A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Laughing Myself to Death

As the summer season draws to a close, I must take a moment to look back at my many wonderful memories of the last few months. Mowing the lawn every two weeks, traveling upstate to help clear out the garage at the old homestead, swimming in my neighbor's pool, and, um...okay so once again I have allowed a summer season to go by without accumulating an exciting memory to take me into the fall. Well, truth be told, there was one interesting event of my summer, and that was when I nearly laughed myself to death in a Rosslyn, Virginia hotel room.

We traveled by train to DC to attend Slapsticon 08, a film festival devoted to the screening of comedies from the silent and early sound eras. This year, the screenings shied away from the likes of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, and focused on the second tier of notable comedians such as Harry Langdon, Lloyd Hamilton, Larry Semon and Raymond Griffith. I enjoyed myself immensely; I finally got to see a Ham and Bud short (a comedy team and not a lunch special at your corner tavern) and a few Griffith films.

I survived these films, but collapsed from a lack of oxygen one night while watching a more modern comedy: Robot Chicken. This show, featured on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, is a series using stop-motion animation of every toy action figure ever released. It is tasteless and vulgar. It is also wonderfully irreverent and addictive. I cannot stop laughing whenever it is shown, and that is what nearly killed me.

The last gag of this particular episode involved kicking a person, who is prancing around in a very spirited way, in the groin. Then this same person is farted upon. Okay, so this isn’t sophisticated satire here, but I started laughing at this and couldn’t stop. What can I say? It was late and I was in a mood to be easily amused. I felt myself getting lightheaded and heard a roaring in my ears. I can only surmise that this sound was my blood evacuating my brain as if it were rush hour at Union Station.

At this point, Anne Marie saw me clutch my chest and topple off the bed onto the floor. It scared the hell out of her when she poked me and I didn’t respond. Anne Marie later told me that her first thought as I lay on the floor was not, “I should dial 911,” or even, “Where are his nitro pills?” No, instead her first thought was, “Great! How will I get his body back to Philadelphia?” Fortunately, before she could call room service for a bell hop to help her push my body over the balcony railing, I started breathing again. Here she thought to retrieve my nitro pills from our suitcase.

She claims that I was unconscious for nearly ten seconds, although to me it seemed like a fraction of a second between the fall and waking up. When I did recover, it was to the sound of her yelling at me to take a nitro pill. I dutifully did this, even though I wasn’t feeling any chest pains. I sat up, calmed her down, and reassured her that I was all right, save for a rug burn on my forehead. (Yes, I collapsed head first, which in my case would not have been any great loss!) When we had both calmed ourselves, she recounted what happened and then said to me, “You know that joke wasn’t that funny!”

Well, thank you very much! I nearly laugh myself into oblivion and she tells me that the joke at which I was laughing wasn’t worth the trouble! Nothing like kicking a man when he’s down! I risk my health to enjoy a gag and she questions my ability to determine what is and what isn’t funny! Harrumph!

In all seriousness, I am very grateful she was around and responded quickly, regardless of my sense of humor.

Fortunately, I survived the weekend to laugh another day. Although as much as I enjoyed the film festival, I laughed more at Robot Chicken. I shall just have to take this Adult Swim show in smaller doses, and hopefully avoid a premature demise.


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