Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Sooner or later, any woman with whom you've had the good fortune to share a romantic interest will tell you in so many words, "You're funny."

In some ways, being told this is an acknowledged arrival at a plateau from which things progress in remarkable, positive scenarios of intimacy that seem to you to enhance your quality of life.  (Not that your quality had been in any way negative before.)  

Being told you were funny seems to clear the air for what is to follow.  The true humor is that what is to follow is not always readily available as knowledge or understanding.  Being funny is now an accepted part of the language, a recognizable aspect of your psyche and world view.

Being told you are funny can also be a critical fork in the road, as in, "You are funny and I am looking for serious."  Or, "I don't know how to relate with funny all the time." Worse yet, "Don't you ever get serious?"  You do, on occasion, and that seems to you always to produce funny outcomes.

In one case, when you said, "But I'm not funny all the time," the person of interest responded, "See, there you go again."

True enough, you have on occasion said or observed things, only to be told, "That's not funny."  One of the consequences of being told you are funny is the expectation that you will most of the time if not always be funny.  If you are content in the landscape of a particular romantic atmosphere, you are often given to seeing things you consider humorous, which can mean things of irony or visions of attempted reconciliation between painful things and dreams that have bounded off in distracted abandon.  Your contentment can produce a "See, I told you so," reminder that you are funny.

The kind of funny you mean does not mean odd or strange or somehow aberrant; it means tee hee funny, laughable funny, as in, we are in a situation we'd do better to laugh about than do something of potential danger.

The kind of funny you are does open the potential for someone to think you are making fun of her or of something she holds dear when much of the time, you are making fun of the situation, saying in effect that the two of you are casting directors for the same play, but each of you, because you are individuals, are seeing the play as a different genre.

One of you may be seeing the drama as a tragedy, the other as a comedy.  Much depends on timing.  Comedy is tragedy, speeded up.  If you slow down comedy, it becomes lugubrious.

There are times when you tell yourself, "That's funny."  There are also times when you tell yourself, "You're funny," but it does no good for you to try to be funny because while funny is a commentary, it cannot be described, it must be expressed through attitude, improvised the way jazz musicians improvise variations on chord changes and harmonic reaches or the way classical musicians approach their opportunity to perform a cadenza, which is in a major sense the performer's tribute to a written, orchestral work.  The finest cadenzas you know of are the Joachim cadenzas to the Mozart Violin Concerto in D minor, and the Beethoven in D Major, Joachim being a violinist known to both composers.

Being funny is subjective.  For you, it is an attitude, producing results that have the physicality of comedy and burlesque, but at other times the demonstration of painful truths so resident in humor.  You are not always happy when you are funny nor funny when you are happy.  The culture into which you were born and nominally raised begins to grow suspicious if funny gets out of hand, thus there is a note of restraint and suspicion that you might be getting on toward being told your funny is not funny, with an understood "anymore."

Being funny is also risky, but with that said, you do not consider it as risky as being neutral or reserved or much of anything connected with being conservative.  However great the risks of being funny--being misunderstood, being ignored, even patronized for apparent foolishness--the risks of being seen as neutral or reserved are greater.

Fear goes well with being funny because if there is enough silence in response, there is the fear you are being too funny or not funny enough, which will cause you to do something that will get you told, "You're funny."

There is unintended funny, which is self-satire, which you try to avoid, but that has the potential for pushing you over into being too serious, which is, as you've observed, a gathering spot for funny.

One solution has presented itself to you over the years, which is to go out of your way to avoid romantic attractions.  Now that would be funny because, thanks to the steps you have taken to become who you are, and the hours of practice you put in on honing your process, you are vulnerable to fall in love with things.

You are in love with stories, essays, flowers, dogs, cats, albondigas, mole sauce, osso bucco, and music.  You fall in love with women who are way too young for you and way to old for you.  You fall in love with words, poems, Christmas tamales, trifles, picnics, and the sounds of corks being coaxed from bottles.

Sometimes, when you are composing words for some specific purpose, you lose awareness of the surrounding now and become a part of the work, skipping, dancing, a grin beginning to spread across the solemnity of your lantern jaw, and you can almost hear some voice telling you, "You know, you're funny."

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