Monday, November 18, 2013

An envious 'Humorist'

If it is truly possible for someone who is normally colored brown - shading off to black in the sun-burnt parts - to really turn green, then I would disappear from view in the vicinity of any plants. Envy, they say, is one of the seven deadly sins but, I am afraid, that THAT has not caused me to avoid it.

The problem is that I am a man, I am 50 and I still insist on trying to write humor. Why should that be a problem, you ask me? (You did not? It is OK, let us assume you did and proceed) Let me give you chapter and verse of all the problems I face and why I feel envious.

If I were a woman, I could write pieces about the ineptness of men in the kitchen, in the shopping mall and while changing diapers and probably have people - both men and women - rolling in the aisles. (RITA?) I could write about women in any funny manner and still have them rolling on the floor (ROFL!) laughing. The moment I try to write something like "When women change the tires", for example, and write  it with scintillating wit (Alright! That scintillating wit part was hypothetical. Use your damn imagination - even if it is a HUGE stretch) do you think I am going to have people laughing their bellies out? It is more likely that I shall hear the following conversation.

Lady 1: A gender-stereotyping male chauvinistic pig.
Lady 2: I think he deserves to be stoned to death.
Lady 3: The Europeans had a better idea - he should be hung, drawn and quartered.
Lady 4: Be Indian, Try Indian. How about frying him in boiling oil?

And all my male friends would chime in with helpful suggestions about where so much oil could be bought cheap; which would be the best location to conduct the ceremony and whether it would be worth creating a Facebook Page to sell tickets for the event.

Thus, you see, what is sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander - probably because ganders are supposed to be inept cooks. That, in effect, means that, if I valued my skin, fifty percent of humanity are OUT as far as attempting any humor is concerned.

I have reason for this fear. A friend of mine was once talking of his wife learning to drive in his Tata Sumo. "A Tata Sumo, an 'L' board and a lady driver. The moment the others spotted all this in their rear-view mirrors, the traffic used to part like Moses parting the waters." He, wise man, said that in an all-male company. I made the mistake of quoting him in mixed company and complicated it further by laughing too. (Note to Self: Never laugh at your own punchlines. It makes you look such an ass - even if true there is no need to advertise it - when nobody else does.) And this ensued.

Lady 1: So, you find the idea of lady drivers that funny?
Me (conciliatorily) : No! It is the attitude of the other drivers it was about.
Lady 2: So, you find that attitude funny? It does not make you angry?
Me : The funny part was that thing about Moses parting the waters.
Lady 3: What's funny about Moses parting the waters?

By the time it ended, I felt much like the Pharaoh's army, which was caught in the middle, when the parted waters rushed to meet again.

So much for the disadvantages of being a man.

Were I young, I would have a whole new set of things to write about wittily. Older relatives always have such interesting idiosyncrasies that are a perennial source of fun for the young. They lose hair, they snore, they belch and they emit such 'wonderfully' different smells from the other end of the alimentary canal.  And they also feel bound to take up invitations since the family feeling is pretty strong in that benighted generation. How wonderful for me if only I were a young humorist.

The problem, though, is I am old too and age, unfortunately, leads you into becoming the perpetrator of some or all of the above. I can, of course, plead that - perhaps unlike the rest of my more accomplished generation - I have not gained such exquisite control over my adenoids and bowels that I can snore or stink to order merely to annoy my hosts. That may - MAY - save me becoming the butt of jokes but is no help in writing humor.

Apparently, even in the involuntary acts, there are some which are still politically correct to make fun of and others which are not. I, poor uninformed moron that I am, considered all of them out of the pale. Now that I have learnt that it is not so, it is too late since all the ones that are allowed for humor are the ones of which I am probably guilty myself. (That 'probably' is only because I have not yet heard myself snore and have to depend on hearsay evidence). As for the ones that I do not do, they are still outside the pale of decent humor.

Maybe, just maybe, I could make fun of how sleeping in a room with the young makes it difficult for me to sleep because of the intimidating silence of their sleeping hours? Maybe I could make fun of how the expense of putting in deodorants in the toilets was rendered useless? I could I suppose and I may also raise a laugh - a horse's laugh. I do like to get my audience laughing but I have an unreasoning antipathy to the horse's laugh. Nitpicking of me, I know, but there you are - one more example of the irrationality of mankind.

With almost every avenue of writing humor closed for me, is it a wonder that I envy the others who are free to pick from a host of subjects to write humorously? I, unfortunately, am left with only one subject to poke fun at - my own self.

Thank God I have so much to be self-deprecatory about!

62 comments:

  1. They it takes greatness to be able to poke fun at oneself. So you may be sure on your way to reserving a pedestal for yourself. I promise to contribute one brick of the pedestal as my admiration of the wonderful way on which you write.

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    1. Thanks Yamini! Wonderful to hear! Wish it were that easy to get that pedestal :)

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    2. Just noticed the glaring bloopers in my comment! :P Wish I had had the patience to get on to my laptop before writing the comment instead of hastily doing it from the mobile... Suresh, don't write such wonderful posts hereafter that they make a person so impatient as to type out so many mistakes in a 3 line comment! :)

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    3. I will take them - bloopers and all - if you continue to feel they are wonderful, Yamini! :)

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  2. Yes it is so much safer to make fun of ourselves!

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    1. Ah! Safer but not without pitfalls - it is a small step from being a humorist to being considered a clown that way :)

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  3. Humor at self is the safest and funniest, they say. Though you say the doors are closed for you, you always seem to discover a hole here and there and make it big!

    I daresay this post inspiring from Sakshi's post of 'men in kitchen'?

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    1. In part, yes! I find that it is so much easier for women to poke fun at men - even gender-stereotyping fun than for men at women. No wonder I am envious :)

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  4. Suresh, fantastic post! I do empathize with you for being skinned alive by women for a simple joke. In general, we find it very hard to laugh at ourselves (you are an exception, of course). And yes, I have seen that people can get awfully touchy when the joke is upon them. What I find irritating are jokes in the same vein on the same set of people by the same person.

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    1. There I agree Rachna! A stray joke is one thing, persistent humor of the same sort indicates a state of mind.

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  5. Absolutely spot on, you, sir are such a treasure trove of so much self deprecatory humor that you don't need any other humorous topics to write upon, do you? :D

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    1. Ah! It is getting harder to mine now that all the more accessible ones are exhausted :)

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  6. It is a pleasure to read every word you craft with your amazing wit Suresh. LOL the lady driver incident. I really laughed aloud.

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    1. Thanks Alka! I owe that 'Moses parting the waters' to a friend really for that did happen. That ensuing conversation of the ladies, though, owes itself only to my imagination :)

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  7. Brilliant post Sir! I just loved this one for the honesty it exhibits and the truth that is revealed so beautifully. Now, I might get judged for this comment here. :-D

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    1. Thanks Rex! You are in queue after me in that 'getting judged' business :)

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  8. Yes, poking fun at oneself is the best... and the safest.
    What most of others do is probably not humour but straightforward bitching. :)

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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    1. Hmm - I camouflage myself well then, Arvind :) Thanks!

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  9. Sir, you have managed to achieve something most of us cant... being able to find humour in one self :) and well about the argument about lady drivers.. when did arguments with us women make any sense?? ;-)

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    1. Agreeing with you will land me in boiling oil, Seeta :)

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  10. Loved reading this one and I understand how some people love to blow a harmless joke out of proportion. I also hope people understand the difference between stereotyping and satire/humor- that would make life easier for them as well as people around them.

    As far as I am concerned, I know I love your posts and will always do! So, bring it on! :)

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    1. Thanks Akanksha! I will have one supporter at least :)

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  11. Hello Suresh Ji, I liked your blog and nominated you for a blogger award called liebster Award, (you might have nominated by others as well). The award works like a chain letter where bloggers answer 10 questions abt themselves and nominate 10 more bloggers to answer a new set of 10 questions. you can check the process to complete this chain at below link
    http://priteshdubey.blogspot.in/2013/11/liebster-award.html

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    1. Thanks Pritesh! You are right - I have been nominated and have put up posts for that earlier this year. So, my apologies for not putting up one more. People will start thinking I have gone mad if I make multiple posts on Liebster awards :)

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  12. LOL! I loved the part where you have written how male will suggest/help females rebuking you. The best form of humor is when you can make and take a joke at yourself. You don't need any topic Sir. You create humor out of ordinary situations.

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    1. Thanks Saru! Most times i write about nothing in particular :)

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    2. ...And that's the beauty of it!

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  13. Your posts are as humorous as they could get. Lovely post once again!

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  14. So, looks like women and the elderly are out. How about kids? Have you seen how silly they can be - a virtual ocean of material for a humorist! I say, people like you and I could safely go after that subject!

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    1. Hmm! I think I should - not because they cannot retaliate but because they probably will never get to know what I am doing since they will never come to my blog to read :)

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  15. Found your blog through Purba's. Great post, being politically correct all the time and at every venue has made us pioneers of hypocrisy. The side effect is sadly paid by humour but by this post I get the hint that you're a mater of self deprecation :P

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  16. LOL!! What a tonic your post was! And I really needed that. Will sit down and go through all of your posts that I missed. Need doses of humour right now :)

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  17. As usual, great!!

    Is your humour self-deprecatory or "self-deprecatory"?
    You are free to refuse to answer this question on the grounds that your answer may incriminate you!

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    1. Thanks pro-active Indian! Also thanks for not asking is it humour or 'humour' :)

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  18. It is unfortunately true that while we women could crack jokes with men in stellar roles men cannot do the same without being butchered.But you do very well notwithstanding the limited scope.

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    1. You know what, Indu! Jokes about how badly men do in kitchen actually provide men with a convenient excuse to not enter the kitchen - so they do not mind :)

      Thanks - I hope I manage :)

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    2. Suresh-ji :) I've loved all of your posts that I've managed to read so far. As for your insistence at continuing to write humour - the fact that we all continue to follow your posts, should be construed as a testament to your witty writing style. As as it was once quoted "Happy is the person who can laugh at himself, for he will never cease to be amused"; Lovely post as usual

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    3. That is a double-edged quote Sid! Much like my own 'Thank God I have so much to be self-deprecatory about' :)

      Thanks for the lovely words.

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  19. Do you really think you need a topic for humor? I was laughing at each bit, unfortunately, I had to read it in 10 bits and pieces :( Self mockery at its best, Suresh. I liked the joke about women driving and LOL...keep spreading smiles :)

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    1. Thanks FIF! Yeah - there are times when I forget that I can babble about nothing, if necessary :)

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  20. I have seen these 'fun-to-hang-out-with' folks who would spare no soul to make fun of. On the other hand, if someone made them the butt of a joke they would be super sensitve about it. Its not easy to make fun of oneself Suresh. You do that and that shows that your humour is very genuine. (What a serious comment for a really hilarious post eh? :) )

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    1. Thanks Jaish! Yeah - I know that it is easier to be the perpetrator than the butt of a joke :)

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  21. I would say go for the women, Suresh. What have you to lose? You're not married. And your friends' wives, if they disapprove, well, let their husbands take care of them. I see, as you have already said, there are lots of women writing about men, but men, self-preserving creatures that they are, seldom venture to retaliate. Even "our" beloved Achyut, I notice, keeps off the Persian woman who lives in his house for the most part.

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    1. Men, probably, find it convenient to be the butt of kitchen jokes and the like because it allows them to say, "Well - I am inept in the kitchen so I better stay out of it" :)

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  22. hahaha, same here, Suresh. that's the only option left for me. although i have changed the gender many a times while narrating something. hilarious as always!

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    1. Thanks, Debs! I know how good you are at self-deprecatory humor

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  23. It's not a joke if you haven't offended more than half your friends. And if you do it with aplomb, they will laugh nervously and pretend to appreciate your sense of humour. It's no fun being a politically correct humourist! C'mon Suresh, bring it on.

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    1. Hmm! Purba! Looks like I have done it already in this, have I not? :) Both being politically correct AND poking fun at my intended audience? :)

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  24. Hello!!!!!! I GOT THE MOSES JOKE AND IT WAS DAMN FUNNYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! I never thought of it. Bring out more such postsssss!!!

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    1. The Moses joke was really my friend's Red-handed! :)

      Hmm! I thought I was doing it all the while - bringing out such posts :)

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  25. LOL ! RITA and ROFL too ! Too funny. You seem to have gotten into a fix about not being able to poke fun at women ! Actually there are so many things that women do is outright funny, but you are going to twist yourself in knots in extricating yourself from the feminist brigade if you do embark on such an endevour:D
    As it is, I don't think you have any dearth of topics, the way you keep managing to poke humor at everything :)

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    1. Actually, Ash, crying over all the sorts of fun I cannot make of women seems to be a good vehicle to carry the humor about women :)

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  26. Suresh, you don't need a subject to write humourously and few do it better than you. Just carry on the great show!

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  27. You should never poke fun at women. But let me tell you a joke -
    There was this woman who after receiving her driving licence, goes for a long drive to celebrate. On the way, she see a man hurriedly climbing a pole as her car passes.
    "What does he think? That I can't drive?"
    The guy was an electrician trying to mend a faulty pole.

    But you should never make fun of women.

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    1. Of course you should not, Amit! Of course I do not :)

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  28. Suresh, that Moses bit was hilarious. :)

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