I have a confession girls and boys. I make too many jokes. My name’s Tom and I make too many bad jokes. I pun in polite company, I’m silly in front of strangers and worst of all, I giggle when I’m being told off. I’m like a giant bottle of cherry cola that’s been shaken up, the jokes and chuckles bubble and fizz inside of me. It becomes impossible to hold it all in and before I know it a jape flies out my face at a zillion miles an hour. When it comes to trying to be funny, it’s quantity not quality with me I’m afraid.
I should say sorry, but I’m not going to. The world is a grumpy place, it’s full of shouty sneery people who dress in grey and tut and tsk their way through life. We all need laughs! Belly-aching, fart-inducing giggle-thons! We need burping competitions, food fights and brave people who will raise their hands in the air at dinner time and say those magic words “PULL MY FINGER!”
When I was little, my sister and I would wander round speaking in a made-up foreign language for fun, yes for fun. It was in a time before playstationing and there was little on the TV back then to keep us entertained; so to pass the time we’d yell random gobbledygook at the top of our voices hoping people would over-hear us and this us exotic.
We had a whole backstory too - we were from a tiny island, so tiny that people would think it was a was a printing error on the map and try and rub it out. Then we’d nudge each other excitedly, “Look at them looking, I bet they think we’re really from a different country!” we’d giggle. Well of course they were looking, we were two children caterwauling gibberish yards away from poor and frightened old ladies - it’s miracle no-one called the police.
The reason for doing this? Well there was for no reason. We just did it to make ourselves laugh. I used to put on funny shows too when when my sister was feeling under the weather. I remember one particularly fine performance when I cleverly turned a sock, yes an ordinary sock, into a puppet - I know! Amazing improvisation. We used to make up gags, you know the way kids do, it usually involved saying the first things that you saw and stringing them together to make a punchline that made no sense whatsoever.
“Errr…why did…the….er…pencil….err…jump over the…nan? Because he wanted to see the cheeeeese!” and fall about giggling at how unfunny our jokes were. We need silliness in our lives - we need funny books.
Where each page you turn the words jump out and tickle you. For me it was Adrain Mole, if you don’t know what Adrian Mole is, it’s was like Twilight saga, only with fewer vampires and more acne. I used spend hours reading and rereading those books, until I knew them off by heart. You absorb them, the words and feelings become part of you and your language.
So perhaps as it’s Comic Relief today, between sitting in a bath of baked beans and putting on your custard pants, you’ll find time to sit down with a funny book. Choose your favourite, or even make one up about yourself. Write a silly poem about a man made of bananas and cobwebs. Draw a daft drawing of your favourite teacher and what they’d look like if they turned into a big stinky hairy monster, be absurd; because sadly there are lots children who aren’t so lucky, they don’t have the chance to be silly. They don’t get to laugh, because they’re too busy worrying about whether they’re going to get anything for supper. Maybe they don’t have a Mum or Dad to run to when they fall over and scrape their knee. They might not even have a books to cheer themselves up.
So do what you can, put on a red nose and give few pennies. Perhaps pick up an old friend that you haven’t seen a while, that funny book, the one that made you snort with laughter and enjoy having something wonderful knowing that you’ve done a bit of good. And perhaps if you have a anytime left before bed, raise your hands in the air, and say those oh so sacred words, “won’t someone, ANYONE please pull my finger!”