Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everyone Likes to Laugh

Robert loves to tell jokes. He repeats the same material over and over but his jokes make him laugh every time. Usually, he will joke about drinking whiskey when I ask him if he wants his 7-Up. Or he’ll joke about going to New York City if I ask him if he wants to go shopping. He jokes about playing the “wrong” card in our game of Kings Corner. He always makes himself laugh all the while saying “I’m just joking. I’m just joking. I’m just joking.” I laugh along with him and reassure him that I know he is just joking.

Sometimes, though, his humor takes a very, very dark turn which completely throws me off.

Last night, Robert was sitting in bed getting comfortable before we played cards. He mentioned that he wished he had a heater in his room. I wasn’t cold at all (although that could be because of the hot flashes – welcome to middle-age!) and he was under a warm comforter so, of course, my first thought is that he must be running a high fever (my first thought is never that he’s just making conversation. I’m working on that.).

I walked over and felt his hands and forehead and asked him if he felt okay.

“No. I’m just dead.”

And with that he cocked his head and stuck out his tongue.

I was shocked and amused all at once and burst out laughing which delighted Robert no end.

This isn’t the first time he has jokingly said he was dead or that he was going to beat up someone and it always makes me uncomfortable. I have to tell myself that he really is joking (he is, trust me) and just remind myself that somehow his “joke center” is a little off kilter due to the seizures. (My husband thinks my joke center is off kilter sometimes, too, but that’s a whole other issue!).

I did a little bit of research and there was a study by the Rotman Research Institute/University of Toronto in which they found that people with damage to the right frontal lobe have trouble getting punch lines and prefer slapstick humor.

Now I’m not sure if Robert’s seizure activity is in his right frontal lobe (I’m fairly certain the seizure activity happens all over) or if he has damage in that area from falls, brain surgeries, etc. but I do know the boy likes slapstick humor.

So the one thing I’ve learned after all my research and my hours and hours of experience with Robert’s humor, is I need to get him some Three Stooges movies!


Kathy Lowrey said...

HA HA!!!
Roberts joke made me laugh out loud!!

I was picturing him doing the dying routine!!
It was probably funnier to me because my 63 yr old brother in law (downs syndrome) LOVES slapstick!!
It irritates me to no end but a 3 Stooges marathon and that boy (man) is in heaven!! I could so picture him doing the dying routine also!

A big smile, what a wonderful day to start the day!

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored said...

Trish - you are an angel and I like Robert's sense of humor! after my grandfather had a stroke, his humor became much more naughty & bawdy (and that wasn't like him), but he was still funny and seemed to enjoy shocking us a bit.

Hope you & Robert have a wonderful weekend!

Heidi & Atticus
"commentary to give you paws..."