Becky Says...

June 2002

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June 19

Sometimes, in the middle of being my serious self, I miss that someone has made a joke. This most often happens when someone presents one in written form.

Sometimes it's because I don't know the other person's sense of humor very well. Sometimes it's an "in-joke" that goes over my head. Sometimes it's that the joke hits too close to the truth of the situation. Sometimes the subject doesn't strike me as being funny, so I think any comment on it is meant as a serious one.

I imagine at least two of my friends get tired of my thinking they're being serious when they aren't. But in my defense, I've never gotten angry at either of them for things that were supposed to be jokes. I have, occasionally, made sympathetic remarks or offered helpful advice!

On the flip side of that, because some people tend to think of me as serious a hundred percent of the time, sometimes jokes that I make are taken all too seriously. One that backfired on me a few years ago involved a friend who had a new boyfriend. New boyfriend was Jewish, and my friend was studying Arabic.

I asked, in a note congratulating my friend on the new relationship, "If (boyfriend's name) is Jewish, what on earth are you doing studying Arabic?" And my friend took me seriously. I got back a very thoughtful response on Semitic languages and why my friend was studying this one in particular.

I learned so much about the subject from that I decided to refrain from announcing that my question was meant as a joke.

Text © copyright 2000-2002 Becky