I've had a hard time keeping off weight since my daughter was born.
That's a decent joke. It's not the only similarity I have with the character Ginni Sacrimoni from "The Sopranos" but I'll leave it at that for now.
Why a fat joke about myself?
As I've added weight over the years my weight has become a target point for trolls. That's always been relatively fine with me because -- hey -- I'm fat. It's the truth. I used to be a skinny kid and young adult but that's changed.
What hasn't changed is how I use humor to deal with the stresses of life. On a recent day when the Pulitzers were announced and the same day The New York Times published a profile of me and this blog, I complained, "Laid off and skunked at the Pulitzers."
Longtime friends laughed but noted it was inspiring to see me joking at such a difficult time.
Truth is for those who know me, I've always joked -- and virtually all the time as a coping mechanism.
Humor cools my brain with dopamine. Mmmmmm, dopamine.
Jokes also help to make a point -- if well done without too sharp a point.
A decent laugh is a common experience, even if they're as stupid as my jokes -- referred to as "dad jokes."
I believe it's the reason my brilliant kid is majoring in comedic arts at Emerson College. She's watched for 19 years as I've used humor to deal with life and its inherent problems. One strange aside, usually she's judged for that choice of study. "What is she going to do with that?" people ask, as though college were merely training for a job. The one time she was not judged by anyone in a group was at an Eid-al-fitr celebration at the Burlington mosque run by my brother Shaher Sayed. The men and women were at different tables so I asked for another table so she and I could sit together. The table was set up on the stage in the basement meeting room and we were soon joined by men who saw this as a table of honor. When Clare said she studied comedic arts, she was greeted only by beaming faces.
Clare asked me a long time ago why I joked with complete strangers, servers, attendants, passersby. I said I had just given them the best gift I can possibly give: a story. And it's a free gift. Stories are currency in every community. There's a woman working at a Sheet's in Virginia who is probably still telling the story about the dad who said he picked up his daughter from juvie on Christmas Day. "And the girl says, 'Yeah, I'm a fire starter.'" Of course she knew we were joking. "Oh you two are so full of poop," she said to us.
So, yes, I continue to joke. Friends on Facebook got to read this one a couple of days ago: I'm think of doing my own hair dye like everyone else during the pandemic but I can't reach my back.
I saw my high school friend Katie celebrate a recent birthday so I wrote, "You look pretty hot for being such an old broad." She responded, "You're not so bad for a homeless guy."
She gave me the best laugh of the day.