Wednesday, June 05, 2013

An Exercise in Humor

How many times have you sat around with family and friends and laughed about something that happened in the past that wasn't funny at the time. Capturing the funny in a story on paper, however, is a challenge.The humor in the retelling in written form is one of the hardest forms of the craft, even for people with a good sense of humor.

Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt:

Today's writing prompt challenges you to write an anecdotal piece that takes an event that wasn't funny at the time it happened and to write about it with humor.

Here's a sample borrowed from my son with his permission:

I go to the dentist, got an x-ray and there it was. One whole side of the root was surrounded by infection. I decided to get it pulled rather than come back, and they were willing to wave the office visit fee if I had it extracted that day. They shot me full of novacane or whatever they use these days. She left me alone for 10 or 15 minutes, long enough to let my face numb out. She came back with what looked like a small flat head screw driver and pried up on the front of the tooth. I heard that sound I remember from pulling out baby teeth. The sound of root giving way.
She repositioned this tiny instrument of torture to the back of the tooth applied the tiniest bit of pressure and I yelped. Surprised by this she put the tool down and gave me another round of 4 or 5 shots. Left me alone again for the anesthetic to set in then proceeded to cut the tooth in half. She successfully removed the front half of my molar. Small victory. She turned this small screw driver on the back half of the tooth once again just to find the same result. Incredible instant pain.

At this point she grabbed her little cutting tool, again. I'm not really sure what it was she was getting ready to cut on but she told me to open wider. A few more minutes of cutting and grinding and she swapped out her screw driver for a funky pair of pliers grabbing the remaining piece of tooth she applied force and successfully broke my broken half of a tooth in half. Again pain.
At this point she informs me that the infection is not allowing the numbing agent to properly do its job.  I thought WHAT!!!  You knowingly put me in this chair, whittled my tooth down to a sharp little chunk with half the root still in there and the only way to get it out is just go for it. So that is what I told her to do. Just go for it.
She grabbed the dreaded screw driver and I grabbed the arms of the chair. She pried and tears ran from my eyes. She stopped for a second to get a better bite and through the tears I promised her I would start to floss regularly and brush 3 times a day. One more twist of her wrist and it popped loose. Wow!  We were actually done.
That was indeed the longest and most painful 30 minutes of my life. She let me sit there for a while to compose myself. While my cheek, tongue and bottom lip were numb and rubber-like my jaw, ear and temple were throbbing. Thankful that this experience was over I made my way to the front desk after some brief instructions on applying and re-applying the gauze to stop the bleeding as well as telling me what and how to eat over the next few days. All I wanted was OUTTA THERE. Thankfully most that information was written down because I was not paying attention to her at this point.
If you want to improve your humor writing, one book I found helpful is The Comic Tool Box. It offers a workbook approach to comedy writing as creative problem solving.

Photo credit: evanrudemi, amazon

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Buy Donna Sundblad's book on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance

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