Teach Me How to Be Funny

I just want to be funny! 

I swear. That’s really all I want. Clever, witty, smart, humorous without seeming ridiculous. 

So, I find myself reading the people that make me laugh. Augusten Burroughs, Jenny Lawson, Tig Notaro, David Sedaris, and even Dave Barry. (By the way, I have a postcard from Dave – if I can call him that, where he returned some fan mail when I was in high school. It was a highlight of my adolescence.) Not sure what that says about me, but there it is. 

I listen to podcasts. I study. I think and I write. I try to avoid emulation. 

Is this something that can be learned? I don’t pretend to think I could ever be a performer… I just want to write. 

I want to be funny! There must be a secret magic spell I can utter and I will suddenly have the gift of humor. 

Until then, I’ll keep trying. 

Seriously, is it too much to ask? 

Teach Me How to Be Funny

Continuing the Conversation

That’s not fair. It’s not like I lied to you. I didn’t know! I guess I could’ve lied to you. I could have pretended to love you. 

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I’m NOT going to dignify that with a response. YOU are the one acting like a petulant child. Stop talking to my friends about me. Stop talking about me. Period. 

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I did want to stay friends. You are the one making it impossible. This isn’t my fault. 

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I thought I did love you. 

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It wasn’t all a lie. I changed. You changed. 

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Seriously? You want to complain that I changed my hair? 

At least I am not the one who wore the same ugly gray POCKET T-shirt almost every single day. 

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What do you mean I wore the same dress all the time? No I don’t. Besides you like that dress. You always tell me how much you like it. 

Was that a lie? Who’s the liar now? 

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I did not sleep with him. We are friends! Besides, he’s married. You should know me better than that. 

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It doesn’t matter what I think of his wife. I’m still not that kind of girl. You are being ridiculous. 

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Oh! Really? You have PROOF? Whatever! It never happened. 

What kind of proof do you supposedly have? 

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That’s not proof of anything! Besides, that was two years ago. Why are you bringing this up now? 

I was the one trying to keep us together. I planned every trip. I made arrangements for every date. I even went with you to that stupid wedding in Iowa. 

You never did anything to make me feel like I was important to you. That’s why you don’t get to bring him up!!! Why do you think I spent so much time with him? At least he’s fun! At least he trusts me, which obviously you do not. It’s not like it would have killed you to go see Springsteen with me. I’m not apologizing for taking MY BEST FRIEND! 

I can’t believe I wasted so much time with you. 

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You are pathetic. Delete those pics of me. If I find out you showed them to anyone else- you will be sorry. 

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No. They don’t belong to you. You are so full of shit. You don’t know anything about the law. Don’t start spouting that stuff to me. Delete my pics! 

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I don’t want to talk anymore tonight. I have plans.

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It’s none of your business who I have plans with. 

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Go ahead. Call him. I’m sure he’s just dying to hang out with a loser like you. 

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How am I supposed to know where she is? It’s not like she and I update each other on our vacation plans. 

Of course she took the kids. She always takes the kids. 

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He and I can do anything we want. It’s none of your business. 

Stop talking to me. 

I don’t have time for you. 

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I never said I was meeting him. You assumed I was. Leave my friends out of this. 

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Maybe someone should call your mother. Apparently you are unstable. I have to go. 

Continuing the Conversation

Can You Say Goodbye in an Email?


We need to talk. 

I deleted your number. 

I moved all the photos of us into a different folder on my phone. 

The dried flowers were thrown out with the other garbage.

I tossed the fortunes from the cookie that seemed to be predicting a bright and happy forever for the two of us. 

Us. 

You were so surprising. Tall, dark, exceedingly and excruciatingly handsome. Funny and charming. You were educated in all the right ways. We had engaging, thoughtful debates about the state of the world. When you shared stories of your past I hung on every word. You never failed to surprise me with a clever plot twist. 

There was not a big fight. You didn’t fuck someone else and I wasn’t mistreated. I still enjoyed spending time with you. 

I just didn’t want to be an us with you. I didn’t want you to be in all my selfies. “Usies”- what a stupid word.  I did not want you to be the last first date. I wanted to be alone for a while. I wanted to flirt with that guy I dated in high school. I couldn’t  do that when I was with you. 

I wanted to travel with someone new. I didn’t  fantasize about building a life with you. I guess it’s safe to say I was bored. 

You didn’t do anything wrong. Turns out, I just thought I loved you.

I didn’t blame you for being angry. I felt guilty when you called my sister in tears begging her to help you win me back. The guilt didn’t last long though. 

Now, I feel pity. I am annoyed at the continued resentment. Why can’t you just put the past away? 

Delete my number.

Move the photos to a different folder on your phone. Delete the ones I never should have texted you. 

Why can’t you see? I only thought I loved you. It’s not the end of the world. It was fun while it lasted. 

Maybe I should feel more remorse. I just can’t help it. Can’t you just be a grownup and move on? It’s time to put it all behind  you. 

I’m sorry, I just didn’t really love you. 

Can You Say Goodbye in an Email?

Liquored up? 

This has been on the sidewalk outside the hospital for four days now. I know I should pick it up and throw it away, but now it has become a fascinating thing. I have wasted a lot of time pondering this situation. Maybe I just need a distraction. 

How long is it going to stay there? 

Why is no one else freaking out about this random empty liquor bottle? 

Who threw it down? Why not just throw it away? 

Who actually wants to drink this cheap, disgusting stuff? 

Did they take a nip before entering the horror of the hospital? Did they need some liquid courage to enable them to walk through the doors and face their worst fear? 

Did they need a shot after walking out to allow them to shake the overwhelming pain they experienced within the walls? 

Perhaps they are just an alcoholic who carries around single servings of vodka. 

Did they enjoy it? Is this the only one they had? Oh my god! What if they drink all the time and they are driving? That would be terrible! 

Who drinks outside a hospital? 

Can you really blame them? Hospitals are horrible places. No one likes going to the hospital. Well, no one sane. 

I know! I should pick it up and throw it away. To be honest, I really don’t want to touch it. It seems gross just there on the ground. Someone may have dropped it in disgust. What if there is something toxic on it? 

Besides, if it stays there long enough it has earned the right to stay there. 

Folks, do me a favor. Don’t throw your empty liquor bottles on the sidewalk outside the hospital. It gives me entirely too many things to process. 

Liquored up? 

Friendly

Warm and fuzzy memories popping up on Facebook. Catching up with old friends. Seeing everyone post their wedding and baby pictures. Instagramming my martini (it was really good.) Sharing another photo looking out an airplane window. 

We can share the mundane parts of our lives and our friends can get a little glimpse into what we do sometimes. 

Unfortunately, this has led us to have hundreds of “friends”. People we probably would not even recognize if we saw them out in public. 

It’s important to remember the people who are actually there for us. The people who would call us even if we disappeared from social media forever. 

Maintaining relationships is especially difficult when you are rarely in the same place for more than a few months. It requires effort and a commitment to honesty. Unfortunately, it is also a two-way street. You may believe someone is a friend and it turns out they may just be a “friend.” 

It’s funny how many different meanings the word friend has. 

  • super close friends that are really more like family 
  • good friends who know some of your secrets
  • occasional good time friends who are good for an entertaining evening
  • friends you love to hate 
  • friends you stalk on social media
  • friends you can’t seem to get away from
  • friends who used to be friends but you have grown apart 
  • friends from work 
  • friends of friends who you call friend because it’s just easier than explaining the connection
  • people you like and want to befriend

Are we completely devaluing the word friend? How do you separate each person’s role in your life? Does it matter? 

Probably not. 

Just make sure you let the people who mean something to you know. Don’t drop off the face of the earth. Be present and available when they need you. 

Don’t keep your enemies closer than your friends- you may just lose the ones you really love. 

Friendly

Traveling Life

And the difference with me is I used to not care. Stockholm let me go home.

-Jason Isbell

Sometimes it is easy to take home for granted. All the best people are there. My heart is there. So, I am constantly on the go, forever leaving my heart behind. 

So I can stay in a hotel and experience beds not as comfy as mine. Internet connections that require a sign in at the most inconvenient moments. Too many meals eaten out. Laundry crammed into plastic bags. Running out of good books to read. Always leaving something behind. 

Most important, I get to use toilet paper that apparently has a “subtle touch.” Let me tell you, it’s about as subtle as a scrap of sandpaper. I really want to meet the guy who came up with this name. 

Maybe all my friends who call me Princess have a point; I am a little spoiled. 

Wandering adventures are exciting and nerve wracking. Hanging out in airports and driving crappy rentals (unless you get lucky and hit the big time like I did this trip!) can wear on a person. I still wouldn’t trade it for the monotony of regular employment. 

I just have to keep my anchor firmly embedded with the people I love. I need them to keep me moored. As long as I have this, I can safely explore and push myself to do more and see more. 

Maybe I will even find more subtle touches. 

Traveling Life

There Are No Victims

There are no victims, only volunteers. 

Wait. Before you get all pissed off and start telling about all the terrible things that happen to innocent people, let me explain. 

Life is hard. In fact, it fucking sucks sometimes. There are bad people who do bad things. There are accidents, illnesses, and other unspeakable tragedies. It’s horrible and completely unfair. 

However, I choose to believe I have an obligation to rise above all the bullshit. I can choose to stay a victim, and choose to let life’s hardships keep me down. It’s a choice to allow my past to haunt me. 

All that sounds great, right? 

The problem is that regardless of what I choose to tell myself the past is still there. I still bear the scars of things I had no control over. All it takes is one negative incident and I am at risk of feeling all the feelings I have worked so hard to overcome. 

I was talking to a friend the other day and I realized no matter how much work I have done my automatic response is still to abnegate all the good things in my life. To discount my accomplishments. To feel like I am not enough. The drive to prove I am worthy. Worthy of what? I have no idea. 

So, the struggle continues. I make the decision to not be a victim. It’s not an automatic response. I decide. I choose. Sometimes I choose wrong and wallow in self-pity. Other times I choose rationality and put the regrets away for a bit. Until there is another blow to my ego. 

Frankly, the cycle sucks. It’s still better than just being stuck as the victim. 

The saga of the girl with daddy issues shall continue… please tune in next time. 

There Are No Victims

I Still Haven’t Found…

Excuse me, Mr. Bono. I was sitting here brooding, as I frequently do, and I realized part of my angst stems from not having concrete goals. 

For years I had things I was working toward and this kept me in a perpetual state of waiting. Waiting for real life to begin. Well, I have arrived and not much has changed except I no longer know what comes next. 

Perhaps this is part of why so many people fall into the trap of going back to school repeatedly. I have to admit part of me dreams of neatly segmented semesters and real deadlines. Besides all the struggle has an endpoint. You even know the exact date! 

I may or may not have done a search for doctoral programs in my field. I have no idea what it would actually solve, or really if it would help me in my search for professional satisfaction. Frankly, I don’t even know what I want to do! 

Life after school is confusing. It feels like a constant state of running around in circles. Searching for something. Waiting to get your “shit together.” When do we actually experience what that feels like? What exactly are we hunting? What will it feel like when we get there? 

So, in an attempt to find answers while making as little effort as possible, I googled the lyrics to one of my favorite U2 songs. It gave me no answers. So onward I will trudge to the next project. Until I find what I’m looking for. 

I Still Haven’t Found…

A Million Passengers

Yesterday I was sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to arrive. The airline representative came on the loud speaker to let us know the incoming pilot was coming in for his last flight before his retirement and they were welcoming him with… something I did not hear. Turns out it was three fire trucks spraying the plane as it taxied to the gate. She did not want us to be alarmed by the spectacle surrounding the aircraft we were about to board. Smart, Southwest Airlines. I would have been very concerned. Is my plane on fire? What’s the problem? Is it safe? Nevermind, I’ll drive. 

Once the plane made it to the gate, the passengers deplaned, and the pilot finally exited the tunnel greeted by cheers and hugs from his family and friends. It was nice. 

The guy behind me in line must have known more about aviation than I do because he was very curious about the number of trips the pilot had completed. He asked several members of the flight crew, and one of them was not sure of the trip number however he reported the pilot had exceeded one million passengers. 

Let’s think about that for a moment. One million passengers were under this man’s care while he assumed responsibility for their safety from gate to gate. That’s a big deal. This pilot had willingly spent every day of his career with lives depending on his ability and skills to maneuver his aircraft safely. 

I felt a sense of pride in my career choice when I realized we had similarities in our professional lives. We both assume life and death responsibility every time we go to work. 

It’s no wonder these jobs are well-known to have high rates of burnout. Not only are we responsible for not making a mistake, we are also responsible for outcomes of things that are completely out of our control.

Despite the occasional overwhelming fear associated with my career, I am proud of what I do. I was more than a little proud of the airline captain who had safely transported over a million passengers too. 

A Million Passengers