On Writing What You Know

I started out leaving this as a comment underCarin’s post,but decided as I got going that I’d slap it up here instead.

From time to time we get those “Hey! I know that guy, he’s really nice, this is sad, you’re an asshole and you’re not funny. this is a tragic story” type comments. And while I totally see where those people are coming from, sorry, it is funny.

I think I have some room to speak here.

I’ve talked a bit about my dad here and I know lots of my friends know a bit about him. If you’re new, I’ll give you a Q and D. My dad was a hard worker. Would go out of his way to help a friend. Guy could fix anything. He could also build it. Unfortunately, he’d also drink it. Booze came before anything else. He lost his family, his house and eventually his health because of it…and still hasn’t learned. He drank himself to a stroke at 51. He can’t use one of his arms, and he’s lucky he can still kind of drag his bad leg around. He’s also got permanent brain damage.

Is all of this sad? Sure it is. But do I still tell jokes about it? You bet the coupon up your ass I do. And you know why? Because stupidity is funny, and he’s got nobody to blame but himself.

I’m one of those people who thinks that you have to find humour in things no matter how awful. How else are you going to stay sane? So if it takes me telling people that I would have been born an American if my dad hadn’t seen a billboard that said “drink Canada Dry” to make it easier to deal with the fact that he threatened more than one of us with death, I’m going to tell people that. If calling him Wobbly Pop instead of dad can amuse some people into forgetting how fucking embarrassing he is to be around at parties, then Wobbly Pop he is.

In a broader context, humour helps make sense out of situations where there seems to be none, and failing that, it can at least lighten the mood and help people move on from bad situations. And in the case of stupid people who get hit by trains while listening to music or scratching lottery tickets or walk into jail with a prison survival kit in their dumpers, I’m sorry, but that’s funny. I’m sure the circumstances that brought them to that point aren’t good ones, but if I can laugh at my dad, surely you can see how something so ridiculous might amuse somebody.

It would be hard to write a VC style story about somebody I knew, but I’m almost positive I’d do it, and fair being fair, it would only be right. I hope I never have to, but one way or another, pretty much everybody’s got a story.

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