Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Getting the Joke

Getting the Joke

Looking back, I think it was the Kardashian covers that began to sour my relationship with American Vogue.  But the death knell finally rang when Grace Coddington,  the incandescently creative fashion director, left the magazine last year.  Her inspiring imagination had kept me tethered to my subscription, but when she departed I became nearly totally Anglophilic in my magazine reading.  British Vogue, British Bazaar, UK Town and County and UK Country Living tickle my senses completely and prompt me to visit my local big box book store once a month in an effort to procure them.   The recent covers of UK Bazaar have been beautifully irresistible and every time I finish UK Country Living I want to buy a pig.

A couple of weeks ago I approached the counter at the above mentioned store with my  latest British issues.  The young man who stood ready to take my money had a pleasant face and we smiled at each other in polite reserve.  Then, all of a sudden, a hiccup escaped from his mouth with a sound worthy of a tree frog in summer.  He looked horrified and I, politely, pretended not to notice.  Then, as is the way of hiccups, another one followed, even louder than the last.  I felt the corners of my mouth begin to twitch and I forced myself to meet the young man’s eye.  He was trying not to laugh as well.  Neither of us were successful.  We both started to giggle, his laughter punctuated by continual hiccups that only increased in frequency and volume the more we both laughed.  He was still laughing, and hiccuping, when I left and I laughed all the way to the car.

Let’s face it, human beings are funny.   In appearance, few of us are supermodels (and frankly, with photoshop even the supermodels aren’t as super as we are led to believe).  Most of us look funny.  Stand naked in front of a full length mirror and tell me I’m wrong.  We have quirky little fears, funny little habits.    Take for instance the lady I watched at the gym the other day, walking in quick step round and round the track eating a large size bag of potato chips as she did so.  I mean, funny, right?   As for me, I am eternally grateful for hands-free phones in cars these days for it makes the fact that I talk to myself much less noticeable.

While it is less than a scientific measure of good character, I myself have never quite trusted someone incapable of laughing at themselves.  Looking round the world today, I cannot conceive of a greater indicator of personal delusion that finding one’s every word or deed above the slightest humorous critique.  To take oneself that seriously can, in direct opposition to one’s intention, lead one by the nose straight into buffoonery,  a land where everyone gets the joke but you.  Sad. 

By way of illustration, The Songwriter and I were happily shopping last weekend in one of our favorite markets.   Our arms laden with fresh fruit and flowers we turned to leave and saw a small crowd gathered round the doors.  A storm of colossal proportions had blown up suddenly, rain was coming down in sheets and no one was eager to brave the deluge to get to their cars.    I was impatient.  I reminded The Songwriter that whenever we’re in Scotland we walk in the rain without complaint.  He reminded me that we were not in Scotland at the moment and he was disinclined to get drenched whilst carrying a full bag of groceries.  I tapped my foot.  I sighed.  Eventually, he gave in and we made a run for it, me squealing all the way.  I got in the car first and my eyes immediately fell on the door lock.  I can tell you it took every inch of compassion and good sense in my possession not to lock that door and watch The Songwriter pitch a fit in the rain.  It would have been funny, right? Oh, it would have been funny.   Even he would have agreed, though perhaps a bit later.   I am lucky to share life’s journey with someone who gets the joke.  Never trust a man who doesn’t.


“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky 


  1. Been thinking of you and all I have to share about Scotland! Forthcoming...
    Would love to share the joke between the Queen and the guard in this photo, wouldn't you?
    Perhaps more fun to imagine... Stay inside and "be cool"!

  2. Your posts always arrive with a most welcome breath of fresh air.

  3. I loved this post!
    I feel the same way about the magazines. but then I've always been a dyed in the wool Anglophile.
    and my late husband and I laughed all the way through our wonderful marriage. I have always considered it the magic glue! xo

  4. Hi!!

    I'm so like you(hope you don't mind😜). It's a hidden mess trying to get the UK country living magazine. I don't know why but it either comes to my favourite chapter store or it doesn't come and I miss out. My hubby wants me to get a subscription because he knows how much I love it.

    I get a warning from my husband when he knows that I wanted chicken or lock the door when it's raining outside. And the one I love is the warning when I want to start a water fight outside on a hot day. Trouble is even though I would lose the water fight it would be so much fun getting there.

    Have a great day !!

  5. Especially since the 'guard' is her husband Price Phillip. Would loved to have been a fly on the wall. However I agree Pamela a sense of your own unimportance in the scheme of things is a necessary attribute and I have always mistrusted anyone who was unable to see that. My husband of 43 years and I share a very English sense of humour where to laugh at yourself is built in to the genes.

  6. Life without a sense of humor would be unbearable:).

  7. I'm the same way about British magazines. Have to regularly check out the big box book store for the latest. And one of the main reasons I married my husband was for his sense of humor, and he appreciates mine!

  8. Did you know that you can read very many magazines from across the world for free on the Library Press Display online portal? You access it through membership of your local public library - at least that's how we do it in the UK. Country Homes and Interiors and Country Living UK are both available on it, as is Country House. You might also like Scottish Field. And from France you can access the lovely Côté Est, Ouest and Sud magazines. I appreciate it's not the same tactile experience as leafing through a glossy paper copy, but it saves trees and air miles. Worth seeing if you can access the reader where you are!

    1. i was going to say much the same thing, libraries are the best!

  9. I too am an anglophile. Must have lived there in another life. I would love to live near the sea in Dorset during the summer. Wonder how much that would cost to rent a cottage and if I could take my weenies? You'll be amazed but I haven't much of a sense of humor. I don't know why, but I don't think I've ever heard a funny joke. I must have damage in that part of the brain. I do have some sense of humor, it is just not like others'. Oh well. Isn't that the cutest picture of the Queen. I love her. I like this quote, though I can't remember who said it. The measure of a man is not by his outstanding efforts, but by his everyday behavior.

  10. I do so agree with this Pamela - how dull and boring it would be to live with a person who never saw the funny side of things.

  11. I agree! A good sign of character is being able to laugh at yourself. My husband and I enjoy a chuckle together frequently.

    I'm not a fan of American Vogue (for adults), but I love Teen Vogue for posting really good political summaries and action alerts for teens.


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