Peter Flom and Frank Mucci inspired me to write this.
Sometimes the pressure to write funny articles starts to get to me. They won’t like me if I’m not funny, I think. And I fondly remember my early years, when no one knew I was funny. It was my big secret. No one said, “Poor Maria, she used to be funny, but now she’s kinda boring.” No, they just expected me to be quiet and boring, and I was, for the most part.
The first time I made anyone laugh in school was…Uh, I better back up and explain this game we used to play in music class in grade school. I went to a Catholic grade school, not that it has any bearing on this particular story. Most of my teachers were not nuns-that’s a common misconception. Anyway, my non-nun music teacher let us play this game at the end of music class, where someone would go stand in the corner and cover his eyes while someone else went to the back of the room and said the other person’s name. The person standing in the corner, not peeking, had three chances to guess who was saying his name.
Most people didn’t try to disguise their voices, which made for a fairly ho-hum game. When it was my turn to say Darren’s name, I put on a little show. I have no idea why I decided to break out of my shell that day, but I did. I used a different voice every time: High and squeaky the first time. Low and menacing the second time. Warbly and goofy the last time, like Captain Caveman. Duh-AH-ah-AH-rr-RR-rr-ennnn!
Darren was clueless. He thought I was one of his friends, trying to trick him. Lisa? Everyone snickered. Tom? More giggles. Eric? Roars of laughter. I’ll never forget the look on Darren’s face when he turned around and saw me, standing and blushing in the back of the classroom. Maria?! Sweet, shy, smart, serious Maria?!
Yeah, I fooled Darren good. I continued to fool my classmates, all the way through high school and college. The only time I was consistently “funny” was when I wrote stories or letters or personal essays.
I still wear a thick “sweet, shy, smart, serious” shell. It disappears when I write and when I’m around my husband, kids, and close friends. I’m scared to get rid of it for good. Being funny is only part of my “real” personality; there’s also a serious side buried in there-a serious side far more serious than the “fake” serious side I present to the world. The dark, fearful, judgmental, angry parts of me hide beneath the humor.
Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to be funny. But that can’t be true. I’ve just had a lot of unfunny stuff happen lately, that’s all.
Like, right now I’m sitting next to my daughter in her hospital bed. She’s tired of being here; I’m tired of being here. But I’m sure there are still plenty of funny observations I could make. Do you know it took me three days to realize that the guys on the Camp Rock stickers plastered all over this room are The Jonas Brothers? I kept thinking that they looked familiar. If I ever went to a place called “Camp Rock,” I would not expect (or want) to see The Jonas Brothers performing.
As long as I can still make my daughter laugh, things are fine. She’s easily amused. Any of these words will generally do the trick: butt, poop, fart, diaper, underwear, stinky feet, armpit, silly, weird, crazy.
Have a poopy, farty, stinky, crazy, silly, weird, good day! Thanks for keeping my daughter in your thoughts and prayers.
I can’t wait till I’m funny again.
(Audrey’s CarePage blog: https://www.carepages.com/carepages/roth377)