Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 N.E.R.D. “Laugh About It”
 Fats Waller “Your Feet’s Too Big”
 The Commodores “Slippery When Wet”
 Del Shannon “Runaway”
noun: playfully quaint or fanciful behaviour or humour.
Wherever would we be without good old whimsy? Of all my most priceless commodities, it is my sense of humor that I hold dearest. The ability to raise a smile, snigger, or undisguisable guffaw is something I will never be culpable of taking for granted and my number one form of communication. Indeed I have previously released pieces such as The Laughter Tonic and Funny Side to offer rationalization for my constant desire to entertain and shoehorn humor into my work at every available opportunity as I love nothing more than fondling those happy pheromones. This can range from deadpan, jet black, self-effacing (my personal darling) and, when the mood hits me or the stars are all off-kilter, downright goofball. I’m actually not overly enamored with spoof but, if correctly cooked, will be as happy as a pig in Waitrose to disregard every miss in favor of soaking up those infrequent bullseye moments. Should this mean courting the plain ridiculous, then that is where the clown shoes come in handy, and I’ll even put them on the wrong feet if it encourages an additional snort from the audience.
You see, what I deal in is mucus. I know right? That would mean I’m only ever one handkerchief away from defunct in my lifetime vocation. Please allow me to elaborate, no really, I beg of you. I’m speaking of snot bubbles (not really helping my cause perhaps), the kind that stretch taut before exploding in our stupid grinning faces. From what I have discerned and extensive market research, it would appear that the snort holds all the cards for those looking to bag themselves a little ad hoc ooze and that’s why I place so much emphasis on the punchline. When I was being prepared for school every morning, my mother would always ensure that my GSOH was packed prior to departure. Then, the very moment her back was turned, pops would replace it with a squirty flower and busted bicycle horn before sending me on my merry way. The rest just fell into place once I learned my spot on the social food chain. Others seemed to accept me most when I was playing the role of court jester and, with my popularity stuttering between nonentity and punching bag, I fell into formation more than willingly.
It turned out that I had something of a knack for making others laugh and this equated to true purpose in my book so I even threw in a pair of jazz hands with minds of their very own just to keep my act edgy and unpredictable. Of course, the thing about humor is that it is entirely subjective, and you have to get a handle on your audience before commencing your pitch to their funny bones. Some like it hot, others sandpaper dry, and the only bona fide given is that you can’t please everybody all of the time, no matter how rigorous your exertions. As for the flat-out preposterous, well I’d much rather bust a solitary gut to raising a dozen polite smiles and, chances are, I’d be rolling in the aisles alongside my spotter before the first snot bubbles could form in their nostrils, raising them two of my own in the process. It’s the inner child in me and, while he has strived hard to remain incognito since puberty made its tardy appearance, I’ve got the little bugger’s number on speed dial and enjoy nothing more than calling him, making farting noises with my armpit sweat, and hanging up before the secretion dries into a permanent face pack.
Needless to say, when your imagination is as prone to unannounced walkabout as mine, the scope is fairly vast for shenanigans of the most hare-brained variety. Such wanderlust cannot be ignored, what battery hen in its right mind wouldn’t peck your knuckles clean off for a shot at going free range? It ultimately works in your favor anyhoots as, once said poultry returns from its roaming, the likeliness is that it will need to take a dump and that means freshly laid eggs my feathered friends. The hen is content, it’s omelettes all round and, unless I’m sorely mistaken, that means everyone wins. Being labelled a goofball isn’t all that diabolical when you think about it; look at Leslie Nielsen and the amount of guilty pleasure he donated to the cause of not being so goddamn glum. Steve Martin may have gleaned many a kick from setting the bar low in his heyday but, seriously, have you heard that dude play the banjo? Solid gold I tell you. You see, it’s not a way of life, merely personal choice, and it takes more than one facet to define us.
Thankfully one of my key strengths has always been my ability to adapt to different personalities and scenarios. Bursting into the Vatican vestry in just a diaper and odd socks before reciting the words to I’m a Little Teapot in piercing falsetto is unlikely to win me any friends and far more probable to land me in the dock where I will anxiously await a flurry of kidney punches from the cardinal of the day. If I’m out of my depth, then the playful algae tickling my underarms tend to be a dead giveaway and I adjust my performance accordingly. I don’t know, the lengths we go to for a chortle right? That said, there are certain comedians on the circuit, some of whom make a rather tidy living, who opt for remaining in character 100% of the time and this happens to be a personal bugbear of mine. I shall name no names (okay – Keith Lemon – you dragged one out of me) but I find it immensely aggravating when no sort of balance can be struck whatsoever. You have to pick and choose your moments, or else, the dreaded “novelty act” title will be brandished and folk will eventually lose interest. I’ve got plenty of pairs of shoes in my closet and not all of them are size twenty-six so I break them out for special occasions and spend the rest of my time blending in with the norms.
I don’t mean to treat my ridiculousness like some dirty little secret but have heard that straitjackets can restrict the oxygen to your lungs and mine currently need all the air time they can muster as they resemble a couple of oversized charcoal prunes. My beloved grandmother once taught me “everything in moderation” and I took that advice very seriously indeed, in moderation of course. I guess this is why I place so much emphasis on varying my output, appealing to those from all different walks of life, and ensuring that none are left unrepresented. “Jack of all trades, master of none” seems to be the go-to figure of speech and I’m not arguing the toss against it making a dash of sense. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t commit fully to each in turn and mastery needn’t be the be all and end all, when better than average has such a quaint ring to it. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy an animate octopus from time to time? Eight flailing tendrils doesn’t necessarily mean they can juggle a hacky sack but it doesn’ make it any less uproarious watching them come a constant cropper. Fuck squids in their transparent blow holes, they play their cards far too close to their chest for my liking. Octopi are where it’s at, although the word calamari does admittedly raise a grin or two for some reason.
There can be tremendous peril in embracing our whimsy too openly in environments not conducive to being a cheese ball. Public libraries are generally considered a distinct no-no, which makes the stink bomb all the more potent a weapon to pack before appearing to be hitting the books hard when you clearly aren’t. Elevators aren’t a great deal more acceptable as paranoia roams free as we travel from floor one to twelve with a gaggle of complete strangers. Throw a freckled whippersnapper on too many E-numbers into the mix and every last floor button becomes active, which is wretched news for anyone on the penthouse level as they’ll likely never see that fresh bed linen. That’s right, the maid is the first to crack, but it would be unfair to point the finger at poor Conchita when she barely earns minimum wage and, at no point, does her contract state that she is required to snuffle methane. Unless perhaps she works for the Hilton but she’s generally protected by the on-the-spot fine that comes with any impromptu sphincter unclenching. Lifestyles of the rich and famous eh?
Have I ventured off topic? How dreadfully absent-minded of me, I’d chat the hind limbs off a daddy longlegs if they weren’t so easy to dismember in the first place. Actually I prefer to consider the whole tangent thing as something of a super power. Word has it that you’re damned whether you do or don’t and it has been suggested that exercise reduces the risk of a cardiac arrest so I’d rather save everyone the paperwork and take Nike’s advice. Like a daredevil tissue in a hurry, wherever the wind carries me is fine, provided I don’t drift too close to any oscillating fans or bog myself down with snot thus rendering myself shipwrecked. Nobody wants that as a fate and there are only so many one-way conversations you can have with a moss-covered volleyball before realizing that fellatio isn’t going to be on the menu unless UPS also failed to deliver a foot pump to the correct zip code. Speaking of being all at sea without a paddle, I appear to have stumbled back across my original thread. Fret not as my stomach is beginning to rumble like Etna so this will all be over soon I pinky swear.
Anyhoots, I believe I was reeling off locales where clown shoes are not permitted, and here’s another doozy that you may not have considered. Accounts departments, there I said it. To any number crunchers amongst us, I apologize unreservedly for making such presumptions, but mathematics is no laughing matter even though Pythagoras tried his level best to liven things up some. Word to the wise Thags, if I can call you that, it just wound up confusing shit even more. Meanwhile, accountants had even less reason to break a smile and, as a result, most workplaces have placed a strict embargo on any bouts of unsolicited joy in any shape or form. It’s all in the dreaded small print. Meanwhile, it should go without saying that wakes and memorial services veer more towards frowning on anything in excess of sombre, while midway through your six-year-old’s first clarinet recital is not really the place to start screaming “look at me, I’m an octopus” as it could easily be misconstrued as a shameful attempt to steal their thunder.
You’ve got to know when to rein those tentacles in dependant on both environment and company present and I’m just glad there are no rules against being an utter boneskull on your own personal blog. Here I can thrash about freely, without fret of being forced to pay for the extortionate ming vase I just got fitted up for decimating. I like to think of it as my padded cell and the kicker is that those dumb screws forgot to tighten my straps so every arm’s a charm in my estimation. As for the whole intensive shock therapy deal, well I say “bring it beefbags!” You may think you’re rehabilitating me but all those jolts do is slacken the screws some more. I say crank it up to danger and urge you to look past the foam collecting at both sides of my maw and focus on the fact that they’re in the upright position. I’ve read the terms and conditions thoroughly and this winning smile of mine is something that I’m fully entitled to dagnabbit. You can try and relinquish it from my grill with a belt sander but you’d have to catch me first and we octopi are nothing if not slippery when wet. And that’s where the snot comes in handy. You see, there’s a shot of method in every last madness. Now please be a dear and dab away the saliva bunching in my chin dimple.