I was just listening to some old cassettes, and one of them has “Vincent”, by Don McLean. That triggered a memory from when I was at my first college (hi, NinjaChick!).
I was with a bunch of people. Well, four besides me. Anyway, “Vincent” was on the radio or something, and one girl said, “I knew this girl when I was in high school who heard this song for the first time, and she immediately jumped out the window, but it was only one story off the ground, so she started running and running and running, towards the highway, she was going to jump in front of a car…Well, because [some god-awful pretentious interpretive claptrap about the song] and she decided that she had to kill herself.”
I swear, my laughter was as involuntary and uncontrollable as the action of the girl in the story. (If there was such a girl, and she did do such a thing. Honestly, have you ever heard a more FOAF-ish anecdote in your whole life?) But I was the only one laughing, and of course I was looked on as insensitive and immature.
But I’m laughing right now, so either I haven’t changed, or my reaction was appropriate after all.
Anyway, when have you been the only person laughing? Or, have you ever started a chain reaction of laughter, assuming it wasn’t called for?
I was at a funeral of a friend. Several people from work were there. The congregation was supposed to be singing “Morning has broken.” The guy in front of us was singing loudly and poorly and the guy next to me leans over and says “Elmer Fudd sings Cat Stevens…” It was so wrong and of course at the wrong time, and I had to laugh.
At my grandmother’s funeral, my cousin the Baptist minister was doing the eulogy or service or whatever it is at the gravesite. He was talking about certain memories of her, one of which involved my second cousin and me when we were little kids. He was looking straight at me, and he completely forgot my name.
“Years ago, when we gathered at her house for Christmas Eve, little Tiffany and… and… uh…” The poor guy just kept stammering and staring at me, for at least a full minute. Not a clue what my name was, despite having known me my entire life. My sister and I started giggling, and couldn’t stop.
That same sister and I went with my mother to make funeral arrangements when my dad died. The funeral director was showing us the caskets and telling us about different vaults, and he did a little demonstration, in which he had this little, Barbie-doll-sized coffin in a little, Barbie-doll-sized vault in a glass aquarium, and he pumped a bunch of water into the tank to show us how waterproof this vault was. My sister leaned over and whispered, “I wonder if there’s a little dead Barbie in that coffin.” I burst out laughing so hard I was crying. Mom said she was never going anywhere with the two of us, ever again.
I managed to stifle most of my laughter at the time, but…
I was attending an uncle’s funeral, which included Masonic rites. At the graveside service, there was a little procession where his fellow Masons walked by his casket and placed pine branches on top. The head Mason (I don’t know the proper name for him) gave a little speech, which concluded with something about “[uncle’s name] finally reaching the Celestial Lodge…” The imagery cracked me up for some reason.
There was this commercial on television last night. It started out with this cute kid standing on the street with a large number of red balloons. A man walks up to him and pops all of the balloons, save one. The kid starts bawling. I had a good belly laugh. Turns out it was for some kind of AID’s charity. Doh.
Of course, I also tend to chuckle when I see kids fall off of skateboards, so maybe I really am just a horrible person.
So many of these happened at funerals, or when someone died. . .
Anyway, one of my uncle’s died when I was eleven. He had been in the military, so he had a military funeral. At the cemetary, they did the customary 21 gun salute. For some reason, one of my other uncle’s wasn’t expecting the gunshots. When they started, I was the only person to see him practically jump out of his skin. The image struck me as funny, and I silently cracked up for the rest of the service. I don’t feel bad though, because I know my uncle who died would have found it funny too.
We were in a cathedral in Australia. This particular cathedral had used the quaint, old convention of using an elongated “f” for the first “s” in a word - so “Chriftians” instead of “Christians” and so on. It was featured prominently in the stained glass depictions of the stations of the cross (or “ftations of the crofs,” as it were).
Feeling smart, I leaned over to my mother. “I know we’re in a church, but who’s this Jefus character?”
She howled. Then she had to tell her sisters. More howling. During a mass! Then we started reading the various stations, including the “f:” Jefus falls down. Jefus fees his mother. Jefus nailed to the crofs. Then we started in on the holy fpirit and holy ghoft.
A friend and I attended a Tori Amos concert back in 92? I think she only had the one album out. One of her signature songs was “Me and a Gun”, about her being raped. The song contains a line that goes something like “do I have to spread, for you, your father, Mr. Ed”.
Now the same day as the concert there was a Far Side comic about Mr. Ed being on the witness stand, testifying against Wilbur. We had spent some time cackling about this.
Now back to the concert. Tori introduces Me and a Gun and the place is quiet as a morgue. You can feel the emotion in the room. So what do I do? About 5 seconds before Tori gets to the “Mr. Ed” line, I whisper to my friend, “Eric — Mr. Ed!”.
He looks at me, hears Tori sing “Mr. Ed”, and then bursts into an odd convulsive laughter. This sets me off. We bury our heads in our coats to conceal the hysteria. I think some people thought we were a couple of “sensitive” guys who were crying for Tori, but others realized we were “insensitive” assholes.
My friend got up and left. I followed a few minutes later and he was still laughing hysterically. We decided we were personnae non grata and left the venue.
I’ve never laughed at a funeral before but then again, I haven’t been to very many funerals so I’m sure the odds will even out eventually. At my cousin’s wedding a couple of years ago, I was sitting next to my brother when the preacher was speaking and noticed that for some reason my brother had his head bowed and his eyes closed. I nudged him to see what he was doing and at that very second, the preacher said “Now, let us pray.” I realized that my brother thought that he’d been praying the entire time and had his head bowed and eyes closed for no reason. This cracked us up so much that we started to do that silent giggling while shaking thing and trying not to make a sound. Luckily, the ceremony was over with a few minutes later and we didn’t disrupt the entire service. Had it lasted much longer than that, I’m sure one of us would have done that take-a-deep-breath-while-trying-to-laugh-quietly-and-accidently-make-a-huge-whooping -gasping sound, which is way worse than silent giggling.
Much lighter than a funeral setting. I was on a first date with a girl and we wnt to see a movie. Pulp Fiction, I burst out laughing twice. When Mia bolts upright with that huge gasp for air after getting the shot in he heart and when Jules accidentally shoots Marvin in the back of the car.
Both times I was the only person to laugh out loud in a very big and very crowded theatre.
Hamsters ate my post, so this time it’s the short version.
My brother and I were at a family Christening, and - knowing I was stressed to the hilt at being at an event with my hyper-critical extended family - decided to help me lighten up a little.
The ceremony was in a beautiful but rather large church and there were only about 50 people at the Christening. The priest, presumably to make it seem more cozy and intimate rather than coldly formal, suggested everyone ‘move a little closer’.
With an exaggerated expression of pious virtue on his face, my brother presses himself fully up against my side, turning himself into my Siamese twin. I completely lost it, going from giggling (stifled) to full belly-laughter (also stifled). I was crying. My shoulders were shaking. Every time I’d start to get a grip, there was my brother, looking at me with this wide-eyed virtuous and innocent expression.
Fortunately, I stifled it enough that my aunt and uncle couldn’t hear it up near the altar, or so later investigations determined.
My Grandad’s funeral in Ireland. (I see by reading this thread I’m not the only one to do this!) My brother wispered something to me, I got the giggles and hid behind a prayer book. I don’t think anyone saw.
In my defence this was my Grandad’s second funeral. (We had already had one in England). I guess that doesn’t really make it any better…
Heh. When I was an exchange student in Spain, my parents came to visit over Easter break and decided they wanted to go to Mass. So I’m sitting there, doing my best to follow a sermon in Spanish, and the priest keeps referring to “Senor Jesus” – properly translated, in this context, as Lord Jesus.
My younger brother leans over and whispers “Why do they keep calling him ‘Mister Jesus’?”
Completely lost it. You try explaining that to a bunch of Spanish people
There was this commercial on television last night. It started out with this cute kid standing on the street with a large number of red balloons. A man walks up to him and pops all of the balloons, save one. The kid starts bawling. I had a good belly laugh. Turns out it was for some kind of AID’s charity. Doh.QUOTE]
My 2 year old saw that one the other day and started to cry!
When my brother and I were about 13 and 14, my mom got a wild hair one Sunday and decided to drag the family to church. So we went to this big fancy church that we’d never been to before, and were treated to a sermon entitled:
Jonah and His Three Boners.
Apparently the pastor did not know the most common definition of that word, because the sermon was all about the mistakes Jonah had made. The sermon was full of gems like: “Jonah pulled his first boner when he decided to disobey God.” I can’t really tell you what the gist of the sermon was; all I really heard was “Blah blah blah boner blah blah boner blah blah boner.” My brother and I weathered the first few minutes of the sermon by whimpering and grinding our teeth together, but after about six more “boners” we were clutching each other and kicking our feet with stifled laughter. My mother was not happy with us, but couldn’t help giggling herself. Even my grim stepfather eventually was heard to give out with a “Heh, heh, heh.” By the time the pastor told us that “the whale belched Jonah onto the shore”, we were just struggling not to wet ourselves.
That day, as we weakly left the church, wiping our wet cheeks, my mom turned to a lady in the congregation and thanked her for having us as guests of the church, telling her that we had enjoyed the sermon. Tight-lipped, the lady said, “Yes, I noticed that.”
Most recently, last night at a parent meeting at my kids’ school. Our kids are going on a field trip that involves a plane flight to a neighboring state and then a long bus ride to another town to see a science exhibit. This was an informational meeting for the parents with the teacher leading the trip. One parent asked, “Will the kids be able to leave snacks on the bus for later?” The teacher/trip leader responded, “I wouldn’t advise it. The bus drivers might eat them. We don’t know anything about these drivers…”
I burst into laughter and everyone stared. It just struck me as funny that she would tell a bunch of parents - many of whom are paranoid and/or over-protective - that their kids were going to be spending much of the day being driven on the highway and in the care of bus drivers who can’t even be trusted not to steal their food. Maybe they’ll wash it down with Wild Turkey, too! Yeehaw!
Another time I laughed was at a big AIDS conference when I pointed out to the guy next to me that my name was misspelled on the name placard on the table by my seat. He whispered, “At least you don’t have her name…” and pointed to the woman at the next table, who’s placard read, Me Suk Yu.
Any fool can crack up laughing in the pews at a funeral.
I was an altar boy.
I went to Catholic grammar school, and we had “yard mothers,” colunteers who would come to the school at recess and lunch and watch us in the yard to make sure we didn’t kill each other. So, one of these yard mother’s husband dies, and I was chosen for the service.
The setup on the altar when there are people at the lectern is that the altar boys had three chairs in a row, and the priest(s) has a kind of a bench with three seats. When we went over to that area while someone else was speaking, the priest tripped on his robe as he sat down, and he ended up landing hard and moving the bench back about a foot.
Now, this wasn’t particularly funny, but since we were the altar server at a funeral, we couldn;t stop cracking up, and we had nowhere to go.
Thankfully, the priest took it in stride, and we apologized after the service, and the yard mother knew we were little shits but liked us anyway, so she wasn’t mad.
Two years ago, one of my youngest cousins (7 or 8 at the time) was in the Christmas Pagent at his church. Being the good, cool cousin, of course I went with them, to watch him. He was the ‘guiding star’ or something, carrying a big golden star on a rather tall stick as they walked up to the front of the church. He then had to hold it up for the entire pagent, but ita pparently was heavy. Eventually, he couldn’t hold it up anymore, and it fell, solidly conking either Jesus or the Virgin Mary (can’t remember which) on the head. I spent the rest of mass trying very, very hard not to laugh.
Also, just yesterday in lab, we’re reading the writings of an old French chemist (Lavoisier, for anyone who cares). The book publishers thought they were being cute, setting the type in an ‘old-english’ font, so all the lowercase 's’s look like 'f’s. And there’s a bit in the book about reactions in a vacuum, and the author mentions how he’s “…sucking the air out of the vessel” and so on. which, with the typeface it’s in, leads to much stifled giggling in class.
I read this and almost spit soda on the monitor. And then, in my head, I heard Homer Simpson shouting “Help me, Jefus!” I am still wiping away tears of laughter.
A few months ago, one of my many cousins got married. I have a large family, and in the last eighteen months, we’ve had six weddings, so we were all pretty much wedding-ed out. I was sitting in the church between my parents, with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew on the other side of Mom. We all rose as the happy newlyweds were coming back down the aisle to exit the church, and saw that a woman two pews in front of us, wearing a long, bright red, spaghetti-strapped, glittery gown was either also wearing a thong, or possibly no underwear at all, because her dress seemed to be stuck in her butt crack.
I tried not to laugh. I really did. Then I heard my sister-in-law snuffling in that way that indicates loud guffaws are being furiously suppressed. Shortly followed by my mother making the same noise. And then my aunt, in the pew behind us. That’s where Dad lost it, and my brother was not far behind. For once in my life, I was the most circumspect member of my family, in that I was the last one to break down and laugh. Luckily, everyone was too busy paying attention to the couple who’d just been married to notice us giggling like idiots.