Friday, March 20, 2009

Hey Look - I can be funnier!

I wouldn't say that I'm the funniest person I know - unless, of course, people laughing at you counts as being 'funny'. I'm one of those people who occasionally has good moments, but really, I'm funniest when I don't intend to be. Like that one time I was making fun of a friend's over-exposed cleavage by shouting in a WalMart "Look out folks! She's gonna blow!" only to turn around and see the look of pure horror on the extremely pregnant woman behind me who presumed I was talking about her. I find that I often say things that sound bad out of context.*

Well maybe I can learn to be properly funny. Apparently a UK researcher has identified 8 patterns which are the basis of all humor regardless of culture, civilization or personal taste. Clarke lists the patterns that are active in humour as positive repetition, division, completion, translation, applicative and qualitative recontextualization, opposition and scale. Somehow, those just don't sound that funny. But seeing as he looked at over ten thousand instances of humor, I'll just have to assume he's on to something.

Or on something.

See that? I used qualitative recontexualization and opposition, as I changed the context of the two words "on" and "something" and turned them from something good to something bad. I'm getting better at this already.

Anyhow, his e-book is available free for 30 days, for those of you anxious to delve into the science of funny. His theory will be published later this year. It's pretty heady, so it's not for the faint of interest. It's just one of his many publications on humor and pattern recognition which shows the depth and breadth of his theory.

So watch out - I'm going to digest this stuff and put it into action and get funnier. You just wait and see.

**Update** Apparently, the dense material was far over most people's heads, and so the author had to try and explain what it all means a little more clearly. Good luck with that - I still just don't get it.

*Heck, they often sound bad in context. I'm sure if you all ask Allie she can give you plenty of good examples...


Penguin collector: I keep the wounded... said...

what's the * for after: context.* and before *Heck?

Accident or intention?

Penguin collector: I keep the wounded... said...

I bet it will be hard to find someone who can beat this faux pas: when in the early part of telling a quick overview of my marriage to a group of people at a conference, in the context of analysis of repeating failures and the unique pattern we have which each failure follows, I mentioned in passing (not the crux of the story) my ex's choice of operation, (since my option was refused as hospital policy prohibits neutering anyone during a c-section, as they feel that this moment is poor timing for clear decision making) ... and then kept going on without missing a beat, until someone interrupted with: "did you mean..."

So what did I say that had everyone looking at me quizzically — "circumcision" instead of "vasectomy" — and then had them laughing hysterically during the rest of my story, while I nearly died in the moment, while finishing the rest of the story, with an attempt at maintaining my dignity?

I know you are wondering how did I mix those words up? They don't sound alike, and of course I knew the meaning of both.

Well, it's a product of my special gift for lacking "normal" categorization, often an asset as I always think outside the box, having no box. However, this gift is mostly noticed in the context of my habitual inappropriate wrong word choices at the most inconvenient moments ... not that those present would agree.

Can't complain though, cause I learned quickly how to laugh at myself — better than freaking out — and to accept embarrassment with grace and expectation as a natural part of life — of my life.

Now, if only I had control and foresight to utilize this gift... "timing!"

I'm looking forward to reading this book ... thank you for the link!

Christie Lynn said...

The * is like a footnote number - aka I added a note to my initial sentence and linked the two thoughts with the * (like it were a fine-print disclaimer or a citation)

Christie Lynn said...

The * is like a footnote number - aka I added a note to my initial sentence and linked the two thoughts with the * (like it were a fine-print disclaimer or a citation)