MAKE ME LAUGH…
by Kiersten Hall

The Fact:

Three or four weeks ago, I was asked to put together a piece on how to write humor. Here’s my advice to you…

The Reality:

Three or four weeks ago, I was asked to put together a piece on how to write humor. I figured that’ll be a piece of cake because I’m a pretty funny person, then put it on the backburner and went about everything else that was due sooner than today. Fast-forward to today, sitting in front of my computer screen… Kicking myself for not working on this sooner and realizing I may not be as funny as I would like to think I am.

Truth be told, I do my best ‘thinking’ when I’m either driving or right about to go to sleep. Or, at least when I think I’m going to go to sleep… Hoping to go to sleep, soon. Well, maybe.

I can think of every single thing I need to do when I’m behind my steering wheel, or when I’m tucked into my bed, but the minute I’m sitting at my computer, all sense of any purpose flies right out of my memory. Gone! If I ever need to remember what in the world I’m supposed to be doing, all I need to do is get into bed and see if it comes back to me – when I wake up two hours later.

Fortunately, over the past four decades, I have managed to put together – and remember – a few tidbits of experience which have become my uneducated but tried and true advice for writing (and speaking) humor:

1. You’re not going to entertain every single person, all of the time. As soon as you accept that important and key fact, you will be able to give yourself full license to write whatever and however, you want. Write what’s funny to you. DON’T try to be funny to accommodate others. Trying to be funny is unnatural and awkward; if it doesn’t fit the story/character/situation, your forced attempt at ‘funny’ isn’t going to work.

2. Pull your audience into the story – take them on a journey. Keep it real. ‘Real’ evokes imagery and memories for everyone. If you can get your audience to relate to you and your story, be it fiction or non-fiction, the appropriate humor at the appropriate time will be detected and accepted by your audience. Readers will be involved in your story; wrapped up, immersed.  If you can get your audience, be it readers, or listeners, to smile and nod their heads or laugh to the point of crying, you’ve got the art of humor down.  They’re going to keep reading to find out what else they’ll get to laugh about or relate to in your writing.

3. Keep your writing conversational: Be entertaining – not dry and factual. Use dialects and/or colloquialisms when appropriate. Bring in the human aspect: Use memories, the five senses, pauses (or no pauses), and short sentences – even when it’s only one word. Be willing to laugh at yourself/have your character laugh at their own self. Have a backstory to draw-in your audience who will be able to relate to the similarities in their own lives. It’s okay to be unsure of yourself; show that you’re human.

4. Be truthful; lay it out there for all to see and read.  People will definitely relate.  They’ll find humor in the fact that someone else, out there, is just like them.  Everyone is used to hearing excuses, coming up with excuses, for their faults.  In everyday life, people are not used to hearing or reading (and commiserating with) someone who has similar experiences.  Look at my first line under ‘The Fact’, and then the rest of the writing under ‘The Reality’.  My truth is, I’m busy.  But rather than simply saying that, or coming up with a publicly acceptable and generic excuse, I explained my action and took the audience on the ride between driving and sleeping.  I ‘veered’ (pun intended) off the expected path, and took the audience on a little side trip with me.

5. Speaking of little side trips, think of it more as side stories; you’re giving the background of where your thoughts are coming from.  Now, you shouldn’t get so carried away where your story has the duration of three trips around the sun, but you can throw in a little something here and there to mix things up and keep your audience on the trip with you rather than having them abandon your ‘story-wagon’ and jump to their deaths.  We don’t need anyone dying on your journey of humor!

6. Use adjectives – those wonderful, glorious, descriptive adjectives!  And be creative in their use, too.  Embellish.  Have fun with your storytelling.  You’re creating a whole world for your audience.  Be sure to share with them everything you experienced/are experiencing.

7. If you’re good at a particular type of advice, or you are known for some type of specialty, definitely use that in your presentation.  For me, it’s the ‘Mom’ thing.  The last line of point #5, I told you we don’t need anyone leaping to their deaths out of boredom.  You can hear your Mom saying that, can’t you?

8. View life in a different way; go against the grain.  While on your humorous journey, as you lead your audience down the intended path, throw a mental curve ball at them and snap them into another ‘space in time’ for a few seconds before you pop them back into the here and now, and continue on.

When my kids were toddlers, we would work on counting, and naming different items including body parts, etc.  I was very serious about their education and getting them ready for school so they could start Kindergarten, right off the bat, as little Einsteins.  However, the first few times they would ask for a cookie, I would hand them three and tell them, “One for each hand.”  Until they caught onto my teasing them (also teaching them the virtue of humor), my brilliant children would point out they only had two hands which prompted me to say, “Oops!  Then you’d better give me one cookie back!”  Laughter ensued, and they would quickly exit the kitchen with their prized extra cookie.

As another example, if you’re on FaceBook, you’ve probably seen that meme game of ‘The first 3 words you see in this box of letters is what your future reveals/what next year holds for you.’  My friends all listed words such as ‘happiness’, ‘fortune’, ‘money’, ‘luck’, etc.  For fun, I posted the letters between the words and an opinion:  Keetvozzt, Adokokva, Lyrumffr  (Typical, but still interesting.)  I received instant laugh emojis.

Walk the edge of reality and bend your audience’s mind; they will appreciate the exhilarating and refreshing workout received when reading your words.

9. Don’t forget to be ‘human.’  People relate well to others humans.  Whether they like them or not is not important, but quite useful, all the same.

10. If you’re new to humor, or you haven’t had much luck in writing humor, or you’re simply not a funny person, I would suggest assembling an audience of guinea pigs.  Well, not real guinea pigs…  It would be hard to get them to hold still and listen, or if you give them a piece of paper to read, they’ll only wind up eating it and…  well, you can use your imagination on what else they would do with your manuscript.  Plus, and let’s be real here, their only interest in you is whether or not you feed them.  Ideally, an audience of humans would work the best.  Most won’t eat the paper you give them, and you can reason with them to hold still and stay on task with the promise of food, later.

11. For a break from writing, watch videos of comedians – a lot of them can be found on YouTube or other streaming websites.  They’re the industry professionals of humor:  I think I’m funny, but they’re the ones with sold out shows at Carnegie Hall!

12. Lastly, if possible, have something ‘in the pocket.’ For a tight story which gives your audience one final laugh, bring something from the beginning of your story around to the end of your story, tying it all together, which will give you that bonus laugh and your audience a good, lasting impression of you and your work.

The Example:
Using the ‘Reality’ paragraphs above, the reader can easily pick up how I would normally speak since the writing is ‘real’ by using real stories. The reader is brought on a journey; imagery and memories are evoked, and similar experiences are shared. I have the short sentences, the conversational pauses, the self-doubt on whether or not I really am as funny as I think I am. Lastly, regarding the issues surrounding my lack of being able to retain information, I’m not actually trying to be funny – I’m simply ‘telling it like it is’; I truly do have a memory the size of a flea.

By the way, did you notice the last sentence was my ‘in-the-pocket-bonus-laugh’?

The ‘Backstory’:
The advice shared with you, above, comes from 33 years of being in the public eye in some form or fashion, mainly through self-employment and sales.  Jump back to the late 70s and early 80s, I was so much of a ‘wall-flower’, I was hiding between the boards of sheetrock with the wall studs!  I was not very interested in talking with anyone and was an extreme loner; very shy.  But, when I started working with the ‘scary’ public filled with strangers and then moved on to owning my own business, I quickly discovered if I wanted to pay my bills and eat, I had to talk with people.

To begin with, I wasn’t a very funny person.  I was an awkward and quiet child who had an affinity for Erma Bombeck at the age of five.  My literary preferences went from Seussical creatures with stars on their bellies straight to a middle-aged newspaper columnist turned author who wrote about life without sugar-coating her experiences; which, by the way, was a trailblazing accomplishment for a female all of those decades ago.

From there, preferring to a be a brainy, self-classified nerd complete with the over-sized plastic Liz Claiborne glasses of the late 70s/early 80s, I stayed away from people I didn’t know and read about all things academic.  You name it, and I probably know something about it…  Or at least can feign my way through a conversation without looking too stupid.  When I was forced to socialize with the public… and (gulp) talk to people… I used the ‘techniques’ I picked up from Erma’s storytelling abilities:  No candy-coating, tell-it-like-it-is, straight talk.  Essentially, I used comedy when talking with people; it broke the ice with all parties involved.  People’s social barriers decreased, and my self-confidence increased.

Society, for the most part, is used to public speaking/writing utilizing refinement, manners…  candy-coating.  But when we hear or read the truth about a subject familiar to most of us, everyone involved can be a part of the journey.  Whether you’re speaking or writing, the crucial part to conveying humor is engaging your audience and taking them along for the ride.

I’m sure you’ve already picked up on some of my inserts of humor in this writing – some obvious, and some not so obvious. Again, humor is universal.  Give it a whirl and see what you come up with; You never know what will happen unless you try.  (There’s another piece of ‘Mom advice’ for you.)

Thank you for taking the time to read my advice on humor. I truly hope my two-cents has been of use to you, and I look forward to reading your future writings.

Keep Laughing ~
Kiersten Hall, Author

AUTHOR BIO:

Kiersten Hall has been writing stories all her life… in her head. She is finally taking the time to put those stories down on paper for others to read. Kiersten is planning on publishing one book per year, or at least, that’s the goal.

Most days, she can be found at ‘Command Central’ (her beloved desk.) It’s 7′ x 7′ with lots of storage, yet there’s only 1 square foot of space (on a good day) available for her to utilize due to all the stacks of ‘things to do’ when she has the time; which could literally be years from now. Command Central has been an integral part of Kiersten’s ‘Master Plan’ for taking over the world, which is currently going on 20 years. It’s seen a lot of work get done, and a lot of stories written. Kiersten is also a firm believer in the fact that ‘duct tape fixes everything,’ since that is what’s currently helping to hold her desk together, at the moment.

When Kiersten is not sitting at Command Central, busy at work, she can sometimes be found jockeying for rations of food in the kitchen with her two teenage sons or refilling her coffee IV tree. She does admit to having a plethora of hiding spaces for edible contraband (candy and other snacks which shouldn’t be consumed with a sedentary lifestyle), in the 49 square feet of her beloved desk. However, she also has her suspicions that her kids know exactly where those hiding spots are, and patiently wait until they are sure Kiersten has completely forgotten about the hidden treats, and claim them for their own.

For more of what Kiersten is up to while sitting at Command Central, noshing on contraband her sons haven’t yet found, please check out:

Website: www.khallbooks.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/i.do.stories/

https://www.facebook.com/cornerconfessions/

https://www.facebook.com/cornerconfessionsnovels/

E-mail: khallbooks@gmail.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kiersten-hall-4bb436ba

Twitter: twitter.com/khallbooks

Current/Upcoming Titles:

* “I Do” Fifteen Years of Wedding Misadventures (June 2015 Release)

* Corner Confessions – A Novel (September 2016 Release)

* The Lies We Live… (January 2018 Release)

* …And The Burdens We Keep (December 2018 Release)

ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK:
Note the physical and mental reactions you’re having when reading the excerpts below.  Are you smiling and nodding?  Heart racing?  Curious?  Have you been in a similar situation, or heard of a similar situation?  Are you flat out laughing?  If you’re experiencing any of these or other (positive) reactions, then I have succeeded in taking you on my journey of humor.

From “I Do” ~ Fifteen Years of Wedding Misadventures
http://www.khallbooks.com/home/2017/9/5/next-18

‘Back in the late ‘90s, I had one wedding coming up which had two wedding coordinators working on it – same company, but partners.  I had worked with both coordinators, numerous times, but only one at a time; they were both working on this wedding.  As I have done with every couple over the past 15 years, I call the couple a week or so in advance of their wedding date, to confirm all necessary points and to see if there are any changes, questions, concerns, etc.  In this case, however, the two wedding coordinators were the contacts for this wedding, not the bride or groom.  The one coordinator whom I had dealt with most often was going to be out of town until two days before the wedding so, I called the one coordinator who was still in town.  I went over the contract and all the pertinent points including the start times.  Since the origination of the contract, the start time for this wedding was 6:30pm which meant that I would need to arrive at the church at 5:00pm to find a place to park, get a two-camera ceremony set up and finally, to look like I had calmly been prepared and hadn’t been sweating when the guests started to arrive at 6:00pm (I was eight months pregnant.)  I went over all of this information with the wedding coordinator and she confirmed with me the ceremony start time was set for 6:30pm.

There is no reason other than that by the grace of the heavens above, before I left the house, I checked the invitation envelope for a map to the church since the coordinator I spoke with couldn’t remember the directions, address, or cross-streets for the church.  There wasn’t a map so, I grabbed the entire invitation and figured that from the address printed on the invitation alone, I could find the church in this city.  If I had trouble, I would stop at a gas station and ask for directions or look it up in the local phone book.

By 4:15pm, I had just dropped my two older children off at daycare and got into line at a fast food restaurant to pick up something to tide me over until dinner which would probably be served around 9:00pm.  I was still 30 minutes away from the church, but had 45 minutes to get there.  No problem.  While sitting in line waiting for my food, I opened the invitation to look at the address of the church to see if I had any clue as to where it was or if I was going to have to stop and ask for directions as soon as I got into town.  To my horror, not only did the invitation not have an address printed on it, but the ceremony time was listed as 5:30pm!!!  (Just writing about this memory has elevated my blood pressure!)  Needless to say, I did not wait for my food, but instead tore out of line and screeched out of the parking lot and onto the highway as fast I could.  To just make things worse, this wedding took place on a Friday.

So, not only was I now running one hour late, but I had to put up with the beginning of rush hour traffic on a major trunk highway leading out of the city.  I had 30 miles to go.  I’m sweating.  I’m stressed and the last time I ate was around noon and I’m voraciously hungry (remember my eight months pregnant status.)  I’m thinking about how I now need to find ‘Holy Redeemer’ without an address and get set up within 30 minutes while the guests are sitting in the pews.  I’m thinking about how convenient it would be to find a parking space relatively close to the church since I have over 60 pounds of equipment that I now have to lug all at once rather than on a couple of trips.  I am thinking about how this could be the beginning of the end; my first wedding ever missed because the wedding coordinator confirmed the wrong time.  I am hoping that I don’t get a speeding ticket for the NASCAR moves I am making out on this highway.

I got to the suburb in 20 minutes flat.  I stopped at a gas station for my directions.  I first consulted the local phone book to get the address and then asked anyone within earshot where the address was located.  Some people looked at me with blank expressions and another was kind enough to respond with, “I think it’s down the street.”  Once the cashier was not busy, they confirmed it was “down the street” and over by five blocks.  I was back in the car at lightning speed (or as fast as a pregnant woman, who is freaking out, can move in the heat of July.)

I made it to the church after navigating around some dead-end streets and one-ways, and sure enough, found that I was not going to find a parking spot in this residential neighborhood.  The church didn’t have a parking lot and the majority of the guests had already arrived.  With all the time spent trying to find the church, I had just 20 minutes to set up before the bride walked down the aisle.  I threw caution to the wind and parked in a ‘no parking’ zone and raced inside with all of my equipment.  (Once again, the term ‘raced’ used loosely with the physical and mental state I was in.)  On the verge of tears and collapsing, I set up in record time.  The one coordinator whom I would have normally spoken with caught me as I was racing around and asked me why I was late.  I informed her that her colleague had given me the wrong start time and that only by a stroke of pure luck had I looked at the invitation to find the address and then had seen the correct ceremony time.  If I hadn’t looked at the invitation when I did, I would have continued to sit in line for my food and then driven down the highway at a respectable speed.  By the time I would have arrived at the church, I would have missed the wedding.’

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‘While we are on the subject of releasing winged creatures at the end of ceremonies, dove releases are a popular touch.  I have seen many of these and all of the releases were quite successful – except for one.  The parents of the bride thought this would be a nice touch and arranged the release of doves as a surprise.  Typically, the bride and groom will each hold a bird and release them at the same time, but since this was both a surprise for the couple and the bride harbored this ‘thing’ about birds, it was planned that the release would be done behind the bride and groom as soon as they walked out of the church.

As planned, the bride and groom walked out and 10 doves were released.  The groom and especially the bride were startled and the crowd “ooohed” and “aaahed” and nine doves flew away gracefully.  One bird, however, hadn’t successfully planned its flight path.  The aerodynamically-challenged bird flew right into the bride’s cathedral length veil and then the excitement really started.  It was a remake of the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘The Birds’ right there on the church steps.  The bride was shrieking hysterically and running around as if her hair was on fire.  The bird was doing its best to flap free of this crazed human being but was just getting further entangled in the veil with its claws and beak.  Meanwhile, the parents were trying to restrain the flailing bride to get the veil and headpiece off her head so the bird could free itself.

After what I’m sure felt like an eternity for both of the bride and the dove, the headpiece and veil were off her head and the bird was untangled and safely put back into its cage.  A word to the wise:  Always think through a plan before you surprise people.’

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‘The other ‘joy’ of pregnancy, of course, is having the need to visit the restroom, often.  Actually, the word ‘often’ really doesn’t describe the situation.  It’s more like I should have just lived in the bathroom.  Besides the agonies of being in the middle of one-hour ceremonies, or two hours of nonstop toasts during dinner, or four hours of constant action on the dance floor, I’m reminded of a wedding I shot at a private residence.  The ceremony had finished, I had my equipment packed and in the car, but I really needed to use a restroom before getting out on the road.  I walked back into the house and the mother of the bride directed me to the first door on the right, down the hallway.  I rushed to the bathroom and thankfully found it unoccupied.  I opened the door and yes, it was a bathroom with all the fixtures including a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window.  The entire wall was a window and the toilet was right next to it!!!  I desperately searched for curtains, a shade, blinds, something!  I hurriedly walked back out of the bathroom and again sought the mom of the bride to ask if there was a hidden curtain in that bathroom or something I was missing, or perhaps another bathroom I could use that did not have a huge window looking out onto a backyard where all 200 guests were sipping champagne and nibbling on canapés two feet from the toilet?!?!  I was dying; my eyes were starting to water.  She calmly assured me with a light chuckle that it was a one-way window.  I rushed back to the bathroom, closed the door, and then proceeded to make funny faces and gestured at the window to see if anyone would notice.  After assuring myself that no one could see in, I finally relaxed.  But good grief!  When you have to take care of business and there’s this huge window next to where you sit and you can watch party-goers chit chat, eat, drink, and have a gay old time adjacent to you – it’s very disconcerting.  In retrospect, it was funny; but absolutely unnerving, at the time.’

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‘Continuing on wedding cakes, some of the cutest footage I have ever taken was of children, especially those who don’t know they are being watched by a video camera.  The true personalities of these kids come out when they are looking at a wedding cake, up close.  There are some children who remain standing three to four feet away from the cake table.  They have been trained well.  There are some kids who will get closer or will stand at the table’s edge and say nothing, but the looks on their faces are just priceless.  You just know they want to grab a handful and duck under the nearest table, and cram the cake into their little mouths.  Some, usually little girls, will stand near the table’s edge and point out the intricacies of the frosting and the decorations used such as fountains, staircases, motorized cake toppers, etc. but while never actually touch the cake.

Then you have the kids – usually the little boys – who dare to reach the extra couple of inches and actually touch the cake.  These kids are obviously in-training for their future occupations as agents involved in covert operations for a governmental agency.  First, they casually walk up to the cake and look around.  Some will use the ruse of looking bored and might even walk away with their hands in their pockets only to return within a minute or two.  Once they have established that no one is paying attention to them, whatsoever, they will take an in-depth look at the cake:  What part of the cake should they touch so no one will notice that the frosting has been tampered with?  How thick is the frosting, really?  Where are the supports for the cake?  (One must be sure it doesn’t fall down in the middle of the covert operation.)  Which way, through the room, will provide the quickest and cleanest escape route out of the immediate area?  One more check over each shoulder to make sure no one is looking…  Within a blink of an eye, the crime is done and the perpetrator is gone.  The child is back over by the punch bowl just looking at the foil-embossed napkins.

The perfect execution of this mission, however, begins to fall apart on subsequent visits to the cake because either all the precautions are not executed to the nth degree as they were the first time around and/or he has shared his secret indulgence with a select few of his friends, who in turn, have shared the secret with their friends, and so on down the line.  Inevitably, the mission is interrupted by an adult and needs to be aborted for the evening.  There are also a handful of kids who sidestep the attendant difficulties and just stick their fingers in and take some frosting, no matter who is watching.’

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‘A couple of years ago, when my eldest son was four years old, I shot a wedding that had a single beta fish in a small glass globe surrounded by seashells and a handful of sand for the table centerpieces, at the reception.  At the end of the night, people were urged to take a fish home.  I was one of the last people there and the couple knew I had kids so, they urged me to take one, too.  Like a good Mom, I took a fish home to add to our happy little family.  The next morning, my son was all excited about the new addition and asked where it came from?  After I had explained the fish had come from the wedding the night before, he concluded that every subsequent wedding should produce some type of living creature, as well.  He would give me a short list of animals to look for during my weddings, and if I saw one, I should put it in my equipment bag and bring it home.  If all else failed, I should at least bring home another fish.’

From Corner Confessions – A Novel
http://www.khallbooks.com/home/2017/9/5/next-20-1

‘“I hear ya’!” Jimmy said with a snort.  “I only got the golf cart ‘cuz I thought it would be fun to screw around on!” Jimmy confessed.  “But the only place I can drive it is out on the golf course now ‘cuz I once had it out in my neighborhood and wound up having a sneezin’ fit which caused me to drive the cart onto someone’s lawn and land on top of a prized rose bush!”
“Uh oh!”
“Yeah, everyone got into a big ol’ stink about this thorny monstrosity out in this yard!  So, my wife told me I’d better keep to a golf course so I don’t piss any more people off!” Jimmy said with another loud chortle as he slapped his left knee.
“How did the rose bush fare?”

“Oh, I tore it up pretty good; shredded it, as a matter of fact!”  Jimmy divulged while he continued to laugh rather loudly.  “Drivin’ over it didn’t do it any good, and then tryin’ to get off of it, well….  That definitely finished

it off!  Had to pay the neighbor 500 freakin’ dollars to ensure they didn’t make a stink out of it with the cops.  Friggin’ blood money is what that was all about!” Jimmy said as he leaned back in his chair.  “If that’s what those damn bushes truly cost, no wonder long-stemmed roses are always an arm and a leg when ya’ have to buy ‘em!”
“When you have to buy them?” Steph asked with an arch of her eyebrow.
“Yeah, ya’ know for Valentine’s and when you get into trouble and ya’ wanna smooth everything over with the wife,” Jimmy admitted.’

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‘“Did you get to play in the NFL, too?”
“Unfortunately, no…  During tryouts, I blew out my knee right in front of the scouts,” Pete said, shaking his head and looking down at the edge of the table.  “Boy!  That still really pisses me off!”
“Yeah….” Steph started to answer in agreement when Pete cut her off.
“Oh, pardon my French….  I didn’t mean to swear.”
“You swore?”
“Yeah, I just said the ‘p’ word.”
“You did?”
“Yeah, how I still feel about blowing my knee out in front of the NFL scouts.”
Steph sat there for a moment looking at Pete with a puzzled look on her face while mentally rewinding through the few lines they had exchanged since he’d just sat down not 10 minutes earlier, and then she figured out what he was talking about.  “Oh, you mean pisses?”
“Yeah, I’m really sorry about that.  I should have said it angers me,” Pete said as he sheepishly looked back up at Steph who was smiling at him from across the table.
“That’s not a swear word,” Steph said, waving her hand through the air as though she were shooing away such nonsense.  “You certainly didn’t offend me.  Don’t worry about it…  I’d be pretty torqued myself if I wound up doing the same thing…  By the way, how’d that happen?”
“We were all running through some basic plays, and one of the guys decided to be funny and tackle me just when I caught the ball.  I wasn’t expecting him to do that being he was nearly 20 feet to my right a few seconds earlier.  But when he ran into me, he fell in front of me just as I was stepping into the throw, and I wound up tripping over his body and I landed just the right way to shatter my kneecap.”
“Oh, that sucks!” Steph agreed with Pete again.
“That was the ‘s’ word,” Pete announced as he smiled at Steph.
“What?” Steph asked even more confused since they were just talking about football plays.
“Sucked…  That’s the ‘s’ word.”
“Did you grow up in a strict house?”
“Yes.  My Momma made sure all of us boys spoke correctly and could spell, and hold an intelligent conversation,” Pete answered proudly, sitting up a bit straighter.
“Ah,” Steph acknowledged with a smile.  “In the household, I grew up in, your version of the ‘s’ word was not the same as our ‘s’ word… and no one had any problem using the more extreme version of the ‘s’ word, either.  But I will do my best to not offend you by my polished ability of being able to swear sailors underneath the table.”
“Alright…”
“Weren’t you wearing pads and stuff when you were playing, though?” Steph asked while using her hands to motion around her body to suggest various football safety gear.
“Oh yeah, I was.  But for whatever reason, I managed to hit my knee at just the right angle at just the right place, and with all of my weight behind it….  Well, it just shattered and that was that.  The ambulance came and scooped me up, and that was the end of my possible football career, and here we are 13 years later.”
“What do you do now?” Steph asked.
“I work in the financial industry.”
“Oh!  That’s definitely different than a sports-related career.  Do you like what you do?”
“Yeah, yeah…” Pete said while he looked out the window for a moment and then looked back at Steph.  “Every so often, I think back to what could have been.  But then again, maybe it was better I wound up going this route rather than putting my body through all of that battering.  I still have my brain and spine somewhat intact versus if I’d been playing pro-ball all of these years…”  Pete began to trail off with his verbal thought and then with a wave of his hand and a long sigh, Pete confirmed his own destiny, “Ah, no complaints.”
By the look on Pete’s face, Steph realized he was sliding into the glory year memories of his youth, so she took the opportunity to change the subject.  “So, what brings you to this fine coffee shop to meet with me besides reminding me of my bad habit of being able to swear so well?”
“Oh, yeah!” Pete exclaimed, snapping back into the present and sat up a bit straighter.  “Yep, I’m here to tell you about what I did back in high school which enabled me to stay in sports for so long.”
“Did you inject horse testosterone?” Steph asked on a lark.
“What?”
“Isn’t that what some athletes do to gain an edge over their competition?”
“No…”
“It’s not?”  Steph asked and then suggested another alternative.  “Or was it horse piss?”
“What?!?”
Steph caught herself and exclaimed, “Oh, I just said the ‘p’ word.  Sorry…”
On the verge of getting up and leaving since he had no idea as to how the conversation suddenly got routed to the bodily fluids of horses, Pete decided to give Steph one more chance to explain.  “I’m not following.  What are you talking about?”
“Extreme steroids…  Isn’t that what you’re talking about?”
“No.  I’m talking about…” Pete started to explain as Steph interrupted again.
“Hold on!”  Steph said as she put her hand up in between them.  “I have to tell you my disclaimer first before you go any further…  I’m a law-abiding citizen who would rather not hear about anything illegal done by you or anyone you know because I don’t want to be put into the position of knowing something that should be reported.  Cool?”
“Yeah, I didn’t do anything illegal,” Pete finally had a chance to clarify.
“Well then, good!  So, okay…”  Steph said while she sat up straight, ready to hear all Pete had to confess.  “Where were we now?  Was it horse urine?  Or were we beyond that?”
Pete, realizing Steph was more sharp-witted rather than confused, also began to find her rather congenial.  He smiled and pointed out, “You’re a funny gal!”’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘“About nine years ago when I was the Best Man at my brother’s wedding, as a joke I asked my soon to be sister-in-law if I was designated as the Best Man, what was she doing marrying my brother?”
“Okay…”
“And she answered me with something along the lines of ‘If you’re the Best Man, you’ve got less than an hour to prove it’ and that’s when it all started,” Weston confessed and then looked down at the floor, not necessarily with shame, but still looked down.
Steph didn’t say anything immediately which caused Weston to look back up at her.  From the contorted looks on Steph’s face, as she was trying to muster the right sentences, or at least sets of words to say something, Weston could see she finally figured out what he was talking about.  After nearly a minute of silence, Steph asked, “How many women have you proved your Best Man status to over the years?”
“Total?  Or just brides?”
“The number is that high where you have categories?”
“Yeah,” Weston said as he reached for a sugar packet and started playing with it nervously in his hands.
“What are the categories?” Steph asked.
Weston looked up in the air and started counting on his fingers, “Well, there are the brides…  I can’t help myself with a wedding gown!  Then there are the Maids and Matrons of Honor – I categorize them as one.  Then the Bridesmaids but sometimes I have to card them.  I’m not robbing the cradle on those…”
Steph leaned forward and in a hushed tone asked, “Can I just interject here and agree with your opinion of being a cad?”
“Yes, you can.  Do you want to hear more?”
“You have 40 minutes left…” Steph confirmed as she sat up straight in her chair again.
“Then you have the Mothers of either the Bride or Groom…”
“What?!?!?” Steph exclaimed and she dropped her forearms onto the table top.
“And sometimes the Grandmas want to go for a little ride…  It depends on their age and agility, though.”
“I’m speechless.”
Flashing that devious smile at Steph again, Weston reminded her, “You have to remember it takes two to tango, though…”
Steph blurted out, rather loudly this time, “Instead of a Best Man, you sound more like a party favor!”’

12/19/2017
‘Make Me Laugh’
All Copy & Materials Contained Within, 
Copyright 2017
Kiersten Hall
www.khallbooks.com