I love stand-up comedy. I can't tell you how many times Eddie Murphy has cracked me up... “You don't got no ice cream.” I grew up with no ice cream and I could still laugh at that skit. And Damon Wayans describing his cheese-eating math teacher... ROTF LMBO.
I could have been a comedian. And I might have if only I hadn’t been so slim. (Oh, come on, you know there is a weight requirement when it comes to being a successful girl stand-up comedian.)
I love to laugh. And I am my favorite target. I make jokes about things that were hilariously embarrassing, scary, or painful only a few years (weeks, hours) ago. I make jokes about my marriage, my sex life, my weaknesses, my crazy childhood, my colorful pre-Jesus years...
Because laughter is therapy... it feels good. Laughter heals.
But not when it’s ugly... like the time I was in the back seat of a car with a friend-of-a-friend driving... and it was raining and there was an obese girl walking down the sidewalk. The driver deliberately drove faster into a large puddle alongside her and splashed her with the muddy water. The guys up front laughed like hyenas. I was horrified. Ha ha ha, not funny.
I pink slip people who make fun of others in a cruel or demeaning kind of way. I consider it a fatal character flaw, and with all the people I can choose to spend time with why would I pick someone who gets a belly laugh out of humiliating someone else?
Yeah, I knew when to laugh and when not to. Then Kimani was born and the line shifted.
Damon Wayans doing “Handi-Man” isn’t quite so funny anymore. And yet, one night when my husband and I were talking about Kimani having Down syndrome I said to him with a grin, “Last one out’s a rotten egg.” And then I burst out laughing (and ended up crying. It was all a little raw still.)
If you made that joke I’d wipe the mud off me and hand you your walking papers. Is that fair? She’s my kid, she’s my egg... it was my guilt. So yeah, it’s ok that I could make that joke. (And it's ok if you laughed at it, or gasped and said, "That's horrible.")
I hope Kimani inherited my sense of humor. I hope she learns when to laugh. I hope when she hears a joke about squeezing her pet rabbit to death... that she gets it, and that she cracks up over it.
(And, I am already proud to know that she will never get her laughs by hurting someone else.)
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