A number of readers have remarked on the fact that Himself often comments on the blog. Although it is often to disagree with me, which of course is totally inappropriate, it is also often funny. He’s actually funny with fair regularity. And when someone suggested a guest post, I tossed the idea out there. He grabbed it. So without further ado…here’s a guest post from Himself. And all the times where calls me “lovely,” I TOTALLY didn’t have to make him. How great is that?
“It just has to be funny.” This is the only guidance I’ve received. Not, “it just HAS to be funny,” or “it JUST has to be funny,” but rather, “it just has to be FUNNY.” They are all the same words, but carry different meanings. In any case, I don’t really think of myself as funny, though things I say or do often make people – my lovely wife in particular – laugh. But I attribute that to silliness. Silly is different than funny, and I would agree with the notion that I am silly.
My wife, on the other hand, is funny – deeply, genuinely funny. She makes me – and our children – and you, her loyal readers – laugh every day. This, I firmly believe (and modern medical science backs me up on this) lowers my cholesterol, reduces toxins in my bloodstream, strengthens my immune system, and makes my skin glow and my fingernails grow stronger. (Oddly, it’s done virtually nothing to reverse my receding hairline male pattern baldness alopecia totalis.) And since she and I share a home and a bed, she makes me chuckle, snicker, guffaw, and belly-laugh in quantities vastly exceeding the Federal minimum RDA guidelines (currently calculated at the equivalent of 17.2 chortles per day for a man my age and weight).
Of this I am also convinced: marriages can sink or swim based on laughter. The laughs went out of my first marriage about halfway through. And when what were perceptible but tolerable issues at its outset became, years later, much larger problems that could not be ignored, that lack of humor in the relationship left no hand-holds to grab as our marriage teetered over the cliff. There’s a doctoral thesis in sociology just waiting for some grad student who wants to study the correlation between divorce rates and frequency of laughter in a relationship. (It’s probably already been written.)
I grew up in a laughter-filled household – my mother in particular was, and remains, a firm believer in the healing power of a good snort of milk – outward, through the nostrils. Here is my all-time-favorite picture of my mother, sisters, and me, in uncontrollable hysterics as my sister’s friend (nephew of a very, very famous actor) regaled us with his brilliant humor:
My father also loved to laugh, and it was from him I received – albeit in a tangential way – perhaps the most important component of my sense of humor: the ability to see and laugh at the absurdity in the human condition, and at myself. I think it is called humility. (I’ve long since forgotten all those 7th grade lessons on Latin roots, but there’s got to be a reason why ‘human,’ ‘humility,’ and ‘humor’ all share a common syllable.) I am deeply ridiculous so frequently, and so consistently, and it is my incredible luck and joy that I have this amazingly funny wife who sees me being ridiculous – over, and over, and over again – and who is able, in the moment, to come up with the most perfect, erudite, spot-on, dead-pan comment that serves as a mirror so I can see my reflection and laugh at it.
She has taught me so much about being funny. I have learned from her that some numbers are funnier than others. 17 is a funny number. It is much funnier than 3. As in, “it takes 17 ingredients to make me a cup of coffee.” I still laugh when I remember her telling her best friend this truthy factoid. (The delivery was in her typical pitch-perfect cadence.) In point of fact, it only takes three (in very exacting proportions). But 17 is much funnier than 3. Child A has still not fully absorbed this lesson, though he’s improving. Just a couple years ago, his version would be, “it takes fourteen hundred million six thousand ninety-eight billion twenty seven hundred sixty eight thousand and four ingredients to make my mom a cup of coffee.” Today, it’s “it takes three hundred and fifty eight ingredients to make my mom a cup of coffee.” He’s almost there – he’s just 341 away from funny.
She also taught me that Nebraska is the funniest state – hands down. (At least if you don’t live there. I wonder which state is the funniest if you’re a Nebraskan.) As in, “Child B, would you do me a favor and go get the cat off the kitchen counter and ship her to Nebraska?” The list goes on…
I am not funny – I am silly. But there is something funny about me. I spend the bulk of my weekdays alone in a lab ‘playing’ with a laser that puts out pulses of light brighter than the surface of the sun. That such a light source exists at all from the hands of man is hard to comprehend. That I am left unattended with this power at my control is frightening. That I am paid good money for this work is hilarious!