Idon’t know about you, but I have about had it up to here (place hand firmly at neck level) with Humor Deficient people.
There are two kinds of Humor Deficiency. The milder degree is Humor Dementia. This is where the victim recognizes a joke when he hears one, but, when it comes to being funny himself, has a warped view of what is actually funny and what is not. As a Trained Humor Professional, I can spot a person suffering from this illness a mile away. It is the person who says to a friend who has recently gotten a haircut, “Hey, you got your ears lowered!” It is the person who, when filling out a form, in the space that says “SEX,” puts, “yes, please.” It is the person who makes loud cow sounds while trying to move with a slow-moving crowd. It is the person who sees a male with long hair and says, “Is that a boy or a girl?” It is the person who, when asked if he got a hair cut, says, “No, I got them all cut.” It is the person who thinks it is really funny to call Las Vegas “Lost Wages.”
The other, more severe, form of Humor Deficiency is Humor Impairment. This is where the victim cannot produce humor on his own, and, what is worse, cannot even recognize when something is funny. Being a humorist, these people are the very bane of my existence, but perhaps you laypersons have had to deal with them as well.
An example of Humor Impairment is when my family had to deal with the Lake Elsinore Animal Control people because our dog, Black (guess what color he is and how large an imagination my family has), got out of the yard and committed the heinous crime of standing on the sidewalk. As luck would have it, the animal control truck happened to drive past at that very moment, and Black got a ticket for being out of the yard.
While the animal control guy was talking to my mother and me, he asked if we had ever considered having Black “fixed.” Pressed for details, he explained that often, male dogs will jump right over fences when they smell a female dog in heat. In fact, he said (and I am not making this up), dogs have been known to mate through a chain link fence, which, if we could get a photograph of this taking place, would probably prove to be the funniest thing that has ever happened.
Anyway, we told him that no, we did not want to have Black neutered, because he is a beautiful dog (as far as dogs go) and we would like to breed him with another beautiful dog sometime. So the animal control guy pointed out that we could (and I quote) “freeze some of the dog’s spermatazoa and artificially inseminate a female dog later.” Now, the fact that he said this with a straight face should have tipped me off that he was Humor Impaired, but I forged ahead anyway and said, “Well, then, I’ll go clear out the freezer.”
Any normal person at this point would have at best, laughed; at worst, rolled his eyes. But being Humor Impaired, the animal control guy said this:
“No, actually, we have a cryogenics lab where we would store it.”
As if I was serious! As if I was actually about to go into the kitchen and move the ice cube trays to one side so that I could put a Tupperware container full of dog spermatazoa in the freezer! I think it’s about time the government stepped in and gave me large sums of cash so that I could research this some more. Thank you.
I cannot tell you how much I am bothered by Humor Impaired people who do not recognize a joke when they hear it. I don't care if they don't LIKE the joke, or don't think it's FUNNY -- all I want is for them to at least RECOGNIZE and ACKNOWLEDGE that it was SUPPOSED to be funny. There are few things worse than being taken seriously when you're joking. (Being treated lightly when you're trying to be serious might be worse, I guess.) If I ever write an autobiography, I think the title will be "I Didn't Know You Were Joking," because that's the story of my life.
I was surprised my editor let me talk about dog spermatazoa in the paper. I never tried it again -- despite its relevance to a great many topics -- because I knew just once was pushing my luck.
Also, this was the last column I wrote for the Lake Elsinore News while still in Lake Elsinore. The remaining six were written from BYU and mailed in (no modems yet in those days, at least not for me).