You’re Not Supposed to Laugh at That

Comments 28
This is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about.
This is pretty much exactly what I’m talking about.

I was the only adult in the introductory Cub Scouts meeting without a child present.

“Which one is your son?”

“I’m sorry, he’s not here. He’s at karate with his mom tonight,” I said.

“Oh, I see.” But I could tell he really meant: “Yeah, right! You just want to Jerry Sandusky our kids! Pervert!”

Whatever, virgin.

I wasn’t there to be sold on Cub Scouts. We’d already decided to sign our six-year-old up. I was just there for the paperwork.

But the Cub Scouts leaders were laying it on thick, sharing anecdotes about how great the experience is instead of letting what is a totally worthwhile children’s activity sell itself. In fact, Public Service Announcement, Boy Scouts of America People: If you really want to grow your brand, stop having guys who have never had sex before and have the personality of C-SPAN be your public speakers.

Chlorophyll? More like BOREophyll. Right?

I came to the meeting intent on signing up, and an Eagle Scout damn near convinced me I’d made a mistake. He was like the Bizarro Billy Mays, talking me out of doing something I already wanted to do, one shitty selling point at a time.

Then one of the mom leaders started talking. She has three boys and they’re all in Boy Scouts, and it’s A-MAY-ZING!!!

She shared personal anecdotes. Camping stories. And then something bad happened.

All I heard was: “Blah blah blah blah blah, and then the boys pitch their own tents. Blah blah blah blah, pitching tents, blah blah blah. And blah blah blah Boy Scouts stuff blah, it’s so great seeing the boys pitching a tent.”

And then I made eye contact with the only male Cub Scouts leader in the room who might have had sex before, and I lost it.

I snorted a little.

A few tears streamed down my face.

And I had to just stare at the ground for a few minutes to keep my shit together.

I’ve always known it. But this felt like a defining moment for me. The guy without the kid at the Cub Scouts meeting laughing by himself because an awkward Scout Mom kept using the phrase: “Pitching a tent.” (Which for the uninitiated, is a popular phrase to describe a clothed male erection.)

I’m a 35-year-old child.

And maybe I always will be.

Tell Me, Big Puberty Guy

I was in fifth grade when I met my friend who would eventually be my college roommate for four years and the best man in my wedding.

But before we were rocking college keg parties and standing up for one another at our respective weddings, we were grade-school kids doing whatever grade-school kids did in 1989.

Two of those things were: sex education and puberty.

And despite neither of us being particularly advanced on the maturity side, we took to calling boys slow to develop physically “Big Puberty Guys.”

So, like, a kid with a lot of peach fuzz and super-young-looking features? Big Puberty Guy.

I was sort of a Big Puberty Guy. And still pretty much am because I lack the physical ability to grow a beard. I seriously only shave every two or three days. On day two, I look like 5 O’Clock Shadow Guy, and on day three, I look like Dirty-Hippie Neck Hair Trying But Failing To Grow A Beard Guy. It’s the opposite of hot.

In 1988 a little-known new wave synthpop band (that sounded British but wasn’t) named Information Society had a hit called “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy).”

The hook went like this:

I want to know

What you’re thinking

There are some things you can’t hide

I want to know

What you’re feeling

Tell me what’s on your mind

And for reasons I can’t explain, my friend and I changed the second stanza for the Big Puberty Guy theme song:

I want to know

What you’re thinking

There are some things you can’t hide

I want to know

How you’re maturing

Tell me, Big Puberty Guy

To the surprise of music aficionados worldwide, we DID NOT win a Grammy for songwriting that year.

The Mike Holmgren Beej

Two things you need to know:

  1. Mike Holmgren is a 60-something-year-old former NFL coach and executive famous for winning the Super Bowl in Green Bay during the Brett Favre era. I’m a Cleveland Browns fan, and for a short while, he was running my favorite football team. He has a pretty solid mustache.
  2. Beej = blow job.

One of my very best friends—someone I’ve known since first grade and think of as family—is a successful attorney and my son’s godfather.

We’re both football fans, though we root for different teams. And we often talk football whenever we catch up on the phone or visit one another. We sometimes discuss potential or hypothetical trades to gauge the other’s interest in acquiring players or draft picks, or to evaluate whether we think a particular trade is equitable.

Sometimes, when you’re on the fence about whether to make an NFL trade, one team (or in this case, just our hypothetical imaginations) will require a pot sweetener to seal the deal. Traditionally, an extra player or draft pick.

So, my friend (my son’s godfather—the man we selected from the entire pool of humanity—who I love very much in totally non-homosexual ways—as a spiritual guide for our child) invented the Mike Holmgren Beej® to be the ultimate pot sweetener.

Him: “Okay. So, would you be willing to trade the 4th pick in the draft, the 22nd pick in the draft, and a first rounder next year to the St. Louis Rams so you can trade up to draft Robert Griffin III?”

Me: “Three first rounders is pretty steep, man. I don’t know.”

Him: “Okay. What if I toss in a Mike Holmgren Beej®?”

Me: “Hmmm. With or without the mustache?”

Him: “With. Obviously.”

Me: “Sold.”

The Heaven Bones

Just to prove that we DO actually have a spiritual foundation and value our Catholic roots, we (mostly him) also created The Heaven Bones™.

What’s a Heaven Bone, you ask? Good question.

First, you either believe in an afterlife, are open to the possibility, or don’t believe in one at all. Given what I think I understand about energy, combined with my Catholic upbringing, the concept of “Heaven” is one that’s been with me from a very young age.

The premise of Heaven, if you don’t know, is that it’s eternal paradise. A place with only love and good things. No sadness. No anger. No hatred. No evil. And it lasts FOREVER. The concept of eternity (even GOOD eternity) has always scared the piss out of me.

“Who gives a shit, Matt!?!? WTF is a Heaven Bone???”


So, Heaven Bones.

Essentially, it’s having sex with people you always wanted to have sex with on Earth but didn’t or couldn’t.

So, that girl or guy you dated in high school that you fantasized about, but just weren’t ready at the time?

That friend or co-worker or old flame or friend’s sibling that was always off-limits?

In heaven, you can Heaven Bone™ them! (Theoretically.)

“But, Matt!!! What if you want to Heaven Bone someone, but they don’t want to Heaven Bone you back???”

Another great question! Glad you asked.

We also invented for your heaven-boning pleasure, the Heaven Bone Clones©.

An EXACT heaven-produced Xeroxed replica of the person you want to heaven bone.

You never thought about this before, right? And now you’re nodding, freaking pumped because you totally want to bang <insert person or clone here> for eternity. With NO consequences. Everyone will be cool with it! Because it’s heaven.

It’s going to be rad. Heaven Bones.

And if you didn’t already want to go to heaven, now you’re at least thinking about wanting to be there and will now be a better person moving forward. You’re welcome.

Why Do I Want to Laugh When I’m Not Supposed To?

I don’t know.

I just know that I do.

When I was a kid, I always looked around at all the adults and looked forward to being one, because then I’d finally have it all figured out and I wouldn’t have to worry or be afraid of anything anymore because I’d be mature and smart and wise and brave and ready for anything.

But then I just kept growing up. Aging. Staying alive.

And the longer I stay alive, the less I’m sure of.

The longer I’m around, the more I realize that we’re all, in many ways, that same person we were snickering in the back of our fifth-grade classrooms.

In a lot of ways, I have grown up. In a lot of ways, I am ready to take on the world around me when life calls for it.

But in ways I never expected, I’m still, just, me.

Just a kid causing a little bit of mischief in the back of the room and snorting at dick-and-fart jokes and throwing out a “That’s what she said” whenever it’s appropriate (which is often).

I’m sure some people frown at what they perceive to be childishishness on my part. In a corporate office meeting, I’m the odds-on favorite to crack up during someone’s presentation because of eye contact with one of my fellow childlike counterparts.

I’ll say it again: I’m a 35-year-old child. And maybe I always will be.

“What would it take to get you to grow up, Matt?”

I don’t know. Something major.

“A Mike Holmgren Beej?”

Hmmm. With or without the mustache?

“With. Obviously.”


28 thoughts on “You’re Not Supposed to Laugh at That”

  1. Oh…my…GOODNESS! Way to make me snort coffee out of my nose! I, too, am a “childlike” adult. Or, as Monster Teen likes to say, “MommAAA! You are SO a 15 year old BOY! What is WRONG with you?” My response: Absolutely nothing…do you wanna smell my feet?

    I’ve gotta catch up on your blog as it has been a while…I’m hoping all is well in your world!

    1. Hi!

      Things are infinitely better these days. I seem to have turned the proverbial corner. And it’s a great thing.

      Really nice to hear from you. Thanks for peeking in.

  2. If I could post a picture of the smile I have on my face right now, I would. But I won’t, ’cause it’s so freaking big, it would probably crash the server of something. I was grinning away when she said the pitch a tent bit, and then you went and made it epic-er and epic-er. Epicker epicker epicker. Which is not a word, but there you go.

    Thanks for the laughs. I’m probably never going to grow up either. :p

    1. Thank you for getting it.

      I’m not convinced it’s worth it. Morphing into whatever the joyless want us to be.


  3. oh good grief! that was hilarious. I’m a laugher from way back. It happens on a fairly regular basis where I have had to put a staff meeting to a full halt because I’d gotten so tickled. (I RUN THE STAFF MEETING!!!) in fact, it happened two days ago! the worst for me is losing it during communion at church. why does it always have to be then?!?!?

    Awesome post. pure joy buddy. bask in it.

  4. I would have had to leave the room if I was at that Cub Scouts meeting.If I was a super hero laughing at inappropriate things and especially at inappropriate times would be one of my super powers,
    Maturity is way overrated anyhow.

      1. That depends, are you a super hero?
        If so you probably shouldn’t admit to it here…in the interest of protecting your secret identity & all that.

  5. I don’t seem to laugh as much as I used to. But, laughing at seemingly inappropriate moments because something strikes you funny– we’ve all done it, it’s part of the human condition. And, let’s be honest— some people are a great deal better at stand-up comedy than they are at presenting something like Cub-Scout membership, buying a home or a host of other things– without meaning to be such great comics.

    1. It was a remarkably drab presentation. There’s probably an old black-and-white Cub Scouts reel from 1966 that would have done a better job.

      Even if it wouldn’t have, I sure would like to see it.

  6. Good gawd I think I was just initiated. Thank You. Hahaha. My brain did not associate pitching a tent with a clothed erection. But you made it humorous so it’s all good lol. I have learned…not to laugh when cops are making serious threats of throwing my spouse in jail, simply because I decided to laugh over the irony of the situation taking place. We were in trouble for illegal fireworks, while the same illegal fireworks were going off above the cops head in the background, from just down the road, at the exact moment he was making his jail-threats. And, I found that quite funny.

    1. Laughing at the police is frowned up, for sure.

      One time, during my freshman year of college. My friend and I got in trouble for smoking pot in our dorm room. They sent the campus police.

      We were high.

      The police ran a test on our stash to measure it’s THC content before chiding us for buying crappy weed.

      “Probably hard getting high on this stuff,” the cop said.

      My friend and I looked at one another, trying to stay serious in the moment, but then we both started laughing because, well, things like that are funny when you’re high.

      Good times, college.

  7. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and it seems like you’ve found your old self again. I guess most people do after a while. Your observation about mom droning on about pitched tents made me think about how I lost my sense of humor when I went through my troubles. Things that should have made me pee my pants and given me a hernia had no effect. It’s been slow, but it’s starting to come back.

    1. The entire thing IS slow. We’re in such a hurry all the time. Especially when we’re in a horrible place and want to get to a good place.

      I’m sorry. Because I do get it.

      And yes. I’m glad it seems to you that I’ve sort of found the rhythm of life again. Because in many ways (not all, just many) I have.

      And it’s something I’ll take with me forever. Knowing that tomorrow DOES NOT have to be like yesterday.

      It can and should be better.

      And for the first time in a long time, I expect it, too.

      Can’t wait until you’re there, too.

      In time.

  8. I just found your blog (via, big up that guy) and I love it. This is the best thing I’ve read all day and I read a lot of blogs today. I’ve always been more of a heaven’s-here-on-earth kind of gal, but now that I know about Heaven Bones, I want to go to Heaven for a Heaven Bone with X and Y and maybe some others I haven’t thought of yet…. Heaven help me.

    1. Ha!

      I’m pretty happy with the Heaven Bones Theory. I think it has some real scientific and spiritual merit.

      (*shakes head no*)

      Totally fun to think about.

      Thank you for stopping in, reading, and leaving a comment. Really appreciate it very much.

  9. Just yesterday a female colleague and I were discussing laser hair removal, (because one of us is in the process of having it done on a body part).
    It naturally segued into whether or not we’d bite the bullet and have it done ‘there.’ Now considering it was just described as having rubber bands being flicked over and over at your skin and through the intense heat of the laser we crossed our legs simultaneously.
    We figured it could be done if we had our veej region (notice I copied your play on words) numbed first.
    It was queried how long the numbness would take to wear off and if it would hinder any urination process (think numb tongue on Star Trek).
    Needless to say we were crying hysterically in a computer lab surrounded by students who luckily all had headphones on.

  10. Okay, this was a group of the most random and funny anecdotes ever!

    I totally own being a big kid. I sometimes really have trouble drawing the line when it comes to raising my own kid. I teeter on the edge of inappropriate most of the time.

    I had more to say but I’m totally distracted by the above comment and wondering how it would feel to have rubber bands flicked over and over on my nappy dugout. Through the intense heat of a laser, no less.

    I fucking love Word Press. hahahahaha

    1. You “teeter” on the “edge of inappropriate”???

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You mean in real life doing normal mom things with other parents and children present (and not in your magnificent writing). That makes sense, actually.

      I love it.

  11. Pingback: Matt the Plumber | Must Be This Tall To Ride

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Matt Fray

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