Tuesday, June 2, 2015


"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. 
I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been 
almost daily in the company of the most expert storytellers for many years. 

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind--
the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story 
is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. 
The humorous story depends for its effect upon the MANNER of the telling; 
the comic story and the witty story upon the MATTER." 

Mark Twain (From his essay “How to Write a Story”)

Storytelling is just this side of lying—the north side. Humorous storytelling is just this side of lying added to hyperbole, mixed with enough wit to make reality look funnier than it actually is.

According to Mr. Twain, any little old thing that happens during the day can become a humorous story if told with the correct amount of art and skill. I agree. 

I find that there isn't much in this world that isn't funny, especially now, what with the roving gangs of I-Want-Something-I-Don’t-Have-But-I’m-Pretty-Sure-That-You-Might-Have-It, Therefore-I’m-Going-To-Fling-Poo-At-You-Until-I-Get-It goblins roving about. Note: In this sentence I used the word roving as both an adjective and a verb with possible humorous implications. 

Like whistling in the dark, humor keeps the goblins away. They may fling poo and it may stink, but it’s reassuring to be able to compare stinking goblin behavior to the best of monkey etiquette. And who can’t laugh at monkeys? 

I know I’m laughing when I practice my anti-goblin tactics and poo dodging drills.

I enjoy humorous stories that involve irony, wit, satire, and the clever use of the word indubitably. 

My husband, father-in-law, and grandson find the three stooges wildly funny. The three stooges are known for their clever use of smacking each other in the face with wooden planks, thus illustrating the ethereal nature of what qualifies as funny storytelling. 

Some people laugh at the sound of a fart produced by an armpit. 

Some laugh at a story full of well-placed verbal barbs, as long as it’s directed at someone they disdain—like goblins.

Some folks laugh at the subtle and not so subtle manipulations used in the advertisements of politicians that have spent sixteen trillion dollars to convince people of their pure and holy intentions. YES THEY CAN sling the bull but is the joke on us?

According to a popular Facebook meme, vulgarity is not wit. Sure. Sure. Tell that to the Sit-Com folks and Hollywood crowd and those that laugh with them.

I love self-deprecating humor. It takes a confident and humble soul, secure in their own skin, to tell a story using themselves as the object of the joke. Love it. Confidence is wildly attractive. Humor is gorgeous and wit as good as abs in attracting the opposite sex. It’s true. They’ve done studies.

Here’s to telling a funny story today.

Linda (Giggle Bottom) Zern 

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