“Hi, my name’s Rebekah Koontz, and I’m a Jokaholic.”
“I don’t know how this came about—my…habit. I just can’t help it. But I guess that’s what they all say.” I look around the room. “We all say.”
The group stares at their shoes and nods.
“I hear a flicker of conversation,” I continue, “a phrase that has two meanings, a question that’s itching for an outrageous response. It’s like a shiny new coin. It sparkles at me. It wants me to reach out and grasp it! How can I not?” I turn to my neighbor. “It would be rude not to.”
My neighbor nods. She really seems to get it.
“It’s instant gratification.” I beam, and I’m met with a circle of smiles. “Or,” I frown, “it’s a big mistake.”
I stare at the blue tile under my sneakers. I should’ve worn nicer shoes, but I guess I didn’t take this group seriously. I guess I don’t take a lot of things seriously.
“Some people don’t appreciate my jokes,” I say, ”which is fine. I understand sometimes my timing is off. But, they really don’t appreciate my jokes. Like…really don’t.” I feel hurt. “They don’t laugh…” I say softly.
I fall silent, so our leader clears his throat and thanks me for sharing. He stresses the importance of our admitting our real feelings, whether funny or not. (What’s the fun in that?) A lot of the time, he says, Jokeaholics bury their emotions under humor as a safety mechanism.
I don’t hide my emotions, so he must be referring to someone else in this group. My money’s on the cool-tone blonde sitting across from me. Who wears that much makeup to a support group?
Pah! She caught me staring.
Hopefully we don’t make eye contact again. That would be awkward.
She was still looking.
I’ll stare at my knees. Anyways…
I can’t help it. Jokes are too amazing. Satisfying. Like swallowing Jello. Big, juicy, down in one gulp. Ends with delicious taste and a full tummy. Satisfying.
Why do I need to stop?
Jokes make people laugh. Everyone loves to laugh.
Maybe, it’s not me. Maybe it’s the people I’m around. I’m too funny for them. They’re the ones with the sense of humor issues. It’s like a delay in a growth spurt. I’m the tall, awkward girl of the class, the one with great legs.
My chair screeches against the tile. I’m on my feet, all eyes on me.
“I figured it out,” I announce, victoriously. For a moment, I think I should stand on my chair but decide against it. “There’s nothing wrong with me! My sense of humor is highly developed. Everyone else is behind.” Now, I’m standing on my chair, preaching adamantly. “And that’s okay! I can be patient. I can explain my jokes again—and again! They may not get it the first time,” I grin charitably, “but they will. I won’t give up on them!”
I jump to the floor and grab my purse.
Just before exiting the room, I stop and turn around. “Oh, and… your shoe’s untied.”
Everyone looks down, even the men in loafers.
“HA!” I dance and fist-pump and bow to my imaginary audience. “I’ve still got it.”
The door shuts behind me, followed by an eruption of laugher.
I’ve still got it.
Now on Snapchat! RebekahKoontz