August 26, 2018

Humour In My Life - Marnie Pohlmann

I woke with a start. My eyes roamed the darkness but could see nothing. I sniffed the air. There was no smoke. Yet something had awakened me. I flinched as my mind registered a sound. A steady hum, broken regularly by a loud growl. What was that? It sounded monstrous.

My feet slipped from under the covers onto the cold floor and I felt my way past my bedside table to approach the door from my bedroom to the hallway. A faint glow shone from the nightlight in bathroom lighting my way as I tiptoed down the hall toward Mom’s room.  Almost there.

The growl bellowed again as I stopped at the entry to the living room. It was in the living room! Could I pass by to get to Mom without being seen? I squatted low and peeked around the doorway, ready to make a dash by the opening. But what I saw calmed my thumping heart. I let out a deep breath and stood up. I walked into the room and turned the knob on the television, silencing the “off air” tone. Dad lifted his head from the couch, harrumphing mid-growl as he opened his eyes.

“Hey,” he said, “I was watching that!”

The gist of this story was my first attempt at humour, published in an elementary school anthology.

I am from a very “punny” family. Wordplay has probably helped in my writing, as did being raised on the Reader’s Digest clean stories in “Humour in Uniform” and “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” Quick responses, sometimes sarcasm, and building on each other’s silliness came naturally in our home.

I see this quick wit has passed on to my nieces and nephews, and to their children as well. I am grateful for Facebook, where these young parents post stories about the hilarious happenings in their homes. Out of the mouths of babes come both giggles and truth.

I admit, sometimes my humour can be inappropriate. After all, I was influenced by brothers! And at work, we may use black humour to deal with tough moments on the job. I have even laughed at funerals but in my defense, those men sitting at the edge of the room really did look like the old bankers in “Mary Poppins.” (I expected them to get up and dance.)

One of my sisters-in-law specializes in telling anecdotes about her daily life. She has no need to embellish the stories because such unexpected and funny occurrences could only happen to her. (Family, can you guess who I’m referring to?) She shows that it’s alright to laugh at yourself. Read on to hear me laughing at myself.

A few years ago, when we first moved to our present location, I looked to my new coworkers for advice about where to buy my husband a Christmas gift. I thought perhaps a new hunting knife would be good.

“Is Backwoods expensive?” I asked.

“About the same as any other place like that.”

“I’m not sure what Wally would like. Could I get a gift certificate?”

My co-worker paused her work to look at me. “I suppose so,” she said slowly. “Isn’t your husband a pastor?”

“Yes, but he wasn’t always a pastor.”

“And he likes that kind of stuff?”

“Oh, sure. He’s a bit of a redneck,” I laughed.

“Really?” her eyes grew large and she looked puzzled.

Across the room, another co-worker chuckled and joined our conversation.

“I think you meant Back Country, the sports shop,” she suggested.

“Yes, the sports shop. Back Country? What did I call it?”

Both ladies dissolved in laughter. “Backwoods. That’s the local stripper bar.”

Humour may have helped me start as a writer, and be bred into my genes, and present itself in my ordinary, daily life, but I don’t find writing humour easy at all. In fact, lately, I even seem to have lost my sense of “haha” or maybe it has been drowned with the tears from recent circumstances. Yet God still provides joy for my heart. The laughter of humour is circumstantial, but God’s joy is beyond any situation in which we might find ourselves. Peace amid grief, for example, is true joy, and that’s no laughing matter!


  1. Dear Marnie, This was a laugh out loud moment to find the source of your growl. I too struggled more with this humour topic ... feeling that life has become heavier, less carefree. But as I said in my post: I think laughter stems from appreciating the beauty of God. He has a great sense of humour. God is at the centre of a well-sprung laugh, He is at the heart of Merry, the centre of Joy ... the true reason behind a good belly-laugh.
    And I laugh more deeply with those I've shared tears with. Thanks for your post-May you sense His presence.

  2. Oh my! The sorry about 'Backwoods' is priceless! Bet Wally had a good laugh about it!

  3. Maybe we're comparing ourselves to Phill Callaway or Erma Bombeck, because many of us admit we don't feel confident about ourselves as writers of humour. After the apologies, we each continue to share some rather funny anecdotes about ourselves or our loved ones. I chuckled over your stories, Marnie, about the snoring, late-night TV watcher and your queries about where to shop for your hubby, the pastor.

    I appreciate your conclusion, Marnie in which you explain that even when the circumstances of life don't give us much call to laughter, we can still feel joy. In 1 Peter, we read about the hope that Christ's resurrection gives us. St. Peter tells us that even though, ". . . now for a little while (we) may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials," the hope we have in Christ, when we believe in him, can fill us with "an inexpressible and glorious joy." Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hi Marnie! I love reading your posts. You are always so down to earth and real. Your writing here about humour is true to form and warm. I was touched by your final paragraph and the following in particular. "In fact, lately, I even seem to have lost my sense of “haha” or maybe it has been drowned with the tears from recent circumstances. Yet God still provides joy for my heart." As writers a part of our souls seem to how in our writing. Your end note of that paragraph informs me that in humour or grief, for instance we can have the joy of God. I'm sending you a hug at this time for such a transparent and beautiful post.

  5. Marnie, love the stories and the reminder about joy. Thanks for sharing your humor with us.

  6. You saved the best for last. Loved the story about "Backwoods." Stories from life are the best. Our summer cabin is at a retreat centre that hosts a children's camp. The campers - grades 1-5 - walk by our cabin on the way to the beach each day. Their conversations are priceless. Two boys were talking about God and one informed the other, "Since God is our Creator, we're all related." The second boy said, "Really?" The first responded, "Sure. We all go back to Jack and Jill." Thanks for sharing, Marnie.


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