You have to say this about the Brits that when they insult they do it with humour (Yes, that’s the way it is spelt in Britain, so word-check please stop showing me the wiggly red line.) At the end of the Harry Potter series when the Death Eaters are the gates of Hogwarts the following exchange totally cracked me up:
Professor McGonagall: That doesn’t mean we can’t delay him. And his name is Voldemort, so you might as well use it, he’s going to try and kill you either way.
Neville: Are you really giving us permission to do this?
McGonagall: Yes, Longbottom.
Neville: Blow it up? Boom?
Professor McGonagall: BOOM!
Professor McGonagall: I’ve always wanted to use that spell.
Professor McGonagall: And Potter… it’s good to see you.
Harry: It’s good to see you too, Professor.
Filch: Students out of bed! Students out of bed! Students out of bed!
Professor McGonagall: They are supposed to be out of bed you blithering idiot.
The British are famous for their sarcastic and self-deprecating sense of humour, which they use to lighten even the most tense or unhappy of moments such as in the example above.
Reading novels from a very young age I took to and up this baffling (to my better half and many of my friends) unique style of laughing at myself and at others. Sometimes quoting directly from books that I have read, to the consternation of others. And sometimes from Aunty Acid who seems to say exactly the wrong things at the right times.
How to recognize someone who is afflicted with and the key to understanding the humour of the English is that nothing is sacred and everything is game to be made fun of including failures. Sarcasm, irony, puns and a healthy dose of self-deprecation are the symptoms of this malady.
So today’s post is sort of an insight into what tickles my funny-bone. Why do I write this? Obviously to explain myself to those who are often confused by what I like to think as my quirkiness and save myself in some pretty awkward moments that I will surely land myself into in the future, leaping in where angels fear to tread.
My mother, a loveable lady to most, was quite a disciplinarian for my brother and me. Once while I was young we heard that there were a spate of women being kidnapped in the small town that we lived in. During a discussion on the dinner table my father cautioned her to be careful, to which I quipped, “Don’t worry, whoever takes her will beg us to take her back in a day’s time.” The silence following this was uncomfortable to say the least. I wished then that I’d been asleep “as my life tends to fall apart when I’m awake”- Aunty Acid.
My kids have also not been spared my caustic tongue and when my teenage son doesn’t get a haircut I don’t berate him, I just thank him for the money he’s saving me by not visiting the barber. And when he, being a millennium child laughs at my foibles with gizmos, I gently remind him that I’m the one who taught him to eat and clean his technologically advanced, ahem, unmentionable. His reactions are a sight to be seen but I’m equally delighted by his comebacks that make me secretly proud that, he’s certainly a chip off the old block. With my almost teenage daughter who is unfortunately being brought up with a heavier dose of verbal sparring by the son and me has a more difficult time of it. Yet we always let her know that we love her to bits, by pulling her leg. For you see a surefire sign that people suffering with my strange condition really like you, is that they will surely poke fun at you. We can find humour in almost any situation and it is not intended to offend rather it is the best medicine in times when life knocks you down and the nation is turning so intolerant. Oops! Did I do it again!