Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Dunno

I was in the kitchen at work today, getting a glass of water, when one of my coworkers wandered up. We nodded to each other and he paused.

“I read your blog yesterday,” he said. “It’s so weird. You’re like a real person and you’re standing there and I’m thinking ‘What the hell is wrong with his head?’”

I considered punching him, but frankly, I need all the readers I can get.

“Just out of curiosity,” he continued. “Where do you get your ideas?”

Ah, the ‘ideas’ question. It’s one of the top 5 questions I get asked. The others include:

‘What’s that smell?’

‘What are you doing on/in my lawn/roof/swimming pool/bathroom?’

‘Are those real?’

‘Why are you touching that credenza and where are your pants?’

Every writer gets asked the ‘ideas’ question and every writer has the same answer: ‘I dunno.’ The question is kind of surprising, as we assume everyone hears the voic- has ideas.

Actually, I’m lying. All writers lie when they get this question. If we started telling people where we got our ideas, everyone would be doing it and then where would we be? Well, we’d still be here, obviously, there’d just be a hell of a lot more writers.

Still, for you, my loyal readers, I’m going to reveal where I get my ideas. Wait for it! And go!

In the early 1900s, the US government decided to investigate the causes and nature of humor. Thus, they assembled a crack team of scientists, comedians, and several very intelligent dogs to study the problem. The team was isolated in a small hotel in the Catskills, where they were provided with the cutting edge of research technology. Granted, this was the 1900s, so all they had were some microscopes, a faded bandanna, several fancy spoons, and a large quantity of beer.

After nearly 3 years of continuous hangovers, the team finally emerged bearing a beaker containing a single, glowing particle. The particle, called a ‘humoron,’ was purely concentrated humor. It was so powerful, merely getting within ten feet of it caused people to break out in puns. Actually touching the beaker caused observational comedy so keen, anyone within hearing distance would actually bleed from their ears. No one dared touch the actual particle itself.

The government, of course, kept the humoron under lock and key for over forty years, until an accident involving two chimpanzees, a pound of lard, a monocle, a box of cookies, and a boy scout uniform broke the container where the humoron was kept. The humoron fell out and shattered, scattering its component particles across the entirely of the world. Occasionally, some lands on something, be it a dog, a rock, a scratched CD, or even, a person. And that thing, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, is then endowed with the gift of humor. This is not particularly useful for the vegetables, minerals, or most of the animals, but the humans, dolphins, and meerkats seem to enjoy it.

Wait. Was it the humoron or the gnomes? Now I can’t remember . . .

Actually, in retrospect, ‘I dunno’ seems like a good enough answer.



Anonymous said...

Another place writers get ideas is from other peoples' material -- see Monthy Python's "World's Funniest Joke routine..." Still nice variation and I love your stuff -- generally

Buzzcook said...

That's the nice thing about haiku, the inspiration is the subject of the poem. So you don't have to explain yourself.
Well unless they're not very good poems. But geez it's like 17 syllables its hard not to have some simple declarative in there somewhere. Its not like being a beat poet where you have several pages not to say anything.

Jason Janicki said...

Hmmm, well, the only real link I see to the World's Funniest Joke is the team of scientists. Am I missing some connection?

Haiku are 5/7/5, right? Yes, Wikipedia just confirmed that.

Like the changing wind
Ninjas strike from odd angles
Still can't block bullets

Eh, not bad for about 60 seconds :)

"gunner" said...

there used to be a post office box in poughkeepsie where you sent a money order and they would send ideas. however nobody's heard from them lately

Jerron said...

I think I know where huge Morons come from, too, now. Only it seems this particle that shattered is a two-edged sword, and the bad side outweighs the good by a huge margin... I ean, *every* driver at rush hour is a Huge Moron, but how many of them are funny? Seriously, I'm the only one I ever saw blow a kiss at the guy that just cut me off. You know what? They don't cut me off again... The ones I give the finger, do it every chance they get.

Humor is indeed, a mighty weapon. and I only have small doses of it- you need to watch where you put that stuff, Jason.

Jason Janicki said...

I have to ask, gunner: seriously? That was such a straight delivery that I'm not sure if you're kidding or not ;)

Interesting idea, Jerron. That's one thing I'll give Redmond traffic, people are really, really polite. Though I'll remember the 'blowing a kiss' idea if I ever have to drive in LA again :)