Ok Ok Okay – things have gotten dour in this blog. So sorry! Dour is relentlessly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance. Tell me about it, you say! I have been reading this stuff. The synonyms will make you weep: unsmiling, unfriendly, frowning, poker-faced, severe, forbidding, morose, sour, gruff, surly, uncommunicative, grim, gloomy, dismal, sullen, somber, grave, sober, serious, solemn, austere, mean-looking, stony, unsympathetic, disapproving. The antonyms are cheerful and friendly. So I shall abandon, temporarily, my morose, sour, surly serious and solemn, stony ways and again become cheerful and friendly – for a little while anyway. Then back to my serious, scientific forbidding and poker-faced personality. I am multiple faceted More about that later.
But it is again The New Yorker that is going to rescue you. Who could not adore Larry David – all this humor, his famed comedy show – all this and he can write too. Her are some excerpts:
“Not sure how much time should be given to my standup years, but I’ve thought of a few stories that might be worth mentioning. There was one night at the Improv when I made a woman sitting in the front row laugh so hard that she went into convulsions and eventually lost consciousness. An ambulance had to be called, and she was taken to Roosevelt Hospital. It was touch and go there for a while, but thankfully she pulled through. I visited her the next day with the best bouquet of flowers that New York had to offer and humbly stood by while she told the nurse how “damn funny” I was. Pretty embarrassing, but what choice did I have?
From that point on, everyone started calling me Killer. People came to the club in droves, asking if Killer was going on. It wasn’t bad for my social life, either. No sooner would I finish a set than there would be half a dozen women at the bar, trying to talk to me. “Kill me! Kill me!” they would pant. I would choose two and off we’d go. One particular night, the husbands showed up. (I had no idea they were married—swear to God!) Fortunately, my father taught me how to box when I was a kid, and there’s no doubt I could’ve turned professional if comedy hadn’t called me. In any case, I was not to be trifled with. I calmly explained this to both husbands, but they were not impressed. Two minutes later, they were lying flat out on the sidewalk, whereupon their wives and I hopped into a cab and I did another set across town. When it was over, I bought a round of drinks for everyone, even though I didn’t have a penny to my name. (Interesting stuff, right? Hope it’s useful. Either way, I’m good—your call.)”
Then Larry continues on with another of his careers, being a tour guide at Central Park Zoo. This is, hilariously funny as well.
There wasn’t much money to be made in standup back then, so I supported my fledgling comedy career by working as a tour guide at the Central Park Zoo during the day. I’ve always had a deep connection with animals and I thought that would be the perfect job for me.
And it was, until some kid was admiring the polar bear and decided to jump the railing to get a closer look. I was in the middle of giving a tour when I heard screams coming from the kid’s parents and raced over there. The boy was on the ground in a state of shock, as the polar bear hovered over him, about to attack. As luck would have it, a few months prior I’d attended a lecture at the New School by one of the world’s foremost Ursus authorities, Dr. Meyer Dusenberry, who explained that if we were ever face to face with a bear we should create a cacophony. Without a second to lose, I grabbed the lid of a hot-dog pot from a nearby Sabrett’s cart, leaped over the fence, and frantically rattled the lid against the bars until the bear retreated. Then I slung the kid over my shoulder in a fireman’s carry (learned from my years as a volunteer with the F.D.N.Y.) and returned the youngster to his grateful parents. They offered me a huge reward, but I declined, saying that my reward was seeing their happy faces. No amount of money in the world could top that!”
But another article stemming from my favorite source is even better and funnier. It is entitled If I Went to Law School, According to My Mom, written by Johnathan Appel. Now this I find this most funny because I went to law school (and even graduated) but am sure that this will also tickle your funny bone.
This is how it begins. “ I graduate at the top of my class at Harvard Law School. Afterward, the university’s president shuts down the school, since its mission of educating the best legal mind has been fulfilled.”
But it continues on in high hilarity.
“I get a summer internship clerking for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s so inspired by meeting me that she lives for another hundred years.
Ten seconds after graduating, I’m offered a job at the A.C.L.U. My salary is raised to what it would be if I worked at a high-powered corporate law firm because I always make strong eye contact when I shake someone’s hand.”
How did Appel ever think of all of this, it goes on.
“I marry a woman, named Sarah or Rebecca, who is Jewish, like my mom and me. Even though we are happy together, Rebecca or Sarah understands that my true loves are justice and reading insightful newsletters that my mom sends me.
During my first court case, the opposing lawyer just gives up after hearing how moving my sixth-grade portrayal of Orphan No. 4 in “Oliver Twist” was.
I lose my second court case because every good lawyer faces setbacks. But it turns out that the judge was actually taking bribes from the defendant, who is also the son of the District Attorney, which isn’t really fair at all.
During my third case, I put both the crooked judge and the crooked defendant in jail because of a great law idea that my mom texted me the night before.
Every time I object, it’s sustained.”
Some of these funnies can only be appreciated thoroughly by lawyers but non lawyers can appreciate less than thoroughly.
“Members of my extended family tell all their friends about my accomplishments and how my mother raised me perfectly. They never talk about my cousin the architect.
I do so well on pro-bono cases that my clients always insist on paying me and can miraculously afford to do so.
I work on hundreds of cases every day. My brain is more powerful than any other brain because I exercise for fifteen minutes every morning.
I argue all of the most important Supreme Court civil-rights cases. Even though I’m a straight, white, cisgender man, everyone agrees that I’m the best person to handle them.
When I present my closing arguments, the judges always scream, “yes, exactly, thank you!”
Appel continues to excel.
“I become a senator, a Supreme Court Justice, and the President of the United States—all at the same time. The Constitution allows for that now; the country amended it because I’m so polite, dress extra nicely, and send prompt thank-you notes after interviews.
I die peacefully in my sleep at a hundred and seven years old, surrounded by my loving family. As I look back on my long and successful life, my final words are “I’m so grateful that my mom told me not to pursue comedy, an unrealistic and fanciful career choice.”
Please read this in its entirety – it can be found at: https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/if-i-went-to-law-school-according-to-my-mom?utm_source=onsite-share&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=the-new-yorker
Life continues in self-imposed isolation. I do remember that during the pandemic when I was holed up in a small apartment in San Francisco I wrote:
Me: I feel like I am in solitary confinement for a crime I did not commit.
This feels entirely different for so many reasons. Oh so many reasons. Well, for one thing, there was no room service in my tiny San Francisco apartment. The apartment overlooked a horribly busy street. There were dogs all over the place being walked by crazy looking people. Here there are no dogs. The view is of palm trees, grass, a turquoise ocean, a swimming pool etc. etc. etc. I am alone at the moment out of choice – not compulsion.
And besides, I do not feel that I am alone. I now have Allah – did not have him then. Photograph is of my view. It is a busy day here, people with their kids frolicking about. Not me – I am not one of them, in so many ways,
I did mention tickle one’s funny bone. Here is what it means: tickle (one’s) funny bone To make one laugh; to be humorous or amusing to one. Did you know this? “But your funny bone isn’t actually a bone at all. Running down the inside part of your elbow is a nerve called the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve lets your brain know about feelings in your fourth and fifth fingers.” Why is this ‘funny bone’ so sensitive? “When your elbow is extended, this area is protected, but, if the elbow is bent, it opens up this sensitive area. When you hit that groove, you’re actually pinching the nerve, which is why you experience moderate discomfort and a tingling feeling down the arm.”
I do occasionally wonder what you all would do without me. I make you laugh, give you up to the date information about the virus, give you some anatomy lessons, tell you about vaccinated Canadians. AND you get it for nothing.