In Honor of My Husband Dave Who Is in the Fight of His Life
(I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it is still good.)
My Husband Dave
I just have to ponder male humor. It is uniquely distinct from female humor, or mixed company humor. My husband Dave seems to have humor phases. Right now, inspired by “The Two Towers”, he is having fun with names. For instance, "I am a Worthling. I am Beloved, son of Brown Stranger." David grew up in Worth, Illinois. David means beloved. Donald means brown stranger. His brother Steve is Crowned One son of Brown Stranger. His male friends immediately jumped into the fray ready to play, which leads me to nicknames (where did that word come from, I wonder?) My husband Dave has a friend who calls him Fax , pronounced with a southside accent that makes it sound more like faykssss. My husband calls him Dag (pronounced daygg). My husband and his brother call each other endearing names like Stinky or Eeeeoooh What’s That Smell.
Dave's dad has this strange humor thing going with his own brother. They have exchanged the same big huge birthday card back and forth for at least 15 years, and they laugh at it every time! My husband Dave's family also delights in leaving the absolutely most horrible rendition of the birthday song they can possibly muster on each other's answering machines. In fact, because of this custom, our three dogs now howl hideously whenever they hear anyone sing the birthday song.
Humor is important to women. I love to laugh. But, with men, or least with my husband Dave, it is as important as breathing. This is the man who told a joke on the operating table to the nurses and doctors as he was being anesthetized for emergency open heart surgery and sang while he was turning purple on the emergency room gurney. My own father loves telling jokes, especially Ole and Lena jokes or Oestfrisien jokes.
Music is a big part of Dave's humor universe, which makes sense since he is a musician. One of his favorite songs to sing is a Texas blues song called "If You Dig It, Don't Do It". He and his friend Dag also make up little ditties to go along with their biannual camping/canoeing/rafting trips. The documentation in song is almost more important than the trip itself, and, I suspect is perhaps funnier than the trip itself. I believe this particular type of male humor behavior has ancient roots going back further than Odyssus.
Our Pastor Keith, who visited my husband Dave frequently in the hospital and at home while he was recovering, is also part of this humor club. In fact, he encourages it as part of good health! "Laughter is good medicine! A merry heart will do you good. The joy of the Lord is my strength," he said. Pastor Keith is a hardy laugher. I like the sound of hardy male laughter with all its bass notes and reverberations. Just hearing laughter like that makes a person laugh. Maybe a CD composed entirely of various laughters would be a good prescription for people recovering from illnesses! I know my husband Dave would have great fun making a recording like that!
It amuses my husband Dave to try and make me laugh. He tries out different faces and laugh sounds to see my reaction. Usually it happens after he shaves in the morning (must be all that time in front of a mirror.) He'll say, "Honey, what do you think of this?" And he'll contort his face in some cartoonesque fashion. Or he'll make some ridiculous sound with his throat and say, "How do you like my new laugh?" Or he'll make two faces and say, "Which do you like better, A or B?" The bigger the element of surprise, the more successful is his desired outcome.
I don't know how long Dave's current "humor in the name" phase will last or how complex it could become, or what lasting impact it will have. His name could change forever. I may have to start calling him some Greek word for Beloved, or Strong Husbandly Man, or Man Who Laughs A Lot. Who knows? At least it's a change from the German (pronounced "Cherman") designer humor that has made him, his brother and his friends laugh for quite a spell. By the way, if you know him, don't mention this column or I'll have to listen to a lot of "Jahs", long words ending in "en" and comments about small eyeglasses for the next several days. And, don’t tell him that he really does make me laugh. People (especially guys!) are usually funnier when they aren’t working at it.