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Woody: Nothing Funny About Racing Humor

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, August 6 2009
Jeremy Mayfield

Jeremy Mayfield

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

I knew I was in trouble when I got an angry e-mail from Friends of Commodes complaining about a tongue-in-cheek column I wrote about the ongoing NASCAR-Jeremy Mayfield drug-testing soap opera (As the Urinal Turns).

“Dear Dumbo,” it read, “so you think there’s something funny about going to the bathroom? What a wee (wee) mind you have!”

The National Trial Lawyers Association also was peeved over my “absurd suggestion” that attorneys might make a few bucks off this mess as it drags on.

One angry writer said I was a NASCAR shill making fun of Mayfield.

Another angry writer said I was a Mayfield shill making fun of NASCAR.

Yet another was upset because I used Gastonia for a punch-line and another promised to “pay me a visit” if I ever poked fun at Dr. Goodwrench again.

Look, for the record, I like Mayfield. I like NASCAR. I like urinals. I’ll get back to you about trial lawyers.

Trying to lighten the world’s yoke with a joke has always kept me in hot water.

“Some things aren’t funny, Mister!” I recall my 2nd grade teacher, Miss Wigglebottom, saying after FBI crime-lab fingerprints linked me and Booger Johnson to a mysterious cherry bombing in the Teacher’s Lounge Restroom.

“You think you’re pretty (bleeping) funny, don’t you, you (bleep),” said a girl I dated in college just before she threw a sofa at me.

“PRIVATE, do you think this is FUNNY? Well, see if CHARLIE laughs!” shouted the Drill Instructor when he caught me clowning around in Basic Training.

“There’s nothing funny about a 68-game losing streak,” explained my sports editor after I suggested a local hard-luck football team might try some trick plays like “blocking” and “tackling.”

But I couldn’t help it; it was like trying not to hiccup at a wedding. Even after I was put on the racing beat I made fun of stuff. I found myself writing about drivers named “Coo Coo,” “Flookie,” “Paddlefoot,” “June Bug,” “Bullet Bob” and “Fat Boy.”

I ask you: Could you write a story about Coo Coo running over Fat Boy and smashing into June Bug and keep a straight face?

Even when I advanced to the Big Time it was impossible to stay out of humor-trouble. Once when I was interviewing Richard Petty I was about to ask him what that road kill was doing on his cowboy hat when it suddenly jumped up, growled, and ran off (the road kill, not the hat.) Richard shouted, “Hey, git back here dadgummit!” I thought it was funny.

At least that was the amusing scenario I conjured, but Friends of Road Kill didn’t appreciate it. “Dear Sir: How sad that you find humor in the fate of poor, crushed creatures …”

Now I’ve really done it. I’ve upset the powerful Urinal Lobby. (I could substitute a crass term for “upset” that I think would be amusing in reference to a peeved Urinal Lobby but I won’t. See, I’m learning.)

I solemnly promise to never again make light of anything related to racing. I fully understand that there’s nothing amusing about grown men wearing billboards running around in circles crashing into each other. And afterwards thanking their tires and the Boys Back at the Shop (a popular rock band), while spraying Miss Sprint Cup with Mr. Diet Coke.

Not even if they’re named Coo Coo and June Bug.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, August 6 2009
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