Contrary to appearances, this post will likely not make me laugh. I apologize to myself for this. Sadly, I could use some laughter right now, but am uncertain how to order it up. Especially without pen in hand. Certainly reading Surprised by Laughter by author Terry Lindvall does not bring it on. I know—gruesome, is it not? I guess, like any old Mainer, I will have to make do with whatever comes to hand, even laughter’s opposite. (What would that be?) Notice, I did not say I was an old Mainer. Old, however, yes.
Cobbling stuff together is the Maine “make do” way. My highest aspiration is to die an old Mainer. But alas, at least for my generation and that previous, this cannot be. I’m congenitally “from away.” Should I take heart that everyone else, even those born here, are now “from away?” Conversely to making do, the making-do itself is not looking as likely. It’s that thing — the transition. Locally communal values seem (sometimes, in some ways) swapping out with virtually global values (notice the oxymoron). As is normal, there are many smiling feel good qualifiers. So, if trying to escape transition, I should be talking about the former values, not the latter. [Still no laughter.]
Well, if I cannot escape into laughter, another good place of escape is Fryeburg, Maine. Usually, when I’m escaping in Fryeburg, I’m on a bike. One of our favorite places to eat in Fryeburg is considered dangerous, as you can see by some of these images. Still, we do like to eat there, and have, usually, a pretty good time. Especially if we have arrived on bicycles. The bikes are on the back of the car until we glide past the fairgrounds. The autumnal Fryeburg Fair used to be a good place to escape but the last time we tried it, we entered the grounds to be confronted by a massive wall of giant machines. In the distance I thought I saw a high turning Ferris-wheel. In other words, sadly, I did not smell a horse, a pig, or a cow. An array of machines, by the way, which no one hereabouts could afford — ever. Yet, they were just the kinds of machines that people around here would really really enjoy seeing, investigating, especially (dare I say?) men. (Who, by the way, would get glared past if they tried to make an appearance in the fairgrounds ladies’. Old Mainers tend to identify as Old Mainers.)
But that’s a digression. So, in search of the laughter, I’ll move on. …I apologized to myself in advance that laughter was unlikely in this post. This has to do with a point made by CS Lewis, who suggested something like: if you want to understand laughter you will need graphs, diagrams, numerical analyses. Deep data. Algorithms. Actually, there goes the transition, again: I think he would have done the analysis solely with words. [Still no laughter.] [Sorry.]
Is it a difference of tonal quality? Maine humor is not dry but is delivered dryly. So… is it dry? Yesterday, at 1:30, we took the car for maintenance and state inspection. The service manager came out apologizing for the empty car stopped in front of the service entrance.
“He’s out to lunch.” (Said of the mechanic.)
“We’ve all got to eat lunch.” (Me)
“He ate lunch yesterday.” (Said in passing, looking at clipboard.)
(Note the mustache. My spouse, the former English major turned thermographic technician, gives this post a B-. Better than my self-grading of C. Which is not too bad, considering the sadness.)