Pretty or Funny?

Photo by Stewart Munro on Unsplash

is only the second week of writing daily and I’m running into some rough spots. So far there have been three bumps in the road.

  1. What do I do on days my writing is focused on a sermon?
  2. How do I handle days I’m not feeling well?
  3. How do you come back the very next day to write when you have written something so raw and depressing?

Let’s find out together. Shall we?

I moved ever so slightly away from the rim of the pit today. Once again, I turned to television for distraction. Today I found the Netflix series, Feel Good, with Mae Martin. She may be my new favorite person. I have been laughing out loud at this show. Literally LOL. It is all I am watching today. (It isn’t for delicate palates. You’ve been warned.)

ve always liked comedians. I guess everyone does. But, the importance of humor in my family has often seemed to be above average. Preaching is sort of the family business, so it probably makes sense. Being a preacher is a little bit like being a stand-up comic.

My father was the funniest person I have ever known. My son comes in a close second and I believe it is because he spent the first five years of his life being told stories by my dad. Grimey Guts McGroover would get into all sorts of crazy situations as Daddy lay next to my oldest on my parents ridiculously large bed. A CALIFORNIA KING, they call it. (Mom has promised that I can have it when she no longer uses it. Some nights I dream about sleeping in that enormous bed.)

I don’t think of myself as funny. I can be funny, but I don’t imagine anyone describes me as “the funniest person they know.” And, that is too bad because it is truly all I ever wanted to be. If someone had asked me when I was about 12 years old, “Would you rather be pretty or funny?” I would have answered, without a beat, FUNNY! Oh, wait. I think someone did actually ask me that! Probably at the lunch table at school one day. The boys wanted to be funny. The girls wanted to be pretty. Not this girl, though. If I could make my dad laugh, it had been a good day. If I could make anyone else laugh, that was icing on the cake.

the 80’s when we finally got cable at our house . . . We lived next door to the church and on the other side of the house was a cow pasture. Across the street from the house was, you guessed it, cow pastures. About ten miles down the road was a state penitentiary. When the state decided that the prison should have cable, we were lucky to be on the route. So, in the 80’s when cable finally came to the cow pastures, most of my friends loved watching MTV all day. Of course, I enjoyed it. Of course, I used the VCR to record Michael Jackson’s Thriller on VHS so that I could stop and repeat over and over again until I knew the dance through and through.

By Source, Fair use,

But, what I watched more than anything else was The Comedy Channel. That is the ancestor to Comedy Central which is still going strong today. But, originally, it was literally hours of programming of just stand-up comics doing their routines. Usually it was short clips that must have been recorded from the back of poorly lit comedy clubs. Brilliantly titled Short Attention Span Theater the likes of a young Jon Stewart would introduce clip after clip. I couldn’t get enough. Everyone in the family liked it.

Pretty or funny? I’ll take funny every . single . time .

I have a nephew who is in his thirties now. When he was about four, I guess, he would find a stool, plop it down in the middle of the family gathering so that every eye was on him. He would pick up a hairbrush or telephone or something that in his mind was a microphone and he would tell us jokes. There was a good long time that was his plan for life — become a stand-up comedian. He became a rock star instead — not too far off.

Where do you take someone who has been in a Peek-a-boo accident?

The ICU!

I don’t know how today’s article makes any sense alongside yesterdays. Except that this is life. Some days are good. Some days are bad. Most days are somewhere in between.

started the day by listening to Apron Strings by Everything But the Girl and This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush. Both are from the soundtrack to the very funny (and touching) John Hughes movie from 1988, She’s Having a Baby. That should give you some clue where my mind is today.

In 1988, I was 16 years old and I went to the cinema to see that movie with hubby who was 20 at the time. (He wasn’t hubby yet!) We bought the soundtrack and that cassette tape played in our cars for years. It was our go-to and I LOVED to sing alongside Kate Bush and was certain I sounded EXACTLY like her. We probably played it up until we hit a very rough patch in the marriage and decided we would never have children. See? Those days didn’t last either.

Today I’m 49. He is 53. I texted him a little while ago to tell him what I had been listening to. His reply was,

“Mamas gotta mama. Mama’s gonna mama.”

That made me laugh so hard. I know you don’t find it as funny, but I thought it was hilarious. It also made me laugh in the “‘wow, he gets me” kind of way — because Mama is having a hard time Mama-ing right now.

isa Kudrow plays Mae’s mother in Feel Good. Just another amazing performance as an entitled, rich, white woman. She is mother to an addict. There is an argument. Mae can’t believe how awful her mother is. Then her father gives her a new perspective. Dad is played by Adrien Lukis. He explains to Mae that while she was living on the streets as an addict and dealer, her mother was like a detective — following her everywhere she went, watching her every move, unable to do anything except check to make sure she was still okay. Then, he simply said, “It’s hard, you know. Being a parent.”

I completely understand that we could change that to, “It’s hard, you know. Being a human.” It is. Sometimes we are in the pit. Sometimes we are giving thanks for not being in it. And, if we are lucky, our family or friends or mentors or sponsors or someone along the way has taught us the value of humor in the midst of it all.

Pretty or funny? I’ll take funny every . single . time .



In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be

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T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be