Monday, March 21, 2011

Pavlov and the Plus Sized

If you don’t have a crazy comedic pressure point, you’re probably not a real boy. It may not be a coincidence that your daddy’s name is Gepeto. Those of us without strings have certain situations, objects, and words that for some reason trigger outbursts of laughter that can’t be controlled.

One of my comedic pressure points is the sight of a really fat man in a suit. I don’t mean a mainstream overweight guy. I’m talking about a full-on, tanker-sized porkheap sporting his Sunday best. I see the buttons straining, I hear the pockets begging for mercy, I watch the tie hanging on him like a used condom, and my manners just evacuate.

One time I was headed to a meeting, and as I got in the elevator, I was joined by a well-dressed chap who was larger than life and most other things. And like this man’s belt buckle, I immediately started to come undone. I could feel the laughter rising, climbing, rising, and knew I would erupt if emergency measures weren’t taken.

I tried making myself sad by going to one of the dark places in my head, starting with the classics:

Chicks don’t like you.

People who could help your career don’t like you.

You don’t like you.

No effect. Not even the chains of self-hate could tie down this laughter revolt.

Making a bad situation worse [pregnant pause] I was headed for one of the top floors, so I had a long way to go. Plus it was mid-day--lunchtime--so the elevator was packed and stopping on almost every floor. The stars were against me.

I started bursting. Cheeks fluttering, ears popping like an airline passenger during takeoff. I’m not just shaking with suppressed laughter; I’m palseying with it. And there is nowhere to run. A few more seconds and I am going to unleash enough inappropriate giggles to get me kicked out of civilization forever.

Whatever crumbs of my brain weren’t busy indulging the spectacle kicked in just enough to give me an idea. I grabbed my cell phone and pretended I’d just gotten a hilarious text, then threw my head back in the well known “This is so funny I need to give my skull a headstart” fashion, and right as the guffaws started flowing, the elevator doors opened. It was my floor.

I jumped through the doors and lost it. It was the kind of laughter not usually heard outside asylums.

A lot of trembling. A lot of panting. More mucus than I would have liked.

Suddenly I remembered where I was and why I was there. I was there for a meeting, and needed to be on-point, or at the very least, not laughing at things no one else could see. Knowing this did not calm me at all. I'd held the laughter so long the tension of suppressing it had created a monster.

I’m not sure exactly how long it took, but the laughter eventually stopped. I looked up, and through the transparent security door, I could see I was being gawked at by the receptionist for the firm I was supposed to visit.


I now had to approach the security door and hope that a woman who had just watched me stand alone in a corridor laughing myself spastic didn’t deem me a security risk. I think it would have been better if I had just hit the intercom and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I just saw a really fat guy in the elevator who was wearing a suit.”

Better to be labeled crass than a mentally unsound curiosity.

Now you’re all wondering: did she let me in?

Did Oswald shoot Kennedy?

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