I was having this conversation with a friend the other day after I stumbled upon Will Sasso’s Vine.
The ability to make people laugh, and to do it well, will never cease to completely fascinate me.
But it’s actually very strange to think about. When I sit down and try to think about writing a funny story (like I was hoping to illustrate here) I can’t think of one.
Try to name the precise things that make you laugh. Was it something you saw or heard? Was it the person’s voice, or timing, or an action they did? Or an action that happened to them? See? The possiblities are endless.
I find that it tends to be the combination of a number of things that happen either completely by luck of the draw, or with an intense attention to detail and copious amounts of preparation.
So with that – a funny story.
In college, I managed to nail down what I thought at the time to be a pretty sweet reputation for being a smart, Type-A, mean-spirited writer with a wild streak. I was pretty high on my horse and in the small town of Ellensburg, Washington I managed to attract a lot of attention for my antics.
So here’s a fun fact. I was a College Republican.
I was mostly bored with the organization in general, until a new Poli-Sci professor moved to town and somehow was wrangled into becoming our new advisor.
Since he was a constitutional law buff and not yet a Quadragenarian, I thought he was super hot. Yes, please tell me more about the conditions for quartering soldiers, while I stifle a giggle. (Thirty-year old me: “Ugh.”)
So I took a class on constitutional law. It was my own source of Monday-Tuesday-Thursday bliss that quarter. When finals rolled around, I really buckled down. I, Jenn Turner, was going to knock the socks off of this professor.
Because in my pseudo-strange attempt to physically attract my elder professor, I was only comfortable with myself enough to flex one muscle in his general direction. My brain. (Thanks Jesus!)
I studied the crap out of that study guide. Like, tore that thing up. We’re talking flash cards, highlighters, turning down social engagements – the whole enchilada. To say I was confident was quite the understatement.
The morning of the final it snowed. I was up at the crack of dawn, getting ready for my version of the Oscars, apparently, which includes a stop in for some coffee on my way to class. Because I need to be caffeinated in the morning. More so in college since I had only about a thimbleful of human decency in me those days.
So, I walk into the building. Oh wait, did I say walk?
I’d already planned out my “Crush Constitutional Law Final in the Face” outfit, and even in the face of inclimental weather, I stuck with it. This outfit included heels.
With pants! Let’s not get crazy here. It was like January or something. Maybe March.
Now normally I schlump around (to this day) with posture closely resembling Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons,” but something about wearing high heels makes you stand up straighter, as well as giving you the height advantage on some dudes.
And no matter what a girl tells you about not wanting to be taller, c’mon…she loves it. Jealous? You should be. But no, you have to wear the same height of shoes all the time if you’re a dude. Unless you’re a cowboy dude. Or a circus dude.
I tiptoed across the parking lot, and did a brief snow shuffle on an already soggy floor mat when I walked in the door. But did I worry? Who, me? Nah, I’m fine. I strode to the elevator, coffee in hand.
As I went up the floors, I thought of all the snazzy one-liners I could drop on my prof as I walked in. The elevator doors open and I departed with the other students, my books in one hand and, oh yeah, steaming hot coffee in the other.
Can you see where this is going?
Wanting to make just the right, memory-worthy entrance, I hung back once we approached the classroom.
That’s right, so everyone could enter with their wet shoes ahead of me.
Picking my pacing, I began my entrance to the final I was about to murder so artfully it would go down in history.
Except that’s not what went down.
One step into the classroom and bam! I hit the floor.
Books went one way. Coffee went everywhere. Like everywhere. On my notebooks, on my clothes, in my hair.
But the one positive here was that I dried up parts of the snow-dampened floor with my super awesome outfit.
Well, except for that whole latte puddle.
I was in shock. I heard people snicker, and others offer help.
“Oh my God,” I said, face either completely white or red, I don’t know. “Oh my God, I’m umm, I’m going to clean this up.”
My professor looked uncomfortable and distracted, and began to pass out the final. And instantly my admiration for him magically transformed to disgust. My allegiance to College Republicans also ended that day. And the Republican party. And anyone having to do with politics ever, I’m sure.
Oh, and that final? I don’t even remember how I did on it.
I do remember having to take it, and that fun feeling of embarrassment mixed with chaotic anxiety as I sat in damp clothing with coffee in drying in my hair, frowning at the pages of my soggy notebooks and feeling like a giant horse’s ass.
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