Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Part wit, part slapstick, all awesome.

When I was in high school, I was your typical nerdy-pants smart kid. I had a circle of friends who had learned to cope with my nerdiness, and who had known me long enough to recognize that my occasional social awkwardness was probably due to the fact that I had never had much of a chance to learn how to be smooth, since I had strict parents who didn't approve of too much non-academic socializing. And when I was accepted to college, I remember thinking that it was a golden opportunity to recreate myself, to start fresh, to be the me I knew was in there, the me who was shy but a hoot to be around once you got to know her. Only one other classmate would be attending the university where I'd be enrolling, and I thought, "Now's my chance. I want to be fun and outgoing and adventuresome and, most of all, FUNNY." I was convinced that being funny was the best way to actually have fun yourself.

I spent a great deal of time as a college undergrad learning how to be me and be funny at the same time. I don't know how successful I was on other people's laugh meters, but to me, I'd done it -- I felt like a more entertaining and interesting version of myself, like I'd grown into my social sneakers, finally. It was actually a lot more work than anyone might have guessed, but it paid off, and I left college happier with who I was than when I left high school.

And so it's ... well, FUNNY to me that after all that time and effort, after all the trial-and-error spent on concepts like flippancy, sarcasm, well-timed comments and quick quips, that now all I have to do is jump out from behind the couch, and my son thinks I am a comic genius. His laughter ennervates me, emboldens me, makes it possible to shed any inhibitions I might have in the space of a blink, and so I find myself going to all kinds of foolish lengths, making myriad ridiculous faces and sounds, dancing in my family room in ways that would socially cripple me in the real world, just to hear him laugh maniacally. "More," he signs, falling over laughing, "Please, more, pleaseMORE." And so I do it again. Whatever it was, I do it again, sometimes long past the point of being able to stand the feeling of my face making THAT FACE one more time, and yet I do it again. Because he laughs. 

I am finally the funny one. And sometimes it's inconvenient, like when I have to spoon-feed him his dinner around the laughter because the thing-that's-funny is the only thing keeping him eating, but it's always precious. 

And I was right. It totally feels good to be the funny one.

1 comment:

gemmit48 said...

That's the day that you discover the fun/freedom in running through Sam's Club like a maniac, following a "runaway" cart with a giggling toddler in it, because it just doesn't matter what anyone who isn't giggling thinks!
I'm living it up, since I know that I've only got a few short months before I'm SO EMBARRASSING...