well, laughing helps
“Promise me you won’t think of me differently….” That’s how I have had to introduce most of these stories to my friend Ted Mutti (mentor and motivator). That’s also the last proper name I will write. I need to protect the innocent. Besides, I didn’t get their permission to write about them.
Buy the book (or read a free chapter)
True to life
This is not the “Peterman” effect (Seinfeld, “The Van Buren Boys”). These are not purchased stories from Kramer. These are my own, I was there.
The “Joke Man”
The idea of the book came about when, after years of a detective’s daughter calling me “The Joke Man”, I decided to write down all of these awkward, hilarious moments that I had found myself in since being a toddler. What was the first joke that got her calling me “The Joke Man?” Well, have you ever seen an elephant with red toenails hiding in a cherry tree? No? They hide pretty good don’t they (and when she tells it, she does her best Groucho Marx impersonation).
I am not a celebrity by any means. However, I am a legitimate celebrity-wannabe. As a young child, my nickname was “The Gong Show.” Clearly foreshadowing my annoying acts of comedy that would get me removed from the stage with a gong. In fact, my best “air-drumming” attempt, during a Christian metal version of “Silent Night” at summer church camp, got me a sitting ovation after I looked like I was swatting at invisible bees. During my early teenage years, a young girlfriend kept spelling my name as “Addam”. Apparently I was from the Addams Family. I was an extra in the movie “Air Force One.” My hand played an inmate clanging a cup against the bars in a Russian gulag (unrelated to my Russian domain name story). When I wear my glasses, my mother often mistakes me for Jim Cantore (Weather Channel, weather.com/tv/personalities/news/jim-cantore). Without glasses, I am often told I look like Ben Bailey (Cash Cab, therealbenbailey.com). I played Cash Cop one time while transporting a shoplifter to station for booking. I told him if he answered three trivia questions correctly, I would pull over and release him. Well, laughing helps. He failed. I booked him in and released him.
Layout of each story
Each of these stories will ask the question, “How do I live with Myself?” I start each answer with, “Well, laughing helps.” I also discuss an epilogue and include a joke that I thought was closely related (and most of them I have told for years). A moment to ponder is a good discussion starting point for reflection or your book club.
For the stories that have pop culture references (in italics), I have included “chapter footnotes” on the website for further explanation. I felt explaining them inline with the story took away form the overall effect. Besides, I prefer the reader go to my website and read them: LaughingHelps.Us…
Pure marketing ploy. In all reality, the footnotes will expand on my “half-funny memoirs” with more true-to-life influences on who I am today.
I mention a lot of my favorite songs throughout the book. Imagine for a moment that these would be the songs on the direct-to-vhs movie soundtrack.
Mostly True Disclaimer
This is nonfiction. The conversations may not be word-for-word; however, the context is accurate. Some of the characters are the same people in various stories. Childhood friends have gone on to become co-workers or neighbors. Some adult friends have become business associates or mentors. To protect their identity, I have kept them anonymous and left out certain details that would allow the reader to connect them. These stories are based on my recollections involving the past 40 years, mostly kept alive by oral tradition. I ask the reader to be flexible in my descriptions and details, but also know that I am trying to be as truthful as I can as I remember each story.
Enjoy this trip down my memory lane…..
Chapters & Pages
Introduction to the Book…….. 2
Introduction to Youth & College…….. 4
I Floated One in the Tub…….. 6
Ewww Game…….. 8
Playground Love Hate…….. 10
I’m Not Ready…….. 12
It’s Not Me, It’s You…….. 14
I Wish I would have Picked The Beatles…….. 16
Breakfast Club without Judd Nelson…….. 18
How I Met Your Mother…….. 20
I Gotcha a Dollar…….. 22
Why did a plumber come for a gas leak?…….. 24
Bridge of Dummies, Third time’s a Charm…….. 26
Introduction to Travel…….. 30
Where are you honey? The boat is leaving!…….. 32
That old man sure was nice………… 34
Hold on to your Nuggets…….. 36
Introduction to Business & Police…….. 38
The Russian Internet Surprise…….. 40
Dead or Dinner?…….. 42
Chocolate Covered Marshmallows…….. 44
You’re out of Breath?…….. 48
The Magical Plumber…….. 50
The Mayflower Truck Guy…….. 52
The Bees in the PedoVan…….. 55
The Biggest Box in 5th Grade…….. 56
Chief, You Want Some?…….. 58
Shooting a Used Car Salesman, Almost………… 60
The Band, a Gun and a Drunk…….. 62
Can I get my underwear and socks?…….. 66
Mr. Poopy Pants…….. 69
You’re Boyfriend’s Dead, What’s His Name?…….. 72
Introduction to Food…….. 74
Ho Hos Challenge…….. 76
I LOVE Donuts…….. 78
What’s in the Box?…….. 80
Where does the Hallway End & the Restroom Begin?…….. 82
I Floated Away from Red Robin…….. 84
$5 Large Pizza Should Have Cost Me $7.50…….. 86
Introduction to How to Really Live…….. 88
Rick Springfield Stole my Wife…….. 90
Awkward Elevator…….. 92
Smelly Elevator…….. 94
Shirtless Guy…….. 96
I’ll Get You A Plate…….. 98
Why Do You Have That on your Phone?…….. 100
Businesses I Own(ed)…….. 102
Footnotes (Songs & Movies)…….. 104