How I Impressed My Toughest Critic


Several months ago I wrote a post called “What Makes God Laugh?” I came up with that question and really didn’t have a very hard time answering it. I can easily guess a few things that might make God laugh, so the blog was pretty easy to write.

But I’ve since come up with a similar question that’s been FAR harder to answer:

“What makes my wife laugh?”

I’ve found this to be a nearly impossible task. She is by far my toughest critic. When we first got married all my funny material was new and fresh, so she laughed all the time. Now she’s heard it all, and I’m still using the same stuff so she’s become a hard sell. Even my writing rarely makes her laugh.

Admit it, you’re shocked.

I recently wrote a post called “5 Foolproof Steps to Making New Friends.” And I found it to be hilariously hilarious, as did many others. A local magazine published it because they thought it was hilarious, too. And I continue to get compliments on the hilarious sarcasm found in said hilarious post. My wife’s boss even told her how hilarious it was.

But despite the 6 “hilariouses” appearing in the previous paragraph, she was completely unimpressed.

I knew I had written some funny stuff there, and I brought it home for her approval. I always like to watch as she reads for any emotional reactions I might get. She hates when I do this, but I can’t help it. I assumed she’d be crying tears of hilarity by the end of the writing. But I watched while she read…and I waited…and I waited…and I waited. But I got nothing.

She read the entire article and didn’t even crack a smile! Not a laugh, not a giggle, not even a nose snort. NOTHING. She was stone faced and completely lifeless. I might as well have let a corpse try to read it.

I felt defeated. I failed to make my toughest critic laugh. And now, while millions (or about 14) continue to tell me how funny it is, the only thing I can hear is her stone-faced silence ringing in my ears.

But this week I found redemption.

Have you seen that ridiculous Nationwide commercial with the huge baby sitting in a garage? If not, check it out here.

The other night we were lying in bed and that commercial came on. Kristi got up in the middle of the commercial and headed toward the kitchen. As she walked out, she said, “They picked the perfect baby for that commercial.”

A twinkle immediately hit my eye as I knew my response was good. I had original material! I laughed at myself even before I said it, but then…I paused. Would it make her laugh? I wondered.

Her smile is the true litmus test of my brilliance…or lack thereof. I might think something is funny but I never know what she’ll think! But I had to say it. I had to try to make her laugh despite my fear of failure. She knows I’m funny. The world (all 14 of them) knows I’m funny. But the only time I feel funny is when she actually laughs.

So I threw out my one-liner in hopes of making my girl giggle.

“They picked the perfect baby for that commercial,” She said.


And there it was. I heard her snort down the hall. She laughed hard and long. And I smiled—on the outside AND on the inside. I had appeased my toughest critic.

A couple days later we were sitting in the living room and the commercial came on again. She immediately stared at me and started laughing without saying a word.

And again, my insides smiled.

A million (or 14) people could tell me how funny they think I am. They could tell me I’m brilliant and great and awesome and funny and hilarious and they could try to pump up my ego till my head exploded. If that ever actually happened it would all be nice but, the truth is, her opinion is the only one that matters to me.

The only time I truly feel brilliant is when I can make her smile.

Here’s to hoping she’ll continue smiling for years to come.

For more funny stuff that may or may not have made my wife laugh, try these posts:
The Day We Chased Nessie Up Mt. Everest
5 Reasons to Write Stuff With 5 Reasons
How To Be a Man
5 Foolproof Steps To Making New Friends

2 Replies to “How I Impressed My Toughest Critic”

  1. People have different senses of humor, of course. My daughter and my husband will roll in the floor over silly slapstick stuff that makes my son-in-law and me just roll our eyes. Someone once said, “I am smiling all the time, it just doesn’t make it to my face!” That would be me.

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