There is not one naturally occurring funny bone inside my body. I remember years back, as a preteen at summer camp, a boy told me he wanted to be a comedian and asked if I wanted to hear his act. I told him, “I don’t like people who think they are funny.” (Man, what a nice girl right? I get this same impression of myself when watching old family videos. Sorry Michelle.) I meant what I said to this boy, 1) because he was super dorky and I wanted him to go away, and 2) because I thought comedians were people with a repugnant combination of inflated sense of self and stupid / underdeveloped / cheap jokes that only worked on crowds that were totally wasted. If left to my own devices, I fear the world would be a dull and dreary, but well researched and analyzed place.
Earlier this week I was doing research on my Myers Briggs personality indicator group INTP and stumbled across this precious gem of a quote from another alleged INTP:
“I have no affinity for animals. I don’t hate animals and I would never hurt an animal; I just don’t actively care about them. When a coworker shows me cute pictures of her dog, I struggle to respond correctly, like an autistic person who has been taught to recognize human emotions from flash cards.”
This quote by Tina Fey (which I recognized as some famous name but didn’t know who she was – I’m the worst at celebrity jeopardy), made me laugh out loud because this sentiment is something I share (with the exception of elephants and killer whales because they seem to have more emotional intelligence than the rest of us). Also, I had just put the family dog outside for peeing on my toddler’s carpet yet again, and was secretly (not-so-secretly) hoping she would escape the fenced-in backyard again and find a happy new life somewhere else.
She didn’t… she’s still here.
Anyhow, continuing my INTP research. Tina Fey turned out to be a famous comedian, gasp, who also was reported to have said that comedy is only funny if it is true. Maybe that is how so many other comedians miss the mark. Then I thought about my own “firm” grasp on truth as an INTP and it occurred to me that if Tina Fey could make me laugh out loud with our category of personality, then maybe I could make myself laugh too. Then I started having all these humorous thoughts, piecing together the over analysis I do of things, situations, and people in such a way that instead of simply being critical it was like revealing the ludicrous to the world so that it was hysterical. Of course this was all in my head… I wish there were brain thought recorders, because these things flashed through so quickly when I tried to say or write them down they fleeted away, dang it!
My friend Amanda accuses me of making short jokes all the time. Let me just say, at 6 foot 2, I am the worst judge of height, and I don’t go around thinking how tall I am and how short you are everyday because this. is. normal. for. me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “do you play basketball?” – no, “do you play volleyball?” – no, “are you a model?” – no, but thanks for asking, “man, what a waste at your height” – I’d like to think there are other valuable things I can contribute to the world, but I’m deeply sorry if I’ve let you down. This would be torture if I didn’t in some small way enjoy once in a lifetime exchanges with random strangers I would never see again. So my short friends accuse me of making short jokes all the time. I don’t try to. I think a lot of the time when I look at short women they assume I’m making short jokes at them in my head. Kind of like how some fat women glare at me for no reason (it’s because I’m skinny) (ugh, I’ve been informed that saying “fat” nowadays is insensitive and unpopular. Insert socially supportive version here.), and feminists hate me for wearing whatever I feel makes me look damn good. Side note, one of my dear feminist friends feels that women’s’ clothes without pockets is evidence of sexism in society. Well, what about Speedos then, eh? Or are we suppressing the dignity of competitive swimmers as well? I remember my days back on the swim team just before puberty really really wishing my swimsuit had some padding on top for a bit more discrete coverage, but never once did I curse the inconvenience of my shy girl’s nightmare of a body suit being pocket-less. If you want to talk about what feminists failed to get rid of from our society, lets talk about: crafts.
Anyhow, the next day I found Tina Fey’s biography, Bossypants, at the library. It is delightful. I feel like she breaks all the rules, which is what I love about it. I’ve always felt like rules were for other people. Like that day in 2nd grade, when I was stealth-fully sabotaging a game of baseball being played by much older boys behind my grade school during parent-teacher-conference by kicking the orange cone being used to mark first base. I snuck around the building, ran up and kicked that cone three or four times before those terrifyingly huge (middle school?) boys attacked. The pitcher threw the ball at me full speed. It whizzed by, inches in front of my tiny frame as I ran like hell across the field. Meanwhile, the catcher ran at me and lunged for my ankles, while the outfielder threw down his mitt and ripped off his T-shirt (not sure how this helped, but it’s the first time I remember thinking boys with sweaty muscles looked good). I made it around the corner of the school, barely escaping with my life. It was exhilarating. It was the most boys I ever had chase me at the same time (I also remember my brother’s friends, Nathan, calling me a “flat-chested beaver”. I believe that is when I first realized I was a woman.). For the record, I did consider going back to kick the cone again.
All this to say, I like to push the limits. And seeing as I’m pretty good at being up-front and analytical, maybe being funny by telling the truth will work for me. Maybe it will be friggin awesome. If not, at least it won’t be worse than network news. I’m having fun. Are you?