I like being alone. At least, I’ve convinced myself that I’m better off that way. But no one would be able to decipher that through my laugh, or my sly little grin whenever I make the people around me laugh. No one would be able to see how I sit alone at the end of the day, after everyone else has gone home and left me by myself, as I loath and stare at the various posters on my walls I put up to distract me from the deep rooted, inevitable misery I was destined to suffer from. Posters of my once favorite band Nirvana, to one of my favorite movies The Breakfast Club, and even the swirly, different technique using painting of The Starry Night, made by an equally tortured soul that went by the name of Vincent Van Gogh.
How many funny people do you know? Maybe your dad was once a funny guy, making you laugh until you’re blue in the face at the dinner table, maybe your best friend is the most hilarious person you know, or maybe, it’s that kid who will crack jokes, but for the most part sits by himself, excluding himself from social activity in the classroom. Well, that kid is me. And there’s a reason that comedians are regularly detached from humanity: They see the world for what it is, not what the media wants you to think, and for that very reason, is why comedians are the most messed up people you could ever meet, emotionally and mentally.
Being comedic, in my mind, is a trait that one is born with. A trait as normal as having two different colored eyes like me. It’s not normal to be a comedic person and sometimes the comedians recognize that they’re different from the other kids in school. Maybe they have a different ethnicity, a different colored mother compared to their daddy, or even they’re just plain chubby and not as energetic as other kids. Whatever the case may be, there’s a simple fact that comes with it that kids will not see you as equal. In my case, I’ve always been overweight, and I’ve recognized it since around Kindergarten, when I had to play with myself on the playground, making rocky mountains out of the little pebbles dusting the playground, giggling to myself as I knocked it down when the teacher blew the whistle to go back inside. What were the other kids doing? The popular kids, the skinny kids, the kids that were run of the mill troublemakers? They were playing with other kids, socializing, because those kids wanted those kids to play with them. They never wanted me, and I knew that. But one day, for one reason or another, I did something. Maybe I fell over, or maybe I passed gas, or maybe I just plain said something out of the unusual. Kids laughed with me, not at me. For once in my life, people were laughing at me for something other than my weight, or my long, blonde curly hair, or how unusual my dark chocolate brown and greenish hazel irises were compared to their dull brown ones. They were laughing at me for me.
My childhood characteristic of finding alternative means of doing things or keeping myself busy has carried on into my teenage life. As a fifteen going on sixteen Midwest teenager, I’m always trying to find another way to do things, in fear that I’ll do it wrong and be ridiculed by the kids who could do it right. Whether it be a different way to use a geometric compass, or a different way to make the same painting in fifth period, or using a modification to my workout in weight lifting class. Even if it meant that I’d look different, I will not be seen as another pushover kid.
If you know a funny person who hasn’t experienced some really rough crap in their life, I’d tell you that he’s either a liar or he’s just really, REALLY good at hiding his pain. I’m the latter. I have found ways to construct my pain into different mediums of literature and art that I could be called a modern day Renaissance Man. But there’s always that one little thing that I haven’t been able to sink my teeth into, and that was the thought of one day it will be become too much, and I will attempt to end it. To break the emergency glass with the mallet and pull the lever to drop the floor out from under me, the emergency lever that says ‘Okay, this was fun, now leave me alone.’ Comedy is usually a product of the cancer cells that form on the soul, just to cope with that overall feeling of dread and misery that you always have.
Comedians don’t have very many friends, I use the word friend very sparingly because the word ‘friend’ in my experience is a word that has been beaten to the ground. Some people realize that the reason they’re funny is a defense mechanism, myself included. Because I had a very scarce friend list up to this point in my life, I’m divided up into two different personalities, completely different from each other. The funny, always clowning, prankster comedic jerk that most people know me for, and then the side people don’t see. The side that only maybe a few friends of mine have ever had the pleasure of seeing. The side that exposes every single flaw I have, from my crippling loneliness, to my tortured genius complex, to my artwork, even this writing right now. This isn’t the clown. This is me, and in the end, ‘me’ is just a scared, lonely fat kid with walls around him, afraid to bring another person in his kingdom in fear of the potential risk he could be opening himself up to. But when he’s that clown, he’s got the whole world in his hands, and that shy, scared kid goes back to his reclusive tendencies and lets the clown do what he could never do make people love him.
Do you have a close friend that if asked who they were, you would say ‘the funniest person you know’, and one day they abruptly stopped being funny, and was quiet and brooding and you didn’t know why? It’s because they felt close enough to you that they could let the clown have a break for the night, and show you who they really are: Every scar, every wound, every little dig in their skin, every piece of the broken puzzle that makes up the person you call your best friend. I guess the point I’m trying to make you realize here, is that your best friend is at a bigger risk to one day end their own lives than the average person, simply because they can’t make anyone relate to them, because no one but a fellow comedian would understand the pain they have to trudge in. Be there for your best friend, because they were always there for you when you were down, making you giggle even in the darkest hole, even if you don’t think that they might need your hand to hold, extend it anyway. It might just buy your friendship another day of love and laughter.
And while he wasn’t a comedian, I’d like to talk about one of my all time favorite singers and idols, Layne Staley. Staley was in the popular metal band from the 90’s called Alice in Chains, and if you ask anyone he associated with, they’d tell you that Layne Staley was a kid with a funny attitude towards life and a heart of gold. And it was because of that heart of gold and naive tendencies that he was subjected to heroin addiction. So much so that in fact, when the addiction finally killed off Layne in April of 2002, Staley had isolated himself away from his loved ones for so long that he was found two weeks later, rotting into his couch with needles under him, a needle in his leg, and a fully loaded needle in his hand. If it hadn’t been for his mother noticing no money had been taken from his bank account for about two weeks, Staley might have never been found for months or more. How does a funny, beloved person become so tortured and numb that they isolated themselves from loved ones and destroy their talent with drugs and other harmful materials, you ask? Simple. Staley didn’t fit in, and it ended up killing him.
In conclusion, next time you see your favorite funny person, even if it’s just in the hallway or something, give them a hug or a high five or something. Let them know how much they’re appreciated, because that could make the difference between them living another day or their mother finding them in their house, rotting into a couch to an awful death that they, like many other comedians and good people, under no circumstances ever deserved. Who knows? Maybe the next time I write something again, I have found a reason to keep dragging my navy blue Converse across the floors of my high school, or maybe I could have suffered the critical blow that pushed me over the edge, leaving my friends and family with a lost dream of what could have been. Whatever the case may be, I hope there’s a reason for you to drag your shoes across the floor for another day.