14 January 2013

Humor: The Unexpurgated (and Illustrated) Version

As an actor sat having lunch in a restaurant, a waitress approached and asked, 
“Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” 
Trying to appear modest, the actor said, “Perhaps you’ve seen me in the movies.” 
“Could be,” she replied. “Where do you usually sit?”  

Source:  2012. "Wit and Humor." Supervision 73, no. 11: 27. Vocational and Career Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed January 2, 2013). [One of the subscription databases provided for our library cardholders through SC DISCUS].

Now that civilization has survived the countdown to the apocalypse of December 21st, human beings can have a few laughs – and not feel guilty for having a bit of fun.


Source: Wikipedia

As readers familiar with this blog know, I am the special collections librarian and archivist who manages the Beaufort District Collection for the library system.  It is a serious job which I take seriously.  


Let’s get real: As a Capricorn, I would take any job seriously.  That’s part of my zodiacal DNA.   


Capricorns are “reliable, dependable, trustworthy, and serious.” Just access any of the bazillions of horoscope related websites and see whether or not any of them omit the word “serious” in their description of Capricornian traits. (You'll have to look really, really hard!)  Indeed, we Capricorns are so serious that our  basic weakness is often listed as a decidedly strong tendency for “too much work and not enough play.”


My knees are getting creakier and my back aches far more often than it used to.  As vigorous physical play seems out of the question, adaptation is necessary.  I am thankful that I still have enough flexible parts to be able to enjoy a hearty belly laugh when warranted.  Although I work in a serious place, doing serious work, which I approach in a serious manner, my numero uno 2013 New Year’s resolution is to laugh out loud - outside of work (I don’t want the Library’s Board of Trustees, the County Council, or my supervisor to think that I am having too much fun on the job!) – at least once a day – for the rest of my life.  Besides, research shows that laughing is an easy way to improve one’s health (and I won’t even have to break a “glisten” – which is a term that we polite GRITS girls use for “sweat.” "Sweat," EEW!)


As I hope to join the rising number of American centenarians, I have roughly 16,450 days worth of laughs ahead.


Research says that enthusiasm for one’s resolution wanes quickly, so before I lose mine, here are some of the “for grins and giggles” humor related materials the Library shares.  Perhaps you’re looking to have a chortling 2013, too.

Starting with those materials with which I am most accustomed, viz., the BDC and local history sections at the Branch Libraries.  There are some funny vignettes in Sheriff McTeer’s books Beaufort Now and Then, High Sheriff of the Low Country, and Adventure in the Woods and Waters of the Low Country and raconteur Pierre McGowan’s Gullah Mailman and Tales of the Barrier Islands (see Instant Crismus)

For sheer laugh out loud, husband-banning-you-from-night-time-reading-in-bed, the earliest volumes of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum number series are superior.  The last one, Notorious Nineteen, had a few chuckle moments but none of the gut-busting guffaws caused by the shenanigans of Grandma Mazur in the One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, etc. By this stage, odds are even Evanovich is getting tired of the series.  It’s time for some fresh blood.

I used our Novelist database to identify other authors of funny, upbeat contemporary fiction similar to those penned by Evanovich.  Now Tim Cockey’s Murder in the Hearse Degree and Hearse of a Different Color and books and audio-books by Sarah Strohmeyer and Lori Wilde are on my list.

If you haven’t used our “My Next Book” service yet, you may want to give it a try.  This personalized and private service puts you in touch with a librarian who makes a “Picked Just for You” list of materials on topics of your choice.  “My Next Book” list on humor was prepared by Halle Eisenman of Hilton Head Branch Library.  She added Bossypants, the Thursday Next books, Good Omens, Lisa Lutz (who is “especially good for fans of Janet Evanovich”), the novels of Jane Austen, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson to my reading list. 

“Good Reads,” a BCL recommended website, has a “Humor and Comedy” category with lots of funny books to devour.  

You can find links to the “My Next Book,” Novelist database, and “Good Reads” on our Library website at http://beaufortcountylibrary.org/booklovers

Everyone’s sense of humor is unique and personalized.  My sense of humor tends toward the Southern, outrageous, and redneck varieties. (My name is Grace, because two of my grandmothers were (“Bless Mimi’s and Little Mommie’s hearts”) and I am a Cordial by marriage.  If one were to take my character traits and customary behavior into consideration, I am probably the last person on the earth whose name should be “Grace Cordial.”) 

I searched our online catalog for comedians I enjoy (Jerry Clower, Lewis Grizzard, Jeff Foxworthy, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, etc.) and followed where I was led by subject headings such as “Wit and humor,” Humorous stories,” “Satire,” “Black humor (Literature), - (which BTW doesn’t mean “funny material from African American authors writing hardback books”) - and “Humorous fiction” to identify even more library materials that will make me laugh - (away from work, of course.  Remember: I have a serious job taking being a good steward of the wonderful historical, cultural, archaeological and genealogical treasures we have in the Beaufort District Collection.

I discovered that Jerry Clower CDs are available through another SCLENDS library.  BCL’s collection of comedian DVDs and audio-books is more mainstream and traditional: Redd Foxx, Groucho Marx, Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Danny Thomas, Bob Newhart, and Tina Fey are on offer.  Oldies but goodies are fine with me.  

Our library has strong holdings of television comedy series: Dick Van Dyke, Everybody Hates Chris, Wodehouse Playhouse, and My Name is Earl among a score of other series.  Likewise, we have a number of “Comedy Films” including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

For all of you who got an e-Reader for Christmas (Alas! I did not.  Kids, I think that I’m ready now), there are even a few options on our 3M e-book service: Babyhood and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Find more information about our e-book services at http://beaufortcountylibrary.org/ebooks.   

It appears that this old mountain goat has access to plenty of library materials for my 16,449 chortles to go!  

Please note:  For the published on January 13, 2013 in the Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet version of this Beacon article click here. 


Lindsey Rambow said...

I enjoyed this post, probably because I am also a Capricorn who loves to laugh but doesn't do it nearly enough. I love to be around those big booming personalities who can light up a room with a guffaw, but my own laugh response tends to be more of a smirk or a giggle.

I think I'll check out some of your comedy reading suggestions. Even though I don't think of myself as an overly serious person, I guess I do tend toward more serious books than lighthearted comedies. Summer might be a good time for me to explore outside of my boundaries a little.

I would like to mention also that I just inherited our DVD purchase plan for the Bluffton branch (I am a reference librarian) and hope to increase the library's goofy comedy collection bit by bit. First purchase.... Half Baked and Friday. Our society as a whole could use a good laugh. I also just ordered Arrested Development on DVD for the Bluffton Branch, which is IMHO the most hilarious television show ever. We Capricorns even take our humor seriously!

Grace Cordial said...

This quote was appended to an e-mail I received. I can remember watching the Red Skelton Show on TV with my parents:

"I do hope that you had as much fun as I did. It’s really a lot of fun to try and make people laugh. I personally believe that each one of us was put here for a purpose that’s to build and not to destroy. And if by chance some day you’re not feeling well, and you should remember some silly little thing that I’ve said or done, and it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been served for my fellow man."
-Red Skelton