Biff America: Dopey remark reveals truth about laughter
Often is the case when I can see myself doing and saying stupid things in an out of body-like experience. It has improved as I have aged but still I’ll sometimes be in the middle of saying something stupid and I can’t seem to stop myself.
Sometimes it has had to do with some professional faux pas – either over the air waves or a microphone. I’ll be talking – trying to be entertaining – and what my mouth thinks is funny, my brain insists is dumb. Usually the mouth wins the day.
Other times I’ll just say something that comes into my head as a response to a given situation. If my mate is around she’ll punch me and ask, “What did you just say!!!?”
We were recently in a national park in Wyoming. We had just climbed a peak and were at a picnic area looking for a place to get some water for our RV before moving on.
I had a five-gallon jug and had found a spigot near a picnic table. To fill our holding tank a couple of trips would be necessary; luckily our vehicle was parked close to the water source.
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As I walked towards the faucet I saw a couple of older ladies sitting at the table enjoying the sun and the view. They looked to be in their 60s, but perhaps even older. Both were trim, with short hair – they reminded me of a couple of retired coaches or gym teachers. I nodded and smiled and filled my jug. The water pressure was low so it took some time. They were still there when I returned.
As I approached a second time, one of the ladies got up from the table and hurried over with a small pot in her hand. It was obvious that she wanted to fill it up before I got to the faucet. It only made sense that I wait since my refill might take a few minutes.
I stood by the faucet as she hurried over.
“No need to hurry” I said, “I have plenty of time.”
The woman moved spryly. She had hiking clothing on and her skin looked like it had seen a fair amount of sun. He companion was dressed similarly and both had smile wrinkles and an elderly athletic build. I found myself wondering if they were a gay couple.
Even though I told her not to rush, the silver-haired lady still hurried over to fill her small pot. I noticed a camp stove on their table as if they were going to make coffee or tea.
“Thanks for letting me cut in front of you.” She said. Then looking at my water jug and nearby RV she added, “It looks like you have got yourself a big unit there.”
I heard myself say, “Oh, I hear that all the time, but thanks for the compliment.”
She looked up at me as the water ran into her pot. I wish I had not made that joke but there was no backing down so I met her look and smiled. She burst out laughing as the water overflowed from her tea pot and splashed on her shoes.
I also heard laughing from the picnic table behind me as her companion obviously had overheard our exchange. “The tea kettle is full, Gracie, and you’re blushing like a school girl.”
Grace issued a deep throated laugh that sounded good for too reasons. She wasn’t offended and the sound of genuine laughter is the sound of happiness.
I tried to cover my embarrassment by smiling. As she passed by she said, “You’re a bad one.”
While I was filling my own container I heard the two ladies laughing. I also heard Grace’s friend razz her for her reaction. “It that is how you act whenever a young man flirts with you? Should I be worried?”
By then my mate, Ellen, had approached to see what was taking so long. She had not seen what had transpired but she saw the two ladies and smiled. Grace’s companion said, “You better take him away before he gives my girlfriend some bad ideas.”
Ellen had no idea what was going on but punched me and said, “He’s all talk” and we walked away with the sound of giggling in our ears.
Often in life you can react to various situations in varying ways. You can be offended, angry, indignant or you can just laugh. It could be my imagination but it seems that as of late, anger is the go-to emotion in this country.
I find myself marveling at fact that the same people who have the most comfort and freedom in this country are the most ticked-off. Perhaps it is the economy or the last two administrations – but it’s certainly possible that I’m not as funny as I think I am. Whatever the case, I have found that it is the people who can laugh at themselves and along with others are the happiest, kindest and a pleasure to be near.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or from http://www.webersbooks.com