It was just a joke.

24 Sep

First, I feel like I should say… the heat is on.  (Picture this: I’m dancing around in my kitchen singing – “The heat is on.  Whoa oh oh Whoa oh oh, tell me can you feel it. I’ve been looking out for you. Whoa oh oh whoa oh oh    tell me can you feel it, tell me can you feel it….. *boom boom*  The heat is ….. on.  *saxophone*) Wowzer!  In all seriousness,  my traffic is up and I’ve gained quite a few followers from some awesome bloggers sharing the “My Demon” post.  If you’re new to this blog, welcome friend.  (Yes, you’re a friend, because you’re about to discover a LOT of intimate details about me. I’m real here! And I invite you to be real here too!!)

I’ve been tossing this post around in my head all weekend trying to come up with the right way to describe what I’m talking about- in all directions.

I think I’ll start by giving you some examples to clearly explain what it is I’m trying to uncover.

~Have you ever been out with friends and everyone is laughing and having a great time, so you toss in a “funny” about your husband and he gets tense, angry or actually even yells or embarrasses you?  And you think, it was just a joke, he had no reason to react like that.

~You’re hanging out with someone who is heavy, and they spend time cracking everyone up by making fun of themselves for how heavy they are.

~You’re at a gathering and your husband shares a funny about you, and you battle the feelings that it really is funny and you’d laugh if it was about someone else, but you can’t help but feeling like your face is turning an obscene color of red.

~Everyone is together having a great time and for some reason it seems like someone is really good at dishing out the digs but when someone zings them back, the humor turns quickly to awkward silence.

Jokes.  They are totally necessary in life.  We need humor.  And it is a gift to laugh and have fun.

But we all know, behind every joke, the part that makes it funny is that there is some truth to it.

The reality for all of us is that we have insecurities, weaknesses, short-comings, subjects we know nothing about, and skills or talents we will never have.  When those tender areas are poked or prodded, especially in front of others, it brings about embarrassment, frustration, and anger.

The reality of the 4 scenarios I painted above are as followers:

~The husband feels like he is less of a man if people are laughing at his short comings.  He isn’t enough.  He is a failure.  He can’t make his wife proud.  People feel sorry for his wife/kids. ((Especially when meeting new people for the first time, or around another man who seems to “have it all together.”))

~The heavy person is only making fun of themselves so they can beat others to the punch line.  It’s a survival tactic, especially when they are really struggling. ((No one is happy they are over-weight.))

~The wife begins to doubt if her husband is laughing with her, or at her.  And wonders if everyone thinks she’s a dits, or you know the stereo-type “a dumb blonde.” ((Boy has this one been tricky for me personally.  Especially if we’re at work functions where I know his co-workers don’t know me AT ALL.))

~The person is only digging other people because they have so many insecurities of their own. And someone just exposed them. They hide behind humor of others to level the playing field in their own minds.

So how in the world can we know where the line is at?  Because the truth is, it is actually good for us to learn to laugh at ourselves sometimes.  Not everything in life that is funny is a personal attack.  It really can just be funny.

Like when there is absolutely NOTHING on the ground, and a person stumbles over their own toe, but they look back at the ground quickly to see what they tripped on and when they see it was nothing, frantically look around hoping no one saw them.  We’ve ALL had this happen to us.  Nothing you can do about it, but laugh.

On the other hand, if someone has a speech problem, it is not funny to joke about words they cannot say.

For this practical application, I am not writing hard and fast rules.  No matter how you slice it, this is a tricky subject to tackle.  But I’ll share a few things that are helping me make wise choices.

I actually do well to hold my tongue.  The more awards I win for “quickest and best come-back” the more likely I said something I shouldn’t have said.

It is important to make jokes that DO NOT play on someone’s insecurities. Especially my husband.  No joke is worth making him question if he is enough of a man, someone to be proud of, or strong enough to lead his wife and kids.

I try not to make jokes that make the person look like a failure or like they are the only one silly or stupid enough to do or say a certain thing.  Jokes are most funny when everyone can relate.  Not when all the negative attention is pointed on someone in a personal manner.

If someone is making fun of themselves, continually,  I don’t join in.  It might be OK, but chances are, it is not.

How about it?  Do you have any tips or advice in this area.  Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of jokes that really hurt and you have great perspectives to share with us.  Maybe you’ve been an insecure person who made fun of others to help level the playing field.  Maybe you aren’t willing to laugh at all because you’re afraid life shouldn’t be funny.  We grow best when we help each other… so feel free to help me out with your thoughts and insights.

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2 Responses to “It was just a joke.”

  1. The Water Bearer September 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    You make some great points here and it is an interesting topic. They say ‘sarcasm is the lowest form of wit’, yet I happen to disagree. I think it may come across that way us when we are experiencing insecurities….. If we know we are loved by the one being sarcastic with us, then it need not be a problem. Both my husband and my closest friend are extremely sarcastic people and so was my Dad before he passed. We give the quickest comebacks and enjoy much badinage with each other, and it is ok because they have proved their love and acceptance of me during difficult times in life and I feel safe in their love. Even though I have struggled with insecurity most of my life I don’t get upset with their sarcasm to me at all. Let me give you an example.

    I was staying with my closest friend for a few weeks, during this time I made my daughter a sandwich which she didn’t finish, so I covered it and put it in the fridge. I completely forgot it was there. After a number of days my friend saw the sandwich still in the fridge and asks me “Hey, Are you planning on eating this or is it a new science project your working on?” Well I cracked up and threw out the sandwich. It was a terrific way of making light of my blunder.
    Yet if this same comment had been said by someone I didn’t trust, someone who doesn’t accept me, someone overly critical, then it is likely that I would have felt embarrassed, perhaps been wounded and may have taken it to heart.

    The relationship between the people is something to consider before the jokes start flying.
    Great post – Blessings to you!

    • kaylagulick September 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      The Water Bearer-

      Absolutely the status of the relationship is important! My girl firends and I can pick on each other and laugh for hours!

      Humor is really a great gift when we use it in a healthy edifying way!!

      Thanks for sharing!
      Kayla

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