My humorous stories arise out of unexpected events that happen to me. A wake-up call, a turn of events, a different opinion than my own, a verbal statement that takes my breath away—I am usually oblivious to the obvious. Example: The Vegetarians are Coming was written about my two granddaughters who visited me. Food is serious business—how people consume food, what they eat, what they prefer. It’s for the sustenance of the body—eating keeps us alive and well. People create very diverse food cultures. In this case, it was vegetarians vs. “meat eating Grandma”.
The girls do not eat meat in their home…they don’t see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, have no experience with it. I’m on the opposite pole as it’s been a part of my life since birth. When two of my daughters took up this mode of eating (with very valid arguments), I had to consider, respect and accept their decisions. Even though I disagreed in some respects, I modified my family dinners to incorporate this new culture of food. One of the first lessons was a taco dinner. I saw frowns on faces. My sour cream had gelatin (a meat product) in it. The refried beans had lard. I now look at all labels before I cook or put a product on the table. Lesson learned.
Techniques of humor:
1) I took the expected visit of the grandchildren which is a warm, engaging familiar event and gave it an element of surprise.
2) I took the humor of this situation and exaggerated the facts. I enlarged and overstated the truth. I took the truth of the situation and made it funny. What could be a volatile and disrupting sequence was lessened by the humor.
3) I made fun of myself. I portrayed myself as a “stuck in the mud”, out of date woman (even if I’m a teacher/prof) who needs to be educated on the values and benefits of vegetarianism. I was the “bad guy”; the granddaughters were the victors.
4) I attacked the “institution” of meat eating and made it absurd.
The final line leaves the outcome uncertain. What will be grandma’s future stance on this topic. Will she change or stick to the old ways? Will we ever know?