View Full Version : Cool Hand Luke

11-01-2013, 06:45 AM
If I might, an observation

Words on paper, or on a screen, are, by and large, a poor way to communicate. That's all you have, and putting them down in some kind of efficient order is a skill, just like playing the ukulele or dribbling a basketball or driving a car. It takes practice.

Sharing coffee with somebody across a table, if he tells you something, you have all kinds of clues you don't get on a page -- tone, volume, speed, plus non-verbal ones -- expressions, gestures, maybe even pheromones. Somebody can tell a joke over a beer that might have you in stitches, but that same offering in prose can fall flat. Because you can't see the smile, or hear the humor between the lines.

All you have are the words, and they are not always precise.

Dying is easy; comedy is hard. Trying to be funny on the page is tricky. Some can do it, some cannot, and often what we think is hilarious when we write it down doesn't come across that way.

Cool Hand Luke's Dictum: What we have here is a failure to communicate

I point this out in light of a recent conversation I had here, in which somebody said something that sounded fairly snide and insulting to me, and which he apparently thought was really funny. I like to think I have a pretty well-developed sense of humor, but I didn't get the joke. (Frankly, I don't think most other readers got it, either, but there you go. Might just be me.)

Point of this is, humor is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder, and if you are going to offer it up, you need to realize that it might not fly for somebody who sees only the words and not the person putting it forth.

Practice before you play in public is a good idea for uke-ery. Same goes for being funny.