Pheeling Phlegmatic.

noseandsuchPhlegm is funny to me. There. I’ve said it. That’s a terrible confession but I’ve been battling a cold recently and I keep thinking about the joke about the guy who shows a doctor what he’s blown into a handkerchief and the doctor says, “This is normal. Did you think you’d blown your brains out?”

It’s not a great joke but I’ve found phlegm and mucous funny ever since I was a kid and first heard “You might think it’s a booger but it’s snot!” and laughed so hard I hurt myself.

Of course as I went into adulthood my humor became much more sophisticated. For instance there was the time I read something by Dave Barry in which he said the Flemish never had their own country because no one would live in a place called Flem and I laughed so hard I hurt myself.

In between was the time I was in a Mexican restaurant with some friends and I ordered flan and my friend Trav misheard me and started saying, “Did you just say phlegm? Are you ordering phlegm? Oh waiter, I’d like some phlegm!” Then he started making choking noises and added, “That’ll be $4.99, sir.” And I was laughing so hard I had to go out in the parking lot for several minutes. Then I came back in and had flan because I love any kind of custard even though it’s slimy and kind of mucousy, and if I’ve now turned you off crème brulee for life you can just pass it over to me, thank you very much.

Some time after that Trav and I sat next to each other in Latin class. And one day when we were supposed to be working quietly he whispered to me, “Chris, what’s the Latin word for ‘river’?”

Now I should have seen his coming. Trav was more than just a class clown. It’s no surprise that he now works as a professional actor with Dad’s Garage Theater. He had a joke for everything. In an earlier Latin class our teacher was telling us about Aeneas and his men fleeing Troy after their defeat and being attacked by birdlike creatures and Trav yelled out, “They weren’t wearing their Trojans so that’s why they got harpies!” And everybody, including the teacher, was laughing so hard that ended school for the day, but that’s another story.

Back to “Chris, what’s the Latin word for ‘river’?”

Now if you ever studied Latin you probably know it’s flumen and if you’ve been following the story you probably know what Trav said next.

“Flumen? FLUMEN?” He was shouting now and then he started making choking sounds. “Oh, I’m sorry! I have some flumen in my throat.”

It’s awful and disgusting and it still makes me laugh.

And I know I’m not the only one who has something like this. What completely inappropriate, disgusting thing makes you laugh?

Come on—cough it up.

24 Comments

  1. Gilly Maddison

    Nothing Chris, absolutely nothing disgusting makes me laugh because I am a decent human being with values. Ha ha – no I’m not – just kidding! How about spit? Must be close relative of phlegm. I was once sitting at the lunch table in a small unit for children with social/emotional/behavioural problems (where I was working at the time). The disgustingly vile head teacher, who was like a giant slug sitting in judgement of these unfortunate children who had too much spirit for the world to cope with, suddenly leaned forward, with her mouth full of food, and screamed at one of the children, “where are your MANNERS boy?’ As she spat her words out at the poor child, I could see a huge spray of spit fly out behind the words. I thought that was funny in an ironic kind of way, especially when I pointed out to her that she just spat on the lunches of several children. Vile woman.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is brilliant. It’s terrible that all those kids got their lunches spat upon, of course, but brilliant that the disgustingly vile head teacher–a real Agatha Trunchbull–got taken down a bit. She was very deserving of being told “Say it, don’t spray it.”

      Reply
  2. Paula

    My husband mispronounces words on a regular basis, even though I have been correcting him for thirty-four years. He says booger instead of burger. One day my son and I were talking about going to Braum’s to get a bag of burgers. We were arguing about who would go. My husband offered to go and my son and I said in unison, “Oh, hell no!” What do you think you would get if you ordered boogers at a fast food restaurant? That’s what I was thinking too.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I shudder to think what I’ve gotten at fast food restaurants even when I’ve pronounced everything correctly. “Booger” instead of “burger” is one I’ve heard all my life and it always makes me laugh. I knew a kid in first grade who always had a couple of crusty globs protruding from his bulbous nose and whenever he talked about getting a “booger” I’d always think, you don’t need anymore.

      Reply
  3. halfa1000miles

    I like that a body part is called a diaphragm. You can make a lot of jokes about where the diaphragm is located.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      How did I never think of this before? Now every time I hear someone being told to sing or speak from the diaphragm you know what I’ll be thinking.

      Reply
  4. Mila

    You asked. Whenever someone complains of a headache I cannot suppress this urge and say ‘that’s probably brain cancer.’ And then laugh like a hyena. I do it to close friends and family members only though. Because I’m a lady.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is fantastic because there’s nothing funnier than cancer and the worse the cancer the funnier it is. Or maybe I’m just too big a fan of gallows humor. And laughing like a hyena makes everything funny.

      Reply
  5. mydangblog

    This made me laugh out loud, while at work, in a room full of silent, concentrating people! But that’s OK–they needed a break anyway. The thing that makes me laugh is poop, if you’ve read my latest. I don’t know how many people share that sense of humour, but my favourite joke is “What’s brown and sits in the forest? Winnie’s poo.” HAHAHA!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That seems to be a widely shared sense of humor, especially in Japan where there are all kinds of poop characters for children. Once a kid who was seven or eight asked me to tell him a joke and all I could think of was “What’s brown and sounds like a bell? Dungggg.” He thought that was hilarious and repeated it to his parents as soon as they came into the room and, well, I’ve never been invited back.
      The important thing is I made you laugh out loud in a room of silence. Mission accomplished.

      Reply
  6. moonwatcher51

    I used to read the dictionary and was a trivia collector. Still am, actually. Anyway. Health class. What lines the nasal passages? I raise my hand and say “muckus””. That was my first descent into hell, many repeats since. Oh well. More wine please!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That reminds me of Garrison Keillor saying readers collect a lot of mispronounced words. Still I don’t see anything wrong with calling it “muckus”. Who says it has to start with a “moo”?

      Reply
  7. Ann Koplow

    What completely inappropriate, disgusting thing makes me laugh? Most recently, this blog post.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I was hoping I’d still be able to make people laugh in spite of being so inappropriate and disgusting myself. Thank you for the assurance that I succeeded.

      Reply
  8. Arionis

    Not really disgusting, but I laugh hysterically when people fall down. I’m not talking about after I find out if they are hurt or not, nope. I instantly start laughing. My own close family members have taken nasty falls and I’m fighting back chuckles (unsuccessfully) as I’m helping them up and asking if they are OK. I’ll see a patch of ice on a sidewalk and I won’t warn a damn soul. I’ll just stand there and laugh my ass off as they bust theirs. So I’m guessing that’s probably inappropriate, and a bit (a lot) dickish.

    Reply
    1. halfa1000miles

      Hey, I thought you were MY dick!! Well I never.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        Never say a bad word about Dick.

        Reply
      2. Arionis

        I got enough dick in me to go around. 🙂

        Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Well that does fit within the inappropriate category. And there is something kind of funny about seeing somebody take a really bad spill. Sometimes, anyway.

      Reply
      1. Arionis

        You are a nice guy Chris but I can see you sitting there wondering how you can say something nice to a guy who just admitted to laughing at people who fall and hurt themselves. It was a valiant effort. Thanks!

        Reply
  9. Michelle

    Farts! Farts are NEVER not funny. Even my own farts crack me up, so to speak, and they aren’t even all that special. Not that I ever fart.
    My little guys often loudly drop their guts and carry on like they didn’t even notice, and it sends me into hysterics every time. They think farts are funny too; hopefully this is an attitude that will persist beyond the age of 12. Or even …42.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Speaking from personal experience I can say this is an attitude that will persist and I think it’s even universal–or at least it crosses species. Our dogs seem to find it funny when they fart. Or they’ll jump up in the air with a look on their face like, “What was that?” Trying to pretend it wasn’t them.

      Reply
  10. Sarah

    This absolutely cracked me up–I loved your lines about laughing so hard you hurt yourself. 🙂 Also–yes–creme brûlée was my absolute favourite until I read this blog post and now I’ll be Fed Exing it over to you whenever it turns up. Phlegm really is one of those amusing words. Like Michelle said, I have to say farts are my go-to. I’ll pretty much always laugh at a fart, unless it’s a smelly one, and the laughter fades quick. I love when my daughter farts and just carries on with her business–or else stands up and stares at me with this concentration and some grunting that lets me know the farts have carried on to a good old number 2. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Holy mackerel, I hope she outgrows that habit, although I guess we all did that at one time–letting go with a good ol’ number 2. Heck, doesn’t that still occasionally happen to us? I think we all know the embarrassment of thinking it’s just going to be a fart and letting go only to have the horror of feeling it cut loose into something much more substantial.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: