I'll be the first to admit that as far as humor goes, I'm a bit weird. I wouldn't go so far as to laugh at train wrecks unless they're really funny. I love comic movies. Love 'em. The more slapstick, the better. Old Jerry Lewis movies are golden. Jim Carrey and Will Smith rock.Don't ever, ever fall down in my field of vision. I won't be laughing at you (but with you) if that makes you feel better. That's a disclaimer meant to keep me safe. I may be under a table or have a coat over my face to keep from getting slapped, but I will be laughing.I've always had this dumb reaction to people who can't stand up or walk a straight line. It gets me in so much trouble. Falling down is just funny. Always has been - as long as you aren't the one doing it. There are four kinds of laughter: the titter, the yowl, the belly laugh and the boffo. The boffo takes your breath and makes you redneck. But it's the belly laugh that usually makes me look like an insensitive jerk.Once, one of my sons, about 12 at the time, ran across the front yard with a long, slender stick in his hand, stumbled and fell. As he fell the end of the stick rammed up his nose. Okay, this is a potential catastrophe. With a little more force that stick could have hit his brain.It was such a ridiculous, bizarre thing to happen my gut reaction was a big boffo before I had time to consider the potential danger my son might be in. Bad mommy; bad, bad mommy! Fortunately, he just had a skinned nostril. But there was a lot of bleeding and no small amount of boy-squalling. I paid for that faux pas for years.You've heard the adage, "What goes around, comes around." You've no doubt read what the Bible has to say about treating others as you would be treated. With that said, you must know that I have had many repercussions from my big mouth.The older I get, the less my feet obey my mind. I'm not afraid of falling and getting hurt, I heal rather well. I just dread the payback.Probably the most humiliating payback I've had was the time I was all dressed going to church in the new community I'd just moved into. I had on a nice dress and I looked really good. And that takes hours of work. For me to have on a dress in the first place was noteworthy. There was a crowd gathered to be uplifted. Well, walking down the isle something happened to the elastic in my half-slip. It slipped. To the floor. In front of God and everybody. The reaction was a room full of tittering. You know how hard it is to NOT laugh in church when some goober is laughing and trying to stifle himself? It's like trying to hold a handful of balloons under water. Payback is a girl dog.
CHARLIE MITCHELL is a Mississippi journalist. Write to him at email@example.com.