Pushing through fear to write something, anything. Not allowing self-doubt to creep in like mold and contaminate my ideas and render them pointless. Getting a stronger sense of my message (Blerg, I am not sure I want to have a message. Sounds way too churchy for me.) and it keeps coming back to laughter. Put on the spot of having to boil down my identifying information for an online profile, humor kept pushing to the front of the line. Writing to make others smile, even laugh.
Part of the problem is that it feels arrogant to describe myself as funny. What if I am the only person who thinks that I am, in fact, funny? Then am I really, objectively funny? This seems to fall into the same gray area as art. You know, I don\’t know art but I know what I like. I don\’t know funny, but I know what makes me laugh. I think I have a sense of what makes other people laugh, at least some of the people, some of the time.
As an educator, I have a pretty big stockpile of teacher-humor stored up from the last fifteen years or so in the classroom. I make other teachers laugh in the hallway. I crack myself up on occasion. But what does that really mean in terms of universal standards of humor?
For me, making others laugh has to do with invoking the global realities that we all live with. As mothers, we are all exhausted, inadequate, guilty, unbalanced and occasionally bitchy towards our children. Also teachers. I tend towards the mythology of teacher-as-hero, ultimately responsible for literally every aspect of their student\’s learning and well being, every day, every week for the entire school year. (And in the summer, we are the Pinterest-y overachievers who spend every waking moment thinking about the students and the year to come.)
So where does the funny happen there? The gap, the significant abyss between the ideal (mother or teacher or Christ-follower) and me. The casting off of the various stories I tell myself about what that should look or sound like. The desire for genuine, raw truth-telling which, for some reason, ends up sounding funny coming from my mouth. I know how to tell a self-deprecating story that comes out funny. I can nail a school anecdote that delivers a punchline. I can lighten the tension in a staff meeting. Or create uncomfortable chuckling. Either/or. Whatever suits the occasion.
So am I funny? Maybe, sometimes. I want to be funny, anyway. So for now, until I get a better idea, I am going to go with funny.