It is fair to say that over the years I have spent a lot of time trying to be mildly amusing. I’ve developed a way of being that fits me like a three-fingered glove. I am comfortable with people laughing at me and tend to covet that very reaction. Making you laugh ticks a box deep within me. I understand being funny.
I spent much of my youth watching, re-watching and re-re-watching (ad-infinitum) comedy shows and stand-up routines, mimicking the voices, actions and facial expressions. I get funny, it makes sense.
What throws me is when people laugh at me and I have no idea why. This sets off alarm bells. This has been happening recently……I am becoming increasingly concerned…..I fear I may be amusing to others, but for all the wrong reasons.
When one walks to work, one has to be ready for every eventuality, weather wise, doesn’t one? No right minded person therefore would walk to work in the pouring rain wearing anything less than walking boots, waterproof trousers, a North Face jacket, a hiking rucksack and a small ladies umbrella would they?
Well I certainly wouldn’t. And don’t. This seems to amuse my compadres.
I have been openly mocked by the people I work with for this. They tend to just shake their heads in perplexity and look at me funny. I am not trying to be funny, but they think I’m funny. Funny, funny – you know? Even the partners of the people I work with have stuck their unsolicited two-penneth in. Just the other week I was ridiculed for walking home in my comprehensive walking outfit on a lovely warm evening.
You can’t walk home like that! they lovingly jibbed.
The idea of bagging everything up so that I could get it all home (so I could wear it all tomorrow ) seemed like too much effort to me. They seemed genuinely shocked that I was prepared to be seen in public dressed in such a way. Who the heck cares what strangers on the street think, I mused?
Well I didn’t used to……BUT…. I’ve started keeping my eyes open now. Looking for it. Thier reactions have alerted me to the possibility that I may be being weird in public. I’ve been looking for it and….
I SEE MOCKING PEOPLE.
The other day, as I walked to work in dreadful weather, I got wolf whistled by a van full of builders and I’m not sure why? Either there was a homosexual band of construction workers who all simultaneously found me erotic, or the lads were taking the piss? Perhaps I do look peculiar after all?
It couldn’t have been my walking attire, as it was raining heavily and very windy? I looked very IN-place if anything. However, perhaps the small ladies umbrella I held above my flat capped head may have warranted a mocking whistle?
With each blustery gust it turned itself inside out, requiring that I part retracted and re-extended on the hoof. With one particularly forceful gust, the umbrella inverted, pulled me backwards like a tiny little yellow lady sail and my flat cap blew off onto the pavement.
Does this make me worthy of open mockery?
I picked up my flat cap and stuffed it furiously into my pocket. I scrunched up my umbrella-ette and rammed it in my rucksack. Maybe my mobile costume change tipped the builders over the edge? But why a wolf whistle and not a W*NKER?
There’s more in my embarrass box….
Funny? Right this way ladies….
Another night whilst walking home, I was openly ridiculed by a gang of teenage girls. I could see them walking down the pathway towards me, as I happily strolled along dressed like Sir Ranulph Fiennes. ( I can see it NOW).
There was about eight of them.
I honestly had no idea – NO IDEA that I was doing anything remotely amusing when I stopped, turned sideways and beckoned with my arm (a bit like a traffic cop in retrospect) allowing them to pass. I thought I was being polite? My smile and gendarme’s stance but illuminating my manners and directing them, without obstacle, safely on their way.
I have since looked back to try to see things from their point of view.
I suppose that fact that I started walking side-step as we neared each other and then stood stock still could have looked a bit unusual. Perhaps they thought I was going all Strictly?
I think I remember tilting my head in the direction they were going – just so I could be clear in my intention – and averted my eyes for fear of being labelled a filthy pervert. Yeah …..possibly a bit weird
I guess that my full walkers garb, on a nice bright evening, may have made me stand out a little. Okay, I should have listened to my pals possibly? Only myself to blame for that one.
I suppose not stopping humming Black Beauty may have left me wide open to mockery. Check.
Oh and the jacket….Yeah I forgot about that. (sigh)
Take my advice on this, if you are going to carry home a smart suit jacket on a wire coat hanger, DO NOT hang it from the rucksack strap fastened across your chest, making it seem as though you are levitating business wear.
A bespectacled man, dressed like a mountaineer, with a suit jacket hanging from his chest, with one arm outstretched, humming Back Beauty, whilst drumming on his waterproof trousers with his right hand, MAY look funny. To some. I suppose. Weirdos
So yeah in short, the girls looked at me, burst out laughing, and walked on by. I don’t think they could help themselves. It seemed involuntary. I stood for a moment confused. I love making people laugh, but ideally on purpose FFS?
What? I shouted after them. Not angrily, just in a genuine bid to understand. This just made them laugh even more. I went on my way, red of face and sullen of heart.
I wasn’t even going to tell my wife about this one. I had no idea what had just happened? I used to be down with the kids…..I think?
I am now beginning to question the laughter over the years and wondering if perhaps, I’m not funny for the right reasons i.e my reasons. So, it seems I have more to learn about being funny. I may need to spend some time after 43 years of trying to be funny, trying NOT to be funny. Oh how the tides have turned.
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