I believe one of the best things to have in your life is the ability to laugh about it all…
Some days it’s the only thing that saves you.
I believe I came upon my sense of humor honestly. My parents are terrifically funny people. From evenings spent in my childhood in Detroit, falling asleep to their ringing laughter and the smell of citronella candles, while they shared beers, jokes and stories with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Dororthy and the Markovichs, to them calling me up to read me the latest Far Side cartoon, my Mom laughing so hard I thought she was going to start crying, to the steady stream of videos and jokes my Dad now sends me to keep me laughing when I need it most, they are two people quick to laugh and able to find the funny in almost any situation, Their laughter along with my daughter Emma’s are some of the sweetest sounds in the world to me. And it was very clear to me from her first joke at 2 and 1/2. Emma has picked up a hilariously good sense of humor and it will continue to be passed down….
I really did have a sweet legacy, we watched and listened to a lot of comedy when I was growing up be it movies, comedy albums, I can still remember the cover of the spoof on the Kennedy’s, Tv – the Honeymooners, Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In, Monty Python, Milton Berle, Dick Van Dyke, Saturday Night Live, Bob Newhart, even Hee Haw. You name it, I was exposed to it all…
I will say on the humor spectrum as a whole, we went for more intellectual funny as opposed to say slapstick but anything was game. But there were slight variances, not all of our humor was exactly the same, we each had our brand as it were, I think I had the most bizzare take of the bunch, but here was a situation where my Dad and I were on the same page…
We were taking a family car vacation (National Lampoon picked up a few ideas from us I am pretty sure…) and having left for the trip at the crack of dawn (like we always did) around 10 in the morning we needed to stop to get something to eat…we were in the middle of midwesternsouthern noweheresville and this was back in the days before there was a chain restaurant every 2.5 miles. So we ended up stopping at one of the little roadside diners…that had definitely seen better days . Now my Mom is a very polite person, she will rarely come right out and say she doesn’t like something, so when my Dad proposed stopping at the diner she made a small attempt at “Well maybe we can find something a little bit down the road…” but me, my Dad and brother all being starving kind of overruled her on that.
You have to read betwen the lines with my Mom sometimes, her “Well maybe we can find something a little bit down the road” was actually her polite way of saying “oh my god this place looks like you could get botulism just by walking over the door step”.
But she demured and we went in to get a table. To her credit the place was pretty gross, complete with gum-crakin’, flat footed, stringy haired waitress and menus so stained and sticky you could barely read them..So my Dad, brother and I immediately ordered huge plates of pancakes and eggs, OJ, the whole works, my Mom when it was her turn said “I’ll just have coffee” Now I KNEW my Mom was as hungry as we were but it was her way of dealing with the situation. My Dad knew it too.
So as the rest of us wolfed down food and my Mom sat with her back to the wall and primly perched on the edge of her seat with her purse in her lap (and surely would have been rubbing her hands with hand sanitizer had it been available back then) and sipped her coffee, the BIGGEST , HUGEST, UGLIEST roach I have ever seen started crawling up the wall right behind her.
My Dad and I both saw it at the same time and just died laughing. the combination of the realness and the absurdity of it all came crashing in and made me laugh so hard milk would have come out of my nose had I been drinking it…she was so right not to want to eat there…and we knew it, but hunger had ruled out. The joke was on us.
Oh yes, a shining example of how I inherited my humour and an appreciation for the absurd…I’m not absolutely sure my Mom ever knew what we were laughing at, she probably thought we were crazy at the time…but I am pretty sure when she reads this now…she will laugh.
It’s what we do.