The sentence, ‘These aren’t the thyroids you’re looking for’ is not funny. I’m ashamed of myself for even thinking of it, my comedy card may actually be revoked because of that lame-ass gag. First off it’s a Star Wars goof, and a very low hanging fruit of a Star Wars goof at that. Secondly, it’s a joke about a gland, and there’s not a super huge market for glandular humor. A bad joke that was poorly conceived and poorly executed is what just happened here. And then I took the time to explain to you why it was a bad joke. I would describe this first paragraph here as a rousing success, really. How will I top the wondrous joke telling and eloquent comedy dissertation that’s happening right now? With bated breath you wait to see what kind of hilarity is gonna happen next, I’m sure.
In the context of this poorly conceived non-joke you’ve learned two things about me: I am a nerd (she snorts as her thick lensed glasses slip down her nose) and I use humor as my go to mode of communication. I come from a funny clan, my people are excellent joke tellers and I continue the tradition by making jokes, goofs, witty observations and puns when dealing with the outside world. I have wholeheartedly assumed my role as the bespectacled, wisecracking chubby sidekick. This is who I am and I’m glad for it.
But I do the funny not only for me, I do this for you, too. I make these jokes and do funny things with my face and voice so that you feel comfortable. I do not say this to be accusatory or anything, it’s simply how I operate. All I want in life is for you to be happy. I am happy when you are happy and I say these funny things to ensure that you’re happy and good and all is well.
When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer I decided I was going to be open with people about it. It seemed like an important thing to do, to share the experience with friends and family and have their love and support. And I’ve very much been using my well-worn cloak of comedy in dealing with this ridiculous cancer business. I want to make sure that you don’t feel uncomfortable about what is happening. Because it’s a heavy thing to discuss, most definitely, it’s not an easy topic to navigate. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or seem unsympathetic and that makes you uncomfortable. And I am aware of that and I want to make sure that you don’t feel weird about it, so I joke. I make light of the situation and you tell me what a great attitude I have about everything and how brave I am to be handling it with such a fantastic sense of humor. And I crack a joke in response to this, we laugh and we go our separate ways, you feel good after the interaction, I feel good that you feel good, but I do not feel good about the situation. I’m scared and anxious and confused and overwhelmed. But I can’t tell you that because then you wouldn’t feel good anymore, so instead I cover everything up with a big dollop of funny. I mask it all with humor. And I will continue to do this, 100% I will continue to use this coping skill throughout my days. Humor is how I navigate life and this stupid cancer episode is not going to be the worst thing that happens to me, that’s a goddamn guarantee, and when those other horrible things happen I’ll once again joke my way through. Funny things will be said in public and then in private I’ll freak out and cry and be angry and not know what to do. But so it goes, I suppose. We all have our ways of dealing with life, some get mad, some get sad and some get funny.
Having said all that, I do have to share this HILARIOUS story, because it would be a disservice not to.
Yesterday I attended a thyroid cancer support group that meets at a hospital in a suburb outside of Chicago, it’s a 30-45 minute drive so I needed an Uber ride out there. And this Uber experience…oh lawdy.
Upon entering the Uber vehicle I thought to myself, “hmm…I’m surprised this car passed the Uber inspection…” Then right out the gate my driver begins hardcore hitting on me. He also has a pretty pronounced stutter, just to make things even better. He makes a comment about how he didn’t think he would be spending his “golden” years alone, making knowing eye contact with me in the rearview mirror. He asks me if I like shrimp, I say I do, he says, “see, we got a lot in common”.
Mmmhmm, our mutual love of shellfish will surely be the spark that ignites our love. But unfortunately for my wannabe lover there was no spark in his cellphone and the thing died, leaving me to look up the directions to the hospital on my phone. Cue heavy sigh & eye roll.
He asks if I have a boyfriend, I say I do. This is a lie. Tells me he’s got 2 frozen lobster tails in his freezer that he’s been dying to share with someone. It’s silent for a few minutes, I’m looking out the window in the backseat, he says, “Girl, you so plain and pretty”.
What? Thank you?
Earlier in the car ride we did the whole, are you from Chicago, no I’m from Michigan thing, and after telling me I was plain and pretty he says, “You look like you’re from Michigan. Nice and full figured and curvy, pretty and plain and homely, but it’s nice.”
Sir, did you just call me homely? Are you hitting on me or trying to insult me? I don’t even know anymore.
We get to the destination and he parks the car instead of dropping me off. Tells me he’s going to come in with me because he has to go to the bathroom. He walks in the building with me, turns down a hallway and I hear him say, “down here, I think the bathrooms are down here”. I say nothing, quicken my pace and get away from my would-be Uber boyfriend just as fast I can.
The Uber driver I had for the ride back home was a 70 year old Filipino guy named Bob who was very nice and let it be known that he’s a very big fan of God, which was fine, he was extremely pleasant and we had a great conversation. He asked if I was a doctor. I told him I’m not a doctor but I play one on tv. We had a good laugh about that. We talked about religion and politics and language and he says to me, “You make a lot of sense. You’re very eloquent and well-spoken and you make sense. I listen to a lot of radio and nobody on there makes sense, but you make sense when you talk. You should get a radio show, I think God wants you to have a radio show.”
One night, two Uber rides, a lifetime of stories.