As Funny as a Crutch

Sometimes, I say things that crack myself up. I think I’m funny and it’s enough that I make myself laugh, I don’t have to entertain others, but feedback does help. I got to thinking about where I got my sense of humor. My family wasn’t particularly jovial or funny as evidenced by the following anecdotes.

funny one ball

My dad was a serious guy. Brooding and contemplative, he didn’t smile much. In fact, when we aimed a camera at him, we often had to cajole him into not looking like he was about to undergo surgery. One morning, when he went off to work, my sister and I cut out smiley faces and pinned them on his jacket to remind him to smile. I don’t remember him ever making a joke and his laugh seemed forced. That’s not to say he wasn’t well liked and loved. But funny he was not.

funny happy face

My mother often missed the gist of a joke. Punch lines eluded her, as did subtlety or word play. When she said to a nephew who was contemplating contact lenses, “I wonder how you’d look without glasses,” he took his glasses off and said, “Like this.” She didn’t get it. A family story we like to retell is her visit to a local store where there are animated figures singing and dancing above your head. At one stop along an aisle, there was an animated lady at a piano about to play a tune. My mom looked up and said, “Oh, miss, can you play….” When I told her she was talking to a dummy, not only didn’t she believe it, but she tried making a request again.

funny not

My sister had the strangest sense of humor of all. In high school, for Halloween, she went as the old “Maidenform bra ad.” Remember the one? You’d see a woman wearing a bra and walking into, say, a theater and the voice would say, “I dreamt I went to the opera in my Maidenform bra.” She wore a white bra on top of a black shirt… this was in 1959! Needless to say, she got thrown out of school.

funny Maidenform

At my wedding, when sisters are supposed to be supportive and helpful, she came into the room where I was waiting for the ceremony to start and whipped out my “yum-yum cover” – the security blanket I used as a child. She insisted that I take a photo with it, sucking my fingers, while wearing my bridal gown. When my daughter was a toddler, my sister insisted on pasting chocolate bars to a tree so that when my daughter woke up from a nap, she’d think that candy grew on trees! She was once reading a magazine and said, “look at that photo, it actually looks like snow; touch it.” I did and then she told me it was her dandruff she had let fall onto the picture. Ewwww!

funny mean Marcia

There’s an old saying: “Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your kids.” So where did I get my sense of humor? Perhaps from my children … they’re both very funny!


  1. Linda Levine

    I thought my Dad originated “funny as a crutch”! Haven’t heard it for 50 years!

    In my mind, the picture of your Mom in a dressy hat looking up at the “dummy” and making a song request TWICE is so funny!
    I think an aunt who put chocolate bars on a tree is just being whimsical. I know that aunt
    did more “funny” nasty things like dividing black and white cookies so Arlene always got the vanilla!

    • You got it right about the aunt! She also cut the fringes off my security blanket when I was 5. Thanks for reading.

  2. daniellecarver

    Your title reminded me of when I was talking to someone and I thought of the phrase “tight as a corset.” I don’t know if it’s really funny or not, but the guy I was talking to thought it was. 😀 My mom has the best sense of humor. My whole family does. My dad though, he’s funniest when something happens to him where he moves out of his regular grump mode into pissed off mode. I’m guilty of not getting the joke until days later, but by then, no one’s laughing at the joke and feel to sorry for me to laugh at even me.

    • I liked your comments! Thanks for reading.

    • A sense of humor is so important. Makes life more than bearable. Also an important attribute in job interviews. Wish I had one.

      • Well, if you don’t think you have one, then you’re really funny! You certainly do!


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