funny is as funny does

I'm funny. Ask my friends; they'll tell you I'm funny. It's my thing, my party trick. I come from a long line of funny people. No, none of them are famous. We're funny the way your family is funny. The way you take family or friendly information and turn it around, spin it on it's head, give it a sarcastic tone or link it to a historical travesty and spit it back into the air. My relatives have dry and sarcastic one-liners down to a science. It's like a racket ball game when we are gathered together. The puns and witty observations fly so fast you’re not sure you can hurl them back, but then, you do, you always do. And so, I find friends who can play this game, who can come together in one accord on making fun of the world and each other.

Friday night, sitting amongst a group of co-workers for "happy hour" I was anything but happy. Oh, I was jovial and jokey and witty and brilliant, but somewhere along the line I realized that this wasn't the real funny me. I had to work hard that night to tone my references down and to pull what little information I knew about these people to the front of my brain. I've only worked with them for 6 months and this is only the third large group social thing we've done. There is a few staff I know really well and with them I can joke all day, there is enough reference material there, but when you stick me with a large group of people I only see in the hallways I can't do much.

My jokes on Friday landed on unfertile ground. There were some hits, but mostly misses. When you don't know the people well, you're jokes and puns and one liners have to come from outside the group, I usually choose current events, historical events, local events, world events, OK so anything really. But I'm sad to say I don't think my audience understood my references. There was a discussion of a painting in the Mexican restaurant, which was of a man holding his own head. I said I thought it was John The Baptist and then asked whose name was signed. It was Raphael. I stated again that I was pretty sure it was John The Baptist. A co-worker said, "Is it a religious thing?" "Um," I thought, "I give up." Then there was my self-deprecating comment when another co-worker asked if I had gone to VCU with him, that I looked like someone in his ethics class. I stated that I had no ethics, so no, I didn't go to VCU. He didn’t bowl over with laughter. "What’s wrong with you?" I thought and then realized I don't really know these people.

Sometimes I don't want to spend all that time it takes to get to know people, I just want it to be immediate. My cousin's wife was telling me about a dinner party she and 5 other women have every month. They get together and discuss politics by having various members' research topics then they come together to discuss. She said she thought of me and that this is something right up my alley. Well, after tonight and the failed attempts at garnering some sort of recognition for my brilliant repartee, I think she is right. I need some good conversation, I need some deep thinking, I some cognitive stimulation.

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