Ma’am, we’re from the Government Accounting Office, the GAO, and we’d like to look in your drawers.
Before you get offended and stop voting for the current administration, you should consider the phenomenal number of uses for everyday objects. Naturally, we’re most interested in using them to create smiles and laughter, and with a little creative thinking, any writer can turn average household objects into… Well, into anything.
Every object in your home generally has a purpose, even those objects that are designed to be merely decorative. The original purpose of an object is not necessarily amusing, however it can be when viewed from a humorous angle. For example, let’s try a shoelace.
He claimed that he was able to tie a shoelace faster than any human being on the planet. I was able to depart this conversation even faster.
Here the shoelace fulfills only its originally designed purpose, but demonstrates in one sentence that the character is a complete bore, causing a second character to choose a perfectly acceptable course of action: avoidance.
Killer joke? No.
However, it is mildly amusing and so much more effective than simply stating the obvious: ‘This character is a bore.’
Objects can also be used to show just about any character trait merely by their presence.
Hoops, drops, dangles, huggies, slave… She had dozens and dozens of every type of earring available, a collection easily worth three, maybe four dollars.
This character is obsessive and cheap—what a great combination!
Or, you can comment on the object itself, as in this unique and rather bizarre observation by Douglas Adams:
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.
Bricks don’t fly. Thank you, Douglas!
Have you ever used a piece of Tupperware to store something other than food? Likely, you answered, ‘yes’. Garages and workbenches across the country have plastic containers holding screws, nuts, bolts, etc. Bathroom cabinets have containers holding combs, elastic hair ties, tiny bottles of whatever, etc. This is a very common repurposing found in many American households.
Any object can have an alternative use, and with a little imagination, any object can have an amusing use.
Every marriage has difficult moments, when the honeymoon is over, when money is tight, and when your wife finds out that you’ve been warming your socks in her toaster oven.
There are many common “things” that we do not really think of as objects, yet they also fit in that wonderful category, useful for humor. Just a few off the top:
- aerosol mist from any spray can
- odors – though not necessarily offensive. Perfume is an odor.
- air – a breeze, strong wind, etc.
- the written word
A few examples:
I was drinking scotch and water, but we ran out of water so I diluted it with gin.
My husband hated my cats until I started using scented flea powder. This one is called ‘New Mercedes’.
For the written word, let’s consider this marvelous insight from Evan Esar:
A signature always reveals a man’s character — and sometimes even his name.
The point here is not to get focused on the word object as something that you hold in your hand or point to with your finger. Yes, solid objects are more common, but if you can sense it—sight, hearing, touch, taste or smell—you can consider it an object worth using in an appropriate humorous line.
Everyday objects are indeed funny. Just ask them.
Next Up: Do You Like Politically Incorrect Humor?