I was mortally disappointed when, in my senior year of high school, I was NOT voted "Funniest." Seriously. I didn't care about those other meaningless titles. I mean, what the hell did we know about "Industriousness" at the age of 18.? Well, I guess there were some members who did know a bit about industriousness, since it turns out there are a whole lot of doctors and lawyers and engineers and scientists that came out of that class. But, STILL. I'll never forgive that nice girl Lisa, for taking the title from me.
When I asked my husband - boyfriend at the time - why he loved me, I was disappointed that he left out my sparkling sense of humor. I just couldn't believe that that wasn't the first thing that he found attractive about me - until I noticed that he couldn't stop staring at my chest. Ah well, a girl's gotta take what she can get, I suppose. But I really wanted him to appreciate me for being funny.
To that end, for the last fifteen or so years I have insisted that he reminds me of how deliciously hilarious he finds me as frequently as possible. Daily is best. And he's a good sport about it. Nevermind it's the last thing he says, and it's with a bit of a hint of sarcasm. Again, I'll take what I can get.
I realized recently that it's my best friend's fault. She really does think I'm the funniest person in the world. I can make her laugh like nobody's business, and (here's a secret) sometimes I'm not even meaning to! I'll take what I can get.
Here's my problem. I can't write funny. Nope. Not even this post is funny. And what the hell kind of funnylady writer am I if I can't do the two things I do best (well, two of the things that I do best) at the same time? I don't need or want to be ironic or witty like Sedaris and Vowell. I actually get tired of the tongue firmly planted in the cheekiness of the Eggers crowd - I'm funny, but I didn't say I was cool.
So, I set out to write a short story about a cooky old woman in a waiting room - my version of O'Connor's Redemption, which I find pretty funny in its macabre way (like most of O'Connor). In studying and reflecting on that story I was led to remember another story, Porter's Jilting of Granny Weatherall.