I don't know when I learned to be funny. I don't have a moment of clarity where I heard the silver tinkling of someone laugh and knew this was what it meant to feel alive or anything like that. I understand, from comparing notes with others, that this isn't an uncommon trait among children of divorce--that we learn to be funny as a way to keep you entertained, to ensure our value, to keep you from leaving. That's a sad reson to be funny, but it makes sense in my head. It wouldn't be the first time that tragedy fueled comedy.
I've gotten a little overdiagnostic with myself in the past, wanting to shake off this humor dependency like a bad psychosis, but more recently I've come back around to embracing it. Because, yes, sometimes it's just a knee-jerk reaction: I have nothing else to say, or the conversation's getting a little heavy. But there are times I use my power for good: times when it breaks the tension, or when it stems tears. Times when it puts someone at their ease and lets them breathe, lets them be.
It's that last one I love best: another form of hospitality. I will do just about anything to make someone comfortable: welcome you, cook for you, make you laugh. I will give you home in whatever small doses and reasonable bites I can manage until you are full and happy and your ribs hurt (from eating or laughing, who can say). Until you are nothing else in the world but you.