Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

06 May 2001, 2:01 a.m.

The funny

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Is "the funny" an ideal? Is it a perception? Is it the manifestation of The Good? Is it a transaction of some sort? An accident of juxtaposition? Why is it that sometimes two people can agree on, say, which of two jokes is funnier, and sometimes not? Ah, I don't think I really care. But I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh.

People have different reactions to things they find funny. I, myself, tend to guffaw really loudly, which certainly draws attention in computer labs and restaurants, and which I hope doesn't bother my friends and acquaintances too much. Some people just smile, laughing to themselves silently. And I'm sure there are some people out there who don't react visibly *or* audibly. With each step of self-restraint, the jestee further frustrates, discourages, the jester.

I love a good laugh. I think one of the signs that a person is trustworthy and honest is a good laugh. Because, come on, *I* laugh more like a movie villain than real villains do. I think real villains just crack a smirk, or maybe nothing at all, since they are very aware that allowing others to see any of their real emotions gives others power over them. Ugh, too many pronouns, too little energy to go back and fix it.

Anyway, I just enjoy seeing and hearing people responding to my everyday attempts at entertainment, even when I'm not on a literal stage with a literal microphone. Yes, there's probably some neurosis at work here. I just hope it doesn't get to the point where my need for that sort of attention gets in the way of otherwise healthy relationships with friends who just don't slap their knees at my knee-slappers.

Poll: I am

  • Laughing in the face of danger
  • Laughing all the way to the bank
  • Laffy Taffy
  • John McLaughlin

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at