Wednesday, December 06, 2023

What's so funny?


I have always thought my best attribute is my sense of humor. I've always enjoyed making people laugh. And I've always enjoyed laughing. 

But you know, it is another thing that I feel like I'm losing with old age. Or more correctly, it is another thing I am seriously (pun intended) doubting as I get older. 

I've blogged about this before. But what haven't I blogged about before? Though in all fairness to me, I have blogged about thinking I am funny instead of about having a sense of humor. I suppose they aren't the same thing.

Doubt has set in on both fronts again. A week or so ago I was supposed to make a presentation to my staff meeting at work. I was the facilitator and the facilitator at our meetings is required to make a presentation about anything they want. It definitely doesn't have to be work related. Some people present about trips they have been on, or hobbies. Some even present about themselves.

So I thought it would be funny to do an entire presentation about me and how I came to be where I am in life. I started from the beginning and worked my way from being a baby, though kindergarten, grade school, junior high, high school, college finally work. I thought I was making it clever, entertaining and informative. It was also an opportunity to show photos of myself before I was old with white hair a beard and a very tired face.

Before the presentation I had slides running of my series of Mindless Thoughts from my YouTube channel. I wanted them to see how clever I could be. No one even noticed them.

I started the slide show with a clever photo:

No one cracked a smile. All of my awkward childhood photos and stories fell flat. And I kept going. I showed a video of me in my late 20s when I thought I looked pretty damned handsome. Not a single gasp or comment.  Finally I reached the end and realized I had taken up way more time then I intended and hadn't managed to endear myself to anyone.

I wanted to crawl under a rock. I had shared photos of myself no one had ever seen and told stories I assumed were entertaining. And I finally had the revelation that none of them cared. No one gave a rip. And I also realized that it was highly likely that the stuff I had shared would never be seen again by anyone (except for the random photo or two I post here). 

You see, the difference between someone who is famous and the rest of us is that people want to know everything thing about them and especially love to see photos from when they were young and attractive so they could marvel at how much they have aged and let themselves go. I fooled myself into thinking I was famous in my tiny little microcosm of life. 

But no one but me saw it that way. They barely even humored me let alone found humor in what I had shared. So it put things into perspective for me. First it confirmed that the people I work with are just that. For the most part they aren't friends. Secondly it taught me something I should have learned (or relearned) a long time ago. I'm not nearly as funny as I think I am. The more I stop and think about what I am going to say when I am about to try and be clever, the better. 

I know this all sounds like one more trip to the punchline bowl at the pity party, but it actually helps me to put my life in perspective. It reminds me of this barfly I ran into at a bar in St. Thomas years ago. He told me to never forget seven words to live by: Never forget how great you really are.

I can't help but edit those a bit for my slide show experience: Never forget how great you really aren't.


Anonymous said...

Those seemingly opposite final two declarations can both be simultaneously true. And they generally are for most of us.

I’ve always thought your humor witty and smart (for whatever my opinion is worth). That, unfortunately, doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s attitude. But I’d say that puts the onus on others (generally). Funny is funny. If a tree falls in the woods it makes a noise, regardless if anyone hears. Plus, speaking from experience, all the things Chandler says that get such a big laugh, if you say those things in real life people think you’re a dick (even if it’s witty and smart - and even if they do find it funny). So a more universal humor isn’t so bad.

I do recall some times when people I supervised laughing entirely too hard at my joke (or story) for it to be genuine. While That’s not welcome, I’d almost rather know than keep on with it. I’m much more judicious the last few years in attempting to be funny.

Anyway, I know these comments miss the point of your post, but being less interested in trying to be interesting is probably a worthwhile way to be. Especially to folks who may never have any idea how great they aren’t. You’ve got better things to do with your time. We all do.


Time said...

Thanks iridethebus (though isn't it time you change it to iridethetrainevenifitcatchesonfire?)

I value your opinion above most people I know. And I appreciate your insight and kind words. They came at the right time. I was seriously thinking of deleting this post as just way too self indulgent and maudlin.

But that has never stopped me before.

Part of it is that the place I work now is, like me, not what it used to be. And humor (something I always took pride in infusing in its brand) is not appreciated that way it used to be.

But you make good points. And it is always better to be aware than to be obtuse (unless you are an angle in your kid's joke). Thanks!