This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life


  • May 11, 2012 7:21 am

It’s funny about the word funny. We use it in so many non-humorous ways that it almost has lost its meaning.

If something is funny, shouldn’t we laugh or at least giggle at it?

For instance, funny can be used to mean strange or curious. “Isn’t it funny to see a tight rope walker above the alligator pit at the zoo?”

It can also express disappointment, “Funny, I wasn’t invited to my best friend’s wedding to George Clooney.”

Funny can indicate something that annoys us. Example: “I don’t think it’s funny when you mash your food on the table, honey.”

It can mean strange. ”That outfit sure is funny. Who would wear a red plaid shirt and purple striped pants to his wedding?”

And it even can be used to insult someone’s looks. “She has the funniest nose.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we started to use the word funny only when something made us at least chuckle, or roll around on the floor laughing like a hyena? But think of the difficulties in expressing some of the aforementioned observations and opinions.

“For God’s sake, does that tight rope walker have mush for brains?” seems somehow harsher.

Or, in the case of the missed invitation mentioned above: “What a louse you were for not inviting me to your wedding to George Clooney. What, are you afraid of a little competition? Better watch your back,” seems hostile and unfriendly.

And I would think that, “Honey, if you mash your food on the table again, I’ll break both of your arms,” could really damage a child’s psyche.

Communicating disdain for another person’s clothing choices would be less than tactful. “Who dressed you—a blind monkey? You’re wearing plaids and stripes— again! Don’t sit anywhere near me and whatever you do, don’t talk to me.”

And of course, insulting would take on an even nastier tone: “If I was born with a honker like that, I would have demanded plastic surgery as soon as I could talk!”

Isn’t it strange  that while the idea of precise language is appealing, the reality is often less than desirable.  Life is funny that way.



  1. I agree Kathy.
    Funny is actually a gentle word.
    Bobbi Mastrangelo

  2. What a funny topic to choose. I wouldn’t have thought of it. Well done.

Leave a Reply