One of the easiest ways to anger a person is to do something that you think is funny that they do not.
When it’s your spouse, it can get especially ugly.
Last week, after applying suntan lotion to my son, Charlie, I asked him to bring the bottle back to Elysha.
Then I added, “When you hand her the bottle, I want you to tell her something.”
We practiced the line several times before he had it memorized. It was tricky because he didn’t understand the meaning of the sentence at all, but after a minute, he had it committed to memory. Then he raced across the sand to Elysha, held the bottle out, and said:
“She puts the lotion in the basket or she gets the hose.”
If you’re not familiar, it’s a line from Silence of the Lambs. An especially terrifying line.
Elysha did not find this amusing. He response was to look over Charlie’s head over to me and say, “No. No way. Not funny. No.”
She spoke the words in the tone of a woman who is capable of doing serious harm.
I still think it was kind of funny, but she still does not. Nor do I think she’ll come around on this one.
That’s the tricky thing about comedy. One person’s moment of hilarity is something entirely different for someone else. So goes the fraught travails of the very occasional standup comic and loving husband.