My mother is 5’1” and has the beginnings of osteoporosis. In May, she walked into a doctor’s office to make an appointment to address the issue.
The receptionist studied his computer. “New patient,” he said, not looking up at her. “Next appointment is November.”
“Okay,” my mother said and she pointed to the desk. “But by then I won’t be able to see over this thing.”
I still laugh every time I think of that joke and how the man behind the desk just stared at her, not getting her humor at all.
My mother is funny. She can be really funny. And my grandmother, her mother, was funny too.
I don’t think of myself as funny, and when I started this blog back in the summer of 2014, I wanted a challenge and tried to be witty.
And I was for a while. I got comments that read…
“A side to you I never saw.”
“You always make us laugh.”
“Corie, you ARE funny!!!”
I enjoyed writing some of those earlier posts, and got a kick out of making people laugh. Little by little, I sprinkled in serious posts: posts about environmentalism, cultural appropriation, sex slavery, gun control, Boko Haram and their attack on girls and education.
But overall, I tried to keep the blog (the topics and the writing style) light.
Who wants to read about doom and gloom, right?
Well, actually, I do.
I warn new friends, “I can be heavy.”
I worry they will be turned off by my (sometimes) need for gravity.
This weekend, I read an article in the New York Times by James Parker, a contributing editor at The Atlantic.
He wrote, “For a certain kind of writer, seriousness is the default. It’s what you do when you haven’t got anything else going on.”
I’m not sure I agree.
Sometimes I ask my readers which posts they like better: the funny ones or the serious ones. I get mixed reviews.
Personally, even though I like the serious ones, it’s never a question of harder or easier. It’s just that I can’t manage to stay away from the more serious topics.
I’m trying to accept that fact as I’ve tried to accept that I’m a serious person, not always, but often, who thrives on weighty and, in my mind, important conversations that lead to growth, new understandings or change.
I can’t make light of young girls being abducted and sold into slavery. I mean, I guess I could. Quentin Tarantino made the Holocaust funny in Inglourious Basterds. But while that was a poignant movie so was The Pianist and Schindler’s List.
It used to be that comedy writing was considered “less than” serious writing. Now, it seems, it’s the other way around.
Art, just like people, takes all forms and we do not gain anything by judging and making blanket statements about any single approach being better or worse, harder or easier.
I enjoyed them both. However If we are doing a survey…
Funny you should ask. And as one somewhat short, I can see eye to eye with your mother. Both in the height department but even more so, appreciating her witty comment. On a more serious note, "take my joke please" I am of the mind that whatever you write comes from you the sensitive, aware and seemingly endless curious person.
And with all that going on, at certain times things will strike you in just the way the do and you being you as a sentient human being and will respond accordingly. Authentic and naturally in the form of composed thoughts expressed on a page. That process alone, amazing!!
So, sometimes the subject matter is serious and all too often hard to imagine as the world we inhabit continues to change thereby illuciting thought types of written responses and at other times, when we take the time to step back, reflect and consider, humor and light hearted play is the best thing and I also, appreciating a great turn of a phrase, funny insight buttressed by an obvious point magnified and expressed with a light verbal/written touch to bring home the point, is where the real fun is experienced. First by the person who sees it and expresses it and next by the audience/readers sharing it.
I mean Shakespeare, Camus and Cant were deep. Heavy. Depressing. Can only imagine spending time with them. My head hurts. But an afternoon with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, George Carlin Tina Faye would be a delight. Oh and by the way, again, I am of the mind to have that depth of humor, there had to be some seriousness underneath that then gets mixed up by how they see it and on the other side…"two men go into a bar..comes out. Beginning of an old joke, ask your mother.
Don’t feel the need to choose between funny or serious. Let the natural process take hold and be delighted with what comes out. For you, simply write what strikes you!
I agree Fred. No need to choose. And writing is always more fun, and probably better, when you write what strikes you.
funny posts for sure!
i laughed at grandmas joke.
I enjoy the serious topics as well as the humorous ones. Some great topics for conversation, as well as a good laugh every so often. That is what makes your blog so interesting. Either way, your posts are witty, creative, and informative.
I find a balance in writing important . Sometimes I’m in a serious mood and luv to read serious ideas and sometimes I’m in a gitti light mood and luv to laugh ur writings leave me guessing and wanting more . Keep them coming
JUST THE FACT that YOU are touching people, funny or not, IS A BEAUTIFUL THING.
I enjoy reading, WHATEVER YOU WRITE, but do prefer Humor First and Foremost!
Keep up the Great Work.
do ron ron and the STILL BEAUTIFUL ILENE