This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Musing Unconsciously

I wish I lived in an alternate reality, the one in which our dreams make sense. If I did, I'd be a much better humor writer. As I write this, it is about 6:45am, and I just woke up after a long series of dreams in which I had a GREAT idea for this weeks' essay. In the dream I'd woken up at 2am inspired by my muse. The ancient Greeks had muses for the various different art forms, such as “Erato”, the muse of correcting typos, and “Calliope”, the muse of musical instruments only heard on old fashioned children's carnival rides. My own muse in charge of waking me up repeatedly with really bad humor ideas is “Bladder”, assisted by another ancient Greek, “Urania”. But I digress.

In my case, so many of my best ideas come at night and in forms which, once I wake up, somehow no longer seem to hold vast comedic vistas, in as much as they no longer bear any particular resemblance to reality. For example, this morning as I woke up, I was just (in the dream) putting the final touches on a hysterical article about how the food vending machine at work had suddenly begun behaving like an electronic version of “” in the sense that it was dispensing dating advice in lieu of various forms of what we're supposed to believe is “food”. Now, I think we can all agree that this is an amusing premise, except in so far as our own “Food Simulator” at work has never behaved in a fashion even REMOTELY similar, and many of the funnier elements of the essay relied on odd quirks of co-workers with whom I do not actually work.

Plus there's the fact that, given the quality of product usually associated with this particular machine, I can only assume it would have fixed me up with a cut rate, stale date somewhat older than I'd prefer and lacking in “freshness”. Also, and if you don't work there you'll have to trust me on this, my own co-workers are not a particularly “hip” or “swinging” lot. Most of us are old, married, and unattractive in the way that only long periods of inactivity bathed in the healthy glow of a CRT monitor can really be. Or perhaps I'm projecting.

This has happened to me before, like the time I awoke brimming full of ideas and ready to sprint to my “Laptop” and unleash the torrent of “humor” into the “bowl” before “flushing”, because the entire premise of the article was that I was one of the stars of the television show “MythBusters,” which I quite clearly am not. MythBusters, for those who have not run into it before, is a wonderful program on the Discovery Channel in which two gentlemen named Jamie and Adam test various popular myths and old wives tales to determine the truth (if any) behind them, generally culminating in an explosion and a large pile of scrap metal where the object they were testing had been only moments before. Jamie and Adam once inflated enough helium balloons to lift a 6 year old child off of the ground, while I successfully inflated... my bladder.

And that, apparently, is the root of the problem. It seems that my unconscious brain confuses “urine” with “humor” and finds great comic potential in base natural urges that DON'T involve asking someone to pull your finger. Really, we guys know a funny bodily function when we see it, and the frequent urge to visit the loo due to what is likely a prostate the size of a Buick with a blocked exhaust line isn't one of them. To us guys, in order for a bodily function to invoke humor, it has to contain at least two of the three classic humor elements:

  1. Odor
  2. Embarrassingly loud noise
  3. A look of disgust and utter disbelief on the face of our partner at the thought that she could have been so terribly wrong about us as she wonders whether it's too late to go back and marry someone mature, like Homer Simpson.

Interestingly, although many forms of humor do involve repetition ad absurdum, somehow repeating the act of waking up containing what is clearly at least a gallon of abdomen-squeezing waste product, dragging our sorry sleeping butts out of bed and across the mine field of dirty clothing that some evil sadist has seen fit to strew across the bedroom floor the night before as we were getting undressed, only to release what can only be described as “about a teaspoon, but somehow less impressive”does not evoke the same peals of laughter as a second audible belch in church or a third unfortunate gastric event blamed falsely on the dog.

And while I'm here, let me add as a piece of advice to my fellow guy readers out there: If you, like us, do not have a dog, do not try the last. It took me quite some time before I figured out how my brilliant wife was so quickly deducing that I was the source of the cloud of odious perfume gently scenting our air. And forget blaming the cat. It is a sad fact of life that while dogs will routinely emit large green clouds foul enough to kill any rodents which happen to have taken up residence within your house, cats have no such tool, which is why they have had to develop over the years the skill of actually catching the mice, killing them, and then leaving them in silent offering to the masters of the house, lovingly laid across our pillows or in the clean laundry basket. Besides, we also don't have a cat. Don't even get me started on hermit crabs.

But we weren't talking about house pets. We were talking about dreams. Or unconscious humor ideas. Or urine. I forget which. It doesn't really matter, inasmuch as by now you've determined that there's nothing even remotely funny here and have probably pointed your browser to a more reliably funny site, one that features Family Circus, the Lockhorns or the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And yet for me, it's been a successful and productive morning, seeing as I now have this column (such as it is) written for posting next week, and I wasn't reduced to writing yet another in the embarrassing series “Stupid Ways in which Liam can injure himself”. Yes, I have another one, it'll probably be the subject of NEXT week's column.

But for now, there are just three things you need to take away from this week's entry. First, if you want to REALLY appreciate my humor, apparently you need to sleep with me. Er, I mean, dream with me. Second, it really is marginally better to starve than to eat food from the “Wheel of Death” at my company. And the third one I can't think of right now. I'm too distracted by an urgent call of nature.

Copyright © November 20, 2006 by Liam Johnson.


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