We watched Bering Sea Gold this evening. Verne, captain of the Wild Ranger dredge, was urgently trying to gas up one of his engines from a fuel container. The gas dribbled out of the latest government-mandated safety spout until Verne exploded with, “I could piss faster than this!!!” A string of bleeps hid what he said next but he ended with “Thanks a lot Federal fu****g government!!!!!!”
Delphine and I nearly wet ourselves laughing. Verne’s torrent of expletives mirrored my own soliloques every time I gassed up the snow thrower, the riding mower, the chainsaw. What moronic arm of government handed a monopoly to whomever came up with such a useless design. Forget immigration and balanced budgets and earning gaps. If Romney had simply held one of those infernal government-approved spouts up at a rally fifty-million lawnmower owners would have given him a landslide.
Humor. Strange stuff. A gal of many talents from a small factory I consult for needed a replacement sponge for her soldering station. I pulled up some possibilities on my computer and she picked one. I pointed at the roll of solder she held and asked, “Are you sure that solder is sponge-worthy?”
She stared at me quizzically. 3-2-1. Convulsive laughter. What had happened? I connected two things already in her mind – a Seinfeld skit and the soldering sponge. But there was something more.
On a drive to Gatlinburg with a former bridge partner and editor we passed a sign for Lackawanna College. I said, “Oh, look. A school for unmotivated students.” 2-1-hilarity. We convulsed for the next three miles taking turns setting each other off.
We were driving back from a tournament when we saw two police cars next to a Dunkin Donuts parked driver side to driver side, officers chatting through open windows. I asked, “Do you know what it’s called when they park like that?”
She shook her head. I said, “Copulation.” 2-1-belly laughs.
Spontaneity. The jokes came with no premeditation, no planning, no design. They just popped out in the moment. That was one of the ingredients. But still there was more.
Driving with my ex, for no particular reason, I asked, “Do you know what kind of tree is used in ritual circumcision?” No, she didn’t. I wondered what I was going to say next. The word was coming from my subconscious. “Juniper.”
3-2-1. Nothing. Not a chortle, not a smile, not a hint that something clever had been shared. Another clue. Certainly Juniper was as funny as Copulation – but whatever magic let my ex and I laugh was gone.
A few weeks later we were at a party playing Trivia. The question was, “What drink was named for the tool oil rig workers used to stir it?” It was my turn. I said, “Workers’ tool? Penis colada.” Roaring laughter – including my ex. She didn’t want to laugh with me, but sharing with our friends was different.