By Buddy Early, September 2020 Issue.
When I started writing this column a few years ago, I told the then-editor I wanted it to be light, positive, and uplifting. I also said I wanted it to reflect my own brand of humor. I was cruising along with that intent just fine for quite some time, too. But then somewhere along the way I ran out of things to be light and humorous about.
Donald Trump and the mouth-breathing sycophants who adore him have drained me of my sense of humor. Since the 2016 election it has been a struggle to find things to laugh about. That’s why it is so important to turn things around in November. Sure, this election provides us with the chance to push back against the corruption, abuse of power, idiocy, racism, sexism, intolerance and daily buffoonery; but it’s also the chance for me to get my sense of humor back.
If you’re wondering why a temporary loss of my funny bone is stressing me out so much, it’s because it’s one of the few things I have. Or had. For the most part I have made friends in school (and in adulthood) because of my sense of humor. In college I fell into a deviant crowd — one that performed sketch and improvisational comedy. After college I got to play with our local ComedySportz team, followed by nearly a decade of making people laugh — or cringe — through murder mystery theater. I have always loved making audiences laugh. Making people laugh. Off stage, I was often referred to as so-and-so’s funny friend (who helped facilitate the hot friend getting laid). That’s been my legacy.
I’m worried it’s all gone. Thanks, Trump!
The truth is all the things I have excelled at, all my skills, talents, abilities – they’re purely intellectual: comedy, communication, language, conversation, interpretation, debate. I’ve gotten by in life on those things. Need me to write or “punch up” a speech you’re working on? No problem. Need me to proofread your short story? Absolutely. Need to me to get involved in a social media debate and eviscerate your flat-Earther cousin with my wit, five-dollar words and command of complex sentence structure? Done.
Please don’t mistake this for bragging. On the contrary, I’m trying to convey that, well … this is all I have going for me.
• I’ve never been able to change the oil in my car or install a new battery by myself. And if you held a gun to my head I could probably change a flat tire. But please don’t do that.
• I’ve relied on others to connect my cable and internet anytime that’s required. When setting up a home office earlier this year I managed to transport my entire workstation as-is. I simply unplugged it at the office … then plugged it into the wall at home. Having to connect all those wires and cables myself would have led to me being out of a job.
• While on the topic of electronics, I use my smartphone for about six percent of the things it is actually designed to do. I remain suspicious of the “cloud” and something called “Airdrop.” I miss flip phones. Better yet, I miss landlines.
• I often purchase floor models of furniture to avoid having to assemble anything. If you put Ikea instructions in front of me they might as well be in Japanese, and I understand sometimes they are in Japanese but I’m talking about the English instructions.
• When something breaks, my first action is to see how expensive it is to replace it rather than fix it. I’ve purchased a few laptops for that very reason.
• I’m pretty sure all the artwork hanging in my home is crooked.
• I ordered a belt online in June and it continued to confound me for weeks. I finally figured out how it actually functions prior to filing this column, so I’m going to throw that one into the win column.
Still, I can’t expect to be able to make sense of every belt that comes along. There will be more confounding belts, more electric razors that don’t do shit because I’m not using them correctly, and more state-of-the-art washing machines with too many confusing settings. I will never escape the reality of my existence: I am deficient of basic skills.
I’m left with my intellectualism and, let’s face it, intellectualism is not appealing without some humor sprinkled in. Nobody wants to hang out with a guy who takes everything so seriously and doesn’t make them laugh. I have become that guy. America did this to me.
So hear my plea. Run, walk, crawl to the polls on November 3. It is so incredibly important that we return this country to a path of sanity. In doing so, there’s a 98 percent chance I will get my sense of humor back. If not for the other myriad of reasons to send Trump packing that have been catalogued, do it for me and my funny bone.
This was worth a shot.