That can be in caps. I can Miss The Point.
This evening, while winding down from work by farting around on parts of social media*, I saw posts and comments from people. Initially in two cases I thought of replying to them in, I hoped, funny ways: for one of them I wanted to reply with the GIF from Anchorman where Ron Burgundy tells his dog Baxter "I'm not even mad, that's amazing." In both those cases, I was about to reply when...mental brakes went on. Wait. Think. ...yeah, no, I thought.
I'd been about to joke about serious situations and topics. That can be a fallback: when in doubt, joke, or make a crack (which I figure is not quite a joke but not really serious either). In both cases I caught myself, and found other ways to reply.
I've said it before: I find the tendency to joke about ev-er-y-thing exhausting. I don't like feeling as if someone's testing their open mic material on me and others around me. (Related: WE DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO TALK.) I've also done that myself, especially in my childhood, teens, and early 20s** when I was slowly building my ability to joke about stuff, and long story short, that WAS NOT natural for me. If I'm funny at all, it's due to effort. I needed that skill: I was way too serious as a kid. (Moody, too, but that's its own post.) But knowing how and when to be funny should be paired with knowing how and when to be serious.
John Scalzi had a useful thought: "The failure mode of 'clever' is 'asshole.'" Plenty of times, I'll think of a clever or wannabe-clever response to A Thing, then I'll think — or even say out loud — "ehhhhhh." Sometimes I briefly clench my jaw when doing so. Then I don't say or post the response and instead see if anything else useful or helpful comes to mind. And sometimes I fail at this. Nature of the beast. But I'd rather not make people think That's not what I meant, and you're missing my point. Because in plenty of cases, I've thought that.
...there. Made a point without being too specific. Good.
* No, I'm not on Instagram.
** Huh, that took a while. AND IS STILL IN PROGRESS, I KNOW.