Scary Funny

He wore a god damn yellow bow tie.

He spoke in tones that swooped low before looping high in the air. He seemed to always hiccup and swallow giggles. The  Mad Hatter.  Cheerful Circus Freak. Clumsy. Goofy. His voice was a rollercoaster swerving wildly in directions that made you nervous laugh from the adventure and imminent death of it all.

He frequented arcades. This was a tidbit we did not care to know but learned through his incredibly detailed accounts of how many high-scores he busted through and the precisely mathematical timing one needed to hit every single plastic gofer that dare pop its head from its plastic hole of a home.

High-fives, two-handed thumbs-up, and cross-eyed-side-tongued-smiley facial expressions were his signature moves.

He called us “dudes”.

He was my home-room teacher.

    He made up songs about inanimate objects, worked daily on creating the world’s biggest rubber band ball, and taught me absolutely nothing about most things. His chalkboard doodles were incredibly ornate comics based on geography or arcade games or algebra or arcade games or adverbs or other comics.  I entered into junior high convinced that I must have absorbed all the important knowledge in fifth grade. We must really spend the next 6 years just hanging out, “chillin’ ” as my new, laid-back educational guardian would say. This was the awesome secret kept from you until you are of age, like where to find and buy a set of boobies to fill your training bra or what magical ingredient in beer made the cool high schoolers so darn cool at parties. So I relaxed, adapted to this new, bad-ass life of a sixth grader, stopped doing homework, and started perfecting my thumb-wrestling skills. A few short weeks into this most awesome school year, I’d beaten nearly every boy in class with a thumb-to-index-finger hook from which they could not wrangle free. I’d forgotten every grammar correction my well-spoken mama had ever offered, speaking instead like a pig-tailed surfer with a gnarly case of the giggles, dude. School was fun in that it wasn’t really school at all. School was high-fives and jokes, extra-long recess and a never-ending fountain of “free days”. School was as serious as that god damn yellow bow tie.

     One, overcast morning went and changed all that. Our lively instructor, Leader of The Good Times, entered the classroom a short-faced shell of his former, ruckus-n-rock-&-roll self.  He needn’t set his sunny bow tie aflame or illustrate this scenario via chalk-outlined frowney faces. The sudden stern clamping down of his jaw, the depressed thump of his bag sloppily onto his desk, the painfully sharp lack of “righteous, dude!”s wafting past high-fives through the sterile air.  Were his high-scores stomped at Skee Ball? Lost his front row seat at the comic convention? Did his mom finally kick him out of the basement? Two dozen kids and not a one of us knew which direction to question. We only knew this answer: Yesterday is gone. Today, we are all one Thumb War or spit ball away from eternal detention, public-educated damnation. Whatever happened to our happy-go-lucky teacher made his happy go sad.

The next day, he beamed high-wattage smiles onto us. We were still shivering in slots behind our desks. He’d worked through the mystery issue and flowed fluidly back into the spirit of “Life is good. Let’s play games!”. But we didn’t trust that yellow bow tie anymore. In fact, that’s when it became the “god damn yellow bow tie”, a symbol of deceit in neckwear form. We stared from under  his giant hand, more threatened than super psyched to feel the sting of his ultra peppy high-fives. His voice, once sweet and thrilling and brimming with adventure now seemed the soundtrack to an unstable lunatic. Two dozen kids and not a one of us cared to look up at his Spider Man work of chalk art. And this? This shunning? This fear of the formerly loved? This was my 6th grade teacher’s one bad day.

     All of this to say that, darlings, there is nothing scarier than when the good ones turn bad, the dependable ones turn wild, the  funny ones stop smiling. We can accept the iron-ruled teacher who lays down the law before she’s even learned your name.  A strange part of us enjoys when enemies remind us that they really do hate us. I like my tragedy to happen as scheduled.  There is comfort in knowing what you’re getting, who you’re dealing with, where things are headed. There is comfort in this consistency of shittiness even if it’s, well, shitty. It is the soul-punching disturbance of seeing a nun flip you the bird. It could have been yours truly, letting the funk fly out of my mouth after a couple of pretty dreadful weeks.

   With a sudden death of a loved one, familial drama, and a slew of other crotch kicks from the Universe,  I had no funny to give you. I had conflict, I had stress, I had the distinct understanding that I was one minute away from ripping off my proverbial bow tie and drawing some kind of awful, awful nightmare across the more proverbial chalkboard.  I was one minute away from taking your impression of me and adding a dash of “She’s probably killed innocent kittens a time or two” into the mix. With that most frightening 6th grade experience still so clear, I knew that calling in sick, leaving a classroom or  comment section of heathens unattended was the very  best alternative. You could thumb wrestle and braid each other’s hair and not learn a thing about a thing. I could keep the scary side of a funny girl without her funny under wraps. There was a jaw so tightly clenched it could crush a Mack truck. There was the sloppy tossing of dishes into the sink that wreaked of a depressing lack of motivation. There was the twinkle in my eye displaced and in its place a mean squint ready to bitch slap every ray of sunshine or precious anything that skipped past my line of sight. If we’re getting really honest I might have tried to fashion a nun’s habit from black bath towels and spent the majority of an afternoon waiving my middle finger angrily at my dog. Clearly, the ugliness was there, but God bless the classroom of bloggers who never had to see it.

   I am back from a bout of, let’s say, the flu. It took a beer, thirty-one rounds of game rigging at the local Chuck E. Cheese, and a series of fortunate events to heal me. So, this week I plan on placing the funk firmly behind me, tightening up that god damn yellow bow tie, and sharing with you just exactly how to find your lost ha-ha. Seriously, dudes, it’s gonna be more righteous than a world record Skee Ball victory.

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35 thoughts on “Scary Funny

  1. Here I was blaming it on ‘bridal brain’ when you were under the weather. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell, so close to your big day………..or, is it the impact of the various bachelorette parties, catching up with you? I hope that is the cause, rather than nasty bugs.

    I am in Nashville Wed – Fri next week.

    • That’s the kicker. I’m not sick. Just in a funky bad mood. Good news is, beer and an attitude adjustment can totally fix that! Also? POOOOOT! I’ll be in town next Saturday for the big bachelorette party! Any chance you stay an extra night? I know two strippers and a few bartenders who would love to meet you!

  2. I was just afraid you might have ended up in the hospital again for reasons unknown. Glad to hear your mojo is on its way back – but feel free to leave the yellow bow tie behind.

    • I realized at some point last week that the last time I vanished from the blogosphere it was for some serious death virus. Probably shouldn’t leave you guys hanging with thoughts like that! I am back… funk free.. but definitely WITH the bowtie. It brings out the dufus in my eyes :)

  3. Sometimes you can paint the crap in life a yellow as cheery as a chipper, yellow bow-tie, and sometimes it’s such a big, steamy pile of ugly brown that there’s no disguising it. It’s a dilemma – when to let the real-life crap show through on a humor blog.

    I’m glad things are looking up for you, Tori.

  4. Whoohoo your back! I was worried you were overwhelmed by all the wedding stuff! Its super close now and I’m getting anxious can’t wait till the lil big day!

    • Oh girl, the wedding stuff has actually been the fun part of my life lately. No nerves here. Probably because we did the whole love child and shared bank accounts thing already. Pretty much this is just one really fancy dinner party without the scary life changes most brides are worried about. I am so excited to see you guys soon!

  5. Like Peg said, it’s hard to know what to show about your life and when. And it’s times like these when maybe stepping away from the blog will do ya some good. I’ve certainly missed you, but can understand what happens when you’ve been suddenly consumed in some giant shitstorm and can’t find your way back to ha ha-land. I’m glad you made it back.

    • It’s tricky for sure. My instinct is to share everything. I don’t have a filter… or social decency…or a problem looking like a dufus. BUT I get a little worried about being unfair to people. A majority of the people I know know me as funny or at the very least happy. It seems a little unfair to shock and awe them with the ugly, foul-mouthed, bird-flipping version without warning!

  6. Oh, Tori, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been sick again. Listen, you need to get well, my friend. Seems we have a BIG wedding fast-approaching–and we can’t wait. Totally can not wait! It’s gonna be a great evening, and you are gonna be a gorgeous bride.

    Sara and I are preparing to be well-belled! Can’t wait to see you!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Kathy,
      I am so excited I can hardly stand it, and cannot believe how lucky I am to have you and Sara there (in all your well-belled glory)! It will be an awesome night!

  7. Darlin’, do you read my blog? ;-) We are complicated creatures. I decided a while back that it’s okay to show that… so sometimes I unleash something decidedly not-funny on what most people have come to see as a generally humorous blog. My point is this: if you don’t want to write because you’re not feeling it, that’s completely okay. But if you don’t want to write because you’re afraid of what your readers will think of you afterward? You’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ll all stick around. We’re all human. I’m sorry you suffered. And I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  8. Much to the dismay of my blog followers, I often show them my sappy, sad, soul-less, bitchy, complicated self. Usually only one or two (a day) drop me like an ugly blind date…

    Glad to know you’re on the upswing, I think a lot of us could use some help finding our lost ha-ha.

  9. righteous, dude.
    you can write. seriously. i’d read your writing about anything.
    and can you please teach me how to rig games at Chuck E Cheese?

    • Thanks, lady. Coming from you that is a big, fat, wonderful compliment! And the games? Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered rigging them yet. My 5-year-old niece, however? Total champ. She uses several bullying, electrical short circuiting, and pouting tactics to dominate the arcade. She’s still got me in training :)

  10. Within just reading the first line, i was convinced that a) you’d already gotten married (thus ensuring that I failed miserably in the timing of airmailing myself cross-landmass to surprise the hell out of you when I leapt from under a pile of barbequed short ribs during the best man’s speech), and b) your husband wore a yellow bowtie to that wedding. Clearly I need to make fewer jump-to-conclusions assumptions.
    Hope you’re feeling less funk and more funky (in the best sense of the term) as all the planning comes together into bachelorettes and a big party entirely dedicated to you… and that guy you hang out with sometimes… but mostly you. :)

    • Hahaha. I didn’t even think of putting the Mr. in a bowtie, but now that you mentioned it, I just might! The wedding plans are surprisingly fun. I’ve actually caught myself enjoying the crafts and girly stuff! I am definitely feeling more of the good funky this week :)

  11. I absolutely loved this post. It was beautifully written, but also struck a chord with me on a personal level. As Darla and Peg said, it’s so hard to know how much of the ‘dark’ side to show when things are supposed to be light in a humor blog. In over a year, I’ve only put up one serious post (and I still wonder if it was the right move! I could tell some people just didn’t know how to respond).

    I’m glad you’re feeling totally righteous again. Thank god for beer. ;)

    • The Father, The Son, and The Holy Hops, for sure. I’m glad you can relate… or, wait. I hate that you can relate. That means you’ve fallen in the funny girl funk, too. Either way, you totally get it. That blank stare, loud silence from the audience when you stop cracking jokes and start shooting fireballs with your eyes never feels great!

  12. I’m really not sure what I’d do without beer.
    I can’t believe your big day is approaching – so looking forward to hearing all about it. Until then, there are bound to be more highs (and perhaps lows) than usual. But what would be stranger still is if you didn’t have those lows at all – then I would be concerned!

  13. Pingback: Why Blogging Is Like Dating & I’m The Crazy Girlfriend You Never Wanted « the ramblings

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