Personal Essay: Two Perspectives on One Incident

By Christian Boechler

Humor takes on many different perspectives from a variety of people. A practical joke to one person may be very cruel to another. It is all about the connections and relationships a particular person holds with another person or culture that determine if something is funny or cruel. Ironically, the funniest time in my own life was just that, hilarious to me and devastating to my mother.

The sun shined bright and illuminated my breath on that chilly morning in November. I was twelve and it was the day after Thanksgiving. Everybody was running high with spirits in the Boechler household. Weather permitting, we have a family tradition to always put up our Christmas lights the morning after Thanksgiving. Our house has a large covered patio that shelters a rejuvenating hot tub. You could call it my mom’s happy place, outside in freezing temperatures relaxing in hot water, shielded from the elements. She could spend the entire day in there playing “Words with Friends” on her iPhone! If we ever have a morning free from activities, she usually spends some time in the hot tub. Now, it’s important to realize that this was a time in my life where one coat defined who I was. It was very distinguishable in a crowd, bright red with “Centsers” embroidered on the back and “C. Boechler” on the front. It was my team coat from baseball the previous spring.

Upon ascending to the roof that morning, an old mummy mannequin caught my eye in the garage. I don’t think it made the cut that year to be displayed in the yard for Halloween. It sat looking lonely, perched on a lower shelf, waiting for me to seize. I placed the ladder against the house and finished unstringing all the lights. Wrapped tightly in my red coat and black beanie hat I started to climb, lights and extension cords in one hand and mummy in the other.

I was on the roof for approximately twenty minutes when I heard the sliding door open and shut. Then came the whack of the hot tub cover being folded back. I knew my mom had stepped outside into the hot tub. My plan was immediately set in motion. I unbuttoned my coat and wrapped it around the mummy. Then I slid an old pair of sweat pants over the mummy’s stick that would normally support it upright in the ground. Lastly, I slid my black beanie low on the mummy’s head. I went high up on the roof and started running towards the part of the roof that covers the hot tub patio. I made sure my footsteps seemed out of control and very loud so my mother below would surely hear. With a terrifying scream I launched the mummy disguised as myself over the edge. My mom shrieked my name as she emerged half naked into the snow to rescue my lifeless body. She was frantic as she raced to the scene of the surely injured Christian. As soon as she neared the mummy she realized it was a fraud. Her gaze shifted to the roof to see me grinning ear to ear. By now she was sobbing and headed indoors. When I got off the roof and into the house both my parents were crying, my mom from thinking it was me who took the death dive, and my dad from laughing so hard.

If my experience held one moral it would be this: mother’s perspectives of humor don’t always match their son’s.