My favorite song on Country music radio right now is one about a man whose brother was killed in the war and who drives around his brother’s pick-up truck as a form of therapy.
You’ve heard Mommy and I sing “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice enough times that you started singing it too.
However, I feel that your version of the song misses the sentimental and emotional aspect that songwriters Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary intended.
Your version is more of a lighthearted comedy:
“I drive you truck… it was accident!”
Whether you unintentionally rewrote the lyrics on the spot or whether you honestly thought those were the words, I can’t not laugh when you sing it.
The funniest part about it is how you assume you did something wrong, by mistake.
I picture you beboppin’ around a parking lot, stepping in to someone else’s truck, and driving to the other side of town before realizing… you have the wrong truck! And I picture all of this happening with you being your current age and height.
As your vocabulary is expanding, you are learning new words to fill in the blanks when you don’t know what the right words are. This story is a great example of that.
One phase you’ve recently picked up is, “Are you kidding me?”
You haven’t quite got the expression of it down, though. When you say it, it’s more monotone, but then you laugh at yourself for saying something you know will make Mommy and me laugh, even if you don’t know why we think it’s funny.
I see how you are figuring out in your head how to be a comedian. Strangely, one of your first cases involves a very good, but not funny, Country song.
If you’re born an American male, then there is a subtle pressure for you to be funny and interesting. A famous quote by Marilyn Monroe backs this up:
“If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”
When my wife and I randomly met in line at a taping for a concert in Nashville on October 5, 2006, I didn’t capture her attention by my looks.
Instead, I did it through my eccentric charm; which largely consists of telling off-beat real life stories, laced in deadpan humor, illustrated with dramatic hand motions which I subconsciously learned from my Italian grandfather while growing up.
Why is it that the majority of comedians and writers throughout history have been and still are men?
Because we sort of have to be both funny and interesting. I believe it’s part of survival of the fittest for men, in particular.
So now after 6 years of meeting my wife, we are raising a nearly 2 year-old son.
A son who will grow up needing to be both interesting and funny.
Needless to say, it is my role as the dad to teach him to become these things. The tricky part is making sure he’s not obnoxious instead.
A person who is too interesting is in danger of becoming nerdy and boring.
A person who is too funny is in danger of become distant and insensitive.
My son Jack has proven to me that he has the funny gene. So right now, I’m starting to be proactive in helping him direct his natural talent.
I don’t want Jack to be the little boy who thinks he’s funny just because certain people laugh when he does something they think is cute. For example, when a little boy goes up to strangers and says, “Hi!”
After the stranger replies, the boy becomes a broken record in an attempt to obtain a collection of repeat laughs: “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!…”
That’s the worst.
The most important part of being interesting and funny is the timing and theatrics of the delivery.
I can see how even at just 23 months-old, when Jack does something funny like stick his thumb in applesauce, then look up at his Mommy and I and say, “Oh no!” like it’s some kind of tragic accident with a worried look on his face, he waits for us to laugh before he does.
You are looking at a picture of our “guest towels”. If you are one of the 7 (maybe less?) males to actually be reading this, you will be just as confused as I once was to learn that despite their name, guest towels, these are not actually towels intended for guests to use. Granted, we do have extra towels for when guests do actually stay at our home- but those are in our “guest bathroom” on the other end of the house. As a guy, who is unable to see any logic in having guest towels in the bathroom attached to our bedroom that are actually only there to look nice and for decoration, not actually for guests to use, I found comfort in watching many male stand up comics who made a routine out of the same topic.
I am becoming more and more aware of how little control I actually have over my own life; much less my own house. Because another common topic that married male stand up comics talk about is the fact that they don’t know where anything in their own house belongs: like the mixing bowl, the stapler, and of course, the real guest towels that are actually intended for guests for use. And now it makes so much more sense why it is so common for the man of the house to spend time in his “man cave”, whether it is his garage, his shop, or even the yard. Why? Because while in his solitude, he has a sense of control over something on the land he owns or rents.
Jack's first taste of a pineapple.
I’m at a point in my life where I am constantly reminded of what little I actually do control right now. With tomorrow reaching the 2 month mark of unemployment, the dignity of providing for my family has been surrendered. And without that, I also feel like I can’t control my time (because I feel guilty if I’m not constantly doing something constructive to find a job). Starting on Christmas Day and ending yesterday (Groundhog Day), after my wife and son went to sleep each night, I would spend an hour or so revisiting my video game past. I took take the time to go through all 3 Super Mario Bros. games on regular Nintendo, Super Mario World for Super NES, and New Super Mario Bros. for WII, and beat them without using any Game Genies or Warp Zones (which again may only interest the 7 or less men reading this). And while there is something seemingly pathetic about a jobless, 29 year-old guy cheering out loud because he beat Super Mario Bros. 3 for the first time in his life; for me, it was a major sense of accomplishment.
I controled those old-school, 8-bit Nintendo games. And in some slightly true sense, I had control over my time as well.
I think it’s easy to overlook the importance of control in life. Why is it that if you drive into certain “bad neighborhoods” that the residents stand in the road or take their sweet time crossing the street, knowing that you need to get by? It’s gives them a sense of control. Why are there rapists in the world? Well, the easy answer is “the depravity of man” or “lust” or “an unfulfilled sex drive”. But to me it’s pretty obvious that their hideous crime is also largely fueled by a lack of control in their own lives. For more times than I can remember, it seems any time I watch a story on NBC Dateline about a rapist, he was emotionally, physically, or sexually abused growing up. Some people will do anything for the sense of control in their own life.
So what can I do right now? What can I actually control in my life at this moment? I can help with the basic needs of my son. I can control whether or not he gets fed, held, played with, and nurtured. And perhaps the best part, I can make him do funny, weird stunts to be featured on YouTube. Because hey, what else am I going to do until I get a real job?