I spent a year trying to be a comedy writer. Quit a good paying job, moved someplace cheap, and just write write write. After awhile, you develop a rhythm for what reads funny. I even engaged in a twice weekly online chat room of wannabe professional writers doing improv as fast as their little paws could type amusements. I was never the best, but I wasn’t banned from the group so there was some merit in my creative attempts at mirth. But when you leave that environment and go back to the soul-crushing day job, you suddenly realize that was over ten years ago and you’re no longer funny. I’m not talking about the occasional situation in the hallway at work where someone says something innocuous and a momentary bout of brilliance causes you to respond with a comment that garners a smile, a chuckle or even a full on laugh. No, I’m talking about the ability to knock out comedy gold on a regular basis—or at least comedy bronze or tin several times a week. That, for a brief time in my life, is something I could do. It is beyond frustrating to know that something you were at least marginally proficient at is now something that you can’t do well. It’s not on the same level as losing a limb, but the shitty feeling of loss is still there. I mean, I used to be able to kill at parties with my ascerbic wit. Now I can be mildly interesting, so long as I don’t linger too long on discussing my uninteresting job. I started reading a book on technical writing, and the author is amusing and informative: I’d read a washing machine manual written by him any day of the week. And I guess memories of my former writing proficiencies came to the forefront of my mind as a result. I also wrote much longer essays with greater variety of word choice because at the time I had a significant command of the right word, rather than the almost right word. (Mark Twain said that this difference is like the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.). I read a total of ten minutes this weekend; I spent it reading the technical writing primer I recently picked up on Saturday afternoon. Not two hours in total, or an hour on at least one of the days. The time was available to read more, but the little screen in front of me was a distraction. It’s hard to accomplish your reading goals when you’re self- sabotaging your efforts. I view this as more than procrastination, and more in line with creating an environment where reading becomes a habit. So until further notice, reduce expectations for laughter from me and be grateful for any smirks, smiles and/or guffaws that result from the conversations and comments I choose to share.