Have you ever met anyone who wrote jokes for a living?
Who are these people that write jokes? Why doesn’t one ever meet them personally? Facebook is a huge community, why hasn’t one met someone who is a professional Joke Writer? This is one epic fail, isn’t it Facebook? I don’t know how you can preen yourself after this!
I haven’t come across a single Linkedin profile either which lists Joke Writing as their profession. One meets humor writers though; the air is thick with them. But Joke Writers? No, not ever! It is inexplicable and unnerving. Almost sinister!
Do joke writers belong to a secret, subversive society who must swear awful oaths of relentless and unmitigated invisibility before they are allowed into the guild? A shiver goes down one’s spine to think of it. A shifty, sinister band o’ brothers (and sisters) who churn out mirth! Oh, the horror of it!
Do their oaths require them to sentence themselves voluntarily to the guild’s grim gloomy (the hell with grammar/ composition rules which forbid the use of three consecutive words beginning with the same letter!) dungeons never again to see the light of day- or to meet any human save their fellow denizens? Such sacrifice!
A terrible, inescapable compulsion to write jokes must surely hold them by the throat in a vice- like grip. Why else would they endure such hardships willingly? It is almost like a virulent disease which you can neither control nor eradicate. The thought is grotesquely macabre, fascinatingly repulsive and absolutely gory!
It’s been my experience that most (joke) writers don’t talk about their craft–they just do it.
(Word in parentheses mine)
One almost pities the poor souls. They self- immolate only to light the lives of their fellow beings, like a candle. How noble, how selfless, how saintly! One imagines haggard beings, their eyes sunk into their skulls, gaunt of cheek and weary of frame, furiously scribbling away jokes, day after day. Their raiment threadbare, their person filthy, caring neither for nourishment of body nor soul, these valiant beings toil on until one day they cease to be. They go unsung, unknown, nameless- the lot of all humanity’s benefactors!
…there is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized. Or even cured. In a household with more than one person, of which one is a writer, the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private, and where food can be poked in to him with a stick. Because, if you disturb the patient at such times, he may break into tears or become violent. Or he may not hear you at all… and, if you shake him at this stage, he bites…
~ Robert A. Heinlein
Jokes about human beings- their lives, struggles and sorrows- can only be written under conditions of inhuman solitude. What can they, who walk brazenly among men, know of the victories and defeats of their fellows? They walk with unseeing eyes and deaf ears; they walk with frozen hearts and numbed minds. It is only in the pitiless dungeons of the guild that joke writers- divorced from humanity- can spin tender human tales of mirth and wit.
One wonders whether their calling is a comic relief to their life style or their life style is a throwback- in the nature of a deliberate, grim contrast- to their profession. One almost gets the feeling as if the bleakness of their days are a must. They create so much mirth in their professional life that they are allowed to be utterly morose in their personal lives- just to compensate. How else is a balance to be maintained?
Whoever they are, the lonely joke writers, they have my gratitude. They let humanity benefit from their sweat and blood without ever inflicting their person upon it and demanding accolades, awards and appreciation (four consecutive A’s… yay!) for services rendered. This is the sweetest deal humanity has ever swung- without being aware of it- which is rather an anti- climax, but that’s okay. One takes the rough with the smooth with as much sangfroid as one can muster.
There’s just one fly in the ointment which prevents the deal to be flawless in its perfection. One appreciates their need to explore new areas for their talent but…
I wish they’d stop writing political speeches.