This week: Twisting the Truth Edited by: 🎗️GeminiGem🎗️
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The truth is somewhere in the middle of funny and serious. ~Steve Coogan
If you want to make a joke, tell the truth. Nothing is funnier. -George Bernard Shaw
When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. -George Bernard Shaw
If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or they'll kill you. -Billy Wilder
Greetings! I am known here as GeminiGem and I would like to share my thoughts about writing comedy. This is something I enjoy doing, but the jury is still out regarding my comedy writing skills. With any luck, they will return with a verdict of "guilty."
The next time you want to write something to make people laugh, try taking a real-life event or conversation and turning it into something funny. It can be something that happened to you, someone you know, an encounter with a stranger, or even something you witnessed between complete strangers. The moment might not have been all that amusing during the original occurrence. The entertainment value comes with the retelling of the event. You can change a detail here and there, substitute fictional characters, or add some witty dialog. Bring in some internal dialog. What crosses our minds when we interact with other people can be more entertaining than what we let ourselves to say out loud.
Since Halloween is right around the corner, I will share a favorite memory of mine. Please keep in mind that everything in the following story is true.
Except for the parts that aren't.
The Best Laid Plans
t was our first Halloween as a married couple. When we had merged our households a few months prior, we discovered that we had duplicates of items of dubious usefulness, like multiple meat tenderizing mallets and queen-sized water beds. Our house was also bursting with a grand total of ten big dogs, mostly collies and golden retrievers. Our new home was way out in a rural community, full of pointless duplicate items and big, hairy dogs. It seemed an unlikely hot spot of Halloween activity.
Late that first Halloween afternoon, a vehicle the size of a bus pulled up to the end of our long driveway. The side door slid open and a herd of costumed children poured out of the vehicle. Okay, so it wasn't so much a bus as a mini-van ejecting a small group of trick-or-treaters. None the less, we watched with trepidation as the kids thundered up our driveway, forming a seething mob outside our front door. Maybe they were not a seething mob so much as an excited, impatient group of grade-schoolers well into their annual autumn sugar-high, but you can never be too careful.
The arrival of the juvenile mob set off our ten-dog security alarm, which reportedly could be heard in three surrounding counties. We discovered we were not as prepared for Halloween as we had thought. We had a Plan, but the Plan did not have a contingency for kids showing up at our door during daylight hours.
"It's only 4 p.m.!" I shouted to my husband over the canine cacophony. "Why are there already trick-or-treaters here? This definitely was not part of The Plan!".
The Plan would include having the dogs crated in the back room with new bones to keep them somewhat occupied as it became dark outside. There would be a large bowl filled with Halloween candy (for the kids), large beers poured into glasses (for us), and large smiles pasted on our faces (for the attending parents). When all that was in place we would turn on the front porch light to indicate we were ready to receive trick-or-treaters. Because it was still afternoon, we had not yet initiated Phase One of The Plan. This Halloween was not off to an auspicious start.
"Just throw some candy at them," he yelled back, "that should make them go away!" His voice was filled with the same dismay I was feeling.
"There is leftover bacon in the fridge. Get it to distract the dogs. Hurry!" I was sure that when I opened the door to the trick-or-treaters, my pack of overenthusiastic dogs would conveniently forget their obedience training and dash outside. I could envision them knocking over diminutive pirates and princesses and scattering them like bowling pins in their eagerness to meet their new best friends...or snatch some Halloween candy from their new best friends.
When my husband returned with the bacon, I took a deep breath and carefully slipped out the front door. I dispersed the crowd with a couple of rounds of fun-sized tear gas cannisters, I mean, fun-sized Snickers. After the trick-or-treaters went back to their mini-van so they could be driven to the next house they would invade, my husband and I put our heads together and plotted The New Plan.
The dogs were lured to the backroom with the remainder of the bacon, then given new bones to chew as per the original Phase One of The Plan. For Phase Two, we would open some beers but skip using glasses. Sorry, there was no time for such niceties. Darkness would fall quickly, as it does that time of year. For Phase Three, all the lights inside and outside of the house would be turned off and would remain off for the remainder of the evening. For Phase Four, we would sit in the dark, quiet house sipping the beer, maybe having a well-deserved snack.
When we had successfully navigated all four Phases of the New Plan, we clinked beer bottles and quietly discussed the important lessons we had learned that day.
"What we should have done is put a box of all those dumb duplicate items we have out on the driveway along with a self-serve bag of candy for the trick or treaters and called it good," I said. And, we should probably get a head start working on The Plan for next year's Halloween."
As it turned out, we have not had another trick-or-treater at our house in the twenty-two years since that first Halloween afternoon. I don't even bother to buy Halloween candy anymore. Just in case, though, we keep the dogs in, all the lights out, and the beer and popcorn handy.
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