Thursday, August 25, 2011

I want to be your internet-era class clown

Last night my mind was wandering and wondering if people who read my blog are also my friends on Facebook...and if they ever read my status updates. Then I wondered if my FB friends ever read my blog. Then I wondered how I became so narcissistic that I think people care what I have to say. And then I felt uncomfortable as I considered writing about Facebook on the blog. It's as if two worlds are colliding. Like introducing old friends to new friends and hoping they have something in common to talk about. The blog would definitely be the older, more traditional friend who wears low-rise bootleg jeans, and FB is the new, trendy friend with jeggings that the old friend isn't sure they will like--they assume that my new friend has some suspect qualities and may lead me astray. And there are some pretty tempting qualities to the new, fashion-forward friend. See, I get much of the same reward from FB that I do from a blog...throw out some thoughts and get almost immediate feedback. I can stay connected to the world beyond a 5 and 3 year old's daytime routine. But I don't have to spend longer than 60 seconds thinking about my comment, and am not allowed to be wordy (140 characters, I think). And I'm pretty sure a lot more people read FB than my blog.


One problem is that FB doesn't really archive. Once I write down a witty comment or funny happening, I get a few affirming comments, then it disappears into the feed and is quickly forgotten. And mostly, that's not a big deal. Really, my mission statement on FB is to use my 140 characters to make someone giggle at something trivial and go about their day. The blog is where I like to do some deeper thinking as well--and we all know that I can't say anything deep without being extremely loquacious. But my favorite thing is to make people laugh.



Who are we kidding? I sometime work long and hard to make people laugh. I can almost pinpoint the moment--the precise joke!-- in my life when I realized how fun it was to be funny. It was the summer between my 8th and 9th grade and I thought I was going to have to switch schools. (I didn't end up having to...long story.) I had one friend at the almost-new school, which was a big ol' public school, way bigger than my almost-last school. She invited me to a sleepover to meet some of her friends. A bunch of girls I didn't know and kind of needed to like me so I would have friends at my new school. I was pretty quiet for a while, until someone started talking about the hippie vibe in Oregon, and how some people take the "natural living" a little too far. I said, in my best valley-girl speak: "Like, totally! I'm pretty sure some of them are using a leaf for deodorant. AND for toilet paper! Hopefully it's not the same leaf." (Not my best material, but not bad for a 14 year old, off-the-cuff.) And these attractive strangers laughed. WITH me. And smiled at me. And directed the conversation to me a bit more. It was like I had finally discovered my secret superpower--sarcastic humor! GOLD. MINE.


Over the years I have honed my craft, used my powers for good and, I'm ashamed to say, sometimes for evil. I've had some hits and many misses. I realized, mostly by observing other people, that self-deprecating humor is the best, most well-loved type. I also learned that people do not appreciate it when they quietly say something funny in a group, and then you repeat the same joke loudly and get the credit. I learned that not everyone will find funny what I find funny. I learned that mockery can be hilarious, but it can get you in relational trouble, and that kind of cheap humor doesn't give you the same high. I am constantly learning and re-learning when to stop being class clown and just shut my trap before I annoy the heck out of everyone around me. Like I said, that is a lesson constantly in progress.


But if Facebook has taught me anything, it's that the best tool in my comedy box is...my own children! When my own funny well is running a bit dry? Bingo! Just repeat one of the bizarre things that has happened around the house and voila: get a few LOL's. Which leads me back to the problem with Facebook--I'm technically "writing these things down" like so many people keep telling me to do, but then my child's great moment disappears. So in an attempt to a)transfer some of my short and sweet comic gems to the blog archive for posterity and b)maximize my laugh audience, I decided to capture a few of my recent FB status updates in this post. Thank you for humoring me.

*Tonight during prayer, this scene happened. Sydney: Dear Baby Jesus... Carson [in a stage whisper]: Sydney! It's not "Baby Jesus." It's just Jesus. JEE. SUS. JUST JESUS!

*Sydney: Car-car, did you toot?
Carson (annoyed): No. YOU did.
Sydney: Oh yeah. Heehee!

*My poor husband had to apologize to a crying boy, after the boy found a used candy wrapper from his parade stash in the garbage. The wrapper was left right on the top. Poor, sweet, amateur husband. Doesn't he know you have to bury the evidence?

*This afternoon I told my kids they couldn't have another snack. In protest, my son dramatically encouraged hi sister to eat grass, since "that's all we HAVE, Sydney." Don't know what was more surprising, that he actually ate it or that she did too. I guess you gotta admire his conviction.

Have you ever walked out of the grocery store, stood there for a few minutes in a panic, called your husband to tell him the car had been stolen, then just as he answered, you realized you drove the OTHER car? Yeah. Me neither.

*GRANDE ICED SKINNY CARAMEL MACHIATO. Huh. I'm pretty sure I heard Oprah and Ellen say that if I told the universe what I wanted that I would achieve and receive it, but that has not happened so far. Wait....let me go outside my front door in case the machiato is out there...

*Earlier tonight I was reading to Carson on the couch and he said "Can you pause it? I have to go to the bathroom." Yes, son. I will pause my vocal chords and this page of paper.

*Today around noon I started chopping up and sauteing vegetables to put in the crockpot. Doing this at that hour was BLOWING MY KIDS' MINDS. They ran in and asked what time is it? Did I already have my nap? Why didn't we get to go to the park today? Is Daddy almost home? Why are you making dinner?!?!

*Me yesterday: Ew. Why does our car stink? Carson: Probably because I put a sea star in there (pointing). Yep. Newly dead starfish tucked behind the driver's seat for 3 days. Awesome.

*My kids love Adele. I feel extremely satisfied with this fact, b/c I used my best manipulative mommy tactics to pretend I DIDN'T like Adele, thus forcing them to instantly crave her music. Picture me smiling smugly at my windshield as we're Rolling in the Deep.

*"Mom, watch this move!" "Wow! That's pretty coo--" "No! That's not it. Watch again." "Oh! That's great bud--" "No, wait! That wasn't it either. Watch one more time." "OK. Yeah! That's--" "No! I didn't get it yet. Just keep watching." (And repeat.)

*Yesterday Carson was conducting "interviews" with me, asking me questions in his most serious journalist voice. Just as he said into the banana/microphone, "This is Carson reporting...." he let out and accidental (and loud) toot. I can't remember the two of us laughing harder--ever! We could hardly catch our breath! I told him I'm sure that happens even to Brian Williams.

*Why are there MORE streaks on my mirror the more I clean it? Oh. Because I'm spraying it with OXY stain remover, not Windex. That's why.

*Tonight Carson told me he couldn't eat my dinner because it had mushrooms in it. "You don't care for mushrooms?" "Well, actually Mom, some mushrooms are poisonous, so basically this meal is pretty dangerous."

7 comments:

Carrie said...

Ha! I love it! Your kids are so funny! I read all of those on FB, but seeing them all in one place at one time is fantastic!

Tibbslove said...

Jen... your willingness to turn every-day life into humor is what I find very charming about you. Your authenticity is refreshing.

And I too seek acceptance/cohesiveness from others with humor. It's a great way to bond people from all walks of life together and I've found myself in unlikely conversations with people due to a off-the-cuff comment.

Keep it up! And... keep those kiddo quotes comin'! I love em!

Tabatha said...

So hilarious! I definitely look forward to your posts because they are so funny!! Thanks for sharing!

Behn and Meg said...

So funny!! I love what kids come up with. And ket's just be honest here: Toots are funny.

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

Love them! Especially the one about eating grass! You have a special gift for making people LOL! Enjoy it!

Kerrie (and Jason) said...

I don't like mushrooms either so I am SO going to steal that last one from Carson. Tell him its about to get used in Australia. :)

Roy B. said...

One of your best ever, kiddo! Didn't know that story about the overnighter and your discovery, but come to think of it... And you chose some great gems to re-cast here on the blog.