Thursday, August 03, 2006

Small Onions

"Would you like onions on that Scott?" Harry asked me. I'm a regular at this local Deli, whose proprietors are an entire family. The place is always brimming with business, but Harry lamented that traffic didn't translate well into money. I tried something new today--a falafel pita wrap.

"I'm not a big onion guy," I replied.

A pleasant man waiting alongside me while Harry's brother Dick (I'm not joking) worked on his Italian cold-cut special said, "Only small onions?"

I stared at him blankly, then gave the obligatory chuckle while trying to unscramble the meaning. He wasn't fooled. "You're not a big onion guy, so you're a small onion guy."

"Oh," I said. Silly, but I got it. "I'm not the best person to tell a joke to. Typically I miss the point completely."

"No, it's me. Happens all the time."

It actually is a thing with me. I dated a girl from New York City a while ago, and I noticed a brand of humor that tickled her and her sister to death, but held no value for me whatsoever. They could go on for hours chuckling and hooting about the silliest things. Once, while she and I were following her sister in a two-car caravan, the sister honked her horn. My girlfriend insisted I honk back. Why? Because it's funny she said. Ok. I honked the horn and got one in reply. Ha ha ha. She laughed hysterically.

A client from New York visited my office who loved to tell jokes. I didn't get a single one of them. It was embarrassing. One had something to do with an airplane and a graveyard. I struggled and struggled with it, even with him coaching, but I couldn't understand what was funny about it. Just so you don't think I'm cutting down New Yorkers--I'm not. It's a cultural thing. That and I might just be the dimmest bulb in the box.

"No, it's me," I told my deli mate. "Especially jokes told by New Yorkers."

"I'm from New York."


Anonymous said...

I loved that ending! :D You write these reflections very well.

Jaye Wells said...

That reminded me of a Seinfeld episode. Although come to think of it, Seinfeld was a New Yorker so you probably didn't find that show funny at all. ;)

Scott said...

Thanks Jason. I thought about continuing after that ending, but I would have spoiled it.

Ha ha ha Jaye. I get that joke at least!

trinamick said...

My mother says things like the small onion comment all the time. I've gotten to the point that I act like she was serious. It completely ruins her fun, which only increases mine.

Kathleen said...

I wouldn't have gotten it either. I don't remember every single solitary word that comes out of my mouth. I would had to stop and rethink what I had said, not remembered and felt like a bigger idiot. I'm right there with you, Scott.

The horn honking thing? Not funny - you were right. ;-)

Toni Anderson said...

LOL--Some people's humor goes straight over my head too.

Dim number 2 here.

Good story :)

magnetbabe said...

That's hilarious. We used to have a guy in the lab that made the dumbest jokes ever. I only laughed to be polite, and that was after months of not understanding that he was trying to be funny. I think it was because he was Baptist so his humor could only be squeaky clean. I'm not really down with that.

Bernita said...

I don't get it...

Jada's Gigi said...

LOL!! Hey, was brother Tom working in the back? They are New Yorkers after all...tee hee

fringes said...

Here's my technique: I laugh first, then I get it later. Then I laugh again because I finally got it 20 minutes later. I'm giggling right now at a joke told to me two weeks ago.

Moni said...

I don't I think you have the humor thing down pretty well. :)

Moni said...

ooops the heat has fried my brain. What I was trying to say was that I think you have a good sense of humor.

Marty said...

My brother makes jokes like this--very literal things I miss completely. You're not alone!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

'I'm from New York'

How long did it take you to wedge your foot from your mouth?

I wouldn't have found the horn honking thing funny either.

Where's the subtle comic undertones, or the blatant slapstick?

Scott said...

Trina - Yeah, but your mother is a crack up!

Kat - You basically nailed it on the head. That's exactly what I did. I couldn't remember what I said.

Toni - Thanks, I thought I recognized you from the next bulb slot over.

Nat - What did one eye say to the other? Theres something between us that smells.

Bernita - You don't get what? You see?

Cheryl - Verrrrry funny. I didn't think of that one.

Erica - But then I'm afraid that a joke wasn't told, that I'm laughing my fool head off about nothing.

Moni - Yeah, that one took a couple reads, but I understood you. Thanks, that was sweet.

Marty - Yeah, don't you hate that!? Thanks for stopping by.

Toast - Yeah, I made a lame effort to explain myself. I was moderately successful.

Tee said...

My Dad and Grandfather are from NY so I guess I get the humor. A lot of their jokes have been met with groans though. LOL.