Chuckles.” It has a nice lilt to it. Yeah, a nice lilt, but I’ll stick with “Mr. Chuckles.” I can’t let Adam down like that. “Funny Guy Sunday” will only be used by me on Sundays, for myself, to feel funny, on a Sunday. Didn’t The Bangles write a song about a day being fun? Sunday was their “fun day.” Maybe I should be writing this on a Monday instead. “Funny Guy Monday” sounds pretty good too, but I think I’ll stick with “Funny Guy Sunday.” That’ll be my “fun day” too. Maybe we can share it.

A day of the week cannot be the only source of my humor. I know this. I’m not naïve. In fact, relying on a day of the week in order to get laughs makes no sense at all, so I won’t be surprised if my logic confused you. I don’t know what I’m doing. I haven’t all year, but I would like to laugh more. I’d like others to laugh around me as well.

So where should my humor come from, or rather, where does it come from? Again with the questions. I can’t help myself, but I think this question is important. I like being quick in conversation, maybe throwing people off with quick and unexpected response, maybe using my voice as a tool to emphasize the response. Talking in a very deep gentile accent while saying something completely ridiculous is a good example of what I mean. Say someone says, “That cheese platter looks amazing.”

I’d say something back to them like, “Decorum states, that a party like this requires that a cheese plate excel on three levels: smell, aesthetics, and audience response.”

To which I usually get a scrunch face that is almost a smile, but more of a, “Whaaaa?”

This is ok. I’ll keep trying. Someone must be laughing when I’m not looking.

Maybe I’m only funny if I’ve had a couple drinks in me. Maybe only I think I’m funny with them. Maybe I should crack a beer while writing this. This is not something I would normally do, but I’m willing to try it for humor’s sake.

So I just cracked a beer, a Busch beer just in case you’re wondering, to see if I can loosen up a bit for you and make you laugh, at me is ok too, it doesn’t have to be with me. Busch has the best slogan on its can. It makes me smile every time I read it, “Cold as a mountain stream, smooth as its name.” What a riot. Yes, their name does leave the lips in viscous kind of way, but the coldness is up for debate because the person drinking the beer decides how cold it will be, not Busch beer, unless you have a live-in Busch distributor regulating your Busch temps that is. Who has that, someone like Ted Nugent? Does he even drink? He should. That would be the only way I could stomach the career he’s had if I were him.

But back to the funnies. I’m feeling good and I’m feeling comfortable with you. I hope you’re enjoying this as much as I am. I want to be playful. I want to dance weird, kind of squiggly like my friend Phil does. He gets some drinks in him and starts dancing like a drunk ninja, kind of contorting in a fluid way suggesting he may have had some kind of training in something somewhere, but none of that matters anymore, to him anyway. To everyone else he looks like an insane person with no sense of stability in rhythm. He looks ridiculous, but he doesn’t care. He tall and lanky and he’ll flop around and gesticulate, and hopefully not take his clothes off in public, which I’ve seen him do countless times at parties mostly. With no drinks he’s very smiley and proper with his wavy parted hair and his round glasses, but get him lit and he’s an elastic fool, ready to sweat-dance in the most Gumby-ish manner. In fact, he looks like Gumby sober, with his “Hi ‘yall!” smile and general coziness in his own skin, but with the drinks it’s anyone guess who’ll he’ll be on the dance floor. One thing’s for sure it will be funny to watch and he does not care. I’m not sure he even knows anyone else is on the dance floor at times.

Phil and I used to have a ritual. We’d go out on a Friday night in Winchester,VA and find whatever bar had a DJ and dancing and we’d go crazy on the dance floor. We didn’t do this because we liked the music or the people we around us. We did this for our own amusement. We did this to take over the dance floor and to try to be as wild as we could possibly be. Phil would high kick and jump around in spasms, while trying to have no rhythm whatsoever and I’d circle him like a drunk vulture, my arms flailing, my legs scooting around in the most wiggly way possible. Our friends thought it was funny, I’m not sure anyone else did, but Phil and I had a blast. We’d leave the bar sweaty and laughing at the end of the night. We still talk about these times.

I don’t see Phil much anymore. He’s in Richmond. I’m in Fairfax. We haven’t wrecked a dance floor in a while, but those times stuck with me. He’s a wild guy. I hope he never changes, but I do hope he’s drinking a little less now. We got each other’s humor. When you connect with people like that, it sticks.

But back to me and my prowess as a social comedian. I’m two beers in and my fingers feel elastic, like they’re pulling me through this story, or whatever it is. I’m thinking about laughing and what it means to me when I make others laugh. It feels like they get me, like they see a part of me I didn’t even know existed until they laughed. It’s like how Adam must feel the first time he called me “Mr. Chuckles” and I immediately cracked up. Neither of us explained to the other why we thought it so funny. We both just knew and we knew the other got it too. That’s why the nickname stuck. That’s why most things that truly entertain us stay with us. We have a subconscious connection to them and we need these moments of jovial connection to survive in a world that can be overwhelmingly serious at times. We need to laugh so we don’t cry.

I want to be connected to people. I need it. I feed off of it. I’m alone most of the time, so I really appreciate when I’m around people and have a chance to link up with them on a conversational, though I want it to be jovial, level. I usually want to connect with them through humor, at first. It’s a challenge to do this. It’s easy to offend, or go overboard with whatever particular shtick I’m conjuring at the moment. It’s easy to drink too much and become completely incoherent and only be funny to yourself and annoying to everyone else. There’s a fine line with people and what they consider funny and what could be just silly, or completely absurd. I try to examine that line. I want to know where my personality stands with people. I want them to see that I want to make an effort to know them through the laughter we share.

We’re not sharing right now though, at least you’re not. I definitely am and it feels completely self indulgent, like I’m talking about myself way too much. My thoughts don’t feel funny, but my fingers are pulsing toward something. I guess it’s a realization of some sort, like I might find the crystal nugget inside my head that’s the source of all my humor, that will let me know what I need to do to connect with you. I’m just trying to be honest here. It’s not like I ever planned any of this you know? I’m just talking and maybe I’m getting in the way of myself. Maybe I should back it up and just accept that some people laugh with me and others merely put up with me being around, but that’s no fun. I want to know, everything.

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