Growing up in Minnesota, among stern Germans and silent Scandinavians, humor was a bit hard to come by. But then, living where winter is more than half the calendar year can do that – when the sun sets at four in the afternoon and doesn’t reappear until eight the following morning.
I need to develop my sense of humor by seeing the lighter side of things. Incorporating it into my writing can have the benefit of holding my reader’s attention – taking them somewhere they didn’t expect to go. And the smile, the giggle, the surprise makes them remember the funny side and then telling their friends – the best form of cheap advertising.
So I have been fine-tuning my humor receptors so that I see irony, paradox, metaphors – all forms of humor, in surprising places: everyday life.
Some recent examples:
- An advertisement on this morning’s episode of NPR’s Car Talk where Tom and Ray (alias Click and Clack) were selling “Gluten-free Crank Case Oil.”
- Yesterday at my local grocery store seeing “Cholesterol Free” stickers on bunches of fresh bananas.
- A sign posted on a local restaurant stating “We have menus in braille.”
- But the best is an article from a recent WSJ article relating the number of walkers on city streets who are so absorbed in texting on cell phones, they walk into traffic resulting in sprains, dislocated joints, broken bones, even fatalities. And the ultimate irony is that the Germans now have a word for it: “Smombie” – a combination of smartphone and zombie. And the Swedish now have road signs warning drivers about texting pedestrians. Meanwhile, psychologists note a new phenomenon: FOMO (fear of missing out) which apparently has become a modern day obsession. Sounds like Congress better hold some hearings and the White House dash off some regulations that get this serious danger under control.