Urgent Humor, or Why I (Try To) Write Funny Stuff

Why, with the world in the shape it’s in, do I write funny stuff?

I suppose I should be angry, like so many other people these days, but I just can’t. Sure, I care about the injustices that seem to be everywhere, but I wonder about the best way to address them. That’s where the humor comes in. I see it as kind of a way to open a dialogue, and make people comfortable, and once you’ve got them involved you can start to sneak in little absurdities. If they’re creative, they make people laugh, and if they’re poignant, they make people think.

Speaking of absurdity, you might be surprised at how many of our disagreements are simply language issues.

Case in point, here’s a recent phone conversation I had with a medical center receptionist. (It’s edited for brevity.)

Me: We recently switched insurance, and I need to see a doctor. So I need to get a new primary care physician, right?

MCR: Yes, however, there’s only one doctor in your area who’s accepting new patients.

Me: Well, that’s fine.

MCR: But she doesn’t have any appointments available until August.

Me: Umm, but I need to see a doctor sooner than that.

MCR: You should go to Urgent Care.

Me: But it’s not exactly urgent. Just a neck pain.

MCR: Oh, that’s okay. Urgent Care is for things like colds and strains; it isn’t really for urgent matters.

Me: So that’s why they call it Urgent Care.

MCR: Huh?

Me: So can I just drop in at Urgent Care?

MCR: Yes, but you may have to wait an hour or two to be seen.

Me: What if it was really urgent?

MCR: You’d have to go to the emergency room of course.

Me: Why don’t they call that Urgent Care?

MCR: Then what would they call Urgent Care?

Me: How about, I Can’t Wait Three Months for an Appointment Care?

MCR: Huh?

I can’t guarantee that the MCR got my point, but at least we didn’t get in each other’s faces (metaphorically speaking), and it lessened my pain and anger to get a laugh out of the situation.

That’s one of the great things about humor, in general—it lessens the pain and anger. What pain and anger? Whatever you got.

I suppose I should tie this into my forthcoming novel. Here goes: Mr. Neutron—the book I wrote that is the motivation for this series of blogs and which is coming out in the spring of 2018—is a satire. So it’s full of pain and anger-lessening yucks that are designed to make a point.

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3 thoughts on “Urgent Humor, or Why I (Try To) Write Funny Stuff

  1. It’s gonna be hard to wait until 2018, Joe! I need a laugh right now! Somehow, the Gogol I was reading last night, while it speaks to the human condition, is a little too wry for me at the moment.

    1. Yes, I often read Gogol for humor. That’s when I can’t find any Sylvia Plath. I’ll be looking to the health care industry for more laughs, because if we don’t laugh about it, it may be hazardous to our health.

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