Saturday, 14 February 2009

Do you think I asked for a 12 inch pianist?

As lacking in social skills that I am, there is one arrow I seem to have in my quiver in that I think I have a good sense of humour. Now I suppose everyone says that, however if I rationally analyse a social gathering (which I can easily do, after all I'm always on the outside looking in even if we're standing next to each other) then my jokes seem to get more and harder laughs. Unfortunately it does leave me looking a little like Chandler from "Friends" in that I stand there until I have something funny to say, then shut up waiting for the next joke to float along. This is to the extent that I have actually had people watch my face, smiling already, as I add something not intended to be funny to a conversation only for their face to relax at the end and add "oh sorry…I thought you were telling a joke." Hell, I've even had some people say I should be a stand up comedian, and I admit I've thought about giving it a go, however I'll stop short of believing my own hype for the time being.

I actually think that my Asperger's Syndrome (AS) has something to do with this…in a "God giveth and God taketh away" kind of deal. The same "out of the box" thinking that helps me in my computing career can seemingly also be used to find the funny lines that others didn't think of, and find them quite quickly too. Add to that my lack of empathy and "nothing is too much" attitude, not only can I seem to find lines that others didn't think of, but my range of possible material is also a lot more diverse as no subjects are "taboo" to me. And even if the end result is not taboo in itself, you can sometimes get there going by way of areas that are taboo.

This wide-ranging aspect to humour is something that I have learned to temper as I have gotten older. Like most social aspects, people with AS have to learn what comes naturally to others. I have had to learn (unfortunately by trial and error) that not everyone finds certain topics funny, and there are some things that you are seemingly never allowed to joke about, mainly gallows humour. However again I tend to apply my rational way of thinking to gallows type jokes and will crack them anyway and if people are offended I can go off on a lecture about how gallows humour has always existed and it is important to help people deal with difficult situations. What I have learned about gallows humour on my own travels is that it seems to split people into two camps…those for whom it is a tool to help them deal with a situation via humour, and those for whom it is a tool to help them deal with a situation by chastising gallows humour via righteous indignation. No matter what camp you lie in, gallows humour is at least of some use for you.

In a way I'm glad that it is at least one social skill that I have. It means that if I am in a group conversation it usually gives me the odd thing to chip in here and there (although it means waiting for others to do the ground work). I also think it gives people something they can warm to about you; it gives you a facet of personality, a hint of likability…just "something". Alas you can't build a circus on a one-trick pony, and if anything it might also make people not take you seriously and think you just mess around and that's all you are. Also as someone or something is usually the butt of a joke it can maybe also make you appear a bit negative and bitchy. Still, overall I don't mind, it's my "thing". If you can make someone laugh it's always good, and girls seem to say they like someone with a sense of humour and I've found that to be fairly true. I'd never go as far as to say I have "laughed someone into bed" (maybe out of one) but my sense of humour has always been a fairly large part of my relationships. Getting back to the one-trick show, however, it's a precarious edge to balance a whole relationship on.


Beastinblack said...

I need a pint of absinth, thats rational thinking for you!

DJ Kirkby said...

You are so lucky to have a sense of humour, I just don't get jokes at all even when my partner explains them... though I have learnt to laugh heartily when others are doing so, which is a bit silly at my age.