A CERTAIN SMILE, A POKER FACE

Droll is one of those words whose most common usage belies its “official” dictionary definition. Usually, I hang with official definitions of words, but this time, I’m going with common usage.


adjective
1. curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.
“his unique brand of droll self-mockery”
synonyms: funny, humorous, amusing, comic, comical, mirthful, hilarious; More
noun – archaic
1. a jester or entertainer; a buffoon.


When you hear someone say “How droll!”, they aren’t talking about a jester or buffoon. They are talking about a certain dry wit or clever use of words. There’s nothing buffoonish about drollery. Actually, the thing that makes it different from other kinds of “humor” is its dryness —Β and how often one can deliver humor with a straight face.

I should know. I live with Garry, a man who wasted his life by never playing poker. Garry can say the most outrageous stuff with a complete poker face. I’ve known him since 1963 — maybe it was 1964? Which is a pretty long time as friendships go in our lifetime. To this day, I do not know if he is joking or not. He doesn’t even get that little lip twitch to alert me to his fooling around.

I begin to respond and he puts up both his hands and says “Whoa, I was JOKING. You didn’t think I was serious … did you?”

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but yet, I did. And usually the reason I’m outraged is I can’t believe he would say something like that. The answer is, he didn’t. He just assumes if anyone will get him, I will. Mostly, I do. Eighty percent, I get him. The other twenty percent? He got me.

I tell him, regularly, he missed his calling. Television? Delivering the news without laughing? That was tricky … but he could play poker with anyone and bluff them all. If only he could figure out which card is which. Because even in poker with the world’s best poker face, you need to be able to tell a club from a diamond.

27 thoughts on “A CERTAIN SMILE, A POKER FACE

    • Garry has found that his sense of humor, no matter how difficult to “get” in person, can be really bad online. So he writes things … looks at it … deletes it. Because he’s pretty sure instead of laughter, he’ll start a firestorm. I get his humor, if I realize it IS humor. I don’t always. He is very funny, but he’s … well … a bit odd, sometimes πŸ˜€

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  1. I am one of those people who has a twisted, “dark’ extremely dry sense of humor and people I’ve known my entire life sometimes have a hard time knowing if I’m serious or kidding around. There was a comedian in the making in my high school class and it drove him crazy that he could never make me crack a smile (although sometimes I was falling apart laughing…INSIDE). It became his mission to make me laugh and finally one day he succeeded, but I doubt the teacher was amused. Variety is the spice of life and lucky you to have a guy that makes you laugh (or smile) part of the time at least and whom you ‘get’ 80% of the time.

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    • I’m glad I’m not the only one. This works better in person. He has tried it in print and it required a lot of explaining. Not only does he have a really dry sense of humor, it is also a bit twisted πŸ˜€

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  2. I love humour, all kinds. Don’t know why I laughed until I howled at “Throw Mama from the Train” but it was absolutely hilarious. If the jokes and humour Garry uses in his posts is his kind of wit and humour, I’m in because I always enjoy it. You yourself have a great sense of humour.

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      • I know that one well. I Laugh a lot too (it used to keep the crap at bay)and now I laugh because not only do I love to laugh, but it brightens any day πŸ™‚ We used to live so far north the night was long almost like Alaska, and dark dreary weather used to get to me, there’s a name for those that require more light. I turned to music and laughter. It became a habit for which I’m grateful. No one likes being the butt of humour. There are so many stories of humour I could tell you but my kids would kill me! lol. Cause when ever anything disasterous happened, I used humour and I still laugh whenever I think of crazy things that have happened. One day when my son was 12, he did the dance the Russians do, arms crossed close to the floor, kicking their legs out in front of them? Cant remember the name of it, but my son showed me how well he could do it, crossing the floor twice and on the third time back, he actually broke his toe kicking (an unseen glass someone had left near a chair) Well, I laughed until I nearly cried. He hasn’t forgiven me over it yet. One day my daughter thought a candle smelled really good and inhaled overtop of it and of course, the flame shot up her nose. She hasn’t forgiven me for that one either lolol It’s a coping mechanism for me to lessen the stress but um well, in hindsight, they don’t appreciate it. There are so many more incidents I could tell you, but we’ll leave it there in case they read this, smirk smirk

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    • My old work colleagues and I used to have loads of fun with some of the celebs mentioned in my pieces. I can reveal the list of our “targets” included Red Auerbach, Ted Kennedy, etc. who questioned our birthright after receiving a taste of our humor. Tough!

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  3. I definitely don’t do droll very well, but appreciate those who have mastered it. Deadpan humor is not easy at all. And even though I could tell a diamond from a club, Garry would probably still clean me out at poker because I can’t keep a straight face in any situation…

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