Hangdog pessimists, White Supremacists and Evangelicals amaze me with their creativity.
No matter how far fetched the situation, they can find confirmation of their self proclaimed identity in all they see. As a grumpy old man, I have no difficulty selectively finding confirmation in what I perceive. Nevertheless, I envy the fiendish inventiveness of those others.
Looking at the media today, suddenly we find ourselves a polarized nation unable to talk to each other about immigrants, religion, cream cheese or anything else that can be politicized. This partisan diversity is an obstacle to cooperation or accomplishing any national purpose.
I may have stumbled upon a solution.
His name is Dave. That guy is America’s solution to partisanship.
I met Dave Fox while trying to write. My book was overflowing with profundity, wisdom and brilliant insight. In other words, the tome was boring and unreadable. That clutter of paper sat on my desk for years because it was too preachy and dull. In desperation, I enrolled in an online humor writing course with Udemy. That’s where I met Professor Dave. At the conclusion of the internet course, he said he was available for private online coaching. I signed up immediately.
Dave is a travel writer making his home in Viet Nam. Outside of my commuting range yes, but that country has much to offer to any writer who enjoys delicious rice, spring rolls and beef pho. Saigon offers reasonable rent plus a feast for writers ferreting out exotic travel stories, expat comedy and mysteries of exotic Asia.
While living there, Dave also supplements his daily rice by using the miracle of Skype and internet data transfer. The web permits him extra income as a writing instructor, conference speaker and humor coach. Electronically he can instruct as well as any local campus classroom professor. You might quibble here that a teaching an online humor writing course is different from a University tenured professor but Fox is damn good.
Dave injected life and laughter into my pedantic writing. The long distance coaching was such a success that after years spent cluttering up my desk, My book went out the door and was published and is now for sale on Amazon.
Dave’s online humor was instructive, but he did something more important. At no additional cost, he also presented me with a priceless filter for viewing my daily life.
Humorous people are less annoying at parties, but otherwise no different than the evangelists, supremacists and Trumpkins. Using the same selective perception, it is possible to view your day to day routine through “humor colored glasses”. We all select the glasses through which we view the world. They could be glasses with a religious tint, curmudgeon coloring or right/left bias. Likewise, Dave taught me that every situation that comes into view can be twisted into comedy.
For example, Dave’s daily commute to work involves a walk down Bui Vien Street, in Saigon. Mixed in among the crowd on the street, he recently encountered a small street urchin in the form of a free ranging chicken. Not much comedy in that…except the hungry bird started following Dave, looking for a hand-out. Ever anxious to please, Dave looked what he could offer. All he came up with was a chicken sandwich.
When I first read this funny story and began to wonder if there were possibly some humor to be found in my own beep-and-creep gridlock. While I’m still looking, I find Dave is writing an entire book about observations on his one street.
Dave has a recipe for turning mundane observations into comedy including:
*There must be a set up followed by a punch line.
* The situation must be seen as silly putty that can be stretched and stretched beyond absurdity. Fox learned this from humor writer Bill Stainton
* For every tedious observation you come across, there has to be some bizarre analogy or wacky metaphor.
There are worse outlooks with which to begin your day. One of my hangdog friends reads three newspapers daily and announces with proud satisfaction, “There’s nothing going on in the whole world that pleases me.” With any encouragement, he can offer a litany of examples. Nobody wants to be in the same room let alone encourage him.
By contrast, smiling Humor Guys have more chuckles. Their annoyances and confrontations are all made more bearable by the ability to seek humor. Unlike Mr. Hangdog, you seek out and wish to communicate with Funny Guy. A well chosen punch line can obliterate a potential conflict and get us back to conversing.
If we did live in a world without exasperation-maybe like a Garden of Eden, we could get by without punch lines, over the top exaggeration and bizarre analogies.
It would be a boring world, but we could do it. But while waiting for that perfect time, I will seek my redemption through humor. Welcome to “The Congregation of Dave”.
If you’d like to learn more about Dave Fox visit his website “Dave Fox’s Globejotting”.
And as a special offer to my loyal readers, you can take his humor course for a special discount here.