Dead in the deapan

“I saw this whino. He was eating grapes. I was like, dude, you have to wait”

Mitch Hedburg

The delivery of my humour is kind of deadpan. Not kind of actually.

I don’t ba-da-bing the punchline.

Most people get it and it seems they are pretty amused. Often times I don’t say much and the dead pan works, but sometimes it goes bad. Bad with a bang.

Walking home today I found an elderly man stuck in his mobility scooter. He’d run aground turning around a community garden. His cart was tipped over a bit and his back wheel was spinning out in the dirt.

Never one to be afraid to row up to a bad situation (first aid, breaking up streetfights, punishing the unjust…kidding) I went straight to his aid. My mother always drummed in that we are all in this together and tomorrow that will be you. I think it was a good lesson and I will try to pass it down the line.

So I launched at this poor old chap with “zero to 100 in…?” as my introduction.

Being that he had obviously missed the turn and sort of fallen off the sidewalk I was implying he was doing 120 km/h in a mobility scooter = he is an irresponsible user.

I was a bit on the heels when he launched into a tirade about me, my personal hygiene and my sexual preferences.

So I laughed, said “good one -funny” and then told him I was happy to give him a hand. Putting myself in his shoes I suspected he was proud of his independence and probably quite defensive about crashing his scooter. Maybe the same thing happened with his car and the authorities came in and tookit away.  Perhaps he was totally stressed, maybe he’d double dosed the wrong medication or maybe it was just my deadpan comment…but he was white hot angry.

As I shoved back end of his 300 lb scooter back onto the sidewalk, with him still in it, he whacked me across the back of the head and neck with his cane. I flinched. It actually hurt like hell, but I said (still deadpan) “Don’t whip the mule ’til you’re out of the ditch!”. I went back and finished pulling him up out of the planter garden. He didn’t hit me again but as soon as all 4 wheels hit the ground he zoomed off muttering about how much I enjoyed sex with myself.

It’s nice when people thank you for taking time to be helpful, but that’s not why I help people. So today’s misadventure hasn’t put me off helping. Instead it’s made me realise that I need better communications skills and that I really need to better introduce myself and better explain myself before trying to help. In this case I didn’t take enough time to get to know this old chap before I presumed to know what to do to solve his problems without even saying hello.


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