Life used to be so simple. Preachers delivered fire and brimstone visions of Hades to scare the pants off people, and comedians pulled down their pants to make people laugh like… well, you know. Both sides lived by the rule that preachers don’t throw pies and comedians don’t do funerals, but that’s all over. My own preacher, Dr. John Beyers, is as good a minister as you’ll ever meet, but he’s got a character flaw that just galls me: He’s funny and he makes people laugh. Well, as a humorist, I’m deeply offended by this fact because I’m supposed to be getting all the laughs! I haven’t been baptizing babies or performing weddings, so why is he horning in on my craft?
Recently during a sermon, I was nursing a nice, hot cup of coffee as John was sharing the proper pronunciation of Isaiah, the Prophet. He said it was not pronounced "EYES-AAA-URRR," as some folks around here say it. Well, I hated to admit it but that was funny. I was chuckling under my breath so I wouldn’t encourage him to reload, when I noticed my legs were burning. I know what you’re thinking, but it wasn’t brimstone; it was hot coffee I’d been sloshing all over myself with each chuckle. Normally, a beverage stain is a minor laundry issue, but I play guitar in our praise band and had to return to stage with coffee all over the front of my pants. I was able to position my guitar to cover the wet spot, but it was a close call.
When I cleaned up, I remembered that we Methodists are supposed to "forgive those who trespass against us." So, I’ve decided to forgive John for trespassing into my space with his occasional stabs at humor. I’m even going to help him get a few laughs by giving him some great jokes next Sunday, right before his sermon, as he’s drinking his morning coffee. If I time the punch lines just right, maybe he’ll laugh so hard he’ll spill hot decaf all over the front of his pants. Since he won’t have a low-slung electric guitar to hide behind like I did, those wet trousers should be a hoot. If he wants to be funny, I’m going to use my skills to help him make people laugh. No self-respecting humorist would do otherwise.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.