I’ve lost count of the times that’s been said to me, but actually, yes, I DO think I’m funny. I was a borderline swot at junior school and balanced it a bit by being the silly one of the group; not the class clown exactly, but just a bit dafter that your average swot. It was a cover for the fact that I didn’t consider myself to be as clever as my friends, I think.
At home, the “I suppose you think you’re funny” line was trotted out every time I offered a smart retort to my parents; this happened regularly, my parents were strict and words were my only form of rebellion. Needless to say, I was the only person who was amused by back-chat.
“I refuse to grow up” became a kind of motto and I relished the opportunity to surprise people with my childishness. It was a mistake in many ways – I’d have got a higher grade in O level Biology if I hadn’t spent 2 years making thumb-print animals instead of following the syllabus with the rest of the class.
As I got older and became interested in boys I continued to be the daft, silly one. This time, it was compensation for being less pretty, less slim and less confident than my friends. It worked – there were never any more serious man-droughts for me than there were for my mates.
When I started my teacher training I used silliness to my advantage. I’m not a performer, in fact I’m quite shy really, but I am prepared to show off and soon learned that being a bit over the top in the classroom is a good thing. My classroom persona is the class clown – it means that kids don’t have to fill that role so mostly, they get on with their work. If they encourage me and laugh WITH me they’re siding with the enemy, aren’t they? That’s carried me through my career and has rarely caused problems, although on one occasion I was asked to curb my sarcastic comments as some students had complained.
I realise that sometimes my sense of humour is a little bit off the wall, and there are times when people don’t ‘get’ me or think I’m being rude. I’m not – I just let my tongue run away with me sometimes and say things that only I think are funny. If you’ve been on the receiving end of that then I apologise – I don’t mean to cause offence. If it’s any consolation I hear that little voice in my head saying “I suppose you think you’re funny…” Trouble is, I still do.