By Chris Erskine
I’ve invented a new sport. Joggling.
It’s very easy to learn. Basically, it’s when you jiggle when you jog, which is imperfectly OK.
So what there’s just a little more tummy than there used to be? Fine. You’re out joggling. So what you had beer with breakfast? So did my grandma.
Point is: If you’re joggling, you’re taking decent care of yourself. Win the day — or at least a solid 10 minutes of it. Sure beats those dreadful Oscars.
While you joggle, please tune into my podcast. Actually, I don’t have a podcast. You’ll have to imagine my podcast, as you would imagine kissing Bradley Cooper, or snuggling Margot Robbie. Seriously, the things you think about sometimes.
Maybe you’ll simply hear my voice faintly in the back of your head, as you do your mother’s voice from childhood. “Is that the way we wash a dish?” “If I have to pick up one more sock!”
That’s my podcast. Like your conscience. Like a distant and outdated moral guidepost. Like something you can now ignore.
In any case, I hope you enjoy joggling. My dream is to start a club, or one day see joggling in the Olympics. Sure, it’ll never replace pickleball, but it won’t take over your life the way pickleball always does.
Honestly, once a week, someone invites me to play pickleball. I decline because I prefer to be in control of my emotions. I shun pickleball the way I shunned canola parties in college. It just seems slippery and dangerous and something I might like a little too much.
Pickleball is played mostly by wiry women with conquest in the eyes, which is another danger I’ve been avoiding since college.
Besides, I’m not a joiner. I’m a joggler. Just look at me now, a nondescript man in a nondescript suburb, blending in with the storefronts as I joggle down the boulevard. If I were any more nondescript, I’d be an attorney.
OK, let’s pause here to list the people I’ve just offended. Jiggly ones. Pickleballers. Wiry women. Attorneys. Myself.
And please don’t get me started on nurses and nuns.
As you might imagine, I don’t find humor the least bit funny. Oh, it used to be. Laughter used to feel pretty good, in fact. Medically speaking, it released 12-packs of serotonin across your fragile psyche, broken like a bicycle.
At one time in my life, laughter was the best natural high, along with sex and Clint Eastwood movies.
“Sex is the most fun you can have without laughing,” a comic once said.
So there you have it. We’ve quickly rank-ordered the five things that give us more pleasure than anything else in life:
- Margot Robbie
- Bradley Cooper
Remember the ’80s? Let me remind you: Life was perfect.
Back then, standup comedians ruled the world — Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Robin Williams.
Now, it’s impossible to be funny because the very people who should be laughing — or at least out joggling — are instead pounding their keyboards in total outrage over something innocent someone said in passing, and they are spit-choking on their own self-righteous bile, because as they would say, “Some things just aren’t funny, OK?”
Here’s the only advice I will ever offer: Don’t ever watch the Oscars.
Advice No. 2: Everything is funny, at least in some tiny way. And serious people are the funniest of all.
Mel Brooks — an audacious comedy god — once wrote a dance number called “Springtime for Hitler.” He knew, as most people once knew, that the best way to tear awful things down is to laugh at them.
Now, there is no more laughter. If you find a funny bone, please let me know. Because the funny bone has been Darwined out of today’s disenchanted scolds. Funny bones are like vestigial tails they no longer need.
But do they ever.
Look, who am I to give advice? I had one goal as a kid: I wanted to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Did it happen? No. Why? I simply wasn’t tall enough. Or funny enough. That thing with the bucket and the confetti? I could never pull that off with much panache. Comedy is 70% panache, which is why I hate it so much right now. Plus, I’m not tall enough.
So, pardon me now while I go out joggling. I have some serious thinking to do about humor.
Please honk if you spot me.
Honk if you’re happy.
Honk if you’re sad.
Honk if you love corndogs.
Honk if, like me, you’ll always love the Harlem Globetrotters, even though they crushed all my dreams.
And if you can give me a lift home, please honk twice.
For past columns, or for books, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com.
First published in the March 16 print issues of the Outlook Valley Sun, Pasadena Outlook and San Marino Tribune.