Whenever I settle in to write something down, I’m usually aiming for funny. But how do you turn on funny? I have no idea. Spoiler alert: this probably isn’t going to be funny at all. I know from experience that, if you really, really try to be funny, if you truly want it, it’s never going to happen. Even worse, it’s going to show. Your lame attempt to make people laugh is going to come off as: look at me everybody, I’m trying really hard to be funny.
And so it’s like I said, I have no idea how to turn on the funny. I’m not even sure that I’ve ever written anything funny. That sounded terrible. It sounded like a poor invitation for me to get anybody reading this to think to themselves, no, come on Rob, you’re funny, don’t be like that.
But what I mean to say is, I can never tell if what I think is funny will at all translate to funny for a general audience. I’ll have ideas that pop into my head all the time, some of them very funny. I’ll be at work, or at the grocery store, and I’ll start laughing. I’ll take out my iPhone and open up the notepad app, thinking, this is great, this is going to be so funny when I go home and write it out.
And then I’ll sit down at my computer and I’ll look at my notes and nothing makes sense anymore. I mean, I can read what I wrote down, and yeah, I kind of have the memory of what I was going for when it came to me earlier. But where is the funny? It’s not funny anymore. I don’t know what happened, or where it went. That’s unfortunate, but at least it’s straightforward. I had a funny idea that didn’t translate into funny writing and so there’s nothing I can do really.
But sometimes it’s not as obvious. Every once in a while I’ll write something that’s looking pretty funny. I’ll get all giggly as I type the words onto the keyboard. By the time I’m done, maybe my sides hurt, maybe it’s actually cost me something trying to maintain my composure long enough to sit still and make coherent sentences out of whatever’s going on inside my head.
That has to be funny, I’ll think, that was so funny just writing it, there’s no way it’s not going to be funny. And I’ll calm down and I’ll let it sit for a second and, when I come back, something’s happened. It’s the same piece of writing, but the funny is nowhere to be found. It’s as if it never existed in the first place. I panic, I reread it back to myself a couple more times, come on, there had to have been something. I mean, I was laughing, that was a real feeling. If there’s nothing on the screen that’s funny, what was I laughing at before? What was so funny?
And I’ll try to force the funny. Maybe I’ll just go ahead with it, and then I’ll get disappointed when I can tell that nobody else thinks it’s funny. Because I don’t know. I have no idea how any of this stuff is ever going to go over.
And then in some cruel cosmic twist, every once in a while I’ll get serious and try to write something substantial. I’m making a point, I feel like I’m actually using my words to convey some sort of a larger message. And I’ll read it and reread it and eventually I’ll post it on this blog.
And someone will be like, “Haha, Rob, that’s funny.”