Not Funny!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral.
Can't understand what I mean? You soon will."
-Barenaked Ladies, One Week

In middle school, I had an intense love/hate relationship with our daily silent reading period. For half an hour after lunch every day, we got to sit at our desks and read a book of our choosing. For a dork like me, this was heavenly. I think I enjoyed it more than lunch hour.

The problem was, this was often when I'd have an unprovoked fit of hysterical laughter...right when the entire class was more or less silent. So quite often, I'd have to go sit in the hall because I was being disruptive. Then I'd get upset and be sooky and sullen with my teacher for the rest of the afternoon. Thus, my love/hate with silent reading. There was just something about not being allowed to make a peep that made it impossible not to laugh.

Some kid's chair would squeak and it would remind me of a fart, which would send me over the edge. Or I'd see someone scratching their ass, or someone would be breathing funny, and I'd lose it. Knowing that we weren't supposed to make noise made it harder to hold it in, and this is something that holds true to this day.

I have always had trouble not laughing at the most inappropriate times. Weddings and funerals are awful for me. Funerals are especially bad. There's always some hick whose Alan Jackson ringtone goes off in the middle of the service, or the soloist's voice cracks, and I have to hide my face in my hands and pretend to be sobbing.

Church services are bad. Remembrance Day services are bad. The words "let's have a moment of silence" or "let us pray" are triggers for me. Meetings are bad. Witnessing dramatic episodes between other people? Bad. Getting yelled at by my parents? Bad. Getting shushed in a movie theatre? Hysterical. Basically any time I'm not supposed to be laughing, I'm laughing.

Why am I such a fantastic jackass? I think it's human nature to be inclined to do what we aren't supposed to do. It's why dieters who vow to give up chocolate snap after three days and nom on everything brown in sight. It's why you tell a kid, "don't touch!", and he immediately goes after The Untouchable. If it were Unsilent Reading, I probably would have been sober as a judge. Thing is, I feel bad about laughing at memorial services and serious times, and afterward I tell myself that next time I'll hold it together. It never works.

The worst part is that moment when you oh-so-sternly tell yourself, "Don't you dare laugh!!" Then you're gone. I've tried everything. Biting my cheeks, biting my tongue, thinking of my pets dying, and nothing works. Do you have suggestions for holding back inappropriate laughter?

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's writing prompts. I'm a day late, but better late than never! Happy Friday!

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  1. I don't have any suggestions at all for how to keep a lid on it when you're supposed to be quiet. I think there's something to be said for still being able to find humor in serious, sad or otherwise quiet situations. :)

  2. I bite my cheeks.

    I got kicked out of the job of bringing up the "gifts" in church for mass in 2nd grade (catholic school) because I kept laughing during practice. I was cracking up the ENTIRE time. The priest was SO mad at me. I was biting my cheeks so hard they wear bleednig. It was really sad. hahahaha.

    My sisters and I have the same problem with the saying "The faithfully departed" because my mom says it as prayer over Easter & Christmas dinner. For some reason it's cracked us up in our "old" age and ruined us. We laugh at in church at all major functions. Horrible.

    I wish you luck... I need it too. Cases of the giggles are horrendous sometimes!

  3. I LOVE this post. I totally do the same thing at every inappropriate opportunity. Farty chair squeaks are awesome, but honky nose blowing in the next room? Comedy gold!!

    (I think we can tell that clearly I have no suggestions of how to avoid this!)

  4. It's the oldest story in history... the story of temptation! Adam & Eve and what not. People aaalways want what they can't have. :)

  5. my mom and i are the same- we laugh at inappropriate times, but can never stop crying once we start.

    so when laughing disruptively, i've caught my mom whispering "dead puppies"- "dead baby puppies" to herself.. trying to think of the saddest thing possible. which, of course, made me laugh harder.

    oh- and we've gotten the happy/sad confused at times. i'll think of 'dead puppies' when i cant stop crying... which makes me laugh... which makes me cry harder.

    basically- people think i'm a psychotic mess. they're half right.

  6. I read somewhere that to keep from crying at inappropriate times you should think of an inanimate object, like a blue telephone. Maybe it works with laughing at inappropriate times too? Worth a shot!

  7. I have no suggestions for it! Yesterday I was at Chapters reading the coffee table book "Awkward Family Photos" and it was baaaaad! I felt like such a freakshow laughing so hard but I couldn't put it down. So I guess my only suggestion for you is to not read that book at Chapters!

    Thanks for the congratulations on my pregnancy post, by the way! I love reading your blog. I once spent a lovely period supply teaching an art class just reading your past entries. True story!

  8. I used to laugh during the Last Post all the time at Remembrance Day.. I would get dirty looks from teachers all the time. I also laughed a lot at a funeral last fall cause the woman singing 'Amazing Grace' had a mullet and kept tossing her head back during the big notes. Horrible. Person. Hahah.

  9. Ahhhh hahaha, I am the *exact* same way. I will undoubtedly get fired from a job someday for laughing at the wrong moment.

    I say forget it, life is too short. Let that shit go :)