If you can make people laugh, you can open their minds to what they thought were truths in a whole new light — even something like not having kids.
So the moment of truth had arrived. Travis was about to hit the stage. He had thought of himself as funny all of these years, so he was about to put it to the test. He knew he was witty; after all, he laughed at his own jokes, and he knew his friends thought he was amusing, even though they all rolled their eyes.
“Alright people!” the MC, a hipster-looking brunette dude with wire-rimmed glasses spoke into the mic. “Let’s give it up for a first-timer, Travis!”
Travis had a grin on his face as he approached the microphone on the wood-paneled stage.
“What’s up guys?” Travis said, grabbing the microphone. “So this is my first time doing stand-up. I told my mom I was gonna do it, and she said, ‘You know, other people have to think you’re funny too, right?” I said, ‘Oh yeah.’”
A thunderous silence pervaded the audience. His first joke didn’t quite go over; he clutched the mic nervously.
“Okay,” he said. “So I told my mom I didn’t want kids.” She said, ‘Travis, you were a kid once.’ I told her, ‘I’ll be a corpse someday too, but that doesn’t mean I want one in my house.’”
He heard some laughter from a couple of middle-aged females, each with beer bottles in front of them. He looked over, and they were nodding to each other. Allies. Use them!
“Yeah, I mean, why would I want to have human children when there are like cats that need love? I mean, my cat’s also my son. And I like kids, I just like them better when they’re not, like, near me.”
A few more people started laughing.
“What are you laughing for?” he asked. “I’m not laughing. I mean, these Baby on Board stickers, what the fuck’s up with that? I mean, why do people need stickers to advertise they had sex once?”
The laughter grew louder, and a couple of people looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Holy shit, I’m doing this, he thought.
“I mean, the world’s all screwed up. The American Dream is to have 2.4 kids. I actually met that .4 kid, and the head looked really cute, and so did his little neck, but what happened to the other .6? I’m really worried that without a body, he won’t be able to walk around!”
More laughter and some clapping. His friends, Devin, Shane and Keith smiled with their mouths open. They’d never been impressed by his jokes like this.
“And a lot of people think not wanting kids means I’m not going to meet someone. Someone actually said to me, ‘What if you meet the right one and she wants kids?’ Well, she’s not the right one. I mean, duh!”
Not as much laughter, but those two women from earlier snapped their fingers and one said, “I know that’s right!” One couple walked out of the room. Hey, their loss, Travis thought. Fucking breeders!
“And it’s fine with me,” Travis continues. “I mean, I’ve been single so long I wouldn’t even know what to do anymore if I suddenly got a girlfriend. I mean, what do I do? Walk it? Feed it? Water it? I mean, seriously, what do I do?”
More people started cracking up.
“Seriously, though, I’m not anti-marriage, I’m not anti-family, I say do what makes you happy. I’m anti-you need to do this because society says we’re supposed to!”
A few people clapped, as the MC tapped his left wrist with his right finger for the time’s up signal.
“Thank you very much,” Travis said, as the audience applauded. He handed the mic to the MC and exited stage right.
Bucket list item: stand-up. Check.
Craig Wynne, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. He researches and writes about singlehood; you can find his writings at soldieringforsingles.weebly.com. When not immersed in his work, he enjoys hiking, running, traveling, and seeing live music (you can read his concert blogs at notenoughconcerts.weebly.com). He is also a proud cat Dad to a domestic longhair named Chester.