Visiting my grandparents when they lived on West Bayou always ended with a lesson in backing out of the U shaped driveway with my grandfather watching. He would occasionally give very subtle hand gestures to direct, but I think he was judging how well whichever sibling was driving could maneuver the mini van. One day when I was probably 12 or 13, my grandfather walked away satisfied with my brother’s driving, when I noticed. I said it aloud, “that’s where I got my flat butt from! Papa!” My sister burst out in one of her laughs that let anyone standing around know that she got the sense of humor. She was the June Carter of the family and knew when to put on a show simply through laughter.
Then the redhead in middle school called me boring. (This is prior to learning you can’t trust a ginger kid.) I knew it was because I didn’t laugh, but what was I supposed to do? I thought it was funny when teachers got really worked up and were on the verge of cursing, up until someone would elbow me really hard to get me to stop the giggling before we ended up having to stand in the hallway as punishment. (remember when standing in the hallway was punishment?) I also laughed when my sister and I would get my mom so angry she’d use “the lord’s name in vain”. D’oh! Mom said Jesus Christ – run before she gets the wooden spoon! The only situations I wanted to crack up at, no one would let me, except my sister. (the beginning of realizing the south wasn’t for me – snotty ginger kids and no one to share my sense of humor… yeah, this isn’t working)
I gave up trying to be funny by the time I got into high school. My sister was off doing her college thing. The house grew quiet and I got serious. I was into religion at the time and nothing cuts out humor more than fear of God. Hence the appropriate nickname, pisshead. The way I rationalized things by the time I turned 17, if Daria could get away with it, then so could I. And that was that, until….