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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Grow Up!

What does it say about a full grown man when the funniest thing he has experienced in weeks is a scene in a bootleg video of The Simpsons in which Homer tries desperately to change the channel on the TV by mistakenly squeezing down on his ice cream sandwich instead of the remote control? Please excuse me while I laugh about that once again. I would call my nephew and ask him if he saw that episode but I’m terrified that that he has outgrown his love for that staple of American humor. I know that I will never outgrow a wonderful sight gag and sometimes I wonder about myself. When will I grow up?

Another terrific sight gag that I have been telling people about since I was a kid comes from one of the Pink Panther movies. Peter Sellers as inspector Clousseau is leaning back in his chair in his office. His chair starts to fall backwards but is stopped by the wall behind it. Inspector Clousseau is now stuck sitting in his chair leaning back against the wall at a 45 degree angle. He makes a few failed attempts to push his weight forward and right himself when one of his assistants enters the office and approaches his desk. Clousseau feigns that everything is as it should be but when his assistant leans over the desk to show him something Clousseau grabs the man’s tie to right himself. As his chair comes forward he pulls the man’s head downward slamming it into the desk.

Can someone please tell me which movie that is from so that I don’t have to rent the entire Pink Panther series to find that one scene that has brought me untold joy since I first saw it many, many years ago. On second thought, watching all of those silly movies would do me some good right about now. I promise that I will grow up right after I have plowed through all of those movies.

I think my problem is that I prefer laughter over other human responses. This would explain why after spending countless hours wandering through Paris art museums my favorite painting depicts one fat guy lying naked in the grass next to his car while another fat naked guy mows the yard around him. I can even remember the name of the work, Funny Place to Park by Eric Fischi (I had to find his name from my notes).

I can honestly say that I think that I like to laugh more than the average person. My search for laughter drives my own need to write comedy. If I had to put my finger on it I would have to say that my humor compulsion may be driven by the fact that perhaps I see life to be more of an absurdity than most people. Voltaire said that God is a comedian with an audience too afraid to laugh. As an atheist I’m not afraid to laugh at anything. I also recognize the stupidity of an essay that begins by describing Homer Simpson using an ice cream sandwich as a TV remote control and ends with a refutation of an almighty being, but I don’t have time to fix the essay and it's much too late for me to change.

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