|LIFE AS A LOSER #14: "YUK, YUK, YUCK.|
|By Will Leitch|
My friend Tim is often told by his self-consciously hip friends that he has what they call “Dad humor.” Their belittling definition of this brand of comedy basically revolves around his tendency to make the most obvious, father-friendly joke at every opportunity. Example: “Hey, Tim, you got a haircut.” “Yeah, I got a bunch of them cut.” This is silly, lowest common-denominator humor, of course, but, truth be told, it’s a lot sweeter to my ears than snooty Nietsche jokes.
Gotta say, I’m helplessly addicted to bad jokes. Can’t get enough of them. Responding to mundane conversation with lame one-liners is as involuntary for me as gagging at Taco Bell. It annoys the shit out of my friends - what’s left of them - but there’s nothing I can do about it.
When I’m introduced to someone, I always say my name is “Will, Mr. Leitch if you’re nasty, like Miss Jackson,” and just pray they get my reference. They usually stare at me blankly, but that doesn’t stop me from doing the joke. They’ll usually tell me I’m crazy, and I’ll respond with “crazy like a fox!” “Will, you’re one of the stranger people I know.” “Stranger? I barely even know her!” At this point, they tend to call the police.
This is probably why I have trouble meeting new people.
Let’s face it. We all have someone in our workplace who reminds us of that Rob Schneider copy-machine guy character from Saturday Night Live. Well, I admit it. In my office, I’m that guy. Ask me how I’m doing today, and I’ll tell you I’m full of mirth and hopping around with a joy usually reserved for morning talk-show hosts, except that I have a bad rash that won’t go away. This is my standard answer, which is why nobody asks me how I am anymore. That’s fine, really; how many times can you repeat, “Fine, how are you?” Either I make the greeting process a little more interesting, or they just don’t ask. Either option is fine with me.
My grandfather and I, his favorite grandson, often used to go fishing. Once, when we hopped in our small rowboat to putter around the pond in his backyard, he looked across the water wistfully, wiped away an imaginary tear and proclaimed with a tinge of sadness, “Will, I do love the ocean.” At 10, I didn’t get the joke. As far as I knew, I was in the ocean. But now, I understand whom I inherited this stupid humor from.
Another major influence in my stupid humor is, well, Beavis and Butt-Head. The show always seemed to eerily capture the mindset of the 15-year-old male, and since that’s pretty much my mindset now, I can’t resist quoting it as often as possible. When I started my current job, my supervisor was explaining what my duties were to be. I interrupted him with, “Huh-huh. You said ‘doodie.’” He didn’t laugh. He also didn’t laugh when, as I left after my first day, I quoted Beavis quoting Snoop Dogg, belting, “I don’t love ya hos; I’m out the door.” I’d like to say he grew to appreciate my “humor,” but to this day he still looks at me the way most people look at their pets: with an understanding that something must be going on inside that brain, but having no idea what it could possibly be.
I actually was even worse in high school. I was sent to the hall four times for giggling profusely when we were studying astronomy; can’t resist the word “Uranus.” I was also in my Wayne’s World phase at the time, so if anyone said something even remotely resembling a double entendre, even if by accident, I shot back with, “That’s what she said.” They would tell me that I was disrupting class, and I simply shot back, “Not!” As you can probably guess, most of my teachers lost patience with me quickly. (I have friends now who are schoolteachers, and they tell me if they would have had me in class, they would have body-slammed me and taken their chances with the courts.)
Regardless of the situation, I’ll toss in jokes that are amusing only to me. When I met my fiancee’s parents for the first time, after her mother had prepared a king’s feast, she asked me what I thought of the meal. “It’s like a party in my mouth, and everyone’s invited!” Ten minutes later, conversation resumed.
I have never stooped to saying “Show me the money,” but I’ll confess, “I know you are, but what am I?” has slipped out from time to time.
I’m trying to stop, but I just can’t. Pity this poor woman who was just hired by my place of business. Her name is Liz House. Now, being born with a first name that is a helping verb (“Hey, Will, will you pass me the gravy? Get it? Will Will pass the gravy? Ha!”) and the last name Leitch (“Hey, Leitch, you suck! Ha!”) should have provided me with the requisite sensitivity to name jokes, but I can’t resist. Every time I see Liz, I have no choice but to loudly proclaim, “Her name is LIZ ... HOUSE!” in the manner of the old funk classic by the Commodores. Between you and me, I don’t think Liz likes me very much.
Whenever people who deal with me on a daily basis find out I write a weekly humor column for a national Web magazine, it confirms their worst fears about the media. And the world, actually.