Biff America: The joke is on me
VAIL CO, Colorado
“That’s not funny!”
Those words and sentiment are part and parcel for anyone who has, over the years, made a living trying to be, if not funny, at least marginally entertaining.
The truth is funny is subjective – what’s amusing to some can be not funny, offensive, stupid, “I don’t get it” to others.
And when the person who doesn’t think you’re funny is carrying a gun and a club the stakes rise.
Depending who you ask, my entire family is funny. It is safe to say it was a humor born from dysfunction. There were nine of us, including parents and an elderly Grandmother, growing up in a three bedroom home with two toilets. Being the youngest I was on the receiving end of much of the humor; so I know first hand what some think is funny others might not.
When I was not yet 8, my sister Martha told our new dentist that my preferred nickname was “Bucky,” a name I actually hated because it was born from the fact I had buck teeth. When I arrived for my first visit, the dentist and hygienist greeted me with a “HIYA- BUCKY!!!” I assumed they noticed my overbite.
Another time, (perhaps age 10?) I seized the rare opportunity of an empty bathroom to take a bath. I was in there only a few minutes when my brother Mark came into the bathroom and told me that our Grandmother needed to use the toilet right away and that I should close the bath curtain to give her privacy. Next thing I heard was a walker sliding across the floor and a creak of the toilet seat. I tried not to listen but I then heard about 3 minutes of moans and groans and a loud thud and the walker crashing over as if someone had fallen.
I asked through the curtain if everything was alright. Hearing moans I pulled back the curtain expecting to see my dying Grand Mum only to find Mark and my sister Calista standing next to the toilet laughing. I didn’t think that was funny.
My sibling’s abuse of me continues to this day.
Last summer we were all attending a nieces wedding in Boston. I actually had to attend another wedding the next day on Cape Cod so I volunteered to be the designated driver chauffeuring sisters back to the hotel after the reception.
Not being used to the area I got terribly lost. I had rented a Lincoln Town car and my sisters insisted on sitting in the back seat giving them a comfortable place to badger me while I struggled with Boston traffic.
Being lost and unsure of my surroundings, I drove the speed limit which seemed to be about 15 mph slower than everyone who was passing me and blaring their horns.
“Hey Bucky, could you speed it up to 30 mph, you just got passed by homeless guy pushing a shopping cart.”
With my tipsy sisters, shrieking in the back and the countless cars passing and honking as I looked for the hotel I was distracted.
That was when I took a corner too wide and cut of a Massachusetts State Trooper on a motorcycle.
“Hey Bucky, you just ran a cop off the road.” Martha said, “He is turning around, I think you can out run him; floor it.”
I looked in my rear view mirror and cop had turned around and put his lights on; to my sister’s delight, he pulled behind me and used his siren.
When I finally found a wide spot in the road I pulled off and put on my flashers.
It was then that my sisters opened up their doors and ran back to the cop screaming, “Arrest him he is a menace and has teeth like a beaver.”
The cop yelled at my sisters to get back in the car.
When he approached my vehicle, before he could say anything Martha asked, “Are you stopping him because he was driving too slow or were you the guy wearing the funny pants he ran off the road.” (Mass State Cops wear jodhpur pants tucked into high boots.)
Both the cop and I tried to ignore my sisters while I provided the required paperwork.
This was easier said than done when Martha again interrupted by saying, “We’re his sisters so if you want to strip search him that’s OK, he might enjoy it.”
After checking all me for priors and warrants the cop asked me to step out of the car. I did so with my sisters laughing in the background.
I walked to his Motor cycle with him and he said, “I’m going to let you go with a warning” he handed me the citation and added; tell your sisters, that I don’t think they’re funny.”
Who was I to argue?
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at BiffAmerica.net
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