We went over to some Iranian friends for dinner. Now this couple has a completely different sense of humour me, especially the guy. Anything he finds funny, I can almost guarantee will make me want to spoon my brains out through my nose. I give you an example of how differently we see things.
One time we’d gone over to their house again and this guy told us a story. I laughed so much I had tears running down my face. At one point I was rolling around on the floor, making animal noises. On our way back I said to my friend I never knew how funny this guy was, we should hang out with him more. My friend said, “It was quite funny but you shouldn't have laughed that much, he was being serious. He was pretty upset.”
Now this is the story. This guy is driving along when he suddenly gets a flat tire. He gets his spare tire out of the boot. Oh I forgot to mention, he is on a steep hill! He drops the tire and it starts rolling down the hill! I mean come on! You can’t tell me this and expect me to keep a straight face. This is Pink Panther style genius. So he’s running after it when one of his shoes come off (because he’s wearing them Iranian style with the backs turned down) so he has a brief Sophie’s Choice moment when he has to decide whether to follow the tire or go back for his shoe (this by the way was the part where I was on the floor making animal noises) he decides to follow the tire. Long story short, he catches the tire at the bottom of the road, climbs back up the hill only to find that his car has been stolen because he’s left it open with his keys inside.
I'm sorry but in my book this is the kind of thing that you either decide to keep to yourself or you share with others as a funny story. So now this guy was asking me if I’d heard the new Iranian jokes. ‘Oh they’re so funny!’ he was saying. Shivers! Now there are these Farsi jokes that are so brilliant that they make you want to find the person who made them up and give him as much gold as he can eat. However knowing this guy, these jokes would not be any of those. I knew I wasn't going to find these funny but I was going to laugh at them anyway because I'm very polite like that.
With the first two I laughed with what I considered to be the appropriate gusto. Unfortunately both times I did this way before the punchline. The third time I was determined to get it right. I thought I would wait for a long pause before I did my laughing. This time I ended up with a serious timing problem though and by the time I realised the joke had ended, it was far too late to laugh.
“It’s funny!” he insisted and I replied to him with the special response I reserve for this kind of situation; vigorous head nodding along with a goofy smile and raised eyebrows.
Here’s where he started getting really nasty. I felt like Albert Camus’ missionary in The Renegade (tortured for years until finally with a cut out tongue and a mouth full of salt he accepted the idolaters’ god as his own). I'm afraid my host was a lot less compassionate. He was now threatening to forward jokes to me on Viber. I was totally distraught as you can imagine. So I didn't laugh in all the appropriate places, does that now give you the right to invade the sanctity of my phone? There really is no need for that kind of behaviour.