The next days
in Paris, people treated me differently
After making the sound of the worlds horniest elephant, things changed for me in Paris. I was funny. I don’t know how. I’m not certain why, but I always found a way to play.
It became a compulsion. I could’t turn it off. After class, many of us would go to the cafe nearby for red wine and quiche.
I loved my newfound power. Others did not. There were some in my class who hated Philippe’s jokes. Especially the Americans. They tended to lean left and his ‘anything goes as long as they laugh’ attitude was highly problematic to them.
When it came to funny, nothing was off the table. This was alienating for the Americans. There are things that apparently should not be said. If there was something you were not supposed to make fun of someone about? He joked about that.
He went directly to where any perceived weakness or flaw could be. He was universally offensive. I was accused of being a genocidal German. I was regularly told that I needed to visit The Hague as my attempts at humour were akin to concentration camps and that my mere existence was a crime against humanity and that I should be executed if it were not for the fact that I would likely find a way to use the bullet to murder millions.
The idea was that no matter what the audience gave you, it was a gift. It was a gift that they were there. Their presence was a present. We were to learn how to take any bit of feedback, accept it with joy and play with it. We were learning to play emotional jai alai.
Some of the class - mostly from America (sorry guys) - began to fight with Philippe over the nature of his jokes. They would storm from class when he made fun of the Japanese students about being sneaky, murderous ninja. He would know - his life partner / lover Michiko is Japanese.
I lapped it all up. Anarchistic play without a filter became a compulsion for me. I was finally liberated from the chains of my schooling.
The unfunny? They resented my newfound freedom.
Emily from Seattle raged: “He just won’t stop it” as I had a good chunk of my classmates in stitches one afternoon - merely by making a small stuttering sound and action.
It was the sound of elephant constipation. She thought I was making fun of disabled people. Her imagination was incredibly problematic.
My funny wings had spread and I was beginning to fly.
As it happened, many laughed. There were still a few who wanted to hold me down. They used all kinds of labels, analysis and critiques in attempts to drain me of my pleasure.
When they did, I merely played with what they gave me.
That enraged them more.
So I joked more.
Mostly with a gesture, a look or the sound of a horny or constipated elephant depending on the day.
More people laughed.
More outrage from the indignant.
More non sensical but contextually appropriate bits of idiocy from me.
More laughter from the rest.
And so it went.
When you finally start soaring, you’ll always encounter someone wanting to clip your wings.
Once I stopped doing it to myself, ignoring the critiques from the jealous became easier.
It’s like the old saying goes:
Love the people who love you and fuck the fucking fuckers.