Obviously the immediate stimuli for this post has been the enormous expectation thrust upon me by being listed in the humour category of this compilation of top Indian blogs!
It was my friend Niyam, who had once (circa 2003-4) suggested that I come out with a humour D.I.Y (do it yourself) paper. As much as I liked the idea, there was no time in life to do it.
Then I met Jammy at work (circa 2005). Jammy was unabashed about his aspiration to be a stand-up comedian. We got along very well, as we would keep cracking jokes given the slightest of opportunities. And then (here is the scoop) Jammy would go home and neatly package some of those jokes into original posts that one saw on ouchmytoe! (Sadly he had like a 100 other sources like me, so I could never sue him for copyright infringement.)
And then the other day Jammy wrote this “How to create your own jokes” post and it occurred to me, that the time had come to start building on the humour D.I.Y paper that Niyam had suggested — lest Jammy beat me to the patents office on this!!
So here goes…
Humour template – 1 :: Wrong name repartee
You would have faced situations where the person talking to you addressed you by a wrong name. I have faced this a lot. The most common being, called Rohit. I guess the two names seem smilar or have similar associations to many people. The other common mis-attribution is when people have called me Vivek or Karan. I know that’s because there have been semi-famous individuals called Vivek Razdan (cricketer) and Karan Razdan (TV actor and director). So people remember the surname Razdan and forget the name Rahul and then from their mental associations they end up dishing out Karan or Vivek! In fact my thesis guide (during my B.Arch days at School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi) kept on calling me Karan for most of the semester, and I was doing fairly well grade-wise. And then one day, when I had to tell him that my name was Rahul and not Karan, my grades started falling! (Sure, there could be other reasons too for that!)
Coming back to the template…
So when someone calls you by a name other than yours, make sure in your reply to address the other person by name. Only, someone else’s!
Ajay (addressing me): “Rohit, I appreciate your work, but I had expected better.”
Me: “See Ajit, I admit I could have done better. But…”
Ajay: “Who’s Ajit???”
Me: “Who’s Rohit??”
Ajay: “Oops, I am sorry! That was smart.”
Me (with a smug expression): “hehe…”
Ajay (already having lost a psychological battle): “On second thoughts, your work isn’t that bad either.”
This needs a little practice, but works like a charm!
Extra impact is assured when the substitute name you use is of a person who this person doesn’t like!
There is something self-esteem-battering about someone not remembering your name. So this a quick and crisp way to not only do damage control for your self-esteem, but also embarass the errant person and help you score a few psychological brownie points!