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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Falling Trees and True Friends

I have a problem. At times in my life, I have laughed at inappropriate moments. Perhaps, if you are honest with yourself, you have as well. I'm reminded of some 30 years ago, laughing during a funeral service. Crass, I know, but if you could have heard George singing "Trust and Obey" as a 10 year old prepubescent, you would have giggled like a school girl too.

I, too, have been on the receiving end of what I would consider poorly placed laughter. George, himself, has done this to me on several occasions. Just so you know, I'm not talking the ever classic "groin shot" type of incident. That is a patented move guaranteed to illicit laughter even in the most dire of circumstances. A homeless man on Canadian crutches is kicked in the tool shed. Hilarious. Let's exclude that for now. The incident that comes to mind for me is the day a tree fell on my head.

We must have been about 12 or so and George and I were in the woods building a fort. OK, it was basically logs stacked about 2 feet high with no roof, but we'll call it a fort. As you can imagine, to build such a structure in the middle of a pine forest, you need... well, pine logs. Fallen trees were apparently in short supply that day so I decided to use my South Congaree ingenuity and harvest my own.

Now, to make a standing dead pine tree fall without a saw, you have to slowly start pushing it to create a rocking motion. Once you get the tree moving like an inverted pendulum on a clock, in theory, the base will eventually crack and the tree will fall. The weak point of the hypothesis, however, is that you cannot always predict where a rotten tree will crack. It could be at the base, but just as likely midway up the tree. And as you can guess, it was the latter that happened to me.

Things get fuzzy from here, for I only remember three distinct things about this story:
1) I heard a loud crack from somewhere above me.
2) I felt a sudden blow to the top of my head.
3) I heard my friend laughing like... well, like the top of a tree had just fallen on my head.

Apparently stunned and dazed, I wandered aimlessly in the woods for several minutes before coming to my senses. George all the while, doubled over in tears of laughter. If I could have caught him at that moment, I'm sure I would have punched him right in the package. Ah, now that's comedy.

When have you laughed at the wrong moment?


Rick said...

I laughed out loud at the re-telling of you getting hit in the head by a tree. Does that count?

Charlotte said...

My husband took the backs seats out of his car once for a trip. When he put them back in, it didn't go well. My oldest son and I were watching - Mark was so angry at the seats, it was bad to laugh, but there was something very ape-like about the way he was jumping and swinging his arms and yelling about it - we rolled. Ben wisely walked down the driveway a piece before he laughed, but I stood right there, pointing and laughing. I'm laughing right now...

George said...

I once laughed at an idiot when a tree fell on his head. Oh wait, you already told that one.

Patrick said...

Your first example reminded me of a time when I couldn't stop laughing: yes, it was at a funeral.

My aunt’s mother had passed away, and there we were, a few rows from the front. After everyone else was seated, the immediately family entered, and the last person to walk by the casket was her husband of many decades, led arm-in-arm by his sister. He leaned down and kissed his wife's forehead, and his sister, apparently appalled at the thought of touching a dead person, swatted him on the arm. That was the start of the stiffled laughter.

Then the choir started up.

Picture a group of about twenty-five women, most with blue-white hair, none under the age of 60, and each one managing to hit a different key during the same song.

They picked a hymn that had to have at least sixteen stanzas to it, and each time, just when you thought it was over, they'd start the next verse a little louder -- and worse -- than the other.

I was in tears. But I don't think I was fooling anyone.

Chuck said...

Cindy and I went to a graduation ceremony for one of our friends. The lady who was very tiny and had a thick german accent. All I could think of was Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers.

As the giggles started to come out, and I was unable to supress, it spread to my wife.

We call it our Pez moment, in honor of the Seinfeld episode.

The Nicholsons said...

I laugh everytime we're at the beach and I make Jay tell the story of how George fell from one of the palm trees after deciding to try to shimmy his way to the top. Sorry George.

Alan said...

See? You've all made me laugh. Ill placed humor? Arguably, yes. Welcomed humor? Inarguable. I thank you all.

Chappy said...

i laughed at a job i held recently when my boss told me that my new boss' name was 'julie hymen'.

well, i thought it was funny.

apparently laughing in a room full of people who know julie hymen isn't funny after all.

you have a really cool blog.


Kyle said...

I once laughed out loud when a friend of mine got the most horrible news he'd ever heard. I wasn't laughing at him, I was laughing at the occurances leading up to that moment.
I'll never forgive myself for it, and he never spoke to me again. I just had no control. I can't stand to even think about it.
It was one of those things you'd give anything to take back.

Todd said...

Does laughing at George trying to play the Adjutant's call count? I also recall Tiffany Brewer breaking wind in church once. The entire youth section was snickering. Joan was not.