Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

A few weeks ago, segments of my Boomer Humor blog “went live” when I posted several pieces on YouTube.  

After listening to humorist Jeanne Robertson and her homegrown true life stories, I knew then I had to add my true stories to my presentations.  It’s been great.  I posted on YouTube to build my marketing, and it’s working.

But the unexpected rewards have been hearing from others after they saw the videos.  Especially family and friends.  One of my sons was listening to one routine and heard his name in the beginning.  He said he held his breathe for five minutes until it was over, concerned about what I might say.  When it was done, he took a deep sigh and said, “OK, now I can go back and listen this time.”   He called and said, “Dad, that’s pretty funny.  Did I really say those things?”  “You might have,” I answered.

My brother said he didn’t remember Dad saying some of the things I credited to him.  Similar answer – “He would have said them if he had thought about them.  I’m sure he wanted to.”  My Dad always said, “A story isn’t worth telling unless you can make it your own.”  I think it was Dad.  Or someone else’s Dad.  I don’t remember.

A group of us from church go out to eat each Sunday after the service, and recently “my friends” were chuckling as they signed a sheet of paper they were passing among them.  It was a petition that I couldn’t quote them in my stories.  But, I’m sure they were kidding.  Besides, my lawyer said the document won’t stand up in court.

A friend I grew up with said the piece about our first grade teacher, Mrs. Fuqua, took her back 50 years.  “I really loved it,” she said.  “My husband listened to the part about you eating all the gum drop buttons off the Santa cookies and said, ‘How does he think up stuff like that?’”  I told him, “He doesn’t.  He remembers.  He really DID eat all those gumdrops.”

Other friends were really concerned about my accuracy and commented that the poem I recited is by Alfred LORD Tennyson, not Alfred LLOYD Tennyson.  I absolutely know that fact, but I went back and listened several times and laughed out loud!  I called a friend I grew up with and asked her if she thought I mispronounced the name.  “Certainly not.  I grew up in South Russellville, too, remember.  That’s how we talk.”  My Dad was from southwest Kentucky.  My Mom from Clocksville (Clarksville) Tennessee.  My Aunt Margaret from Mississippi.  And Aunt Louise and her children lived in Brooklyn.  My wife’s surprised anyone can understand me at all with those influences!

The YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/user/LearningLaughter.

Date of Blog Story: 
September 8, 2010

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