Tragedy + Distance = Humor

Did an exercise in a writing class tonight and thought I’d share. I know I say this often, but getting on a regular blogging/writing/working out schedule would reaaaaalllly be beneficial to me. I have to work on that this summer. Anyways, the setup for the following is my instructor told us the formula for comedy (which, in case you don’t know is: Tragedy + Distance = Humor). Here is my exemplary story:

Growing up, I, like most Goosebumps reading, Are You Afraid of the Dark watching kids, had the deep, inherent fear of being kidnapped. However; being the naive only child born and raised in the rural Midwest that I was, my invasions of kidnappery weren’t exactly being abducted in a crowded grocery store or stolen away from my parents a mist the five o’clock rush hour at the subway station. My great worry was that some big, scary man, obviously clad in a black ski mask was going to whisk me off my feet in broad daylight and take me back to his hut in the forest behind my house to raise me as his own. Preposterous, right? You tell me.

It was a brutally cold Tuesday morning, and I was walking down my front yard to meet the school bus, not unlike any other day. I was in the 7th grade and had almost reached the innermost curb of the sidewalk when I saw him: A runner, clad in tight black athletic wear including, oh yes, what appeared to be a long, black beanie covering his entire face, as if a member of the Blue Man Group, only leaving holes for his eyes and mouth. He was coming in my direction, but thankfully on the other side of the road. “As long as he stays there,” I thought. But he didn’t.

This next part I remember vividly: just as the bright yellow school bus was rounding the corner onto my road, the masked villain was making his move, running across the street to swipe at his prey. I didn’t hesitate a second longer. In an instant I threw down my books, disarmed myself from the weight of my book bag, and ran like hell–all the while screaming mercilessly, as loud as I could. By the time I reached my mom, who was watching this calamity from the doorway to my house, I realized, much to my horror, that not only was I not being followed, but I also had an audience of about two dozen of my peers watching, drop-mouthed from the school bus.

As if doing the ‘walk of shame’ back down my lawn to pick up my throust-about belongings, and having the bus driver loudly ask, “Uhhh, are you okay?” in front of a silenced bus full of my schoolmates wasn’t enough, I later found out that my masked non-abductor immediately after the incident stopped by my house and profusely apologized for “scaring the shit out of that little girl.” Needless to say, the fear of complete and horrifying mortification has now replaced my once-fear of ski mask-clad runners/potential kidnappers.


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