Allow me to preface this blog post with a formal apology to whom it may have harmed in terms of time, and to all other that this concern to. I am turning this in late for a variety of reason, all of which could branch out into a multitude of excuses, all of which would bore you. Main point, I had trouble with this particular topic. Needed some time to formulate some fresh ideas. To help out the people that need to read this and comment, I will let you know where you can skip in order to get the main point of this without having to waste your time reading it in its entirety.
To begin, I need to clarify the type of mentality that I use to have all the way up to my Freshman year(that’s a lie, I still do this) in this institute . Which conveniently can be summarized with the following image (kermit, the rarest pepe).
A bad habit that I have, is writing things that have a single person audience. When I write, I tend to do it with the assumption that my audience can read my mind. I know it sounds weird, and at this point you may be wondering if I skipped my medication for today, to which the answer is… actually hold on…
Deviations aside, I tend to write the way that I talk; assuming that at the same time my audience is reading, they could somehow predict what facial expressions I was using in that moment. This translates rather badly when trying to convey emotions. People get lost when they read my papers, and not for good reasons.
[ skip until you see resume here]
When I was younger I wrote a paper to my teacher, in which I describe the funniest thing that I had ever seen. The context behind this is that she thought I was “a gloomy child”, mainly due to the fact that I would never smile. She figured that by making me do this, she would get an understanding to how she might (I use this word because she never did) make an effort to understand why I was so “gloomy”. I digress, the paper was rather simple. I began by introducing two characters, my aunt from Mexico, which at the time of the story knew very little English. The second character was that of my neighbor, a tough looking, skin head, drug dealing/growing, gang banger. I made a point to emphasis the way that this guy looked, because the funniest thing I ever saw involved this gentleman as much as it did my aunt. Now my aunt was new to Detroit, and one day she decided to surprise visit the family, which she hadn’t seen in years. Her brother, a tough looking, skin head that looks like a gang banger, was suppose to visit her the day that she arrived. So naturally when she saw a large, skin head, real life gang banger walking towards the general direction of our house, her most basic instinct was to assumed that it was her brother. Now, what I found funny wasn’t that she confused the two, it was how she planned to greet her “brother” that got me. She thought that it would be a good idea to sneak up behind her “brother”, tickle his love handles, and say “I got you you son of a B”, all in Spanish of course. When I tell you that this man jumped three feet into the air, I am not kidding. His jump with an indescribable shriek, and his first words of “MotherF-, GodD- PieceoS-” made me laugh like never before. He wasn’t really directing these words towards my aunt, if anything it’s a natural reflex most people in Detroit develop over the years. When he turned around he was angry, that much was clear, but I swear that he looked a thousand pounds lighter when he realized it wasn’t a cop or ‘something’ much worse(another gangster). Seeing my aunt react the way she did when she realized it wasn’t her brother didn’t help my fit of laughter. Her face was blood red with embarrassment, and she was trying to apologize in broken English, while cursing me out in Spanish. She kept looking back and forth, she would look at me and yell “Te voy a madrear con mi chancla!”, then look at the man and say “I’m sorry, so sorry”. At the end of the day we looked a bit like this:
(Luckily I’m my grandma’s favorite, so she couldn’t do anything)
Long story short, my teacher never found out why I don’t smile. She returned my paper with nothing but “Ok…” written on the corner in red ink. The thing is, when I wrote this, I left out the fact that my neighbor was tough, and that my aunt was awkward about it. I assumed that because I got that reaction from seeing my aunt in such a situation, so too would my teacher. I failed to realize that since we had different up bringing, what I found funny, wasn’t funny to her at all. In fact I think that I managed to get her to sympathize with my aunt, more than anything.
My mistake was assuming that my audience would be able to relate to what I experience as funny. The point behind this meaningless story is that I didn’t know what the opinion of my audience was. Her aim was to get something different than my usual “gloomy” story, and I failed to deliver. Not because I didn’t do what she told me to, but because she had a different view point than I did. I wrote not knowing what her definition of funny was, and in doing so I failed the jest of the assignment. An assignment that is aimed to please isn’t suppose to make the reader more depressed, that would be like giving a deaf man a pair of headphones. It would be in bad taste. I think that is the point of the reading as well, as the writer, we have a certain responsibility to make the reading as painless as possibly, while allowing a little bit of ourselves to be let out of a cage. Writing should be a medium through which understanding is conveyed , but that won’t happen unless we manage it somehow.