I love humor; it keeps me going. I especially like humor that merely comes upon me or I upon it – oddball things in nature, harmless mistakes, and people trying to do their best with whatever they have on hand…
One of my favorite places to look for the humor in life is on those commercial signs where you get a set of all capital letters in black, the sign behind is lit white, and you have to put up the words and letters yourself with a hook, or by getting up on a ladder and doing it rain or shine, cold or hot weather.
Last week, as I was tooling down the main street in town, I came upon this beauty:
Now, it’s not that I don’t understand these were intended to be separate items on the sign, I do. It’s that the first impression that came over me was, “Why are they having chickens hire managers? And why Italian chickens? Couldn’t French chickens hire managers, too?” Which, of course, led to the following train of thought:
“Wouldn’t that be a problem if I went in there and asked for the Italian chicken because I wanted a job? Wouldn’t being ethnocentric like that disqualify me to work in a diversified workplace? What if I didn’t want a managerial job? What chicken would I ask for then? Or would it be a chicken at all? Maybe I should ask for a sheep, an Irish sheep, or a South American boa constrictor? How’s a person to know what livestock to ask for?”
My all time favorite roadside diversion happened several years ago in my previous small town. There was a small pet store off one side of the road, which I never went to since I already had a dog and a parrot, and occasionally mice would creep into the house, and I was more interested in removing vermin than in purchasing any. Nevertheless, this sign:
25 LB. $5.99
really got me. First off “SALE!” is bound to get my attention. Even if I don’t want what they’re offering, I might come across someone who does want it, and then I’d have this valuable information to share. Then I got to thinking…
“Just how big does that hamster have to be to need 25 lbs. of chow before the chow would go all stale and weevilly?”
“Is that a good price on hamster chow? I don’t know. I’ve never bought it in quantities like that. I thought it only came in, like, one pound bags.”
“Maybe it’s not a BIG hamster, maybe it’s a LOT of hamsters you’d need… Just how many hamsters would you have to have around to eat up all that chow before it went nasty? And, why would anyone have so many damned hamsters? What if they got loose?!“
“Hey! Just how much hamster chow do they have on hand anyway to be offering it for sale in 25 lb lots? Holy cow! That must be a lot of hamster chow!”
And “Damn. That’s a LOT of chow.”
I mentioned this wonderful sale to my cousin, who has the same bizarre sense of humor I have. I only quoted the sign. She paused a moment and then burst out laughing hysterically. “Holy crap!” she said, “That’s a lot of chow! How many hamsters would you need….” And we were off. Easy to see why she’s one of my favorite relatives.
If the kids are in the car with me and we spot one of those signs, we can laugh for miles and miles over it, improvising, making up dumb questions and associations, and just having a big time. We were headed south some months ago, and found one where apparently the restaurant owners had run out of all but one vowel, so they used it to the best of their ability…
“Freed chx?” said Spawn. “What did they do? Chase down the road after escaped free-range chickens? What a horrible fate! I can see it now, little innocent chickens, running for their lives, like on a chicken underground railroad, thinking to themselves, ‘Free at last! We’re free at last! Run for it Mabel! Head for the hills, Louise!’ and then, WHAMMO, some big guy in a bloody apron, carrying a rusty cleaver runs them down and makes dinner out of them! Oh, the inhumanity!” We were laughing pretty hard by this point, and then Bunny chimed in.
“I’m more worried about the pets,” she said. “Who mashes their pets? What kind of pets? Is it dog? Eyeeeew! Captured chickens and mashed Boston terrier! Ack, ack, ack!” Aargh! Now we were all hooting, and driving was becoming dangerous. Then, Doodle, in his own deliberate way, added his two cents worth…
“Grevy,” pondered Doodle, “it sounds like something from Dr. Seuss, you know, like ‘Green Eggs and Ham and Grevy’ or something. I wonder what it’s made from? Trees? Ooobleck? Or is it from the runaway chickens and pitiful pets?”
Peeing in the pants became more likely. Once we finally calmed down, we conversationally revisited the sign. “Freed chx, by god,” said Spawn sadly. With fake sniffing, Bunny said, “Poor pets. Ooooh.” And Doodle played, too, by saying, “I sure do wonder what’s in grevy.”
“Wanna stop there for lunch on the way back?” I asked.
“YEAH!” they all chorused.
I love my kids.