I was talking with a friend yesterday (Holla back, Lora!) when I remembered something really funny happened to me last week that I forgot to mention.
I was getting ready to leave the gym after sweating off five pounds on the EFX machine (not really five pounds but I wish).
A HUGE black man, topping the scales at probably three-hundred pounds, standing well over six-foot-six, blocked my path. My first thought was that this man was MASSIVE. I sure wouldn’t want to meet up with him in a back alley. Tattoos wrapped around both arms, disappearing behind his sagging black tank top. His dark hair was buzzed short, matching the stubble grazing his face. Mean-sucker.
He asked in a rumble of a voice, “Would you mind helping me with something?”
Uh…me? Help him? I almost blurted, “If you want a spot, Dude, you might wanna ask someone more in your weight class.” But I didn’t. Instead, I just nodded like a moron.
He leaned close before asking, “Do you know who sings this song?”
Okay, spotting him for a five-hundred-pound squat, I couldn’t do. But I’m not too shabby with calling music as I hear it. So I agreed, pulled my headphones out of my ears, stepped into the weight room and listened.
I heard a deep voice echo through the gym:
“We got enough stars to light the sky at night, Enough sun to make the whole world bright, We got more than enough, But there’s one thing there’s just not enough of.”
I told him who it was and started to walk away. The muscle-bound man stopped me with an outstretched hand and said with a goofy-grin, “Do you happen to know the name of the song?”
Are you kidding me? Am I starring on Punk’d? Is this buff weight-lifter really asking me the name of a Cher song to add to his compilation? Alright…at this point I’m already helping the guy and wondering where this is headed. I swore if Ashton came running out of the locker room laughing his ass off, I was chucking a dumbbell at his perfect, Demi-loving face. She wouldn’t love him so much when I was through with him…
I listened some more:
“Not enough love and understanding, We could use some love to ease these troubled times, Not enough love and understanding, Why, oh why?”
Being the Cher fan I am, I told him the song was titled “Love and Understanding”. That’s when I waited for the punchline.
He grinned ear to sweaty ear and said, “Thank you so much.” Then he left, walked back to the bench press, where he no doubt chest-pressed a bull.
I laughed all the way to my truck. Now this situation isn’t all that different from creating humorous scenes in stories. If you make the reader think something is going to happen (IE: the big-scary-dude asks me to spot him or pushes me into a corner), it’s frightening but expected. Yet, if you have that same big-scary-dude act all interested in a Cher song it sparks a laugh.
Try it. Think of a character in a story you’re writing. Make them do something out of character and totally unexpected. Although you can’t use the technique all the time, it’ll sure spruce up the scene! After all, it uplifted my day!
Just to put you in the moment, I’ve posted Cher’s video. Watch it and imagine the biggest-scariest-meanest-bastard you’ve ever seen taking an awkward interest in it. Heh-heh. Still makes me laugh.