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Texas ISD School Guide
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Humor - Unintentional Humor
By:Michael Russell

It's one thing to laugh at something that's meant to be funny. After all, that's what joke writers, cartoonists, sitcom writers and the like want us to do. If we don't laugh at their material then they haven't done their job and most likely won't keep it for very long. The list of sitcoms that have lasted just a few episodes is a mile long. The number of comic strips that have seen one printing can be measured in light years. And the number of joke writers who never got out of playing the local dives...Well, you get the picture.

But what about laughing at things that aren't supposed to be funny? Let's face it. Everyday in our own lives we run into a situation that is funnier than anything you've ever seen prewritten. Where do you think joke writers and cartoonists get their material from? As hard, sad and tragic as life can too often be, it is also many times just rip roaring hysterical.

Need some real life examples that you can probably relate to?

What about when you go to the supermarket, give the checkout girl your courtesy card (that thing that lets you get stuff at discount prices) and suddenly the scanner starts going crazy? It beeps and it beeps and it beeps. It doesn't stop beeping and she can't figure out how to make it stop. So she goes running around the store to look for a manager to help her figure it out. Finally he arrives and starts working on the scanner. But he can't get it to stop either. Suddenly you start to notice that every employee within hearing distance of this non stop beeping is standing around waiting to see if the scanner can get fixed. That's when the girl and the manager realize that all that was needed was to press the reset button on the register itself. It's done, they stand, stare and laugh. And you can't help but laughing with them. If this has never happened to you, just take a trip to one of those no frills supermarket chains.

What about when you're at an auto dealer looking for a new car? You've found one that you like and the manager tells one of the prep boys to bring it around back. Just at that same moment, another prep boy is pulling a car around back for another customer. Each car is being backed up into the lot. And sure enough, you see it coming, the two cars are heading right for each other in reverse with neither prep boy aware of the other one in his rear view mirror. Wham! The manager and the owner may not be laughing but it's all you can do not to bust out in hysterics.

Unfortunately, sometimes humorous things happen at the worst times. Like an outdoor funeral where mourners are following along with the service holding the handouts that were given to them at the church. Suddenly there is a strong wind and you're stuck deciding between hanging onto your hat or trying to hang onto the little booklet when suddenly you start seeing pages of liturgy blowing into the wind. It's not funny, but it's funny.

The truth is, life can be very funny. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Not with all the pain and sadness that goes along with it.

Michael Russell

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