As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is humor is in the ear of the listener. With my Ipod blaring, "The Best of Bread," I imagine most kids today would laugh at my long-haired groups from the 60s. Even Fleetwood Mac, God forbid. I heard twenty-somethings on TV the other day making fun of Tears for Fears and other 80s and early 90s rock groups. Laughing at the lyrics.
Then I thought of the lyrics from the popular groups and celebrities of today. It's all relative. Get my drift?
Did your folks like the Beatles? Mine neither.
Then again, I found my folks brand of humor--humorless. Of course, they laughed at the old Amos and Andy radio shows, along with many of the old TV talk shows. But I only smiled and shrugged. Often just laughing at my parents.
My point is, FUNNY is not the same for everybody. Never before had I thought of that fact until yesterday where I spent the better part of the afternoon at the beauty shop. In the south, hometown beauty shops are the place to go for a writer like me. It's like feasting all day at the local Golden Corral. But as I laughed my behind off at every piece of gossip, comment, or group of words heard, I realized ... some of what these women bantered back and forth with, was not meant to be funny.
Though much of it was hysterical to me, I also realized this is their way of life. The way they communicate. My hairdresser, who I call Truvey (yes, think Steel Magnolias) is about as precious as they come. Her shop on the north side of High Point is a busy place for local Southern Belles. Her sister, Donna Beth, works the chair next to her. Wonderful women with a great sense of family and pride in their Southern heritage.
I spent the afternoon getting the scoop on a lot of "goin's on" in High Point yesterday. Finally, at the lunch hour, Donna Beth hollers, "I'm off to the Hobble & Gobble for chicken and grilled onions. Anybody want anything?"
The Hobble & Gobble? "I've never heard of that restaurant," I said ... quite seriously. It was Truvey's turn to laugh at me. "That's what we call the K&W Cafeteria. You know, where all the blue-haired senior citizens go for lunch." I roared. (Well, you had to be there.)
My point again, when she said Hobble & Gobble, it was with a serious, straight face. The rest of the afternoon I listened intently to their conversations. They were rich with the flavor of these Southern Women and their hopes and dreams. I made many mental notes, I assure you. Much of what I found funny, wasn't meant to be, but was great material.
Until Donna Beth said, "Tell Pam about us runnin' outta gas on I 85!" Seems Truvey and her sister were in Charlotte at a hair show. At the show they had false eyelashes applied. Donna Beth's eyelashes even sparkled. But on the way home, they run out of gas. Sitting on the side of the road, they called the AAA. Finally, a cop stops. "Oh no!" yells Donna Beth to her sister. "He's gonna shine the light in here, my eyelashes are gonna sparkle, and he's gonna think we're strippers fresh off the pole!"
The story goes on, but we all belly laughed, I assure you.
When my son tells his Marine Boot Camp stories of Parris Island, most of us laugh. Now that it's over. But not his sister. She leaves the room. They make her cry, she says.
I hear jokes about 9-11 and Katrina, these days. They may be funny with light humor, but some may find them offensive. Some look at a fat woman and find it hilarious. Except for the fat woman. Sure, they may laugh in the face of a joke at their expense. But it's not funny when they're alone. Then again, like anything else, you have to find humor in life. And in adversity. You have to find humor in tragedy even. Just to get through it often.
My last point is this--to find humor in as much of life as you possibly can. It just makes the journey a little easier. Even if you have to laugh at yourself.
Blessings to you and yours.