First of all, forget whatever you think you know about funny. OK, now remember it again.
That was just for practice.
Ok – now forget what you know about funny again, and then remember it again, but this time when you remember it, instead of the word “funny” think “Joey”.
For a while on the signature of my emails I have had a quote that says: “He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh” – Quran (c. 651 ad)
If that is true, then Joey should already be sainted!
He’s not a professional comedian, he actually works in real estate and on the side fulfills some of his other hobbies and passions (e.g. snowboarding, bug control, teaching people “the nose flute”, hugging anyone who will let him, trying to join sororities, attending the meetings of random spiritual movements, etc…). But something about this guy just inspires hilarious moments and the funniest memories.
If you know Joey at all, and have a favorite “Joey story” – please share it with all of us. For those of you who don’t know him, maybe I will just share a couple (although it really is hard to pick which ones to share).
Wow – where to even start?…
Joey Story 1: Free t-shirt goal
One day I was on a university campus in the student center when I saw Joey. I said, “I thought you were in class, aren’t you going today?”
He replied, “Nope, I just want to walk around instead.”
So naturally I asked if I could join him, and he agreed. For some random reason we decided to make it our goal to get a free t-shirt within an hour.
After our first couple ideas failed, we kept walking around until we saw a crowd gathered to watch an outdoor performance. It seemed like the volunteers had matching t-shirts, so I suggested that if we asked to be volunteers then maybe they would give us a free t-shirt and we could accomplish our goal.
Through a series of events (maybe too long to tell), they wouldn’t let us be volunteers, so Joey had the idea to tell them we actually wanted to be performers and sing a song that supposedly we had written for that specific event. At first it looked as if there was no way it was going to happen, and so I played along. Only when the head guy of the event found out about our “song” and loved the idea – he indicated that we could sing it right then before they took down the microphones and speakers.
That is when I felt some panic, starting to regret our goal, and I tried to get out of it by saying we would really like sing it but that we somehow forgot to bring a guitar. Well, Joey saw a girl walking past with a guitar and asked her if she could help us. The only thing is she couldn’t play …and neither could we.
“Oh well,” I said, indicating my disappointment while trying to conceal my relief, “I guess we can’t sing it now after all – not without the guitar part.”
Well, by then Joey was at the microphone and asking if anyone in the audience could play the guitar. One guy raised his hand and so Joey invited him up to the stage. The guy asked what he should play, and Joey just told him to just start playing something. When the guy started to strum something, Joey said with surprise,
“That is it! That is our song”
A few seconds later I found myself with him on-stage, tightly griping a microphone, staring at the crowd, my heart beating fast (when he seemed so at ease), and then singing an improvisational song – which ended up even including some hand actions, as I remember!
To be honest, the look on people’s faces at the beginning of our performance seemed to be a cross between confusion and disgust, but by the end – and I don’t really know how – everyone was laughing and clapping. The guy in charge the whole event came up to us and he loved our song too – telling us it was one of the best performances, inviting us to sing it more places, and asking us what our motivation was behind writing it.
And, thanks to Joey, we got our t-shirts.
Joey Story 2: Text messages and an unforgettable laugh
Every once in a while I will get an email or a text message from Joey where he shares some funny or strange quote – sometimes even quoting himself (for example: “When you find something it’s always in the last place you look, unless you continue to look for the thing you’ve already found”- Joey)
I was in Hawaii a couple years ago and I got a text message from Joey that said: “I’ve been awake all night thinking about you.”
This text message was just weird enough that I called him and asked him if he sent it out to everyone that was in his phone book, which he did, and something about the timing of it – immediately we both started laughing.
Joey has this unforgettable whooping laugh, which often ignites laughter in whoever else is in the room. Hearing other people laugh makes him laugh more and harder, which then makes you laugh more, and it turns into this cyclical laughing effect until everyone is in tears and their sides are hurting from laughing too long and too hard! He inspires the kind of laughter that seems easier for kids, before we get too worried about all of the things that worry us in life.
It is true that maybe at times his humor does get to the point where people might feel awkward and could misunderstand his heart and his intentions, but a huge majority of the time it endears people to him – recognizing their lives are better with him as a part of it. (He is so humble and unassuming though, that I bet he will be really embarrassed if he finds out that I even wrote this blog entry about him.)
Joey Story 3: His niece Liberty (“Libby”)
I also think Joey’s funny-bug is a bit contagious, just being around him somehow brings it out of others. For instance, his 6 year old niece Liberty heard her mom on the phone with Joey and told her to tell Joey that she wished him luck on this upcoming Tuesday. Both her mom and Joey were confused, so her mom asked what was happening on Tuesday. This cute little girl said that she was wishing him luck because she knew Tuesday was either going to be a good day for him or a bad one, and she was betting it was going to be a bad one. She then said, “just kidding” and burst into laughter.
Any kid who meets him loves him almost instantly.
Without a doubt, Joey is the kind of person that just makes life better. This world is so much of a happier, more colorful place because of him!
There are so many more stories I could share, but if you are lucky enough to know Joey – what are some of your favorite stories about him?
If you don’t know Joey, who is the funniest person that you know; and how do they make you laugh?