Okay, if you’ve ever made a joke at an inappropriate moment, raise your hand. Actually, I think everyone has probably had this happen, but for me, it’s pretty much a way of life. If I’m nervous, I make a joke, if I’m scared, I make a joke, if I’m feeling awkward, I make an awkward joke. In most cases, I’ve discovered that this is not the best time to make a joke.
I chose this picture, because it reminds me of one of the first times I tried to be funny. A friend was walking so carefully on the snowy surface, so to relax her (I think that’s what I was thinking) I threw a snowball and hollered, “Heads Up!” The snowball, true to my skills, missed her completely, but her head did come up, she slipped, her feet came up and she landed on her spine. It was at this point that I began to re-think my sense of humor!
I am the queen of the mistimed joke. TSA people love me, because when I’m standing in an airport line, waiting for them to go through the bag I’m carrying containing the toothbrush, extra underwear and current book I’m reading, I am bored and nervous about getting on a plane, so I tend to make inappropriate remarks. “I’m planning to use that underwear to build a prototype of a new bullet-proof tent,” was one remark that probably caused them to start putting up those signs about not joking about bombs.
Another time, my briefcase full of souvenir cups set off the alarms at JFK in New York City, which caused a number of people to gather and all of them had guns. While they rested their hands on their guns, I attempted to remember the combination of the briefcase and after several abortive tries, finally got it open, so they could see my mugs from the Statue of Liberty and Times Square and the used ticket and program from Phantom of the Opera. They relaxed when they saw my tourist trash and walked away. The clerk left in charge, seeing how unnerved I was, tried to calm me down. “It’s okay, they just have to be careful.”
“No, that’s fine,” I quipped, “I just wasn’t expecting SWAT to show up to take out my magnet from the Museum of Natural History.” Now, I thought this was a fine joke; the clerk never even cracked a smile as she waved me through and probably flagged me as a flight risk to everyone ahead of me.
Medical situations also bring out the inappropriate humor in me. I have long been terrified of dentists, but I’m also annoyed by the attempts they make to hold conversations with me while they have my mouth stuffed full of metal objects, plastic restrainers and their fingers. Once, after the dentist had asked mundane questions all through the exam, forcing me to try to garble answers, he ended the exam, removed the equipment and asked me, “Now, do you have any questions?”
“AH eerre meeayagjee,” I responded, spitting and drooling as I went. He never said another word and walked out of the room. Within a short time, he left that establishment and went to work elsewhere and that’s probably best, since I didn’t really think he’d want to work on my teeth again anyway, given my weird sense of humor.
This week, I had my latest run-in with an inappropriate lapse of humor. The nurse was asking about the pain I was having, which parts of my body hurt and I said, “The shoulder, the arm, the neck, they ALL come to the party.” She laughed and commented how funny that was, so I figured this was a place where they might appreciate my nerve-inspired humor.
The doctor came in and as he was hitting me with that little hammer and bending my toes in strange ways, he attempted to keep me relaxed with off-hand questions. “What hobbies do you have?”
“I like to write. I write a little blog just for my own amusement,” I answered, adding as he began twisting my arms and head in his exam, “You’ll probably make the cut this week.”
He hesitated, and then said, “Positive, I hope.”
“Oh, of course, I’m sure everyone would find an examination of spinal functions to be hysterical,” was my oh-so-witty answer. I have to go back to that clinic next week for some treatment…I’m kind of hoping he’s not the one who will do it. I don’t think he has a good enough sense of humor!