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Pretty and/or Funny

Why do people never recognize you when you look fabulous?

I’m serious. Last Sunday I was tired from working the late weekend shows at CapCity and I was wearing a nasty old pair of tracksuit bottoms and a baggy grey fleece that once belonged to Erik. I hadn’t washed my hair so it was still full of product but all the spikiness had been flattened out. And my glasses were all filmy and smudged.

I was in PetSmart, perusing the toy aisle with Storm who was happily chewing on a stuffed pheasant when a PetSmart employee came over:

“Weren’t you emceeing the show at CapCity last night …”

I was caught entirely off guard because I thought he was coming to complain about me letting my dog chew a toy that we didn’t intend to purchase. So I made some feeble joke about Storm buying her own Christmas ‘pheasant’ that obviously destroyed any illusions he had about me being funny and headed for the checkout. But I remembered to say thank you, to which he said:

“sure, you were pretty funny”

I’ve never really been a big fan of the word ‘pretty’. As a physical description it sounds rather coy and girlish and when used in the pretty funny way, it dampens down the funny in my view. Maybe it was meant to. Anyway, I gave the guy a slightly less enthusiastic follow-up ‘thanks’ and grumbled in Storm’s ear all the way home.

This morning I had the chance to be a little more gracious. But not any prettier. It was 7.15 am, I was lining up for a Half Marathon at the Motive offices in North Austin. Thanks to some surprising foreward planning, I was in a clean running shirt and shorts. I’d washed my hair but had no time to dry it so ended up with severe helmet-head. No make-up and some very large spots completed the early morning look. A fellow runner came over:

“Hey, we saw you perform at CapCity last weekend”

I did better this time. I asked him which show he came to and resisted the urge to tell him how much better I was at the earlier show. We talked a little about the headliner, Maria Bamford until I felt him fixating on my forehead spot. I started shifting around.

“OK”, he said, “have a great race. And by the way….you were pretty funny”

I’m torn. Being recognized as a stand-up comic is great. It’s not why I get onstage, but it’s a wonderful bonus and I’m really thankful to anyone that takes the time to do it. But maybe we could just drop the ‘pretty funny’ thing. I’d be more than happy with plain ol’ funny.

or then again —

“…. you were drop dead gorgeously funny”

That would work too.