This may come as a surprise to my regular readers -- I know it shocks the heck out me -- but some people don't think I'm funny. And not just my wife. I'm talking about the complete strangers with whom I occasionally share my unusual brand of humor.
In my defense, I came by this habit honestly. I grew up watching my father torment restaurant employees and other service industry workers with his rapier-like wit. For instance, if we were at a Waffle House and the waitress asked him a simple question like, "How would you like your eggs?" He'd probably reply, "Yes, please."
At a slightly more expensive restaurant, a waiter once made the mistake of asking "How did you find your steak, sir?"
"I just moved my baked potato and there it was," my father answered.
I like to think, however, that I've not only inherited his gift for witty repartee but have taken it to new heights. On the other hand, some would probably argue that I've inherited only half my father's wit.
For example, there was the time my son and I were about to launch a canoe at one of Gwinnett County's many fine parks. A police officer spotted us and came striding over, bristling with authority.
"Can't you gentlemen read?" he said, pointing to a signboard near the parking lot. "No personal watercraft allowed."
"But officer," I responded, "this isn't our personal watercraft. We borrowed it from a friend."
Then there was the time my wife and I were shopping in a fancy furniture store, "shopping" in this case being a euphemism for "looking at hideously ugly furniture we couldn't possibly afford anyway." After I spotted one particular repulsive piece that had been finished to look like an antique, the following three-way conversation ensued:
Me: (to the saleswoman who had been hovering over us for the last 15 minutes) "This piece is damaged. See where the varnish is all cracked? And the paint has been completely rubbed off in several places. How much would you take off for that?"
Saleswoman: (with obvious disdain) "It's made to look that way, sir."
My wife: "Don't pay any attention to him. He's just trying to be funny."
Finally, just the other day, I visited a major national retailer to return a clock my wife had bought to hang over the mantle but which turned out to be too big. Was there anything wrong with the clock, the clerk at the service desk wanted to know?
"Yes," I said. "This clock is set on Central Time. We're on Eastern."
"Uhhh...," she said.
So you see, sharing my sense of humor can be great fun, at least for me. Others might not appreciate it, but I think they're shortsighted. After all, what better way to get rid of hovering sales people?
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter@rjenkinsgdp, and visit www.familymanthebook.com.