Laughing at Rutabagas

I’m in a quandary. For many, their life’s work is filled with important things like the human condition, life after death, to wall or not to wall, and whether it is safe to eat processed food, like canned rutabaga, or if you should stick to the real meal deal or not eat rutabaga at all. They are all critical causes and I applaud the people who ponder them. It takes deep thinking, a strong will, and hard work, but they walk away satisfied with their day’s adventures. I, for one, don’t like rutabagas, so I don’t care whether they are safe or unsafe.

On the other hand, I have chosen to fill my daily void with writing…writing about nothing, in the vein of Seinfeld or Erma Bombeck. I could be helping people in homeless shelters or reading to the aged (we old girls could get together every night for a chapter and a snort) or helping ninth graders understand the dynamics of the five-paragraph essay. Ugh, I’m groaning because I’ve been there, done that, too many times.

I wrote my inane books Cruise Time and Out of Time, hoping they will make people laugh, but even if I write a dozen, they will never win the Pulitzer Prize, solve world hunger, or stop wars. But it seems to me that laughter is important; it’s one of the things that makes us human and now in the middle of a pandemic, it’s key to maintaining our sense of stability. It’s a human thing, I have never seen a cow laugh, (their moos all sound the same), or a chicken tell a joke, (did you hear the one about the human who crossed the road?) or a fish giggle, (he might drown).

My husband Tom was big on humor, he loved to tell a good joke and once he found one that he liked, he told and retold it until I could predict the final word, but I still laughed mostly because he charmed me with his laughter. Our son loves jokes. At age eleven, he checked out a huge book of jokes at the Gooding library so many times that the librarian finally gave it to him. The cover fell off so a few years ago, I bought him a new one. Our grandson makes up jokes, and at age fifteen, can make me laugh, (not so much when he was nine, but his puns demonstrated his innocence, a good thing). Our daughter, in her professional capacity, is occasionally asked to speak, and she has a repertoire of one-liners. I’d like her to pass them off to me, but so far, no dice.

People tell me I’m funny, but I cannot tell a joke to save my soul, partially because I can’t remember the punchline unless I write it down, which is a strict no-no for a good joke teller. I used to have a few knock-knock jokes, but they went-went away. I think my humor comes more through not taking things seriously, like being riled about a mammogram (or for men readers, the prostate exam, a blog that undoubtedly would throw female readers onto the floor with throes of laughter). In our golden years, which sometimes aren’t so golden, we have plenty to laugh about, just not rutabaga.

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