Something happened to me on the way to my present persona and I do not necessarily like it.
I have written before about the shyness that I was born with and troubling adolescent inhibitions that carried well into manhood. It took almost 70 years for me to be comfortable in my own skin. Along with that comfort, however, came a growing tendency to be a bit of a mischief maker and a compulsive tease. It has been a subtle transformation that only recently I have acknowledged through some eye-opening soul searching.
More than anything else, perhaps, it has been Rosanne's insistant "people just do not understand your weird sense of humour, Dick", that finally forced me to take a close look at what I thought was a harmless "fun" side of my nature. What I came to realize is that generally that "fun" was at other people's expense and that increasingly I could legitimately be accused of trouble-making.
Did the devil make me do it, or was I giving in to a personality flaw that had this strange way of surfacing? Honestly, maybe a little of both.
It has been suggested that mischief making is a creative activity on a par with painting, cooking, basket-weaving, flower-arranging or God help me -- writing. Pride is taken in all those types of activity. Practised mischief/trouble-makers like me also become apt at hiding a big wooden spoon because we know that stirring the pot is always best done subtly. A disruptive word here. A slightly stinging criticism there. A tongue-in-cheek joke someplace else. Gleefully rattling chains.
It is rather sad for me now to think of how often my kind of "fun" may have actually been misplaced and unappreciated. As result, I am making a conscious effort to abstain from any form of teasing or mischief that has hidden potential to be misunderstood. I am refusing to rise to the devilish challenges that so frequently presented themselves to me in the past.
If I do not seem to be the fun(ny) kind of guy that I used to be, you will now know the reason why. It is all for the better. Self-sensorship is serious business and it is certainly no laughing matter!
We jokesters walk a fine line and we have to be sensitive to how our words and actions are perceived. Many times that "fine line" is none other than a fuse leading directly to a powder keg.