The latest blogging/journaling prompt over at AnceStories 2: Stories of Me for My Descendants deals with the concept of laughter and humor. If you haven't checked out this great site maintained by Miriam, please do so!
When you laugh, who do you sound like? Your father, mother, a sibling, or other relative?
I sound more like my mother when I laugh and I was able to see that this past weekend. My mother has always been a gregarious, easy-going person and easily gives in to fun and laughter. Even now when she may not totally understand the conversation or the joke, she will see the rest of her family laugh and join right in.
Who in your family giggles? Belly laughs? Chuckles? Guffaws? Knee slaps or does some other large physical act while laughing?
I tend to be very reserved in appearance, bordering on gruff, but don't believe what you see. I am usually the instigator and can not only laugh myself but get others to join in. My laugh is much like the character Nelson on The Simpsons - a quick "ha ha" but very loud. If I get to really laughing I tend to be a snorter or make hissing sounds.
What other members of the family have similar laughs? Query the older generations and ask them "who in the family has your grandma's (or grandpa's) laugh?"
I don't really know who else had or has a similar laugh - I never really paid that much attention to the concept.
Who has the most unique laugh in your family, and why?
It would have to be me - see above!
What kinds of things did your family laugh or joke about?
As always we laugh about memories gone by such as "Remember the time grandma had that walking stick during Prohibition and it had a glass flask inside for her supply of hootch?" We did the same this weekend - reminiscing about my mother growing up with her brothers and sisters. I heard stories this weekend of one sister and brother trying to wake another sister up by starting a campfire under her bed. And then how one sister was always evading the truant officer!
What best describes the style of humor in your family (dry, wet, ironic, silly)?
In my currently family right now, we tend towards the very dry humor, puns, and sarcasm. Example: upon seeing the latest picture of a celebrity such as Amy Winehouse, one of us will say, "Well, she just needs to find a hairdresser that likes her." In that same vein I always appreciated something similar among my Southern friends but it was so much more gentle than my New York approach. Example: in college we were discussing the story of Oedipus Rex, an acquaintance actually said "Bless poor ol' Oedipus's heart. Marries his mama, pokes his eyes out. Just bless him!"
Did you ever have tickle fights?
We didn't and for a more serious reason (not to seem like Debbie Downer): since there have been past instances of child abuse and inappropriate behavior among some people, so along with the standard discussions to young children about "touching," we really don't permit tickle fights. But we have had those silly fights with padded suits and foam rubber swords - lots of fun!
Who were the practical jokers in the family?
Moi, of course. I was the brainy but incorrigible child who did it all - from the "bag of dog poop on fire" trick to making prank calls (to the grocery store . . ."Do you have pigs' feet? Well wear shoes and no one will notice") to disfiguring dolls. But it does run in the family - my one aunt is infamous for sneaking an unwrapped Baby Ruth bar into the public swimming pool and then feigning disgust, quite loudly, at one of her sisters. Good times.
What private jokes did you have as a family? What key phrases were giggle starters?
Most of them are movie quotes and movie lines. Understand that some of us can sit down and carry out the dialog of some movies in their entirety. Many are from Steel Magnolias (About the recipe Cupa Cupa - Truvy: It's a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, a cup of fruit cocktail with juice, and you mix and bake at 360 till gold-n-bubbly. Clairee: Sounds awful rich! Truvy: I know, that's why I serve it over ice cream to cut the sweetness.)
What books, magazine, or cartoon strips were favorite humorous reads in your family?
I am still partial to my own slant on comedy - as a child, and again resident instigator, I would make up my own words to television themes or other songs, often resulting in an admonition from Mom but then she'd run to the other room and stifle a laugh.
I do the same thing now - I rewrite the captions for cartoons like Family Circus and Garfield, or when I am on an airplane, I watch the movie but don't use a headset so I can make up my own storyline.
I also always LOVED the game Mad-Libs!
What comedy television shows or movies were favorites in your family?
We loved the Carol Burnett show - she was a goddess in our household. Some of my other faves growing up:
Maude ("And then there's Maude!")
All In The Family
Movies are toooo numerous to count - see my profile for a full list.
Do you ever play games that get your family giggling up a storm? (Our family plays Balderdash with my brother-in-law's family every year while camping at the lake for a week...it's our favorite group activity, mainly because we get so darn silly while playing it!)
Usually Password - especially since half of us act illiterate after a few drinks at a big family gathering. I'll never forget when my one staid aunt had one Pink Lady too many - she thought the card said "massage" instead of "message" so then the words that came out of her mouth describing said word!
Do you have digital recordings, videotapes, audio tapes, or home movies with family members talking or laughing in them?
I was lucky enough to get an entire box of 50+ video tapes when I cleaned out my mother's house. Some of them are the 8mm cam corder type so I'll need to get an adapter. I want to review them all before I have Costco or some other store convert them to DVDs. But I know they are of family gatherings and that means laughter, jokes and hijinks!
Photo: an example of the kind of humor that makes me laugh!