While shopping for stocking stuffers before Christmas, I found a tiny — I mean TINY — notebook with a hot pink metallic cover (not unlike Dianna’s notebook, but so much pinker). I briefly considered buying this for Sean. Sean is a stand-up comic and humor writer who carries around a notebook which is about three times the size of this one and in no way pink. He uses this to jot down ideas for jokes in his own peculiar shorthand.
Many times I have yelled at Michele for curiously peering into Sean’s notebook without being asked. He always assures me that it’s fine. Only recently did I realize this is because there’s nothing coherent in there at all. I was at dinner with Sean and some folks when he started reading us some notes which even he couldn’t remember how to translate.
“Alligator, Bruins, Linda McCartney,” he said.* “Pumpkins, the thing with teeth, rock-paper-scissors.” Sometimes he was able to reconstruct the intended joke for us, and sometimes not.
I’ve known Sean since middle school, and over the years I’ve developed an automatic laugh reflex whenever he speaks. I think this is maybe why he and I don’t have a lot of serious conversations. After that time he told me about his pancreatic cancer and his crush on his own grandfather and I laughed and laughed, he kind of stopped trying to confide in me.**
Anyway, even though I find everything he says funny, for some reason I find the joke shorthand especially funny. Part of the reason to get him this much tinier notebook is that it would make the shorthand jokes even shorter and even more inexplicably funny. For me.
“Blue,” he would read from one tiny page. The rest of the table would stare blankly but I would laugh and laugh.
At that dinner, Sean also discussed the possibility of someday creating a joke about his joke notebook. As far as I know, he hasn’t done this yet. I think when he comes up with the idea, he thinks “I don’t have to write this one down: the very existence of my notebook will remind me.” Obviously that’s not working, but I feel if he had a hilariously pink notebook he would easily remember how funny it is.
Yes, all of these would have been great reasons to buy the notebook for Sean. But it was like five dollars and I found some Great Brain books I wanted more.
*Note: incomprehensible joke shorthand has been changed to avoid copyright infringement. Also because I’m curious to see if Sean will actually come up with jokes based on my made-up notes.
**Note: Secrets have been completely made up. Sean has never actually confided in me. Or if he has, I thought he was kidding.