I have a relative who is a magician when it comes to saying funny things. It doesn’t seem to matter what he’s talking about; he’ll take the most ordinary of topics and make everyone who listens to him explode in laughter through his droll words.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how incidents in your daily life can be converted into side-splitting stories when you use the right wording? A family friend of ours, a retired policeman, is good at funny everyday stories. He would often tell us tales of not-too-bright thieves that he confronted while he was working and mimic their comically horrified expressions when they realized they were busted.
I have my own comic stories, too, such as the time the baby black snake attempted to enter my place (ugh). I opened my door to go outside and the snake wiggled his way in. I grabbed my broom and attempted to sweep him back out, hollering, “HEY! Get out of my house!” The more I swept, the more determined the snake became.
Luckily, a resourceful friend was staying with me at the time. My friend grabbed my flyswatter, scooped it under the snake and sent the snake flying into the air. The snake landed with a perplexed expression in the backyard, shaking its head a little as if to say, “Whoa! What happened?” Fortunately, the snake decided to slither elsewhere and took off, glaring at us.
These everyday stories get even better when a minor amount of disaster is involved. I was singing in the choir at a country church I attended when I saw the Advent wreath catch on fire. The Advent wreath consists of a set of candles in different colors and a decorative wreath; each candle is lit in succession on different Sundays. It’s a countdown-to-Christmas thing. In this case, the Advent wreath was made from pine branches resting on a wooden stand. Some of the wax from the candles dripped down onto the pine needles, a stray spark caught the needles and the fire got going. It was at the end of the service, so two men ran up and beat the fire out with their coats. Nobody got hurt, but I think the coats got a little singed.
Traveling, too, offers the chance to collect many interesting and/or funny everyday stories. I visited the country of Luxembourg years ago, visiting some friends. While I was there, I explored places such as Luxembourg City, Clervaux and Vianden. At Vianden, there is a magnificent castle built around the 10th century.
I went up to the booth to buy my entrance ticket and discovered to my delight that the ticket man kept a cat with him for company. While buying my ticket, I allowed the cat to sniff my fingers and said, “Hello, Katze, sprechen Sie Englisch?” before stroking the cat on the head. The cat didn’t answer but he seemed to be an all-language cat; he liked everybody.
I travel because I like to see what’s the same and what’s different from my own country and to see places I’ve heard or read about. Along the way, I get to meet locals who have interesting stories of their own to relay and I delight in listening to them. And if I’m really lucky, the storyteller is funny and I can take these stories back home to relay to friends and relatives so that they can share the humor.
It’s all in the wording. Maybe someday I’ll write these stories down on paper and publish them in a book so they will be preserved.