A humor inventory is the process of reminding yourself of the stuff that’s funny to you. Sort of a spelunking mission to rediscover your sense of humor. Here’s how the process works for me.
First, I read the newspaper. No, not the depressing stuff -- mainly the headlines, unusual stories, and ads. I find headlines that make me giggle like these:
- Blizzard Hits Four States. One is Missing.
- Lawyer to Offer Poor Free Advice
- Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
- Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
- Squad helps dog bite victim
- Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter
- Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
Newspaper advertising has its own brand of humor:
- Classified ad: Dog, faded brown, three legs, one ear missing, blind left eye, broken tail, recently neutered. Answers to the name Lucky.
- For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
- Dinner Special -- Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
- Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
- We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
- Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
- Dog for sale: Eats anything and is fond of children.
- Stock up and save. Limit: one.
- Man, honest. Will take anything.
- Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
- A used car lot advertised: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
- Illiterate? Write today for free help.
- And now, the Superstore--unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
I often enjoy the acerbic humor of bumper stickers. It’s the mailboxes I take out while reading them that I don’t enjoy:
- As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.
- I still miss my ex-husband, but my aim is getting better.
- My Hockey Mom can beat up your Soccer Mom
- If you can read this, I can slam on my brakes and sue you!
- Chaos. Panic. Disorder. My work here is done.
- Jesus is coming. Everybody look busy.
I also find examples of humor in unexpected places. Like statements taken from medical reports:
- By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart rate had stopped and he was feeling better.
- Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
- On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.
- The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
- Discharge status: Alive, but without permission.
- The patient has no past history of suicides.
And so, these are the sorts of things that jumpstart my sense of humor. Well, these and a cheap box of wine. But these have fewer calories.