Every time I'd prepare a piece for Lip Service in Miami, I was convinced it was funny. My partner, Andrea, would disagree.
I'd be, like, "The ATF comes while we're watching Cops on TV! And we're all on drugs, so we're already paranoid. That's funny!"
And she'd be, like, "No, Joe, that's not funny. That's just sad. Your stories aren't funny. They're sad. They're good, well written, and all that. But they're really fucking sad."
So I'm searching for The Funny. A friend of mine is putting together an anthology for a major publisher. He's a good friend of mine, a former professor. He asked me to give him something. Publication is Nicollette Sheridan and I am John Cusack. A Sure Thing. All I need are 750 funny words.
And I got shit.
It's fucked up, because I consider myself a funny guy. I mean, hanging with friends, I'm a funny guy. The other day, my friend (and personal trainer), Adam, and I went and got Korean food, and when I told him the story of how, when I was a teenager, I used to like to pull along side really old people at traffic lights, and then put my car in reverse and slowly roll back, until the old person would see me out of the corner of their eyes and frantically step on their brakes, I thought Adam was going to pass out he was laughing so hard. But maybe that's more "mean" than "funny." And I do pay Adam to hang out with me.
I don't get it. I have funny stories. I know funny people and funny situations.
The other day at the housewarming, my buddy Tom Pitts and I were reminiscing about when we were junkies, and there was this gimpy guy Gavin we hung out with. Gavin had screws in his neck and a stroke had left him partially paralyzed...
I guess you had to be there.
So I sent this professor my story, "Chuckles." It's on this blog, but for those of you too lazy to search it, it's about a fat kid whose puppy gets run over when some pretty girls are making fun of him. I mean, I remember when this guy in rehab, Russel (whose Hep C was so advanced his liver suspended over his belt like a stiff, overinflated beach ball), and I thought up the plot for that story, smoking cigarettes in the middle of an AA meeting, we were damn near rolling off the picnic tables.
My professor wrote back that he found the story more "tragic," and that only a "ghoul" could find it funny.
Come to think of it, maybe it's all just tragic.
My life, my work, my addiction, my near suicides, my divorces, my motorcycle accident, my parents' dying, all of it tragic.
And maybe that's why I laugh. Y'know, so I don't cry.
Holy shit that's depressing.