Is a sense of humor hereditary?
I know a person’s general body shape and coloring is hereditary, but is the compulsion to bring levity to a conversation or situation caused by genetics or environment? After spending just a few minutes with the half-sister I had never met, I’m beginning to believe it’s genetic.
We were reared by different people, had different colors of eyes and body shapes because we had different mothers, but we both had a boisterous silliness that our mutual friend spotted right off the bat. My second daughter doesn’t look a thing like me, but the same situation occurred when we met new people who only knew me. “She has to be your daughter. You don’t look anything alike, but that sense of humor…”
I really don’t see any reason to suppress it. Even when I’m writing romance novellas, the urgency to give a situation a humorous spin is unstoppable. Here’s an excerpt from Three Are One, part of Sweet and Sassy Brides box set, released today. The mother of a deceased (and very dishonorable) soldier is in complete denial that her son has died.
Forsythe pulled the sheet back, exposing the head and shoulders of the corpse, the cloth bandage disguising the fact that the back of the soldier’s skull had been blasted away by his 9 mm service revolver.
Heath and the corporal were at her heels, ready to catch her when she passed out, but they weren’t needed. She did grasp the edge of the table, though, her knees buckling briefly.
“He did such a good job of finding a doppelganger. This man looks so much like my Butch.”
“Ma’am,” Forsythe said, “they matched the fingerprints, too. This is your son.”
“Hmph! If it was my son, he’d have six toes on his right foot. I seriously doubt any body double would be able to duplicate that!”
She stepped to the end of the table and grasped the end of the sheet.
Heath and the corporal rushed to either side of her.
She pulled the shroud off dramatically, took one look, then said, “Oh, shit!” and fainted.
“Some people just won’t believe what you say, no matter what,” the corporal said. “Now what’ll we do?”
“I have smelling salts right here,” Forsythe said, patting his chest pocket. “Do you want to give her a minute?”
Heath looked side to side, lips pursed in frustration, hoping for inspiration. “Yes, wait a minute. Cover him up again, then let’s get her out of here before we rouse her. I don’t want her fainting all over again.”
“Ma’am. Ma’am,” Forsythe said, wafting the ammonia-filled snifter under her nose. “You have to wake up now.”
Her eyes fluttered, then popped open and shut again, squeezed tight against reality.
“Mrs. Wadsworth,” Heath said, his voice stern and uncompromising. “You have to get up. We’ll have a driver take you to your hotel. I just talked to your husband. He’s expecting you.”
The woman was feigning unconsciousness, her eyes and lips wrinkled as she forced them closed.
“Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to take you to the post medical center. Or would you rather go to the hospital in Anchorage?”
Still no reply.
“All right, then,” Heath said. “Post medical center it is. They don’t have any private rooms, and you’ll probably have to wait in the lobby for a couple hours before the medic can see you. Still, it’s clean and better than spending the rest of the afternoon in a mortuary. Come on, Corporal—you grab her legs and I’ll get her shoulders.”
“Don’t you dare!” she screeched, sitting up like someone had poured ice water on her head.
“Sorry about that, ma’am,” Heath said. “I couldn’t let you stay lying out here. And I truly am sorry for your loss…”
“Oh, shut up.”
(Read more in the box set Sweet and Sassy Brides or as a single in Three Are One)
A good sense of humor will get you through tough times better than a bucket of beer. And there’s no chance of a DUI with it, either! Dani Haviland