3.) Write about a joke that did not go over well.
See, I have a problem with this. I love to make jokes. I am a very sarcastic person. Verrrrrry sarcastic. And I like to make snide comments. It’s my way of dealing with stupid people. Or stupid situations. Or life.
And I find myself hilarious.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case with my audience.
Even more unfortunately, I can never tell when that is going to be the case. I feel like I make my jokes, and most of the time they go over fine, I get a chuckle or smile. Occaisionally, I get gut-wrenching laughter. And occaisionally, I get looks of horror and disgust.
And I can’t tell the difference between the jokes!
So I just keep throwing them out there, and hoping that this time, the response will be positive. And, like Mama Kat, I only hang out with people who get my humor, or at least are crazy themselves and so won’t judge me too harshly from the occasional (evidently) wildly inappropriate comment.
I have blocked most of those random one-liners that fell flat because, well, they’re no fun to remember.
Also, apparently, my sarcasm gets more subtle as I get more tired. So I say something I feel is absolutely d.r.i.p.p.i.n.g with sarcasm, and my audience takes me seriously. Until my husband pointed this out to me I thought my jokes were just falling flat. Now I’m realizing that when I said things like, “Yeah, that’s a great idea!” or “That sounds fun!” people were actually believing me. (For the record, no, I don’t think dealing with a dog howling all night is fun. Nor, when I was at my FT job, did I think working all weekend sounded like a great idea. But evidently there are people out there who think I did…) I can’t remember a lot of specific examples of this, either, because it’s just something that happens so often. Now that I’m aware, though, when I get that blank look “Oh.” response, I know to say, “I was kidding…” Which usually gets a relieved, “Oh!! Oh, good, thank god!”
So those types of moments happen all the time, so frequently no one stands out to me.
One poorly-taken joke that really sticks out to me, though: I was in the engineering computer lab in college. For my senior thesis I was writing a 100-page single-spaced senior thesis on the 2,000 year history of the teaching against contraception in the Catholic Church (I went to a Catholic college). This did not endear me to the conservative Catholic crowd (of which I had previously been a part). I had a friend who was a follower of a Norse religion (think Vikings…yes, I’m serious) and we were joking about how we were heathens. I still considered myself Catholic at that point, but I wasn’t attending Mass because I couldn’t take it. Anyway, when you feel looked down upon by your school and a lot of people in it, well, you cope. And we were joking together, I can’t even remember about what, just calling each other heathens (as he called himself) and laughing, letting off steam. Then the topic changed and I forgot about the totally normal joking. Another friend, a Protestant, who had been working next to us got in on the conversation, and somehow our topic gravitated, and she got super pissed and said, “Well, why does my opinion even matter, since I’m just a heathen! This is why I don’t talk to Eileen about things, she just judges me!” …um…what? I’m still not entirely how us making fun of ourselves got transitioned to me judging her…but I learned that you never know who’s listening!