Commentaire: Humor and old ladies | Columns

I was minding my own business thinking about Cheetos and drain cleaner when I was accosted by an elderly lady outside the grocery store the other day and scolded – very loudly and passionately – about my columns. The top of the lady’s head barely came up to my chin, and she was wearing a bright blue woolen overcoat buttoned to the neck and carrying a paisley wallet big enough to hold an adolescent lowland gorilla.

“Hey!” she yells at me about 3 feet after we get out of our cars and our eyes meet. “Hey! I know who you are!” I didn’t know who she was, but I prepared myself to pretend – as we all do sometimes – like I did.

“You’re that man who writes these nasty articles for the newspaper, and you think you’re funny, but you’re not!” I was stunned for a second but then felt my lips start to move forming the words that I am well aware of my limitations in humor followed by my usual apologies for not being Dave Barry or Lewis Grizzard or Art Buchwald, then thank her for taking the time to read what I write even though she hates it. But she never gave me that chance.

“I’m so sick of reading this stuff,” she continues, “and I’m gonna quit, because you’re not funny, and I’m so sick of it!”

People were looking at us now, and I took a step or two back, but she followed me.

“Madam…” I began.

“And I don’t like that picture they have of you in the paper…it’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!” My stomach hurts just looking at it!” I could see blue veins throbbing under her thin, pale skin as she dragged herself towards me and – I admit it – I was a little scared. I raised my hands in a stop gesture.

“Ma’am,” I said, deciding to try to disarm her with what I’m pretty sure would take for charm, “I’m sorry you didn’t like some of my columns, but…”

“I don’t like any of them!” she barks.

“Yes, ma’am, okay, but you’ll have to admit maybe one or two were funny…maybe one or two?”

“None of them!” she’s crying. “None of them were funny…and I read all of them!” You are not funny at all! And I don’t like how you disrespect Marsha Blackburn…she’s a good lady and a good Christian! You can’t write things like that about people who are better than you! If I was one of the people you write about, I would sue! You should be ashamed!”

Then I got mad because, really now, who wouldn’t want to laugh at Marsha Blackburn’s pathetic attempts to sound smart or be politically relevant?

“Ma’am,” I told her, “I think I can be funny sometimes.” Let me tell you a joke. This old lady is gone…”

“I don’t like jokes!”

“…in a doctor’s office. She had a frog on her head. The doctor says…”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“… ‘Can I help you?’ Then the frog said, ‘Yeah, get that old lady out of my ass!’ »

I held my hands at my sides in a “ta-dah!” gesture and smiled at him. She impaled me with a look that sucked all the oxygen out of the air. My eyeballs dried up in my head and rattled, and my legs wobbled.

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” she screams, dangerously, I feared, close to stroke territory. “And I’ll tell you something else!” You should be ashamed of the way you sometimes write about Jesus! You’re going straight to hell!

This one almost floored me. It was number two in a double. Without knowing it, she had ambushed me with two of the weapons that could almost certainly crush any good Southern boy in his sixties. The first weapon is our inherent fear of old ladies; respectful fear – that’s how we were brought up. The second is to always live with an almost certain knowledge that anything we do or think is more than likely going to make Jesus crazy about us…and we don’t like to think about it. I had to defend myself.

“But ma’am,” I said, uncomfortably aware that I was about to whine, “don’t you think Jesus had a sense of humor?!?”

“Nope!” she slams. “And even if he did, he wouldn’t think you were funny!” And I’m telling you, I’m so sick of these things you write, I’m just going to stop reading them! AND… and I’m going to call the newspaper and tell them the same thing too. Tired of that!

She then turns away, still mumbling, and leaving me strangely confused and uneasy and rethinking how I had seen the world, and more importantly, who I had thought I was – until now. , at least – a fairly good relationship with Jesus.

She was right… I had to change. From this point on, I will conduct myself more somberly and stop trying to find humor in an increasingly humorless and intolerant society.

But first: An old lady, a frog, Marsha Blackburn and Jesus walk into a bar…