Apparently I’m too Sarcastic

So being funny isn’t bad enough. Apparently, in the eloquent words of a friend of a friend, I have reached “that awkward moment when your sarcasm is so advanced people actually think you’re stupid.”

In college and just after, some of my best friends and I got to the point where we would get so incredibly dry in our humor and sarcasm that no one around us understood that we were, in fact, being sarcastic. You might wonder, how is this funny? Well, to be honest, it’s not.

I mean, for us it was, but for everyone around us we just looked like either a pack of liars or a bunch of idiots. One of us would tell some girl in a group that he was ex-CIA or a monkey trainer or a botanist who developed a shoe-eating plant. The girl would say “no you aren’t” with a lack of conviction, and we would jump to his defense.

“You wouldn’t believe how fast that thing will choke down a Burkenstock.”

You get enough agreeing voices with seemingly valid supporting stories, totally impromptu, and you can sucker anyone in. At least until someone laughs or feels too guilty to keep going. The main problem arises when there’s no one in the group that catches what you’re up to and immediately joins in. I’ll give you a recent example.

A few nights ago we were out in Accra with some friends about to head back to the States for good. I get up to see if the kitchen is still open in hopes of getting food, and my buddy asks me to get some “pommes frites” for him if they are. My response? “What are you talking about?”

“Pommes frites, c’mon man. You speak French!”

“Um… ok.” I paused before turning to walk towards the bar. “I have no idea what you’re talking about but I’ll ask if they’ve got ‘palm fronds.'”

This elicits an eruption from the table as I walk away; generally revolving around how I could possibly be so dense as to not know what pommes frites are (French fries for those of you who aren’t following – chips for the non-Americans reading along). Of course I order two batches when I find out the kitchen is still open, and return to the table.

“So?” My buddy asks me as he leans back in his chair. “Do they have any?”

The smug look on his face telegraphs that he thinks I’ve wandered into moron territory. In order to save my pride, let alone my dignity, there’s only one response I can give. Of course, I give the opposite.

“I asked but they have no idea what ‘palm feet’ are.”

I can’t even hear a distinct response as every person at the table immediately lashes out at me with something to the effect of “POMMES FRITES! It’s French for French fries?! Chips?! Are you stupid? What’s wrong with you?” And so on and so forth.

Finally I give in, because this is obviously going to continue beyond the point I was prepared for. And I have no partner in crime to back me up. “I know what pommes frites are, I ordered two plates! Gah!”

Apparently no one else does this. No one pulls the innocent or naive card when they want to disrupt an otherwise civil meal. And thus, the humor is lost on everyone at the table save me, and eventually my buddy.

Then it donned on me how many people in this organization (I volunteer full time for Mercy Ships) must think I’m an idiot. I thought we were having good fun when I innocently asked my friend what she meant in referring to “the nasty.” She thought I was ignorant. And when I pressed her for answers, and she squirmed uncomfortably in the dining room, apparently I was the only one laughing on the inside.


Lesson learned. I need a partner in crime.

That’s not the lesson I was supposed to learn, but I’ve got some squirming and yelling to incite.

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  • Kaarin S

    blame mom.

  • I would totally be your partner in crime, but you’re too far away by a continent or two. I’ve been dutifully training up Shelby in dry humor for the past several years, so now she’s my permanent partner in crime. Now sometimes her humor is so dry that even I miss the joke.

  • Mom

    I just saw Kaarin’s comment…blame or credit…my humor has been deemed dry around here…now I understand better why I’m asked to make it more obvious.
       I guess that acorn thing is true…