Humor: Sometimes we regard humor with much the same eagle eyed analysis as we do porn. We can’t define it, but we know it when we see it.
During the CES in Las Vegas my husband’s company scheudledd a client dinner at Roy’s, a famous hawaiian fusion restaurant. That day, over lunch, the one of the wives in our group waxed poetic over the excellent food at Roy’s and specifically over their signature dessert, Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle
Oh, I said, a volcano cake.
NO! Rebecca insisted, it is not a volcano cake, it’s this special, never have been experienced, fablulous dessert, that you will die for, just die for. In fact, she continued her lecture, if you fail to order the Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle toinght, you will regret it for the rest of your days.
The afternoon conversation continued along these lines until I promised, promised to order Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle that night.
A dominat characteristic of American humor is exaggeration and hypberbole. We take something small and escallate it far and above any hope of realisim or common sense. We exaggerate to justifiy bad decisions like during the gold rush men would write home claiming they could just pick up nuggets off the street, silver glittered on the ground, and it it possible to harpoon a whale the size of a small country.
In due time, we enjoyed dinner at Roys. I dutifully ordered the souflee and since No ONE should be left berfret of this amazing dessert experinece of a life time, I ordered three, so we all could share in this transformative experience.
The souflee arrives, I dig in my spoon.
And it’s a very nice, chocolatly dessert.
But I was not changed.
Rebecca, on the other hand, was transformed, she loved the dessert, she reveled in the dessert, she made sure we all knew that this was an amazing experience, “The best dessert ever.”
As clever people, we just agree with her – this is really the most amazing dessert! So chocolaty! So marvelous! I don’t know how they do it!
Often the American joke is a towering build up of Jenga heights, and then suddenly, the lowest block is deftly removed and the whole tower tumbles to the floor.
Rebecca’s husband sets down his spoon, pats his mouth with his napkin and says,
” I don’t know honey, couldn’t you just microwave a Ding Dong?”