The importance of prepositions

Bullying is not a laughing matter

When you grow up weird, there’s a lot of phrases you’ll hear over and over:

  • Can’t you take a joke?
  • Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.
  • You’ve got to learn to laugh at yourself.

These are all crap.  Crap, crap, crap.

It sucks when people laugh at you.  Why would it be any better if you join in?

It sucks because, in these situations, they’re laughing at you for being different.  For being unfortunate.  For being weird.  For being your own person.  For screwing up some tiny bit of some unwritten social code.  For being an object of ridicule.

That’s why they call it laughing at you – because you’re an object in their eyes.

At is a preposition for objects.  She threw the snowball at the window.  He was mad at the cat.  I laughed at danger.

If we’re having a fight and I’m angry enough to throw something, I throw it at you.  On the other hand, if we’re heading out for dinner and you’ve offered to drive, I throw the keys to you, all friendly-like.

If the waiter drops a plate, some jerk might laugh at him.  If we go running through a meadow in a summer rain shower, I might laugh with you out of pure joy.

One little word makes a difference.

I am a laughing matter.

There is, however, a lot to be said for not taking yourself too seriously, and laughter is good for you.

I fairly often do completely ridiculous things with the intention of getting people to laugh.  I’m usually laughing when I do it, because I am amusing, I am having fun, and I am … inviting others to laugh with me.  I mean, I wore this hat in public more than once:

The Horrible Hat

Yes, I wore this hat in public

I believe that laughing at people is nowhere near as awesome as laughing with people.

When we laugh with people, we are sharing and growing closer with them. We think about the similarities between us, how we could just as easily have been the one who just realized, after eight years of owning and driving the same truck daily, that a part of the cup holder pulls out to make a second cup holder.  Oops.

The catch is, I’m never going to think that “missing” second cup holder has the slightest bearing on my intelligence or my worth as a human being.  I’m forgetful and sometimes I’m oblivious, but this doesn’t make me stupid.  So, I share this with you out of a place of strength for me.  I’m inviting you to be amused with me.

When people laugh at you, it’s at the places you aren’t strong.  I’ve been laughed at before.  It sucks.

Being laughed with, whether it’s me and my niece on the Dumbo ride at Disneyworld, or it’s me and some nerdy friends following the association train to Humor Town … it’s pretty awesome.

This entry was posted in About the Me, Humor Theory and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The importance of prepositions

  1. Teaspoon says:

    Such small words, but such large meaning.

  2. lileyo says:

    So good, and so true. _< After we cleared up the confusion, we've laughed about it, together, for years. I didn't think they were stupid when it happened, and they didn't think I was stupid for misunderstanding. It's hilarious! But only because it was funny, not them.

Comments are closed.