'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
I FORGOT TO REMEMBER
Did you ever sit in front of your computer with a deadline looming in about an hour to submit your 600-word weekly essay, and say to yourself, “I’ve got nothing. I don’t have a single idea”?
No, of course you’ve never done that. You’re too smart to agree to write a free-lance column each and every week, regardless of the big bucks the newspaper promises to throw your way. It’s just too stressful.
What can I write about that’s funny? The economy? Yeah, there’s a barrel of laughs. How about the approaching winter, and all the newly unemployed people who can’t afford to heat their homes this year? Another knee-slapper of a topic.
The frustrating thing is, I had a really good subject in mind the other day. But now I can’t remember what it was. I do remember that I was driving home from work and suddenly it just popped into my head, and boy was it funny. I started talking to myself excitedly as I drove, working on some of the paragraphs and punch lines out loud.
At a stoplight I looked over and noticed a guy in another car staring at me. It used to be embarrassing when someone saw me talking to myself. But here in the age of cell phones and wireless ear pieces, it seems that everyone is talking to themselves. (At least I assume most of them are on phone calls. I’d hate to think they’re all stressed-out columnists.)
As soon as I arrived home, I headed straight for my desk to grab a pencil and write down my idea. But before I made it to my desk, I got distracted. I can’t remember exactly by what. It might have been something like my house was on fire, or maybe there were fresh cupcakes in the kitchen. I really can’t remember now what the distraction was. Which means I really can’t remember now what my great idea was either.
A short while ago I decided that I needed more coffee. That’s the problem, I’m not alert enough to think straight. So I went upstairs and put on a fresh pot. Then I looked around the kitchen trying to come up with an idea. How about the utensil drawer? That’s good for a few laughs. Or maybe salt and pepper shakers? Now there’s a side-splitting topic.
Just then my wife walked into the kitchen, and said, “Honey, you’re talking to yourself— OH NO! YOU DID IT AGAIN!!”
I spun around startled, and saw that I had indeed done it again. The automatic drip coffee maker was gurgling out a fresh batch of Folgers, but I had forgotten to put the glass pot back onto the burner. Puddles of hot coffee were spreading across the counter and pouring into the utensil drawer. (See, I told you the utensil drawer was good for a few laughs.)
Unfortunately, this is the third time in the past couple of months that I’ve done this exact same thing. I’m not sure if I have too much on my mind…or possibly nothing on my mind. My wife said, “You’re not turning into one of those guys who the police find wandering around the neighborhood confused and without pants, are you?”
I quickly checked to see if I was wearing pants, then replied, “No. I don’t think so.”
Anyway, if you happen to see someone wandering around wearing a Red Sox hat and talking to himself, point him in the right direction back home. And if you have a funny topic, write it down and put it in his pants pocket—if he’s wearing any.
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