My mother is 5’1” and has the beginnings of osteoporosis. In May, she walked into a recommended doctor’s office to make an appointment to address this issue.
The receptionist studied his computer. “New patient,” he said, barely looking up at her. “Next appointment is November.”
“Okay,” my mother said, pointing to the desk he worked at, “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 the 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, while I do get a chuckle when I hit that funny note, I like the serious ones, and it’s never a question of harder or easier.
It’s just that I can’t manage to stay away from the more serious posts. I’m trying to accept that fact, just 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, a new understanding 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 keep in mind, that while that was a wonderful 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.
Why do we feel the need to qualify writing styles in terms of more or less, better or worse, harder or easier?
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 than another.