What makes you giggle?
Whether it’s a belly laugh or a little giggle, laughter is an important part of good conversation. My great-grandmother, like me, lived many years alone and didn’t have much to make her laugh. She was always after me to tell her the latest joke. She knew the value of a sense of humor.
What she didn’t understand was that the humor of her day was no longer a knee-slapper. I had a difficult time trying to appreciate her horse and buggy humor, and she would tell the same old jokes over and over.
Humor needs to be subtle to give you a real deep-down belly laugh. Here is one I always enjoy, no matter how many times I hear it.
“The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending and to have the two as close together as possible,” said George Burns.
My dad was a fan of Will Rogers, a political satirist second to none. One of his old saws was: “We would certainly slow down the aging process if it had to work its way through Congress.” It seems that some things never change.
Remember Phyllis Diller, the housewife turned comedienne? This one is typical of her sarcastic look at life: “Maybe it’s true that life begins at 50, but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.”
When I was working in the newsroom at the Daily Commercial in the ’80s, I got to where I knew when Rick Reed was in the room because of his terrible addiction to the pun. Even though I told Rick puns were the lowest form of humor, he persisted in telling them. If you attend one of his Life meetings, you will find that Rick is still on his pun kick. He never fails to come up with one. Rick would like these:
There was a cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control his pupils.
A friend said she couldn’t understand cloning. I answered, “that makes two of us.”
If you are interested, there are hundreds of these cluttering up the Internet.
If you can’t remember a punchline, don’t try telling jokes. I was at lunch with a group of ladies, and we all were enthralled by a story a charming member of the group was telling when suddenly she stopped and threw her hands up in front of her face in embarrassment. “Oh!” she said. “I can’t remember the punchline.” She took quite a ribbing from all of us, especially me, and I told her I was going to show her how to tell a joke. I proceeded in my most eloquent prose until I got to the punchline and — guess what! — I forgot it. That got more laughs than the jokes would have. We like to laugh at each other. Don’t ever mind being the butt of a joke, because making people laugh is good for them.
No belly laughs yet? Are you one of those people who only likes the raunchy ones (like my great-grandmother)? I don’t mind a little off-color joke if it is really funny but, being a words person, I am offended by today’s raunchy language.
Many jokes today are about old folks, and some of them are hysterical, especially if they are told by someone who knows what it is like to grow old.
This statement is attributed to Einstein: “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” (I thought that was said by my granddaughter when she tried to explain to me how to input phone numbers into my cellphone. She ended up just doing it for me. It’s still a mystery.)
Did you hear the one about the guy who couldn’t find a girlfriend that his mother would like. He told his friend about it, and his friend suggested that he find a girl who was just like his mother. It took a while, but he finally found a girl he could care for, who was also the spitting image of his mother. He told his friend, and his friend asked, “Did that work out for you?” “Well almost,” he said. “My mother loved her, but my father didn’t like her at all.”
Did I find a joke that you liked? Did I make you laugh? You are welcome to email me your jokes if they are printable.
My card playing, dining out friends make each other laugh all the time. That is probably because we have all experienced the vagaries of aging, and sometimes it’s hysterical.
I once forgot where I put a very expensive digital camera I purchased for a trip. I actually lost it for two years. I finally found it in its carrying case, hung in my closet among my clothes. It is now so outdated that I don’t think I can get the pictures printed anymore, and I still have trouble turning it on and viewing the ones I took years ago.
This getting old thing is difficult, but I think I am getting the hang of it. Just give me a few more years.
Nina Gilfert is a columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.