Friday, August 22, 2008

Is That Supposed To Be Funny??!!

The secret source of humor is not joy, but sorrow; there is no laughter in heaven.
Mark Twain

Did I really promise in that last post that I was gonna be funny in this one? Damn...there’s nothing worse than telling people you’re gonna be funny...that’s why I hate most stand-up comedy...especially, the I’m just a regular guy who’s gonna stand here and talk to you regular people and make some funny observations that you can relate to about regular day-to-day life kind of stand-up comedy...bleah...it’s much better to be angry-funny like Chris Rock, or horrified-by-the-outrageousness-of-what’s-going-on-in-America-funny like Jon Stewart, or severely-manic-if-not-coked-to-the-gills-funny like Robin Williams (not to be confused with the so-desperate-to-make-you-love-him-that-he’s-not-funny Robin Williams, the actor)...I, generally speaking, only find out I’m being funny when people tell me...see the predicament?

It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.
David St. Hubbins, This is Spinal Tap

I was talking to somebody about my personal favorite Yoga for Cynics post...god, I also hate it when bloggers are self-referential...then, I kinda can’t stand that in general...even though I’m a huge fan of one of the seminal texts of postmodern metafiction, There’s a Monster at the End of This Book, starring Lovable Furry Old Grover (also a penetrating exploration of modern man—or, y’know, monster—in confrontation with his own id—kinda like Heart of Darkness for kids, and what could be more avant-garde than that?) (never mind that it’s been disgracefully overlooked by the literary critical establishment; so was William Blake)...and now, I’m being, like, meta-self-referential...and horribly ironic in the most pretentious postmodern kind of way...somebody could write a goddamn dissertation on this post...good god...the horror, the horror....

And, if I have been a little malicious, well, one must amuse oneself.
Madame Merteuil, Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Anyway...it was the one called Probably Not the Best Example of Loving Kindness, in which I talked about cursing somebody out—in a bit of rather obviously ill-advised bicycle-on-car road rage—on the way to yoga class. People have suggested that I probably wouldn’t have done that on the way home from yoga class...and they’re probably right. In fact, I may be able to provide an illustrative anecdote...jeeezus, did the pretentious academic in me just pipe up again? Never mind...this one time, I think it was last winter, I’d just gotten home from a class with legendary yoga teacher Jennifer Schelter, and walked, with a spring in my step, feeling optimistic and full of good feeling toward my fellow human beings...really...up to my local coffee shop, the High Point Cafe...now, this place is kind of a center of my friendly little community (West Mt. Airy, State of Caffeinated Stupor, USA). The place was packed. However, just as I got my coffee, two older women were standing, putting coats on and clearing dishes away from the table where they’d been sitting. I asked if they were leaving, and one of them said “yes” as they moved away from the table and I set my coffee down. Seeing a couple of crumpled up napkins left on the table, I decided to be helpful and throw them out. Upon turning back to the table however, I was confronted by the other woman, who, in a voice more like a low, mentally unbalanced hiss, said “you’re a bit of an asshole, aren’t you?” I said “excuse me?” “Putting your coffee down on the table before we’ve left...” she intoned, almost shaking with rage. “But...you had your coats on...you said you were leaving...you were walking away from it...” I sputtered as she turned her back, perhaps with a final muttered asshole for good luck. My good mood kinda dissipated. While my friends behind the counter more than sympathized, and joked about it, I was really really upset—all the more so because I’d been in such a good mood before this little incident happened. Why the hell, I thought, did this have to happen when I was feeling so good?

Then, however, I asked myself the question: how might I have reacted if I hadn’t been in such a peaceful, positive mood? Let’s just say it’s a good thing I went to yoga class that morning....

20 comments:

Juliet said...

Sigh. People. Is it really so hard to ask things in a nice way before you go accusing things and flying off the handle? Sorry about your experience with the evil coffee lady.

Linda Sama said...

nice....and if you want to read comments from someone who really hates my snarkiness....read the last comment in my "aggravation is like this" post....

shantis and oms to you, dude....

RBV said...

The Monster at the End of This Book was my hands down childhood favorite. Imagine my dismay when I got to Columbia, made new friends, and discovered that none of them had heard of it and therefore disregarded my love for it.

By the by, you had me cracking up over here. You delivered as promised.

The Fearless Blog said...

Enjoyed your writing style. I even chuckled a few times. Actually your writing was quite unique and refreshing, more real. I could almost see you having a conversation with me. :) I hope to read more of your posts.

BTW Thanks for stopping by TFB and commenting. A few readers -you included- have me wondering if maybe I "should" read the book and then rethink my position.

Yoga Gal said...

It is ironic that most great humor comes from pain or anger. Great stuff!

Lana Gramlich said...

I think too many people are just over stressed these days, unfortunately.

AnnZ said...

Wow, that comment would have left me completely devastated, whether I'd just come back from yoga or not. I've been guilty of rage and general stressed-outedness on my way to yoga classes. I'm always running late, and that does nothing good for my practice or my state of mind on the way to class.

I loved the humor and tone in this post, by the way. Thanks for your comment on little four eyes.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Was that at a Tim Hortons coffee shop? LOL I have been known to be bitchy. Oh the glorious feeling of telling someone how you feel knowing you're leaving them feeling all upset. Very twisted.

Which is why I try to avoid people ;)

Grover & that book rocks :)

svasti said...

Here's the trick - the more yoga you do (physical + meditation), the more your 'view' opens up. The wider your landscape. The less value you see in being reactive to things that really don't matter.

But other people don't, mostly. There are other ways people can come to this sort of wisdom themselves, but they have to want to try. Most don't. Couldn't care less.

I really must do a post at some point on the Tibetan 6 realms - really helps clarify where we're at in terms of consciousness on any given day.

So - isn't it amazing someone could be so incredibly furious over such a tiny, tiny action? And isn't it wonderful that you had been to yoga class?

Hari Om!

RainbowMom said...

LOL Okay.. I'm sorry.. I see the situation in the coffee shop very amusing.. I'm just sorry it happened to you but at the same time maybe because you were in such a peaceful mood it needed to happen to you! Not to bring you down but perhaps she's having a worse day and someone else raging back could have been the icing on the cake for her? Great blog! I look forward to reading more. :) Peace!

Arnold Layne said...

If you weren't in such a good mood that morning you probably would've given that old lady what she deserved... sorry, I sympathize and share your anger.

human being said...

hey Dr. Jay... thank you a ton for stopping by my blog and commenting... letting me know you and your world... love the way you write... very casual and at the same time deeeep... (same for your comments on my blog)

strange as i was reading through this post, everything seemed new yet so familiar to me...
humor rooting from sorrow... i really believe in this...

your descriptive categorization of those comic characters just killed me... fabulous...

Blake is one of my favorites...
and yoga... oh my...

and these energy-
killer little incidents you don't expect the least when you are so high!
if it was not after the yoga class, you sure would explode... or got deeply depressed(if you suppressed your anger)

i love the humble and insightful 'pretentious academic' in you who writes maliciously to amuse himself...
namaste!

nobe said...

hahaha. talk about pressure. :)

Robert said...

I wouldn't have found it easy to see the divine in her at that moment. Maybe this was a test for you . . . I give you an A+ for not wringing that bit@h's neck! LOL!

Debra Kay said...

I tend to pick a phrase of the day and use it for all such occurences-it cuts back on both brain drain as well as impulse squabbling. It works best if it is something enigmatic and non argumentative, for example, "so it would seem."

On a bad day, sometimes it's just "eat shit" though.

odd chick said...

I'm so glad you went to yoga and I'm so gald you write! My goodness, yours is the kinda of writing that meets you for a cup of coffee. I love your letter about depression. My son has experienced depression and I know he will find it even more meaningful. thanks.

Patti said...

To receive a visit from a writer (can't get that image of Faulkner being exclaimed as the medics yell, "clear,") is quite an honor, as, my first love is writing fiction. Most mixed-media artists talk technique on their blogs and honestly, I do keep trying, but the life story/pondering thinker keeps rising to the surface. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'm going to keep checking yours to see if you do, in fact, get funny:) I find the quotes you select highly appropriate (may I borrow one) and plan to read deeper into your posts now that I've found your blog.
Oh, the woman in the coat... the fact that she chose the phrase, "a bit of an asshole," speaks volumes about her complete lack of self awareness.
blessings.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

No way, man. No freakin' way. If it occurred to me soon enough, I probably would've said "you're the asshole!". Yes, it probably would look terrible that I'm yelling at a pair of old women as they leave. But people don't know my situation, so if they judge their the assholes too!

a mouthy irish-catholic woman said...

i sincerely would have pushed that "nice lady" into a downward facing dog, pretzeled her into a semi-corpse pose and finished off with a super friendly "namaste" bruce willis style. that's called irish yoga. :)

found you through odd chick. enjoy reading you!

Linda Sama said...

actually anytime stuff like that happens to me (which is not very frequently, thank goodness!), I stop, watch my breath, then burst out in a rip roarin' laugh! because when you think about it, they are so freakin' ludicrous...or is that Ludicris? people like that usually get real freaked out with laughter.

whatever.