I was an awkward kid. I could be really shy and strange. I always felt out of place and assumed most people didn’t like me. I had a really odd and overworked imagination. I could easily fit into the category of being weird. I always knew I had funny comebacks and could make up funny stories, but all this stayed mostly in my head. I was too shy to say much, unless it was to my sister or my really good friends. I was always happy, but a weird introvert. Then…I saw an episode of I Love Lucy. I was mesmerized. I had never imagined that you could command attention by being funny. She seemed so powerful and endearing. I wanted to be just like her. I watched the way my mom cracked up as Lucy and Ethel ate chocolates in the chocolate factory or how my dad and sister laughed when Lucy danced around and made wine in a barrel. I knew I was awkward, that I wasn’t really pretty and that I was different, (I knew, even then, that I was a lesbian. Although I sure didn’t know “it” had a name.) but what I did know was that I could be funny. I decided that practicing that trait and making it stronger would be my goal. I even went through the phase of trying to be a ventriloquist. I don’t recommend that. I started to notice people did laugh at the things I said. I perfected my timing and deadpan delivery. I worked on my funny looks in the mirror. I could work a good story and become the center of attention…just by doing something that came naturally. I found myself making more friends. People started calling me funny. I took it and still take it as a real compliment.
My sense of humor will always be the thing about myself that I am most proud. I know it sounds weird, but everyone wants to be remembered for something and I have no problem being remembered as someone who could make you laugh. I’m certainly not comparing myself to Lucille Ball, but watching her (and Carol Burnett) helped me to gain confidence and pride in myself when I was a kid. I remember when it was announced Lucille Ball had died. I was in college and cleaning my apartment. It was like I had lost an old friend. I actually sat on the couch and cried. I hope she knew what a difference she made in so many people’s lives. Happy 100th Birthday Lucy! And thanks for always being there when I needed you.