Ask Conlan: Get On With Your Life

Commenter frumpy writes to me regarding this line from a previous post: “I wish they’d invent some way to erase stuff on the computer. Anyway.” She says,

I read this yesterday. It continues to pop into my head, making me ‘LOL’ at inappropriate times. I came thiiiiis close to spewing iced tea on my friend. How to explain that? Why-oh-why is this so funny to me? Please answer so I can get on with my life.

Frumpy, I will tell you why this is so funny to you. See, it’s funny because there is a way to delete things on the computer1. The seeming contradiction of expectations (re: stupidity, et ux.) results in a physiologically pre-programmed response of laughter, which we humans interpret to mean “funny”.

Furthermore, by following the sentence with “Anyway,” I have provided a swift transition to the next thought, subtly implying that, if only I had paused to consider my “deleting” statement for just a moment, I might have realized my error and corrected it. Instead, my pig-bulled-headedness in pressing on illustrates my comical inferiority to you (vis-à-vis “the reader”), thus provoking in you a sense of superiority, which we humans interpret to mean “funny”.

I hope you will now be able to sleep at night. Or during the day, if you are one of those.

  1. It’s called “formatting your modem”. []