Spontaneous Combustion: A New Social Policy

1 Jul

Okay.  It’s time that I address a longstanding problem in society.

This might be awkward at first, but it’s the tough conversations that really inspire change in folks.  So take your time, open your mind, and approach the following concept with patience and acceptance.

Repeating the last lines of a story in several different ways does not make it funnier. 

I see people making this mistake all the time. It is painful for everyone around them and it personally makes me consider the repercussions of incurring severe head trauma on another human being.  There is little in this world as thoroughly annoying and shut-your-face worthy as repeating the plot line of an unfunny story over and over in slightly different ways, expecting to milk a laugh.

You know what I’m talking about.  Everyone knows someone like this.  They tend to show up in higher numbers in offices, schools, and overeager parties.  They tell you some amusing anecdote about their kid or their husband or some run-in they had with a lady at a grocery store.  Or – worse – they tried to memorize a joke for the sake of socializing and tell it in public to try to make friends.  And once you realize the story is over, you also realize they’re the only ones laughing while you’re left fixated on a piece of food stuck in their laughing, chattering teeth.

This is one of my toughest moments in my socially awkward anxiety.  

I don’t like to fake laugh.  To be honest, I’d prefer to never reveal that I’m amused by other people at all, for fear they mistake it for a desire to socialize.   On occasion I will have to endure such a situation where a modest, seemingly authentic pity laugh is in order.    I like to think of it as a touch-and-go operation.  I’ll breeze past the part where you expect me to laugh in a story and we’ll move on to the next subject.  

Touch and go.

When someone keeps repeating the last few lines of something over and over, getting louder and laughing harder at themselves each time – that’s when I can’t do the touch-and-go.  Instead I have to stare at them and try to smile through my teeth without them reading it as a grimace.  I’m waiting for the pain to be over.  I’m waiting for that moment when they realize it isn’t funny or they laugh themselves to death or they spontaneously combust.  I haven’t been lucky enough to have the latter happen yet.  In fact, that’s a great rule.  If you try to milk a laugh where a laugh is not due, you will burst forth in a fury of flames and hellfire. 

So hear ye, hear ye.   We’ve been warned on a massive and public scale.  There will be absolutely no tolerance for milking laughs repeatedly and awkwardly where laughs are not due.   Violators will be subject to corrective action to include but not be limited to spontaneous combustion.

thejackieblog.com: addressing social anxieties one violent death at a time. 

Spontaneous Combustion

Image by "jervetson". Click to check out their Flickr Photostream.


Today’s RAK: Paid the parking garage ticket for two ladies.



10 Responses to “Spontaneous Combustion: A New Social Policy”

  1. Purple Chimp July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Reminds me of a funny story. But I don’t think you’ll be

    I tend to be the joker of my social group. The best thing to do after a crappy anecdote is to say that you found some money after the punchline. That way people think the story built up to your serendipitous gift and not the poor punchline.


    • Jackie July 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      I had a lot of friends that did that for a while. Then it got to be so commonplace that it was seen as someone awkwardly admitting their own defeat. By the time it rolled out of my social group as bad-joke-ending policy, it had been upgraded to: “And then a hooker lit my pants on fire”.


  2. thesinglecell July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Must forward this link to my mother.

    Related: in case one finds oneself telling a story that is not as amusing as first thought: abruptly end with, “And then I shot him.”


  3. pegoleg July 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Um, I thought you LIKED that joke I told. Now I see what I took for enjoyment, was really a fake smile/grimace in preparation for me blowing up.


  4. knotrune July 2, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    It can be embarrassing when someone tells you a joke you just don’t find funny. Like you, I am not good at pretending, especially as I reckon if you do it too well they will think you liked it and tell another one which is similar but even worse!! :0 But I find the worst to be if they tell a joke which is over your line of acceptability. If it’s way over, I just say, I don’t find that funny, it’s inappropriate. I’m not a total prude and sometimes I am the one to lower the tone 😉 but I do have my limits! I hate being embarrassed like that. It sort of feels as if I am the one in the wrong for not being ‘cool’ enough to appreciate such humour.

    I tend to just accept that people have different senses of humour. I like very silly surreal jokes which I know not everybody gets, so I often find their bemused faces just as funny as the joke! Now I sound like someone who always tells rubbish jokes. But often people do find them funny. I’d give an example, but I don’t want to spontaneously combust!! 😀


    • Jackie July 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      I’m actually pretty curious now. And since I don’t have to fake anything and have ample time to construct my reply, I would entertain the notion of your joke-sharing. Do iiiiiiit


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