It has been a sincere pleasure to serve as your humor columnist this year. Rather than tell you about anything worth hearing, I’m going to tell you about humor. Someone asked me the secret to humor. I told him a few choice quotes from some funny people. Then I said, “I am quoting these people because I don’t know what humor is. I just know I’m only funny when I’m trying to hide something from everyone else.”
I’ve never posted a secret to the website “Emory Secrets.” Even anonymously, I don’t want to tell anyone anything outright. I believe fear, pain, sadness and frustration should not be told without first distilling them into something else. Perhaps this is unhealthy. But I don’t care.
The one time I told someone about whatever was bothering me, she wrote a play about it. Her name is Allie Kayhart, and it was a badly-written play. It was produced at Emory. She didn’t change my name and misspelled the coffee shop that I worked at. Incidentally, the week it went on, I decided to buy clippers and give myself a haircut. I am very cheap. I accidentally cut the left side too short and had to shave the whole thing off. The next day, I walked into class with a professor who had seen the play about me. Seeing a newly-shaved head, he asked after class, “Alfred, is everything all right?” Everything was, except my shaky hands. I’m just cheap.
I can’t give you any insight into Emory. If you want to know any real secrets of Emory that I know, it’s that the third floor of the library has two bathrooms, and the one by the back is the best place to take a poop in solitude and reflect on life. It is where I am composing this reflection on my phone. I can give you insight into the only thing of worth I did at Emory. I hope that I made people laugh. The only way you can do that is to have pity, and to have something pitiful to hide.
You can’t make fun of people for being stupid unless you admit that you are also stupid. No one has anything all figured out.
And to mock someone for not having things figured out, without acknowledging your own lack of direction, is not funny. The best stories are the ones that secretly say, “I’m pathetic.”
If you want to be funny, hide your feelings or make fun of them. And of course, write on the toilet.
As I wrote this, a man walked into the bathroom talking on his phone in spanish or italian. He continued the conversation while taking a s–t. It reminded me of the only thing I can say about humor with confidence: Good humor reminds us that everybody poops.
Humor Columnist A.J. Artis is a College senior from Sunnyvale, Calif.