When We Are Amused

What makes you laugh?

I laugh so easily, and shake when it happens. Being happy changes my whole posture, and the dumbest jokes will do it. Most embarrassingly it’s when I’ve made a “dad joke” and no one else is there. When I make myself laugh, I tend to make others wonder if there’s something wrong. It seems so conceited when it’s really the laughter of knowing I’ve thought of something you’ll read later.

My audience is always with me, not as a monolith, but a whisper. The person to whom I am continually speaking whether or not you are present. It’s a one-way conversation. Making you laugh is a great part of my day, because I might not get a laugh at that joke this year, but I might in three.

In terms of types of humor, I love wordplay. It makes me laugh harder when I realize something is a double entendre, or a joke due to convenient homophones. Moments like that live in my memory a long time, and I bring them back to life upon remembering. Truly rare writing craft with a joke is something to be shared and nurtured.

Beauty makes me laugh, because that is my response when something is too big emotionally to take in… the difference between hearing someone say that they are Puerto Rican and Ukrainian and receiving a photograph of them. One is a random factoid brushed off by small talk. One is a pair of eyes staring back at you, begging to be seen.

I laugh with intrinsic joy… happiness so bright it can’t help but escape upon remembrance of the thousand smiles before it. Memories age like fine wine, and Southerners get drunk with pleasure. Some of the biggest laughs I’ve had in recent memory are talking about my childhood with The War Daniel, because we slip back into NE Texas-isms and he remembers things that I don’t and vice versa.

Editor’s Note: If you have to get married, make sure it’s the person who remembers you had a Black Moor goldfish in third grade and when you can’t remember what you named it they know it’s Othello and you know they’re not bullshitting you because it’s so on-brand. It also matters that Daniel actually came to my house and talked to my fish in third grade. He didn’t know I kept fish as a kid. He knew THAT FISH SPECIFICALLY.

The sheer amount of bullshit I will not get away with if I marry Daniel is what’s currently making me laugh, and it has nothing to do with Daniel being male, because the women I’ve dated/married (save Dana) were just like him in terms of reacting with their minds. What is different about Daniel and the other women is that he is constantly in touch with his feelings. Full stop. I am not in touch with my logic. I never have been…. So between having a better logical/emotional toolbox than me and being big enough to pick me up, put me on a shelf, and walk away tears are streaming down my cheeks with laughter.

Comedy equals tragedy plus time.

Now we’re cooking with gas, aren’t we? I love dark humor because I was never raped or molested, but something happened. I didn’t make sense of it for a long time, and becoming a cook finally gave me access to a library of images that would actually make me feel something. It takes a lot to make me laugh at times because stupid doesn’t always cut it. I am not a cutter physically because my keyboard is the extension of my mind just like my right arm ends in a chef’s knife when I’m cooking. Sometimes when it seems like I am the most selfish person you’ve ever met, I’m actually trying to protect my energy. I am such an introvert that I protect my energy in order to be able to laugh.

This is less weird than it seems. When I am in public, whether that’s with one person or several, I want to be present and in the moment. If my social battery is charged, I’ll often come off as hyper because I haven’t had any social interaction with anyone in days. If it is drained, I will fall into trauma reflex mode, and that’s when I’m just a delish and a delight, I assure you.

Trauma reflex mode is a direct result of meds being off and/or not getting enough sleep. Sleeping actually puts myelin back on my nerves in a way that Starbucks will never capture. I also take medication to ensure I sleep deeply so that I can laugh more at myself… being irritated by everything I do generally means I’ve tried to replace sleep with caffeine and my body is noticing.

When I make the commitment to sleep, it changes what I think is funny and the way I write about it. When I’m feeling safe and secure, I don’t interrupt that vibe much with jokes about trauma or podcasts about crime. I can always tell when I need to re-dedicate myself to sleep when I’ve listened to more than three Crime Junkies in a day.

When I’m dreaming, I build things. I process information with my feelings, so generally I build relationships. I think about how they could get better. So much of my humor is informed by the dream I had about you last night, and I don’t mean that in a shady way in the slightest. Sleeping is a playground for my characters, whether I’m working on the book or my real life issues.

I love that there’s so much humor inside me that no one will ever see, because it belongs to someone. I am more situationally funny than I am “joke funny.” I mean, I do have comedic timing, all preacher’s kids ought to by 45, but the thing I value the most in a relationship are callbacks. It makes me laugh when I tell a joke from ten years ago and you spike one over the net with a riposte like you’re sitting in that memory with me.

That’s the golden ticket. That’s winning at life, especially if I am lovingly the butt of said joke.

I’m also very clever at wordplay, and will probably make fun of me better than you.

En garde.


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