Friday, July 18, 2014

Funny Isn't Always Clever

Writing funny is an incredibly difficult feat.

I frequently try in this space to get laughs on the order of early Simpsons episodes or the Daily Show. (It’s good to have a goal, so why not set your standards as high as possible right?)

Taking a stray observation and making it funny takes a particular brain. I appreciate those folks who identify occurrences that the vast majority of us gloss over or simply accept as reality and make them funny. Jerry Seinfeld is a genius at this, as is just about every other great comedian or comedy writer.

For the right mind, there’s humor to be found everywhere. But the truly brilliant folks are able to bring it to the fore and let us in on the joke too.

Fortunately for less sophisticated folks like me, a good laugh isn’t always complicated or clever.

Take yesterday for instance. If you’d have been at a park near our home in Madison Wisconsin, you’d have seen me with my son on the playground.

You’d have seen my boy running up the play structure and then taking the slide down.

You’d have seen him climbing.

You’d have seen him swinging.

And, you’d you have seen him kick me squarely in the groin. And then, if you’re anything like me, you’d have laughed.

I don’t blame you either.

OK. So maybe the Simpsons weren't always clever, but they
did elevate "man getting hit in groin by football" to
new heights.
Everything was moving smoothly and our pattern was set. The boy would climb the play structure and take the slide down where I was waiting to continue his momentum into my arms, sweeping him up triumphantly toward the sky.

It was a fun time until, at the bottom of the slide as I grabbed the boy and swung him toward me, his left leg carried forward to devastating effect.

Time slowed down, I gasped and considered crying but didn’t have the air in my lungs. I set the boy down and slumped, hands planted on my knees, cleaving to any form of body language I felt would help me maintain the smallest shred of dignity.

Slowly, I could breathe again, my vision returned to full color and the boy was at the top of the slide again, this time with a grin on his face. I’m not sure when that grin appeared but, if he’s anything like me, I’ve got a good idea. 

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