@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
In school, I seldom got in trouble. I was an exemplary student, for the most part. I was polite and got good grades (except in math). Usually, I was rather quiet. A true introvert. The classes I did get in trouble in were usually when my best friend, Lauren, and I had a class together. Lauren was an even better student than I was, intelligent and kind, but we were both very silly. Put us together, and we would just giggle all the time. Even though our home economics teacher and technology teacher liked us both (the technology teacher would put me in charge of the class to “manage” group projects, for some reason thinking other kids would listen and respect me— I’m unsure they ever did), we sometimes had to be separated because the world was too entertaining to us. The chorus teacher in High School despised me because he was a manipulative creep and I would literally laugh in his face about how high on himself he was. He was probably the only teacher in the school who actually hated me, but bull shitters can never stand people who see them for the person they are.
Similarly, at one of my early jobs bagging groceries at the Pioneer Market in Fair Harbor, my friend Marissa and I were berated by our bosses, these cranky old men, who hated the sound of our laughter. He purposefully tried to put us on different shifts because we “had too much fun together.” In the years to come, as I would job hop from one awful job to the next, my superiors usually liked me for my twisted sense of humor which boosted moral in generally awful dead end jobs. Despite starting a job quiet and dodging eye contact, those who came to know me knew when I had a grin on my face I was usually thinking up something dark and weird. I’d keep these thoughts to myself until I knew I had an audience. Even an audience of one.
My inappropriate laughter follows me wherever I go. Sometimes I laugh during a date making him or her uncomfortable. Sometimes in a serious movie, I’ll burst out laughing, the sole person in a movie who’s funny bone is tickled. For example, when the movie “American Sniper” came out, I went to the theaters alone to see it (as I often do). There’s a serious scene where Bradley Cooper’s character is having an intense argument with his wife while holding his infant. Except… the infant is clearly not a real baby, it’s a doll, just so lifeless. This ruined the gravity of the scene for me and I started laughing so hard. I saw ‘Oppenheimer” with Instagrams funniest comedian, Kyle Dunnigan (seriously, follow Kyle on Instagram, no one is funnier) and we both giggled at some parts in that movie that were not intended for laughter.
In times I go out drinking and dancing, there is nothing that tickles me more than people who try to be cool and hot on a dance floor, so into themselves. Some of my (god awful) dance moves were notorious at Long Island bars when I partied hard when I was younger. Dancing is supposed to be free and fun. I didn’t dance like no one was watching. I always danced liked I didn’t give a fuck who was watching. I learned this from my Mom. No one has more fun on a dance floor than my Mom (except maybe my baby nephew Blaise, who loves jamming to live music, it is truly the most precious thing ever).
I’ve laughed during wakes. During bad best man or bridesmaid speeches. I’ve laughed at rude people in airports, subways (this may get me stabbed), or grocery stores. I’ll laugh at basically anyone who takes themselves too seriously. I’ll laugh in the face of adversity. I’ll laugh in the face of YOUR adversity. I’ll laugh about my depression. I’ll laugh about divorce. I’ll laugh about heartache. I’ll laugh at Democrats. I’ll laugh at Republicans. I’ll laugh at die hard sports fan. And I’ll especially laugh at anyone who is easily offended, and possibly even try to prod them.
The only thing I will not laugh at is when a the scoop of ice cream falls off a kid’s ice cream cone. That one hurts me. I get it.
One of my good friends growing up, Brittany, has long said that whenever she sees me smirking, especially if I’m with my brother, she knows we’re thinking of something half awful. It’s true, I’m not the only dark mind absurdist in my family. Dinner at our house was full of joke topping, laughter followed by someone saying, “that’s just wrong.” There are so many inside jokes with my family that I would get in so much trouble for saying publicly.
There’s a difference between mean and dark. Kat Timpf talks heavily about the importance of humor and how nothing is off limits in her book, “You Can’t Joke About That.” I’d agree with her that the sole difference between a mean joke and a dark joke is intent. Which is sometimes hard to prove. I do not consider myself a mean person or comedian. But I am certainly a dark comic and person. And the only person I’m truly mean to is myself. There is a part of my brain that does always want to be a little of an ass in the name of comedy, but it’s a tamed beast. And I’ll only unleash it if I think someone really deserves it.
Though there is this mischievous side to me that just wants to prank people. For instance, sometimes when I’m walking down the streets of NYC and people are eating outside at a restaurant, I just want to point at their food and go, “don’t eat that.” And then walk away with no explanation. I don’t do this. But I want to do this all the time. Just for my pure amusement.
Consider this. To the “woke.” To the easily offended. To the those who cannot take a joke about themselves, their political parties, religions or whatever else they own as their identity… perhaps if you cannot learn to laugh at it all, you deserve your misery. And I will laugh at you for being miserable. Because true tragedy is never really that far. But even when I’m bitten by a shark or diagnosed with cancer, I’ll find a way to laugh about it, or I am already dead.