Secret Jokes

Have you ever laughed to yourself inwardly over a secret joke? I remember an oddly formative moment in high school. My art teacher, Mr. Marks, was having a conversation with his teacher’s assistant. I didn’t pay her much attention; she wore heavy makeup, reeked of Chantilly perfume and hung out with football players beyond my social status. My ears caught the words of Mr. Marks: “What I can’t stand . . . what I think is terrible, is when you can see someone’s makeup line. When the person’s jaw is a different color than their neck.” I sat up. This was exactly the description of the girl’s deep peach-colored makeup, which came to a stark border at her milk-white neck.

The room was full of the chatter of young artists at their canvases. I shook my head. Ohmygosh, I thought. He is talking about her. She went right on talking, nodding, oblivious, never skipping a beat.

Mr. Marks was enjoying this moment. I was horrified. And then, in a strange way, I began to admire him for his irresistable underground sense of humor.

What secret joke can you tell yourself today? What invisible prank can you play that will hurt absolutely no one, and which only you will detect?

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