Humogenous Marriages

I think humor is one of the trickiest things to marry. Not to say couples who don’t laugh a lot together aren’t also devoted to each other. Not to say they aren’t loving or sweet or supportive. But I think it’s fairly rare to find a couple whose humor is perfectly matched.

Maybe because a person’s sense of humor is such a product of childhood. Or maybe it’s because marriage tends to be such a serious endeavor. I don’t know.

I don’t think Carl and my humor is naturally all that similar—although we do share a love of verbal ridiculousness,  I tend to be snobby, old-fashioned, and over the top, while Carl is incredibly dry and deadpanned. But we’re getting better.

We were looking for an auto repair shop yesterday, both of us feeling a little cranky from grocery shopping and a long day of sickyness.

Me: (looking for a topic) “I forgot there was a Brann’s here.”

Carl: “That’s where I had dinner with Greg. When we saw Chucklet.” (Chuck Gaidica is a local weatherman, and for whatever reason we call him Chucklet. Probably because it’s fun).

Me: “Did you call him Chucklet?”

Carl: (very dry) “Yes. And then I said: I have one thing to say to you. You’re not God. You can’t control the weather.”

Me: “What did he say?”

Carl: “He said: Well, I have a secret. I am God. And then he disappeared.”

Me: “Before or after he paid?”

Carl: “Before, actually.”

I don’t think we actually aim to make ourselves laugh. The humor is mostly internal, a sort of fleeting, shared, ridiculous amusement. Almost a knee-jerk when life is annoying for one reason or another.

Early in our dating, Carl would text me jokes and try to get me to tell jokes. I never tell jokes. I can’t remember them, and they never sound that funny when I tell them. I’m not a punchliner. I’m not a story teller.

Around my childhood friends and sibs, my voice changes, and we talk in exaggerated accents that signal “amused bonding.” (So much so that when I recently called my brother Joel and he answered in a very normal “hello?” I didn’t know who it was. Turns out there were adults in the room that he didn’t feel like sounding ridiculous in front of).

I feel like my humor isn’t naturally the most translatable. Some parts of it—the verbal aspect, the snarkiness—are, and those merge well with Carl’s dry recitation of faux facts. It’s interesting to watch how we change and adapt to each other over time.

Nothing like marriage to bring out the latent anthropologist in a girl.

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2 thoughts on “Humogenous Marriages

  1. A and I talk about this all the time. It’s amazing how hard it is to match up two people’s ideas of “funny.” I think it’s super interesting that you and I can make each other laugh and share jokes and you and A are super compatible but A and I go right over each other’s heads most of the time.

  2. Gene’s and my families types of humor are night and day different. Over the years, he’s gotten very good at making my family laugh, and I’ve gotten good at finding his humor funny. But I don’t often make him laugh. I think I’m the straight (wo)man of the team.

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