I love people. I love to talk to people. I love to watch people. I love to watch people talking with other people.
You get it, people are interesting, people are fun. Glad we have them here on planet Earth. Moving on.
Just about every day I see or hear someone doing or saying something that later works itself into my writing, or into a comedy bit, or just into a story to amuse my friends.
Sometimes it finds its way into all three.
It's not unusual for me to find more than one hidden iceberg of comedy lurking just beneath the surface of my ordinary day.
I have a friend who teaches his comedy writing students to keep a notebook with them at all times to write down anything that strikes their fancy.
One day I saw something that still makes me grin whenever I picture it.
I didn't have a notebook, but there is no way short of a severe brain injury that I'll ever forget watching this particular scene.
It is seared into the synapses of my brain, or at least into the synapses connected to my funny bone.
I was taking a course at a local college and just before class I was sitting in my car at a traffic light waiting to turn into the parking lot.
The car in front of me had one occupant. He was fiddling with his rear view mirror while the light was red.
The light turned green but the car didn't move.
I'm a polite person, so I gave him a minute to notice the light without honking my horn.
I was so glad that I did.
We ended up sitting through two cycles of the light because he was busy perfecting something and I was busy laughing my butt off and hoping he wouldn't see me and stop.
The car's occupant was a young, stick thin guy who was so white that he verged on being incandescent.
He was dressed all in black.
His eyes were lined in black.
His hair was dyed jet black.
He had multiple piercings in his face and ears.
He was painfully cool.
I could see him thinking about how cool he was right there in his rear view mirror.
He didn't notice that the light had changed because he was intently watching himself.
What he was doing, for want of a better phrase was "pose smoking."
At first he was just smoking normally, but then he began sending the smoke out of his lips in various ways; at the roof of the car, out of the side of his mouth, in one big exhale, etc.
Then he tried improving his style by smoking his cigarette in a "French" way, holding the cigarette between the second and third finger of his right hand, the back of his hand bringing the cigarette to his mouth; his whole focus seemingly riveted toward getting the sneer just right as he blew the smoke back out into the mirror.
I sat there grinning, covering my mouth so he wouldn't see.
The light changed, but he didn't notice it, and I sure as heck wasn't going to honk at this point.
Next, he tried smoking the "looks like he's smoking a joint" way, pinching the cigarette hard between thumb and index finger, deeply dragging so that almost the whole cigarette was burned up in one inhale.
Once he had his lungs sufficiently filled with smoke, he attempted a smoke ring.
One smoke ring came out just fine and then the next didn't go so well and he began an epic coughing fit.
He was hacking so violently that even though he couldn't have weighed as much as his spare tire, he was making his whole car bounce up and down and rock from side to side as he coughed.
I was laughing hard by then and not even attempting to hide it.
I sat there whooping, torn between acting on my mommy instincts; hopping out, patting him on the back and offering water, and hoping he'd continue.
Before I decided between the two, he recovered.
He used his sleeve to dry his eyes, checked the status of the light, which was red again, and lit another cigarette.
This time he opted for the eyes squinted up "let it hang out of the side of my mouth while I talk" tough guy look.
So, there he was, eyes squinted up, smirking, cigarette dangling from his lips……a haze of smoke encircling his head…..intently watching himself in the mirror.
When he shot himself with his finger gun and followed it up with the universal what's up chin lift……..
I almost wet myself.
Seriously, I was laughing so loud at that point that I don't know how he didn't hear me.
But, sadly, before he could rummage around and find a really long cigarette holder and do an impression of a sixties spy movie villain, the light changed and he drove into the lot. (he would have needed a long haired white cat to stroke while smoking to complete this visual anyway)
I do have to say that I don't approve of smoking. It's a disgusting habit. It makes you smell bad, taste bad and inhibits your ability to rhyme. (little known but true fact)
I've always been, as Tony Randall was often described, "a militant anti smoker," but on this day I loved the tobacco industry because it was truly one of the funniest things that I've ever seen someone do in real life.
To be fair, I guess he thought that he was doing it in private. But HELLO….those glass things you can see out of???? People can see IN too.
I'm so glad that I waited when the light turned green.
If I'd been impatient and honked at the guy, I would have missed his whole show.
The lesson learned?
If you're observant and patient and kind and wise and gentle and open hearted…..the universe rewards you by letting you see something funny enough to make you snort bologna out of your nose.
So to sum up…….smoking isn't cool no matter how many ways you try it…….neither is necrophilia…..which has nothing to do with anything ....other than in my personal lexicon of uncool things, smoking and necrophilia are both in the top ten, so I thought that I'd share.