Sunday, August 15, 2010

Too Much Happy

I have few fears. Snakes, motorcycles and redheads; that has been the list for many years now. I have decided to add another. Before i reveal the fear, let me show you a scenario. You walk into a "convenience" store, you grab a drink out of the cooler, maybe a muffin, then walk over to the check out area. In front of you is an 83 year old woman with terrible eyesight, a speaking manner that is slower than a snail sprint, and a love of paying with nickels and dimes. You think, ok, whatever, she's nearly 100 years in age, let her buy her lottery tickets with 6 bucks in change, her husband won the war, she deserves some respect. The problem is the dude or dudette taking her coin. His lifelong goal of having a Comedy Central standup special is far away. He or she is testing their material on Nickel Nellie and you. After 13 puns on the word morning and 11 inexplicable combinations of soda and muffin, you want to grab a .357 magnum and go Clint Eastwood on the punk or punkette. Not getting the picture, yet? Imagine yourself in a aurplane, trapped like a wild bear in a steel trap. Flighty Fifi and Blabby Bobby are your flight attendant and they love themselves a lot. They joke, they do bad impressions of Sonny and Cher, and by the end of the flight you want to open the side door and jump with no parachute. Some people have too much happy.

The service industry has too many people who think servicing others means feeding their own ego. I appeciate a hello and smile. I even enjoy some brief, pithy banter about the weather or the local sports team. After that, shut it and take my money or, well, service me. The unfunny and too happy just scare me. I fear they'll go off at any moment and my kids won't have me around any more.

I admit I have been that person before. You know, the dude at the party who thinks because one person laughed at their joke or pun or impression, thus everyone should laugh. I have showed off, been over the top, and worn obnoxious like a bad toupee. The thing is, I figured it out and used my self awareness to not be that person anymore.

My theory is unfunny too happy person is a dormant volcano os bad childhood or messed up personality waiting for their outside coating to wear off and some alien lifeform released that takes us all.

I suffer fools a lot more than I used to. Five years ago, goofy, bad humor guy or girl would have sent me into a cynical whirling dervish of nasty. I'm much cooler about it these days. In a public setting where my money, time and energy are being exchanged, I expect some awareness and a lot less cheekiness. Being funny is an art. It's like being a good parent or lover or student. Either you are or you aren't. It's ok if you are lame and not humorous. We need the unfunny in our lives just as much as the gutbuster. Clint Eastwood once said "a man needs to know his limitations". It's time QT checkout boy or airline attendant girl know theirs.

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