Confession: I’m a little twisted, and consequently my sense of humor has always trended towards the darker side. This humor was a coping mechanism I developed through my life experiences over the course of a lot of rough years (I’l not reheat that hash here today).
Suffice it to say that, during moments of stress, or duress, sometimes the “most stupidest” things will sally forth from my mouth in a vainglorious stab at “teh funnay.”
Like yesterday, for instance. Our little Maltese had a puppy, and when our son went to check on mother and pup in the morning, he found the puppy in rigor.
“No, Snowball, what happened?”
“Oh, she was so cute.”
“Dad, the puppy’s dead.”
And what did I say? Well, my mind went sideways (as it is wont to do). Sure, there was a teachable moment in there about life and loss–which I totally missed. You see, in the shock and surprise, my brain flashed to Chevy Chase. And I don’t mean Maryland.
I mean the movie, Funny Farm, starring Chevy Chase. It’s–in my humble opinion–extremely funny. It’s funny due primarily to two things: the comedy is kept simple, and where’s it’s not simple it takes a gallows turn.
Take for example the garden in the old Musselman place (that Andy and Elizabeth Farmer–Chevy Chase and Madolyn Smith) buy in the film. Elizabeth is outside doing some gardening, while Andy is upstairs working on the “great American novel” (the whole reason for moving to Redbud). Elizabeth, while digging, encounters something hard under the ground. She clears away more dirt, and discovers… a coffin!
She screams, calls for her husband, runs inside, indicating that she won’t spend “another night in this house.”
After another misadventure, the sheriff is reached–who brings with him the Criterion brothers, who it seems will move anything for money.
In the process of hoisting the casket–a cheap pine box–up, two things happen:
1) The cable breaks, dumping the coffin on the ground; and
2) The occupant is discovered to be Claude Musselman, the previous owner of the home. Apparently, however, there’s a mule that’s still unaccounted for.
After the initial shock of recognition wears off, one of the Criterion brothers says, “Ma’am, could I trouble you for a shovel and some plastic Glad bags?” Which, in that context, was dead funny!
So, yes, in that moment when I heard the puppy was dead, and with my family around, all of that went through my head, and I landed upon, “Ma’am, could I trouble you…” You know what? In real life, it wasn’t funny, but crass and insensitive. I went down like a lead balloon. In that moment, it was the “most stupidest” thing to say.
Has that ever happened to you? Said the wrong thing at the wrong time?
Share it in the comments.