Happy to oblige.
The funny story from long ago:
How about a recounting of my initial return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: the muck, the mold, the misery; the tarps and tribulations and travesties? How about that?
But wait, you say, that doesn't sound funny at all. That sounds bitterly miserable. Ah, yes. Well, that conveniently brings us to our quasi-philosophical question.
The quasi-philosophical question:
I once asserted that "funny" could be interpreted as "bitterly miserable but happened a long time ago". So our quasi-philosophical question is:
Is this true? Is miserable-but-long-ago, in fact, the same thing as funny?Or is it a subset of funny? Can we (quasi-)formalize it and represent it (quasi-)symbolically? Perhaps:
funny = misery + timeOr is it more complicated than that? (I'll wager it is. Do we need to bust out the Venn diagrams?)*
But let's not debate it in abstract; the proof is in the funny-misery-pudding (or is it a gumbo?).** My tale of post-diluvian follies is a longish one, and blogs are not a length-friendly medium, so I'll be doling it out in convenient bloggy-bite-sized pieces over the coming weeks, starting bright and early tomorrow morning. Don't touch that dial.
* Is the function additive or multiplicative or something else? Are there constants? Is any misery too miserable to eventually be funny, or are all miseries eventually funny from a great enough distance? So many questions. Talk amongst yourselves.
** I actually cooked up this funny-misery-pudding/gumbo some time ago, at pretty much the exact moment when everyone had had their fill of Katrina stories. (Speed and timeliness have never been my virtues. Though in my defense, I was kind of busy doing stuff like trying to get back in our house.) But perhaps the K-fatigue has passed, and with the five-year anniversary fast approaching and a new show giving its take, now's an appropriate time for retro-reminiscences. (And while we're on the subject of "Treme", a note for anyone inclined to compare and contrast: The show is set "three months after" the storm. The events I'll describe occurred at the end of September and beginning of October, approximately two months after. In the hyper-compressed time line of New Orleans, Fall 2005 , this is a big difference. When I first reentered the city, it was essentially a militarized ghost town. A week later, it was a militarized village. A month later, "Treme"-pilot time, it was a town—a weird little messed up town contained in the shell of a once-big city, with a whole bunch of messed up houses and a lot of Humvees, but townish nonetheless.)