I have been reading a book that is making me laugh (Kristin Gore’s Sammy’s Hill). I don’t normally read funny books, sticking instead to sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery stories (which can also be funny), but this book makes me laugh out loud at times. Since it is my “car book” (the book that stays in the car so I have something to read wherever I go), I can often be found chortling in public places. When this happens, I surreptitiously glance around to see what havoc I may have created. This morning, it was a guffaw, causing me to lower my head and hide, but also causing me to think about whether, if someone came over and asked “what’s so funny?”, anyone else would find the line as funny as I did.
The bit in the book that created my loud reaction was when Sammy had just had some bad news about a relationship that was in the process of crashing (sorry to give that away) and was telling her parents (in spite of herself) about it. Her mother, after listening to the story, said “I have some Valium if you want some”. For some reason, that just cracked me up. I wondered if, maybe, I had read that bit at another time, I would not have thought it was so funny, which brought me, naturally, to wondering about funniness.
Do we have to be in a particular mood to find humor funny? When I am totally crushed and tears are pouring down my face, would that line have caused me to change from tears to laughs? I know that sometimes I have been in that situation and did indeed end up laughing through tears, but I really cannot recall if what was said to me was actually funny or just good timing. I can also recall times when people would attempt to cheer me up with humorous anecdotes that actually made things worse. Timing is everything, perhaps, but maybe the old funny bone let’s itself get tickled just because.
Experiments in what’s funny are clearly in order. Have at it.