Is it Just Me?

Since getting married I’ve began to experience again an odd reality – not everyone has the same sense of humor as me. My dad used to tell me all the time that the stuff I like “just isn’t funny,” but I figured that was because he was old. Nope.

But that’s okay. I have come to embrace the things that make me laugh and make others cringe or scoff. It’s part of that spicey lifey stuff . . . what was it? Oh, “Variety.” That’s it. Here are five things I recall thinking were drop-dead hilarious that others really didn’t find amusing:

Rosanne Barr singing the National Anthem. I looked up the date. On July 25, 1990, Rosanne sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Padres game. She was loud, rude, off-key, and ended with mooning the audience. It pissed a lot of people off, caused a huge uproar in the media, and then-President Bush called it “a disgrace.”

And I thought it was hilarious. Granted, I had just turned 10, so what wouldn’t a 10-year-old find amusing of an overweight woman screaming a song I’d been forced to sing in music class for 5 years at a baseball game, and ending it with showing her butt? But I will hold that this was not an issue of age! One of my most vivid memories of my whole childhood is visiting my Grandma that summer, sitting behind the driver’s seat in her huge van at that one park with the amphitheater in Murphysboro, and hanging out with my cousins. One cousin, Steven (he’s 3 days younger than me, so we were and are the same age), was appalled at her performance and was appalled that I could find it amusing. “That’s our national anthem,” he told me. So, again, I don’t think it was an age issue. It’s that I really thought it was funny. And I still do.

(Also, who organizes a list for guest singers to sing the most revered song in America, watches Rosanne on ABC and says, “THAT’S her! She’s the one. Book her!”? Okay, okay. Maybe she made the request. But who okays it? Seriously. But I digress . . .)

When someone cut the head off the spartan statue at my high school. This one didn’t make national news, of course. One weekday morning during my junior year (this would be early 1997) I went upstairs to read the comics in the paper before school. I saw on the front page that someone had cut the head of the fiberglass spartan statue off, and no one knew where it was. This had been attempted a year before, but was unsuccessful. School groundskeepers (none of them named “Willie,” I don’t think) noticed a cut in the back of the spartan’s neck then. But this time, everyone noticed on their own that it appeared our school mascot had faced the wrath of the Queen of Hearts. Somehow, they knew that it was a student at our school and not a rival school. I guess it had something to do with the previous year’s attempt (for the record, I personally knew all the guys who were responsible for both events (they were not connected), but didn’t know that until later).

I was so excited to get off the bus that morning and gawk at the decapitated greek. It was obvious I didn’t have much company. Most people rolled their eyes, deeming the act “so immature” (as if 16- and 17-year-olds honestly have a grasp on “maturity”). Others were disgusted that someone could deface their own mascot. I just laughed. I don’t know why people took high school so seriously, but the movies I watched in the 80’s and early 90’s taught me that things like this were what high school was all about.

Within a day or two, they found the head in a nearby corn field and it was repaired. They had to remove the torso from the waste to reattach the head, so we just had a pair of spartan legs for about a month or two greeting the classes of 1997-2001 as they arrived each morning. They did not include a photo of it in that year’s yearbook, either – the closest being a picture of Betsy Gladish from the waist up imposed over the legs, and if you didn’t know what had happened, you wouldn’t know that the rest of the Spartan wasn’t behind her.

Dramatic Prairiedog. Also known as the “Dramatic Chipmunk,” but I’m with the latter-day crowd that noticed that it is not a chipmunk, and actually looks nothing like a chipmunk, save that it is brown and furry.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about . . . take 5 of the funniest seconds of your life to enjoy this –

If you watched that and had to watch it again . . . at least 10 times . . . and you’re still laughing . . . we can be friends.

If you watched it and immediately scrunched your face in confusion or rolled your eyes, and you are not enticed by the perfect camera zoom, the excellent choice of music, or the looooong stare . . . then you fully understand why I’m writing about it here.

When George W. Bush was re-elected as President in 2004. There are lots of people who annoy me. Some of those people are far-left narcissists who insist that their alarmism and profiling is different than the alarmism and profiling that the far-right does. Kind of like the guy two years ago who sat in the waiting room at a auto repair shop with me and my (then-very-future) wife. He started a light-hearted conversation with us about how he’d just gotten back from a trip to the Mid-West. He went on about how dumb Mid-Westerners are and how they’re all conservative hicks that worship Bush and watch Nascar, all the while assuming that Dona and I were just like him – smart, in-touch, Seattle liberals.

When people annoy me, I like to see them squirm over something that upsets them that I could care less about. The morning of November 3, 2004, was a great day for that. Ol’ Dubya beat that block of wood John Kerry, when all those annoying leftists were comparing the man to Satan himself. And this time it was not a question of popular vote – George’s victory was undeniable.

I became so sick and tired of hearing people whine insescently about the man (and, ironically, had to listen to four more years of it). I did not hear the voice of young America demanding to be heard in a corrupt administration. No. I heard a bunch of spoiled children whining about things they didn’t understand, thinking that the sky is falling and “knowing” but not understanding that they are not the first, nor will they be the last, generation to live through a war – just or unjust.

So, on that Wednesday morning I woke up to my radio announcing that George Bush was sticking around. And I laughed.

I saw the local university newspaper sport photos of young, first-time voters crying at rallies for Kerry, one person saying, “I’m just, so, like, MAD at America right now . . .” And I laughed.

I saw liberal leaders trip over their words as they tried to fathom that not everyone in the country sees things the same way they do. And I laughed.

I laughed not because I supported Bush, or even really cared for him. (Okay, yes, I voted for him, but who was I going to vote for? Kerry? The guy’s entire campaign message can be summed up in three words – “I’m not him”). I laughed because people got a reality check and it was fun to watch.

Okay. This blog’s long enough.

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