Monday, May 03, 2010

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, even if you are allergic to lemons

I don't know why I am a "glass is half empty" kind of guy. I suppose part of it is because it is more amusing to make fun of the dark side of life than the bright side. There are very few successful stand up comedians who make a living dwelling on the positive.

Not that I am a stand up comedian. I fancy myself a pessimistic humorist with lugubrious tendencies. And other than annoying co-workers in the hallway, I confine my humor to writing. So I don't do stand up. I do sit down. I'm a lugubrious sit down pessimistic humorist. It's my niche and I'm carving it as deep as I can.

I wrote my first lugubrious sit down pessimistic humor piece in a junior high school creative writing course. It was about the time I tried shaving for the first time so there may be some connection there. It was an essay called, "How to survive in a school cafeteria." It was a bit amateurish. But I was only in the 8th grade. I don't recall exactly how it went, but the gist was that you don't piss off school cooks or essentially you'll never get another unbroken taco at lunchtime. Apparently this resonated with some of the school cooks at my junior high school because they cut the essay out of the creative writing class book we published and taped it up in the school kitchen.

I never did get another unbroken taco in junior high school.

I didn't write much humor in high school except for a few scathing letters to the school paper dissing on the student body government. I did write a few lugubrious short stories and some very maudlin poems. I think this prerequisite for a teenager.

It wasn't until I was in college writing for the school paper as a journalism major that I started writing humor again. I even had my own humor column. Ironically the arts and entertainment editor rejected my first piece about how awful the food service was in the dorm cafeteria (sound familiar). The first column I got published was one about "saving the slugs" on campus. The Pacific Northwest is infamous for disgustingly huge slugs that would race across the sidewalks on my college campus at...well a slugs pace. Inevitably they would be stepped on and you'd see these gross slug carcasses spotting the sidewalks on your way to class. Someone scrawled "Save the Slugs" on a wall on campus. Thus the inspiration for my column about a movement to save the slugs.

It was a classic.

I wrote my humor column for two years until I graduated. And though I had a small cult following on campus, the chairman of the Journalism Department never recognized my humor writing as a marketable skill and frequently urged me to focus on "straight" journalism. I eventually did hone my ability to write boring crap to survive, but I never lost my love of pessimistic humor with a side of lugubriousness.

So you can see where blogging saved my soul. I was able to fulfill my dream that I had when I graduated from college to become a humor columnist and prove my Journalism Chairman was wrong. Well, technically I'm not a columnist and my dream involved actually making a living writing this way. So fortunately I have a day job.

So I like to think of the lemon as half full.

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