On Inappropriate Laughter

There is a certain kind of laughter that I can always imitate quite well in person, but as sometimes happens, it’s hard to type out, but I’m sure you’ll know what I mean anyway.

If I know I shouldn’t be laughing, it’s going to sound like “Ohhh ho ho ho shiiiiiiit….. hah. Fuuuuuck”, which definitely has some cringe value and usually becomes funnier with time, but the gold standard in my opinion is when I or someone else laughs first, and then realises how fucked up that was.

I was bullied as a kid. To be fair, I was easy pickings: mixed-race, Mormon, super-nerdy (like, smugly correcting teachers and other students alike, precociously pedantic, hardly endearing), and such. Well, in my opinion, we were all bullied as children, however frequently or blatant, so when I go on about being made fun of as a kid, I’m not trying to steal the world’s smallest violin from anyone. It’s hard being a kid, and kids can be really fucking bad at relating to each other whilst navigating the technicolour maelstrom that is childhood for themselves because they’re only starting out socially. It’s OK, really, I get it.

At least, I feel like it’s OK now. Looking back, I now realise that I wasn’t always hated by the other kids at school, at least not 100% of the time. I talk to some of the people I went to school with, and they say they remember me as being witty and quick to defend myself verbally when I could. It’s hard to remember at first, but it gradually returns. I then realise I’ve been remembering myself in such a sad way – I wasn’t just some tool in a stupid shirt going on about why “I before E except after C” is mostly bullshit – I was in fact, a thinker and a quipper. Yes, awkward as hell, but that’s fine, because I had my moments, and they were good ones. I thank my friends for reminding me that I really wasn’t so bad, really, it’s such a relief.

Here are some recently reminisced-upon examples:

– in reply to a teacher who would NOT stop calling me ‘Irene’ after they realised how much it annoyed me at the time: “If you don’t know the difference between the letter L and the letter R, then don’t turn up tomorrow. What do you shave with; laser braids? You fucking muppet; grow up.”

– in reply to another kid who kept calling me “Island in the Sun”: “Hahahahaha. Fuck off before I give you a real nickname that actually rhymes and will catch on. You do not want your children getting ripped out for being Fartin’ Martin’s wee nugglets or whatever. I will blame all my trumps on you and ruin your life, bud.”

– the time I was sent outside for being less than a minute late, and then decided to try and attach a wall clock to my sweater (yes, imagine a five-foot-fucktard in pigtails, balancing on a plastic chair, grasping at blank parts of the wall until I got it… just) and talk like Flavor Flav for the rest of the day, becuase y’all muuuuhhhhhhfuckas needa know whaaaat time it is, yeeeeeuh. I also screamed “THE FLAV NEVER BEHAVES” through a window during an exam. So yeah, I learned what time detention was, yeeeeeuh.

– in reply to a student teacher who made a joke about how my middle name (Cecelia) sounds like a disease: “Oh, you’re making a funny joke! About chlamydia! Hey, nice! Not fucked up and creepy at all! I’m sure I can just go home and tell my dad about how a grown man inferred that I am somehow affiliated with STDs in front of the whole class, and everything will be fine. I’m sure that won’t fuck you up at all. And I’m sure it was all worth it, being the cool guy who rips out nerds like the cool kids do.”

– in reply to a student who decided to spread a weird rumour about me having head lice: “Me and lice are a bit like your mum and cock. She had it once, hated it, and gets reminded of it all the time, because of you. But don’t worry, she’s making lemonade out of lemons and I respect that.”

I remembered myself saying and doing some things, but not always the overall response. A lot of my… I don’t know… outbursts(?) were in front of large groups, but I was usually looking for a response from only one person, maybe two out of the whole group. I was looking for inappropriate laughs, looking back, I know I was.

I’m not sure when it happened, but I remember having this weird thought that if I could make people laugh, it meant that I was worth something. Something good, something joyful. I felt a little bit loved when the whole class or maybe just some of them would laugh, but I was looking to make the bully/bad guy laugh most of all. I’m sure it would have been nice to make everyone laugh and have the bully go cry in the bathroom, but I was reaching further than that. And, more than a few times, I succeeded. Looking someone in the eye as they laugh against their own will at something I said about them gives me a feeling I’m not too good at describing, but it feels like a victory of some kind, and I feel comforted when I know for sure that this has contributed to the character of the person I am today, in a way I’ll never be ashamed of.

I will always look for that knowing laugh that me and some of the so-called mean or tough kids shared. I feel like they were misunderstood like me, just with more friends. Anyway, I wanted that special kind of uncontrollable laughter that unintentionally cuts all the tension created by the unsaid and unfair and uncontrollable things that happen to us all. It was my way of saying: You think the ‘audience’ loves you? Well, they love me now. They really love neither of us. You know it, and you love me, if only for a second, for knowing it too. Take my humanity, you bitch, you already gave me yours. It’s OK; we’re OK now.

So yeah, give me your worst. You’ll never give any kind of shit I haven’t given myself. Even if I seem miserable for the longest time, I’ll eventually make you fucking laugh so hard that we’ll all forget how ugly this was, if I get the chance to. Seems rather appropriate to me, like your mum and cock. If she doesn’t take it so hard, she’ll have a better time, bloody oath does she love the wang though, oh my god, make her stop, [inappropriate hand gestures, pretending to choke on ghost dick at a glory hole disguised as a lemonade stall], your mama’s outta control, haha.

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