“Do you want to hear a funny story?”

December 9, 2006


   No funny story has ever been prefaced with “Do you want to hear a funny story?” It’s a given that people want to be amused, and unless they are a recovering stroke victim they don’t need to warned of any forthcoming hilarity. What that phrase really means is: ” Due to my stunted personal growth, and deeply uninteresting life, I find the following anecdote about the malfunctioning coffee maker at work endlessly amusing, and would like to spend the next twenty minutes relaying it to you. I realize others rarely enjoy my stories, so I’m establishing it’s humorous nature in advance in the hopes the social pressure created will force a pretense of enjoyment”. 

 Somehow, despite my clear recognition of the tell, I still get sucked in every time.

 “Hey AJ, want to hear a funny story about my hair lipped kid and these mismatched tan orthopedic shoes I bought him?”

 “Sure you son of a bitch, go ahead and suck the last ounce of joy from my day. I don’t suppose your gimpy kid fell down some stairs to provide a little narrative color?”  

  “Not at all, the whole trip was the model of safe congress and temperance. The amusing bit involves a miscalibrated shoe stretcher and the origins of the term penny loafer.”

 It’s like I’m held in some sort of cobra gaze; aware of the impending threat, but wholly unable to remove myself to a safe distance. I don’t know what sort of evolutionary imperative spurs the anomaly, but the more tepid and charmless a person, the more capable they are at lulling decent folk into absurdly banal conversations. Insidious cocksuckers.  

  It’s like people have no conscious conception of how uninteresting they are, but intuitively sense the absence, and gradually are turned into humorless revenants as a result. Grim social zombies, denied the warmth of wit and charm, thus driven to hassle and consume those who posses it; one spirit destroying story at a time. The problem is, despite being kind of an asshole, I’m also fairly polite.                              

  As much as I’d like to, I can’t just pull them aside and be all :  “Hey, Sponge cake! Your story sucks, you’ve got a stupid looking face, and your wife keeps giving me the eye. Don’t come round here no more.” it’s not how civilized folks comport themselves.  So, in lieu of rudeness, I’ve adopted a little trick I learned from our possum brethren. Some bland motherfucker starts talking and I drop into a rigid death pose, totally unresponsive, until the offending speaker leaves the room. Not only does this save social awkwardness, but I’ve been the sole survivor of three spontaneous bear attacks.


7 Responses to ““Do you want to hear a funny story?””

  1. baredfeetandteeth Says:

    There is a little known method of retaliation that might be of use to you.

    Begin with your own ‘Hey INSERTNAMEHERE, wanna hear something funny?’ Then when he leans in with that expectant glaze in his eyes, head butt him in the face.

  2. timethief Says:

    Right flipping on! I’ll second that. :D

  3. engtech Says:

    @AJ: Why do I feel that you’re talking about me?


  4. You actually tell fairly good stories, and have decent comedic timing.

    Now your “Jokes” on the other hand…

  5. Also your lady type falls into her own category.

    People who tell stories that start incredibly promisingly then so abrutly, and with so little point,one feels cheated and misled.

  6. engtech Says:

    …but she finds it so funny herself that it plays out.

    She’s still the best person in the world to watch a not-quite-funny movie with.

    I had this epiphany this weekend that I have so many people in my life with an excellent sense of humour that I’ve really relinquished any claim I used to have as “the funny one” in my childhood.

  7. jaybird Says:

    I’ve lost my sense of humour completely.

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