Nothing But the Sound of Crickets

Striking up a conversation with random people is something I love to do especially when running errands. It makes a boring trip to the store pleasurable. Sometimes I throw in a bit of humor to add levity to an otherwise mundane situation. I think it surprises some folks so much, it renders them dumbfounded. While staring at the salesperson, bagger or another shopper with a silly smile on my face, I wait for a reaction. Instead I listen to the sound of crickets.

I have come up with an excuse for their blank dull stares after my feeble attempts to make someone smile. I just assume that they don’t speak English. If they respond with a heavy sigh while giving me an eye roll, I want to channel Foghorn Leghorn. He would say, “That’s a joke son. Now, look at me when I’m talkin’ to yah.”



Image from Wikimedia Commons

Sarcasm is a subcategory of humor and a form of teasing. It is often followed by the words, “Just kidding!” In Wisconsin, my friends and I were raised on a steady diet of this type of comedy along with cheese curds and corn on the cob.

Then, I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado. After tossing a one-liner into the conversation, my new friends responded with blank dull stares. I wondered if humor is regional.

Maybe back when the West was wild, a couple of outlaws sat around a campfire on pins and needles after a long day of shoot-outs. They tried hard to unwind and listened to the crackling and snapping of dry timber in the flames until interrupted by one of the new guys from the Midwestern Territories.

“Hey look! It’s Billy the Kid!….” He pointed to the head of the gang walking toward the bushes.

“Just (air quotes) ‘Kid’ing!’ Get it? Hahaha!”

The gunman almost had a heart attack. He swung around to look behind him. Then realized he was the butt of the joke, so he shot the silly cowboy, putting an end to what would have been, a long genetic line of humorous goofballs. Soon all the jokesters were weeded out, leaving only the serious types to settle down and procreate. The Wild West was no place for funny stuff.

Whereas back in Wisconsin, the early settlers focused on their barley crops and soon beer flowed in taverns which could be found on every corner. Instead of fighting, they polkaed and mastered the art of joke-telling.

The following famous people would have easily fit with Wisconsinites. I found a few of their gems on

Groucho Marx:

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.”

“I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”

Mark Twain:

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

Oscar Wilde:

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”


100,000 sperm and you were the fastest?

Ashleigh Black:

“Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.”

Stephen Bishop:

“I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.”

Billy Wilder:

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”

Abraham Lincoln:

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

Kin Hubbard:

“A good listener is usually thinking about something else.”

Here are some of my own lame attempts at sarcasm. Have you ever noticed that when it is really quiet, you can hear the sound of crickets?

Recently on a trip to the grocery store, I made small talk with the bagger. “I can’t believe I left my bags in the car again. I should keep them on my dashboard or start wearing them as a hat.” …Sound of crickets…

While my husband Danny and I hiked down from the Royal Arch rock formation in Boulder, we ran into some hikers on the way up the strenuous trail. I said, “You better hurry or all the beer will be gone.” …Sound of crickets…

I hit the back wall in tennis and asked my opponent, “Was that out?” …Sound of crickets…

Last Christmas I posted an update on Facebook. “I just finished my Christmas shopping. I snatched my last gift out of an old lady’s hand.” …Sound of crickets… After a  couple of hours I added, “Just kidding!”

I had to get a vaginal ultrasound since my doctor thought I had an ovarian cyst. She put a condom on the device and I said, “Gosh, I’m so glad it has protection. I would hate to get pregnant.” …Sound of crickets…

Granted some of these are really dumb, but considering the circumstances, I at least expected a smile and not an eye-roll or a, “What?” (Eyes look skyward, then head tilts with index fingertip placed firmly on chin while mouth gapes open wide.)

Foghorn Leghorn gives some great tips on humor in this short clip:

In absence of laughter:

Do you think humor is regional?

Are you a good audience or an eye roller?


132 thoughts on “Nothing But the Sound of Crickets

Add yours

  1. Ha! LOVE the beer comment while hiking! I’m sad for you because it sounds like you hear crickets way too often and unnecessarily. Although, I do think humor is regional. Or can be.

    People in Jersey are pretty sharp, but it’s frowned upon to make small talk with strangers, so you’re usually met with a suspicious ‘what do you want?’ response instead of the roaring laughter I, I mean one, deserves.


  2. Hi,
    I loved your sarcasm, I thought they were really good. Where would we be without a bit of laughter in our lives, and a smile from a stranger is the best. You may be right it could be regional, I also think it depends on the person you are talking to as well, if they are really down in the dumps, it would take a lot to get a smile, but on a different day with the same person you may have got a laugh. 😀


    1. Thanks so much! They just sort of slipped out…

      That is so true, but I would say for me I can be pulled right out of a funk if someone notices me and makes a funny comment. Sometimes it is just what I need, but I am usually one who is quick to smile!


  3. Oh my yes, humor is very regional. Folks in New York for instance usually have no sense of humor. Sorry you New Yorkers, but it’s true.

    I also love to strike up random conversations wherever I go. It’s fun to see how people react. Some people have absolutely no sense of humor at all.

    I once tripped over nothing at all except my big clown feet and skinned my knee. A couple of people asked me if I was okay and I replied, “Yes. In fact that was easier than I thought it was going to be. You should try it.” No one laughed. I was trying to make myself look less like a fool for tripping over my own two feet and instead I increased the fool factor by ten. Instead of just looking clumsy, I looked like a clumsy idiot.

    Sarcasm, just another service I offer at little or no charge. Here’s to sarcasm!!

    Thanks for the famous quotes too. Those make me laugh out loud.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Thanks for stopping by! I think that sarcasm is perfect for us who tend to make fun or ourselves. I am a tennis player and use sarcasm all the time, especially when I have a bad day!


  4. That Oscar Wilde quote is hilarious! I do think humor varies a lot between regions. In New York and Miami, I found people’s senses of humor to be much more crass than in Minnesota. But laughter is definitely universal. I love humor, but I’m somewhat picky and often laugh in my head. 🙂


    1. My husband and kids have asked me if I laugh all day long! I guess I follow a lot of humorists and are reading them when they are around..Comments crack me up too! If blogging wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be here!
      You are right about laughter, but sometimes I face a tough crowd!That’s when I want to say, “Come on. Lets work on those smile lines…” Hahaha!


  5. I’m an eye roller, but mostly for comic effect. I deliberately refuse to laugh at my friends’ jokes, because it makes other people laugh even more. I’m like… the straight man. Woman. You know.

    Over here, though, we feed on deadpan (and the tears of comedians), so that may have something to do with it. 🙂


  6. You’d love it here in Maine, Susie. We invented sarcasm. I will always say lame things just to see if the person will laugh. The other day at my doctor’s office I handed the receptionist my paperwork and said in my patented deadpan voice, “Under occupation, I didn’t know whether to put down ‘Domestic Goddess’ or ‘Glorified Servant'” She laughed.

    By the way, hysterical post. I died laughing at your condom comment!


  7. You came up with some great lines on your own, Susie. Made me laugh out loud. No, I don’t think humor is regional. I think it depends on the family you grow up in. We’re all jokers in my family. I’m kind of shy so I don’t usually strike up conversations with strangers, but sometimes I do. And if I say something sarcastic, I usually get that blank stare, too. My friend told me that when she first met me, I’d say off the wall things and she wasn’t sure if I was being serious or joking.

    I always wanted to be a comedienne, but everyone just laughed. (Unknown)
    I love the saying! Haha! Fun post. Good job, Susie!


    1. That is so funny and I bet you are right about how you are brought up. Certainly there are those who seldom crack a smile no matter where they live.

      I wonder if anyone has ever done a study. Can you imagine??? Sounds like something the Federal government would get involved with.. 🙂

      Thanks Lynn!


  8. I am SO glad someone else thinks like I do! (These little mind wanderings)

    When we moved out to the east coast for a bit I worked as a checker and everyone who came through my line knew I wasn’t from there either because I smiled, or made jokes and laughed with them. Yes – humor is totally regional!

    (LOVED the last one BTW!)


  9. When a girl says anything about being pregnant.
    “I’m glad I’m not pregnant anymore.” Sound of crickets.

    Something I’ve added to really silent responses, is I walk away without explaining myself. It adds to the confusion/awesomeness.


    1. And I just wanted to add, really loved this post and laughed no less than twice throughout. Then again, I always laugh at jokes about vaginal screenings.


  10. I think humour can definitely be regional. In certain areas of the UK for example a man wielding a black pudding in a kung-fu style can be a literal killer gag. It doesn’t do much for me, but that’s because I find black puddings thoroughly gross (they’re basically blood sausages. No, really). Some people, though, just strongly dislike sarcasm. Which unfortunately makes them ideal targets for it.


  11. Oh this is so funny specially the story and i do feel people really should loosen up a bit..they are so stressed out that they don’t even know there is provision in every face for smiling
    loved the quotes…humour keeps away stress tumour
    A Jack Handy quote for ya
    “Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for “better treatment”? I’d ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you’d probably be able to get a lot of free games.”
    have a great day Susie 🙂


  12. This is great Susie, I too enjoy making small talk with folks when I’m out and about. Love to do the jokes, but I’ve heard a few crickets too. Oh yeah, I’ve always been a big Foghorn Leghorn fan. Keep it coming.


  13. Very funny. I usually talk to grocery clerks too, but at other places (post office or bank) people tend to keep to themselves and so do I they’re usually in a crappy mood and in a rush 🙂

    “100,000 sperm and you were the fastest?” I’ve never heard that one before…it cracked me up!


  14. Well this is a great place to hang out Susie! Great feedback! That’s awesome! I love your line, “I had to get a vaginal ultrasound since my doctor thought I had an ovarian cyst. She put a condom on the device and I said, “Gosh, I’m so glad it has protection. I would hate to get pregnant.” …Sound of crickets…LOLOL! That sounds like something I would say. Crickets! Your doctor must have died! 🙂


  15. I found your fun post through the reblog from julesagray who is quite a wicked wit herself. As a resident of New York City, I can assure you that this place is mecca for sarcasm devotees. I don’t think I could live in a place packed with sarcasm-averse dunderheads which is why I’m hoping that when I die if there’s a heaven or hell, I’ll go south so I can burn with my own snarky kind.


  16. A teacher I once had in junior high had the following theory: there’s no such thing as just kidding.

    Sarcasm always contains a kernel of truth.

    She said.


    1. It does not. (did you hear the inflection at the end on the word not?) They aren’t always cutting comments. Just read mine! I assure you, no feelings were hurt in the making of my sarcastic attempts at humor… but I always cracked myself up!


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