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What’s So Funny?

by George Goldtrap


everal years ago, I sought my party’s nomination for our district’s congressional seat. As is often the case in local primaries, we were operating on very scarce funds, and I did a lot of my own leg work. One afternoon I was placing road signs at high visibility corners. It was hot, dirty work. I often had to dig a hole for the stake, or drive it into dry, hard ground. Dressed in an old shirt and Bermuda shorts, sunshades, and a cap, I was soon wet with sweat.

To avoid having to park, my wife, would drive me to the corners in our steel gray, 1985 Olds, 88 Royal. I would jump out, campaign sign in one hand, flat head hatchet (for driving stakes), in the other. While Peg drove around the block, I would hurriedly hammer the sign into the ground, striving to be finished by the time she came back around. Finishing in record time, and madly whirling around, I’d begin looking for our car so that I could jump in quickly without delaying traffic.

Right on cue a steel gray, 85 Olds 88 Royal pulled up to my position. Dirty, sweaty, hidden behind dark glasses, and with hatchet in hand, I grabbed the door and jumped into the car… right beside a very startled, frightened, lady… NOT my wife! When I looked up, my eyes caught those of a lady whom I had never seen. Her eyes were glued to my hatchet.

Quickly, I apologized for getting into the wrong car, and jumped out. I didn’t bother to ask her for her vote. She probably had to hurry right home to change clothes! Two cars back was another steel gray 85 Olds 88 Royal. Peg was driving that one. She had witnessed the whole thing and was laughing hysterically, an emotion probably not shared by the lady in the other steel gray Olds.

Generally speaking, humor is easy to find. This current atmosphere of requiring ‘politically correct’ wording is driving many humor lovers, to the bug house. (My apology to those who think bugs deserve my undying respect.)

In today’s ‘you hurt my feelings’ society, the difficult part is laughing without offending. Mental and physiological health is enhanced when we laugh and if we laughed more… we’d be less ‘centsitive’ to sue, Lawsuits would be- come laugh suits.

Most have never thought about it but virtually all humor is at someone or something’s expense. ‘Have you heard about the ______, (insert the person or thing of your choice)? See what I mean? Already you have picked out someone, or something, to joke about. City folks choose country folk; Country folks choose city folks; Americans choose ‘Pollock’s’… Polish folks choose Italians… lawyers chide doctors; Catholics laugh at Protestants and both have fun with Jews.

Jewish comics made thousands of dollars poking fun at themselves in the Adirondacks. My father poked fun at the ‘tight’ Scotts… and so it goes. Everyone remembers Jack Benny’s vault… how being ‘cheap’ earned him fame. Someone make a joke involving you? So what! Get over yourself. Laugh! Did you notice the opening story of this column was a poke on a lady (that I did not even know), and myself.

Let me make it clear, I am not recommending that we use jokes or stories that deliberately harm or belittle… I am not recommending cruelty. However, things from everyday life, things that happen to ordinary people, are often very funny. Laughing at that is not only normal, it is necessary to maintaining a sane mind, and a balance to life. If you can’t live with that, maybe you should move to the Australian outback. (My apology to the Aborigines… you know, the ones with bones in their nose. Americans would never do that… no no. We have stainless steel and diamonds. More civilized right? Yea right!)

Okay. Have I offended enough people? What… I left you out? Sorry about that, you dingbat! (What is a Dingbat anyway? Right, Archie Bunker’s favorite word for Edith.) Don’t send me letters. It upsets my Dog and he bites the mailman. Dumb dog!