A while back Cousin Lucy, in a comment I accidentally deleted, expressed a kind of apology at having found my description of my experiences with the blood panel and the urine sample hilarious.

I could not be more flattered or honored.  When I can—which is far from every entry—I try to be funny.  I exaggerate a tiny bit here or there to bring out the comic potential in an incident, word, or action.  The humor though is damn dead pan which is true also of my verbal or spoken humor. 

For example while getting to know Nephew Stephen’s little Jake when we visited down in San Diego, I asked him if all his toes had growed in yet, since we Tingles have late growing toes, and did he have an extra toe, since we Tingles sometimes grow an extra one and have some shoe fitting problems, consequently.  This was all dead pan and the poor boy looked mighty befuddled, and decided to run off when I said I would show him my extra toe if he wanted to see it.

I don’t know where this wise cracking comes from.  I did it all though school.  I would just let out something and the whole class would laugh, and it would be enough in the ball park that even the teacher didn’t get annoyed.

I still do it.  At meetings with my colleagues.  Sometimes, I must admit, quite inappropriately.  Once our head secretary was present at one of our interminable meetings and giving us the details of our piddling budget for such things as paper, and the copying machine, and envelopes. Turns out over half the budget was for the telephones.

I have this telephone in my office.  It’s useless.  It doesn’t take messages anymore and I can’t dial outside the area code with it.  So I started to get up and said I would go over right then and get my phone and give it to her if that would help with the budget. Cause I didn’t need the damn thing anymore.  And everybody laughed.  I don’t know why since I was dead serious.

Anyway I get real pleasure out of giving people a laugh even though I don’t know why or how I do it.  Humor is a tricky thing.

But if I can get somebody to laugh, I considered it my Boy Scout good deed for the day. There’s a Hebrew word, mitzvah that has come to mean an “act of human kindness.”

For me, giving a laugh or getting one, why it’s a mitzvah.

8 Replies to “Mitzvah”

  1. You’re kidding about the toes??? I thought all the Tingles had toes grown together. An extra toe would actually come in handy for us. I won’t tell on anyone else in the family, but Mama has given me names of all the cousins who really do have webbed toes. Nick, are you sure you’re not one of them? Let’s explore this genetic mutation and discuss the embarrassment wiht our respective therapists – this could be a real break-through!

  2. I am sorry if I touched upon the Tingle family’s hidden shame. Yes, our toes are a mess. Webbed, extra, and short changed occasionally. This little piggy not only went to market, the damn thing stayed there. I will not go into length upon the toenails attached to the toes; suffice to say I have toe nail fungus, so that my toe nails are but grotesque parodies of your normal toe nail. Some day perhaps I tell the toe (excuse me tale) of my plantar wart that took up residence on the bottom of my big toe and lived with me there for about 10 years. I felt affection for that fungus till it presumed upon my good nature and grew too aggressive….

  3. As I recall, there was a podiatrist still billing WB for toenail trimming a year after he was dead and gone….I think I finally just paid him….we had broken an appointment, actually…..I do not think my own toes are very bizarre…..

  4. I don’t have webbed toes or extra toes, but now that you all mention it, I do remember long long ago when I was small…..going to Addie and Ed’s house and playing with the Good kids…..and the subject of the webbed toes came up. Seems that somebody or somebodies had them. So we all checked our toes and I did not have them.

  5. All right, that’s it! It’s time for the Tingle ducks to come out of the pond and admit why they never wear sandals! Yes, I’m a creature from the black lagoon of backwoods Georgia–and I insist that the rest of you own up to this “something that makes us special” — mothers are so kind telling us we’re “special” when we know in our hearts they can hardly bare to look at us – well, Nick, some mothers anyway.
    Maybe I should send pictures?

  6. I do have extra large big toes. And I do mean extra large. I think they are abnormally large. But I believe I got that from my father’s side of the family and not the Tingle side.
    I had forgotten about the webbed toe thing in the Tingles. Thanks for the memory.

  7. I think I have good toes. I us them often for picking things up. It is much easier then bending over when I have the baby in my arms, which is often.

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