Notes from the humor mill


A few years ago I was talking with someone about my early days as a freelancer. At one point this person asked, “Why don’t you write funny stuff any more like you used to?” Hmph. I thought about retorting with an inquiry about why this person wasn’t as thin and handsome as he used to be. But the problem was, he was right. I’d started off writing humor pieces but eventually gravitated toward more thoughtful musings.

Lately I’ve been thinking I should go back to the funny stuff. There are telltale signs that I’ve gotten too uptight. My wife and kids keep telling me to “lighten up” and “take a deep breath.” Whenever a cell phone rings I tend to flinch and gasp. When I look in the mirror I think, “Who’s that wigged-out dude glaring back at me?”

But it’s kind of daunting to think about writing an entire humor column with a coherent subject line. So maybe I should start out with some brief bursts of lightheartedness to get a little practice. Thus the random humor mill is off and running…

*  I noticed that on our magnetic board my wife posted a list she titled "Hang Ups." That was a good idea. I certainly had a few hang ups that had been bothering me. All those paris of shoes my family leaves lying around by the front door, for example.  

One night I counted three pairs each from my daughter, son and wife. That was nine pairs of shoes for an unsupecting guy to trip over. Son on the Hang Ups list I wrote, "Shoes piled by the front door and also "Inside-out socks." My kids often peel off their socks and leave them inside out, which is how they go through the laundry and into the fold pile. So who has to turn all those socks right side out? Me! Because you can't just leave socks inside out until you put them on again. It isn't natural.

It felt good to get those annoying things off my chest, but later I saw that my wife had added to the Hang Ups list. She wrote “Hang up mirror, Hang up picture, Hang up pegboard in garage.” Oh. I erased my rants and hoped no one had noticed. Nothing was mentioned all evening, and I headed for bed feeling relieved. Until I pulled back the covers and discovered nine pairs of shoes and six pairs of inside out socks.

* While driving around town I saw a bumper sticker that said, “My Schnauzer is smarter than your honor student.” It made me think, that must be an intelligent dog. Last school year my honor student got straight A’s, read a pile of books in her spare time and got bumped up to advanced orchestra. How did the Schnauzer beat straight A’s and advanced orchestra? Maybe he got an A+ and a chair in the symphony.

But I’ll tell you, if I find out the Schnauzer has been padding his resume, I’m going to have a word with the bumper sticker people. Then again, I don’t want to make all the little dogs mad. I see them all over the place getting carried around by their owners and pampered in the lap of luxury. 

Maybe the dogs are smarter than my honor student. We make her clean her room and pull weeds and do the dishes. I doubt the Schnauzer does any of those things. He probably gets waited on like a prince. I guess I should get a bumper sticker that reads, “Your Schnauzer IS smarter than my honor student and apparently smarter than all of us!”

* Whenever a church needs a new pastor it seems like they come up with a job description that’s kind of idealistic. I mean, the new guy will have to be good. People read the description and joke, “We probably can’t hire Jesus, so we may have to go with our second choice.”But what if you could interview Jesus for the pastor job? That would be cool.

First you could say, “Jesus, give us the final word. Organ or guitar?” Jesus might reply, “I’m a lute man myself. But I’ve said before that worship comes from the heart and mind. Instruments, whatever.” Hmm, OK. So Jesus, what will you preach about? “Well, I’m going to tell you to get your rear end out there and help people with their problems and mention my name among your friends. You guys sit around in church talking about religion too much for my taste.” Whoa, pretty blunt.

Now Jesus, what kind of salary package do you want? “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and then come follow me.”

Right. So maybe you don’t want Jesus as your pastor. He might chase away all the churchgoers.


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