Every once in a while I’m seized by a sudden inexplicable desire to “organize” and “purge” the boxes of random junk that have set up camp in my closet. Of course this means running across papers and things that I haven’t looked at in a while – embarrassing photos, embarrassing journals, everything is embarrassing, etc. Usually I rediscover my old college opinion column (oh yeah, I forgot I did that), leading me to rediscover that I was a mega smartass. This last time, however, while perusing those old columns, I realized with shock that I used to be funny.
I was legitimately funny. Not stand-up comedy funny, but clever and witty, in the strong flavor of snark. I don’t think I’m being overly biased here, either; I remember classmates telling me my column was funny. Back then, oh-so-many years ago, I knew I was being at least a little bit funny, but it’s the dry solemnity of my humorless old age that has given me perspective on the magnitude of my youthful wit.
What happened to me? Sure, I drop the occasional corny joke here and there and pepper my infrequent blogging with parenthetical quips. But it’s like I’m Severus Snape now, when I used to be the Weasley Twins (OK maybe I wasn’t as funny as them but I’m going for a dramatic contrast; end parenthetical quip). Is it because I don’t write as much? Or is there a direct relationship between smartassery and wit? Can’t I be a nice person but also be funny? I know people who are…what’s their secret?
Of course, I’m not asking to be the life of the party, anybody who knows me knows I would rather melt into the floor than that, but I wouldn’t mind being known again for witty and clever written commentary. I think it would make me feel young again.