Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mundane Things That I Find Funny

I have an unusual sense of humor. Sure, I laugh at other things that people find funny, but usually these people, like me, have a "fringe" sense of humor and laugh the hardest at rounds of Cards Against Humanity or at jokes on South Park

But there are other things that strike me... not as funny, per se, but amusing. And these things wouldn't make sense to most people unless I explained why. A joke works when you reflexively laugh at it. But there are some mundane things that I find amusing because you have to think about them. And when you have to think about why something amuses you, it doesn't make most people laugh. But what are these mundane things that amuse me, and why? Is it an Asperger's thing, or does this happen to everybody? Let me give you some examples:

The Boston green line trolleys have only 2 cars, sometimes 1. It especially amuses me when I see these 1-car-only trolleys. Why? Because I lived in New York City for over a decade. With the exception of the infamous and hated G train (which had only 4 cars), all the subway lines in New York had around 10-11 cars in order to accommodate the city's elephantine population. But Boston doesn't even have a million people, let alone the 8 million that New York has. The blue, red, and orange lines usually have 5-6 cars at the most. Probably since the green line is the oldest line and is a trolly and not a regular subway train, it only has 1-2 cars. So when I see a one-car trolly (usually on weekends and in late evenings) I think it's cute. I think of the city of Boston as a person, trying naively to prove it's just like New York by having its own subway system, but not coming close to even resembling New York. It makes me think of a little kid imitating his or her older sibling.

Ten years ago, I was at a water park. There was one water ride which had circular rafts to hold a few people who went down the slide. There was a conveyer belt to carry the tubes back to the top of the ride for the next users:

But this amused me. Why? Think about it. They had to hire engineers to not only build the slide but also to build the conveyer belt that brought the tubes back up. You have to have a serious engineering talent to build such structures, and it amused me that so much effort was put into something so frivolous when there are more important things that such talents could be used for. Not that I dislike frivolity-- obviously I like it or I wouldn't go to water parks!

When I was little, things like this didn't just amuse me: they put me in stitches. I guarantee you that if I had encountered the New York subways and then the Boston trolleys as a kid, I would have laughed hysterically. I would have lost my shit, as they say, over the conveyer belt carrying the tubes up to the top of the water slide. And when I was in elementary school, I thought footballs (as in American football) were hilarious because of their shape. If somebody threw or kicked a football, as it turned end over end it made me think of some weird creature running away. I used to laugh really hard at these runaway footballs, and nobody could figure out why I was laughing. Another time, when I was in 1st grade (age 7), I laughed hysterically in class for no fewer than 10 minutes over the word "grass". Why was it funny to me? I don't know. I think I just thought the word sounded funny. When I was a little older I also thought the word "Batman" was funny.

One of my friends with Asperger's thinks palm trees are "hilarious" when viewed from far away. Why? He doesn't know. He just thinks they're hilarious. Another friend with Asperger's thinks the word "couch" is funny, and when she was little you could not stop her from laughing at that word. 

A trademark of having Asperger's is having an odd sense of humor. But laughing at mundane things? Is that an Asperger's characteristic, or does this happen to other people as well? Comments from everyone on the neurological spectrum are welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Well I may not have Asperger's Julie, but I can certainly identify with the oddball sense of humour. To be honest, I think it is a creative thing rather than anything to do with Asperger's. I find myself laughing at the oddest thing, which is especially disconcerting to my family, for whom English is a second language - they just think I'm nuts! Still as I always say - it's not what you laugh at - as long as you laugh regularly, and long and hard. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

    A nice piece Julie. Have an awesome day!