Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taking a Humor Inventory

You know how sometimes nothing seems funny? I find that this is the perfect time to slow down, put on a silly hat, and take a humor inventory.

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.

1 comment:

Shauna Roberts said...

I'm going to start carrying a notebook.