Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why I want to make you laugh

Last year, Giants radio broadcaster Dave Flemming looked at me earnestly and said, “You know what? You’re a very funny guy. It just doesn’t come across in your writing.” He was busting my chops, and I have to say that was a fairly clever dig coming from a garden-variety humorless Stanford drone. I forgive Dave. It must be hard wear the colors while your most famous contemporary alumnus is bopping in and out of a sex addiction clinic like you and I go to a 7-Eleven for milk.

I do think my writing can be funny at times, even if I’m the only one who thinks so, but it’s hard to impart humor in a 700-word newspaper article that has to include all the facts and analysis required of my job.

I’ve always wanted some non-newspaper outlet for my writing. Then, recently, a friend told me about the Internet, where people write all sorts of stuff. Who knew? From my cursory glance, the primary themes are: President Obama was not born in the United States, people who do not believe in gun rights should be shot and oh, there so many places where I can stick my tinkle

I have decided to take the plunge and start a personal blog. Notwithstanding the title of this blog, there will be no nuts-and-bolts baseball talk here, aside from some funny stories from my life that I might tell. If you want to discuss Brian Sabean’s IQ or why the Universal Zone Rating should have been in the New Testament, that’s what the Splash Blog is for. You can find the link for that above. Work-wise, I also am on Twitter @hankschulman.

No, this is where I would like to vent and amuse, and I beg your indulgence to let me try. I will try not to be Seinfeld, tossing out a single wry observation and milking it for 30 minutes, minus eight minutes for commercials.

But while we are on the topic, do you women realize that the supermarket cashier legally can provide coin change? Seriously. If your groceries total $42.67, you really can give him $43.00 and get 33 cents back. You do not have to search endlessly for two quarters, a dime, a nickel and two pennies as if you will be called before Congress, a la Bush with the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and explain why you could not find them. Just thought you should know.

God that would have been funnier had Larry David written it.

I thought I was being funny the other day when I wrote on Facebook, “The local radio anchor just teased a story saying, ‘A new look at schizophrenia.’ I wish she had then said, ‘We’ll have two views.’”

Then, I got he earnest letter from a Facebook friend whom I don't know that said schizophrenia is a serious disease and it wracks the 1 percent of the population that gets it and you shouldn't make fun of it, et cetera.

Look, schizophrenia is not funny, but schizophrenia jokes are. Jokes about the Holocaust can be funny. My dad was a camp survivor in Poland. He lost his mother and several siblings in the war. Yet he would allow my sister and I to comb his slick-black hair diagonally over half of his forehead. When we held the end of the comb under his nose, he looked like Hitler. He would then start screaming in make-believe German ("Ich nein geshmaltz fehr eine Panzer Reichstag das fehrkahkte schlimming roitzen!") and my sister and I would howl.

Sadly, my dad relived his time in the camp in a bad way during the last year of his life, as his brain slowly was dying, but for more than 60 years after his liberation he could laugh about Nazis. That's how I knew he was OK.

This blog won't always be funny because, as my close friends and relatives know, the last three years of my life have not always been fun. If you'll indulge me some serious time, I would appreciate it.

If you've gotten this far, thank you for listening, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite baseball stories.

There used to be a nasty pitcher named Stan Williams, one of the meanest guys alive. He'd just as soon throw at your head than say hello. For all the talk of how much a headhunter Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale were, Williams was worse.

One day, a Dodger teammate walked into the clubhouse and saw Williams sitting at his locker and repeatedly firing a baseball at a photo of Hank Aaron taped to the back of his locker. When the teammate asked Williams what he was doing, he said, "Practicing."


  1. Welcome to unpaid blogging! Oh wait, they already make you do that at the Chron. Well, welcome to Blogger, then!

  2. Henry, Stan Williams was one of the meanest players on the planet, or so I have been told over the years.

  3. Great stuff, Hank. Keep blogging, young man!

  4. I am touched to be in the first sentence of the first post of the rest of your life. Although I have to say I didn't think my comment was all that earnest.

  5. Oh boy, more Hank Schulman! Welcome to the bloggistas. Doesn't sound as though you'll run out of material at all soon. Have at it! And yes, the schizophrenia line was funny.

  6. Fantastic start. I'm looking forward to this.

  7. Excellent. Keep up the good work.

    Wallace Stegner would be proud, although probably not of the Stanford gags.