In her interview with me, Sugarrae said “He is definitely a witty guy, but has a stern way of saying things sometimes that leaves you wondering if he was being serious or simply having fun with you. ;-)”.
She’s right – although I make jokes _all_ the time, I never smile when I do, for some reason (shyness? introversion? the long shadow of my Puritan ancestry?). I’ve known about this deadpan-humor problem of mine for a while, but it was sharp of Rae to notice it like within five minutes of meeting me. Usually people just think I am prone to say very serious yet very odd things, and are baffled and uneasy until they they get to know me.
J. came up with a brilliant solution to my meatspace problem – physical emoticons! That’s right, all I need to do is carry around a smiley sticker on top of, like, a popsicle stick and hold it up whenever I’m not serious. 🙂 That’s the signal to laugh (if it’s funny), or not laugh (if it’s not funny) or (more likely) to begin backing away slowly, saying calming things. The Internet has taught us _so_ much.