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October 18 • Funny Not Funny

Day 832

One of the SAA meetings that I have been regularly attending is filled with unexpected humor. Well, it was unexpected when I started, now it's one of the reasons I try never to miss this particular gathering. That's not to say that it does not have its share of tears, heartbreaks, and serious discussions, but most of the guys in the room (or online) have been good friends with long histories and a comfort level that allows good-natured jibes. I probably attended six months before someone first targeted me; that's old-school guy-bonding, and I appreciate them very much.

But I am well aware of the dangers that lurk when familiarity breaks down the boundaries and well-intentioned attempts at humor become unintended personal attacks or irritants in the open wounds of brokenness. I try to be careful, but nothing discourages me more about these relationships than that look in the eye of the target of my affectionate banter that says I've gone too far. Most of the time, I have no idea where I messed up. I try to keep my jousting in the 'safe' areas, but I'm new enough to not know about everyone's sensitive places, including those spaces that they may have kept from everyone else.

A few days ago, I signed-on early enough to participate in the pre-meeting exchanges. One of the faces I saw is notoriously late to the meetings, whether in-person or online. I made a comment about thinking I was early, but I couldn't be because Jerry was already there. Everyone laughed except the guy that I needed to laugh.

It turns out that Jerry was leading this meeting and had shown up early, seemingly because he valued this responsibility and was very much taking it seriously. He did a great job, but I've been haunted by his lack of laughter ever since.

Does this tell me something about Jerry's sensitive places? I know a lot of addicts have trouble being on time; did I hit him below the belt of his defects?

Or does this say something more about me? Is my need for affirmation so great that anyone who doesn't like my jokes becomes a threat to my objectivity?

My guess is that Jerry was just busy organizing his script for the meeting and that he may not have even heard my little funny. That's the way these things tend to go for me; I get all worried about some perceived slight that was never even received or sent. That is high on my defect list.

So why didn't I ask him after the meeting? Because I was afraid of what the answer might be. Holy crap, what a coward I can still be in the unexpected moments.

I need to ask, apologize, and make an amends to this guy, whether he knows it or not.



I guess it's not funny

'Cause life is far from sunny

When the laugh is over

And the joke's on you

–Diana Ross & the Supremes, ”Funny Girl"



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