For Emma … not that long ago

That title really has nothing to do with anything.  I just thought of it while I was washing dishes, and I was so blown away by my own cleverness that I had to use it even though it’s not related at all to the post I was composing at the time.  Well, actually, when you put it that way, it does sort of fit…

In high school, even in college for the most part, I was a Very Serious Student.  I worked hard for my grades, and I had very little patience for people who goofed off during class.  The junior-year European History teacher used to sometimes get distracted and silly in class, and even that bugged me (it kind of tore me apart, actually, because I wanted simultaneously to be every teacher’s favorite AND to prove how Very Serious I was, and that wasn’t possible in this class).

I was especially bad at taking jokes about myself.  My Very Serious demeanor was meant to deflect criticism – to prove me to be beyond reproach.  It wasn’t until much later that I began to realize the value of a sense of humor.

In fact, the older I get, the more important it becomes.  I know now that it’s impossible to be beyond reproach.  I still beat myself up about mistakes, but I’ve learned how much easier it is to move past them once you’re able to laugh at yourself a little.  I see now that if you’re the first one to tell the joke, you get to define the moment.

In other words, I think I’m becoming a class clown.  At age 32.  When I write a post, and people tell me it’s funny, it makes my day – my week.  When I’m in a bad mood, I sometimes go back to posts that got a lot of traffic, and read them over again, and just laugh and laugh at my own jokes.  I may not have thought they were all that funny when I wrote them, but then other people comment and it somehow elevates the humor in my own mind.

The best thing about seeking that kind of attention at my age is that there are no teachers to give me detention, and no competition from other attention-grabbers.  I mean, I know I won’t win the Internet – Allie’s working on that, although I think Dooce may already have done it.  So I can just stay here, making my little jokes, laughing at myself, and (finally) feeling pretty good about it.

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About Grape

I've got the world's best kids and husband. Great house, steady job. I'm living the American dream. The trick is to appreciate it. I'm working on that part.
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