I was sitting at my table in my kindergarten probably chatting with my desk neighbors: Val, Travis, Leif, and Drew all of whom moved away by 2nd grade… which might be why I have trouble keeping friends. My teacher tells us to write about being outside. My mind immediately goes to the monkey bars. Being a small child, I could easily lift myself up onto the bars and climb back and forth, and I did so until the kids behind me made me stop so they could have a turn. I started writing: I love to play on the monkey bras. I smiled proudly. Monkey bars rock and it’s hard to make sentences! All of a sudden, Mrs. Offerman, our para-educator, walked up to my table and let out a loud huffy breath. “It’s monkey bARs, Hannah,” she said. She was not my favorite para-educator. This is so devastating and embarrassing! I mean, maybe I do like monkey bras. And how can she correct me so evilly like that without laughing?
As much as I love the monkey bars, it was hard to love writing after that. I was always afraid I would misspell something and Mrs. Offerman would be staring over my shoulder, correcting me. Looking back, I’m sure she wasn’t trying to be mean, and her huffy breath was maybe a bit less evil than I remember it but things like this stick with children forever. Looking back on it, I probably would’ve cried had she laughed but now I’m just mad that she didn’t laugh! She could have let me keep it the way it was and I would have a great picture of the monkey bars with an excellent caption to look back on.
I sat at the dinner table, put my hands on my cheeks and pouted. “I’m never gonna be funny” I complained. When I was little, my biggest fear was that I wasn’t funny. I was sitting at the table with my family, and coming from a family of sarcastic assholes (whom I love so dearly), it’s hard to live up to the expectations people had for me. My brothers were always telling awful jokes about broccoli and dinosaurs, and my sister was cracking up about a joke that goes Why don’t whales eat clowns? Because they taste funny. I’m pretty sure she still doesn’t know any other jokes.
And then there were my parents. Before I was born, they say they were strict. They wouldn’t let my siblings play 007 video games, they couldn’t watch Power Rangers, or Little Rascals, and my oldest two siblings were once sent to their rooms because my sister had told my brother to shut up. (Bethany still swears she said shush up.)
By the time I was born, they didn’t worry so much about that stuff, and now they realize that it didn’t matter how they raised us we “all ended up stupid anyway” like my mother always says. As one can see, my family is sarcastic. We are funny and inappropriate, saying that’s what she said jokes at the dinner table, but we will always understand each other. Being one of the Creed kids, I didn’t have to worry about being funny if I learned anything from my family.
We had just sat down at the dining table to celebrate the holidays. My grandparents were there, my siblings and parents. All together under one roof. It was a happy time, and after dinner, we all hung around, played cards at the table, and chatted.
My grandpa Steve and my dad were talking about something, and apparently it was funny so my grandpa laughed. I admired my grandpa and still do, but I loved him so much that I decided to lovingly imitate his laugh. I let out a loud, hearty chuckle and was proud when I finished. I smiled and stood there. My dad, who apparently didn’t understand that I was doing it because I admired my grandpa, got upset. “Go to your room and think about what you just did!” My dad said to me. I was so confused, but I wasn’t going to complain. I had all of my toys up there. So off I went… up to my room to serve my one and only grounding.
I had just got done ordering my food at Outback Steakhouse. We were out celebrating a birthday in the family. My great-grandma Earline was there. She’s my dad’s grandma. She has about 50 cat statues and other cat paraphernalia around her house but she wouldn’t be caught dead with an actual cat. I’ve never seen her interact with one but her closet has a sign saying “This closet is a CATastrophe”. She collects thimbles, and had dinner rolls, meat, and chips in the closet in the bathroom during Christmas. You would never see grandma Earline adorned in anything other than earth tones. So… let’s just say she’s eccentric. So anyway, I just ordered my food, and my family began talking about our lives, you know, normal stuff.
In the middle of this conversation, out of nowhere my grandma puts her feet up on the table. “I just bought some new shoes!” She exclaims proudly, showing off her new, tan, penny loafers.
As I grew up, I began to stick to sarcasm as my go-to for any conversation with anyone ever. Before that, I began to come up with jokes of my own.
We were driving down Iowa City, past the river and it had just rained buckets the day before. “Flood much?” I stated without even thinking. My aunt, sister, and parents in the car laughed at how bad the timing of my joke was, being after the disastrous floods of 2008, but they still laugh at that every time we’re driving by that river.
I ran out of the bathroom, “Ok, so there was once this lawyer, and he was going to court and he had his guy on his side and the guys against him were on the other side, right? And then the lawyer guy was like ‘As you can see, all of the evidence points toward that man! And then he took out his briefcase, put it on his desk, opened it, yelled ‘CASE CLOSED’ and slammed his briefcase shut and walked out of the courthouse.” “Is this the kind of stuff you think of while you’re peeing, Hannah?” my family asked me. They continued to make fun of me for years after that, and still make the occasional reference to it whenever I give my side of a story or argument. Like if I’m telling them something that happened in class and I say “I tried to make my point but the professor didn’t listen!” and my dad will reply “Did you try saying case closed to see if that would change things?”.
As my quest for humor continues through my life, I think of a ridiculous joke here and there, and my sarcasm has definitely increased since I first learned what it meant. I thrive in funny, awkward situations because I was raised in a family full of love, support, and hilarity.