I find humor in the oddest places. In fact, I think humor finds me.
Like nervousness, humor sneaks up on me. It replaces my nervousness. I can list all the times where I have giggled uncontrollably in places where I should, instead, have been somber.
Jim’s parents’ Thanksgiving dinners. I’ve now gone to how many years of them? Almost twenty. I have giggled during Grace at every one except for one. The one I didn’t giggle at, I actually wanted to giggle. But I had a good reason not to.
I had had a miscarriage on about November 10. It was close enough to Thanksgiving that I told myself, Think of the miscarriage, think of the miscarriage. And it worked. That one Thanksgiving I did not dissolve into uncontrollable laughter while Jim’s father said Grace.
Nothing very funny about that.
There’s no way to get across how immature I can be. I have laughed so hard that I had to pretend I was crying at three different funerals. Well, one was technically a rosary mass. And I don’t know why.
Is laughter really the flip side of sorrow? Was I grieving something that I didn’t even realize I was grieving? I laughed so hard during John Dunne’s funeral that the whole pew rocked. Jim laughed, too, and Andrew, and the three of us tried to pretend we were sobbing. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like grief.
John Dunne was a nice man. He died when his bicycle got hit by a car. We noticed the bike on the six-o’clock news. John was the only guy we knew who had a red ten-speed with a white seat. We called the news station and asked if they could tell us who the person was that got killed. No, we haven’t notified next of kin, the man on the phone told me. If I say a name, will you tell me whether it’s him or not, I asked. He agreed. I said John’s name. Yes, I’m sorry, he told me and we hung up.
I laughed in the zendo when L farted. After that I dreaded sitting in the zendo for fear of someone farting. I avoid yoga retreats for that reason. Surely people fart all the time when they’re bending their stomachs the way you do in yoga.
I dread having to go to either Mom’s or Dad’s funeral when they die, not only because I dread either dying. I don’t actually dread them dying. Mom and Dad are both peaceful about life and death. I just dread the funeral.
I will have to take something, an anti-anxiety pill, to make sure I don’t laugh all the way through it like I did when Aunt Barbara died. I sweated so hard trying not to laugh that I could feel the drops of sweat rolling down the sides of my body. I laughed because the priest was dramatic. When it came to the Communion, he boomed up there at the altar, THIS IS THE BODY OF CHRIST!
I find humor in America’s Funniest Videos. I laugh when the big woman boing-boing-boings on the trampoline and boings right off into the hedge. God, I can even feel a physical reaction to the pain she must feel, something that hits deep in my stomach, and still I laugh. I laugh until my girls yell at me, Mo-om!, that’s not funny!!
I laugh until Jim laughs at my laughing. I laugh in bed afterwards, thinking about my laughing, and sometimes I am laughing so hard I can’t even get out the words to say what it is I’m laughing about.
I find humor in the stupidest jokes. I have three from my “brown series,” one of which is, What is brown and floats in the toilet of the SS Enterprise? The Captain’s log.
I sometimes laugh so hard at that joke that I can’t even tell it. Funny, it doesn’t strike me as the least bit funny right now, and I feel as though I’m failing as a writer to convey how funny it is when I tell it.
Humor finds me, I tell you. It’s like a gremlin, creeping up on me when it should be sleeping. When more appropriate emotions, like sadness or empathy or disgust should instead be by my side. Inside of me.
Humor resides somewhere deep in my nerve system, and I no longer know if I should even call it “humor” at all.
-Related to post WRITING TOPIC – A LAUGHING MATTER