“We come across as rude, because we speak little, and what we speak, we are straightforward,” he said. “We are sarcastic,” I said, half-apologetically, half-proud.
I have always thought of myself as brilliantly sarcastic, but I have realised, over time, I am not. There’s a line, between wit and sarcasm, and it’s so thin, an electron microscope might miss it. I am not saying I am witty either. I love humour, however. I love to experience humour and commit it. In trying to be funny, witty, and sarcastic, I have — more often than not — crossed lines. No, not in my head, in some one else’s perception. In other words, for me, I now do not know where clean starts and offence begins. It’s perhaps not a line; it’s a band of grey. And from where I stand, it looks like a really broad band of grey.
So, I limited my brand of humour to folks who knew me (irrespective if they knew my brand of humour). I was being safe.
A movie is due to release in a couple of weeks. It’s a classic example of everything that can go wrong, making historical fiction. I am upset about it, and after much, much, much deliberation, I wrote a sarcastic post on Facebook. Another friend, who has an evolved state of sarcasm, told me that my post was very safe. I didn’t change anything, but by my standards, it has become popular. I did cheat, to be fair, I made it public, while most of my posts are limited to my friends on Facebook. Often, limited to my close friends.
There’s no telling, how your joke will be received. But then, if you care, you cannot be a joker.
All expression needs space and time. For it to be absorbed, digested, and responded. For example, a misunderstanding needs space and time to rearrange itself and morph itself back to understanding. But we are so busy and crowded, our opinions take over. Quickly call judgements, simplify our life, accuse the other, move on.
Seeking safety in expression is irony. Because, if we are being safe, then we are not expressing the truth. And safety is not security against misunderstanding. Honesty, while being the best policy, can get you in all sorts of trouble. Late in life though it may be, honesty is really worth the trouble.
Of being honest, the worst is being honest to yourself. It is daunting and scary. In the beginning. After a while, we question our own honesty. Then, over time, slowly, one fine afternoon, your conversations with your self are the most interesting.
And that’s enough.