Joe Vignettes behind the name

Laughter

Everyone has a different laugh in my family, but I am told that mine is the most different. People tell me that my laugh is contagious, and that most people around me will start laughing when I laugh. If I laugh, it is either a little laugh, or dying-laughing mode where I do it for minute after minute after minute. If something is funny to me, I laugh. There is no holding it in.

A lot of the time, I laugh for a minute or less about something and then I’m done. But on occasion, I will laugh so hard that I gasp for air. It has to be something that is extremely funny to me. As soon as I see or hear it, my face turns as red as a lobster. The laugh is loud and then for periods of time it's quiet, as I’m choking on air and gasping for it at the same time. My sight becomes blurry as my eyes fill with water. Then, they break like an overflowing dam, and tears stream down my face. Everyone around me immediately laughs at me when they see me doing my “hard laugh”, and the room is hit with a wave of laughter. The laugh is so funny that after we finish laughing about what was so funny, we laugh about the laugh.

Many people tell me that my hard laughter is contagious, but there are times when people look at me like I have ten heads and say “What are you doing”, and I usually laugh even more. Most of the laughs in my family are hilarious, except for my sister’s, which consists of ongoing annoying cackles and my parents rolling their eyes at her.

Yes, there are times when I don’t laugh. But when I do, it makes my day better. And after all, laughter is indeed the best medicine.

My Name

My name is Joseph Albert Marino. All of my friends and teachers call me Joe, while my family calls me Joseph. My mother calls me Joseph because it reminds her of me being young and little again. In her head, Joe is the name of a grown man, and she can’t bring herself to seeing her little boy grow up.

It is strange going from Joe at school and then switching to Joseph at home. Saying that I live a double-life would be going a little too far, but I still feel as if there are different traits to each name. Joseph is a much more quiet and emotional kid, whereas Joe is extremely outgoing and a self-confident guy. I enjoy being both of them, though. If I write Joseph down for my name at school, I erase it and write Joe. I’m not self-conscious of the name, but it just feels right to do so. If I have to fill out a form at home, then I write Joseph for my name as it again feels like the right thing to do.

Joseph overthinks everything at home, whereas Joe is usually confident and does what he feels is right. At school, Joe asks the teacher a question whenever he feels the need to, even if others may say “How can you not know that?” or “That’s stupid!”. At family parties, Joseph really doesn’t say that much because he feels that people don’t really care about what he has to say. He thinks that people don’t care about his opinion because he is still “too young”, or that people don’t think he is that funny because he is a “moody teenager”. Joe is known to be hilarious, and his friends always laugh at the things he says. People listen to Joe and respect his opinions, and it makes him feel good.

As of now, I am either called Joe or Joseph. I’m Joe at school, and Joseph at home, but that could all change in my future. I might be called Boss, or Doctor Marino, or even President Joe Marino of the United States.

A Lesson Not Well-Learned

It’s fifth grade, and my class has to do a project on the American Revolution. We have to make a movie that shows a certain battle or event from that period. The teacher, Mrs. Scheufele, tells us all of the different topics for each movie that needs to be filmed. And to make the things even better, us students get to act and direct or produce the movie. We all think that this project is just amazing, but as our heads are in the clouds, Mrs. Scheufele tells the class that she is going to be picking the directors and producers herself. I, along with some others, do not hear that part.

Immediately, I decide that I want to be the director. I jump up and walk around the room gathering actors and crew members. It feels as if I were I Uncle Sam saying “I want you”. A few days later, some crew members and actors write a script for the movie with me.

In social studies, Mrs. Scheufele overhears some other people and me reciting our script for them movie. She walks over so fast that I swear the other students are hit with a breeze. Mrs. Scheufele questions what we were doing and we tell her. She looks at us like we had ten heads, and states that she was picking the topics for each director. It all hits me like a ton of bricks. No, more than that, maybe like two tons of bricks. I realize that all of our work could possibly go to waste, and when I look up, I see that my friend think that too.

The next day, she picks. I sit down at a table with a handful of people who hope to either direct or produce. I imagine that it is like sitting a table waiting for the boss to say who is going to be fired. She names of the topics for each movie, and then looks at who raises their hand to direct or produce that specific movie. When she gets to my topic, I raise my hand, but so does the person that is supposed to produce the movie with me. I laugh and shake my head at the person, and tell them that she is asking only for the wannabe directors at the moment. They reply that they know, and sure enough, they are picked to direct MY topic. Not only am I backstabbed, but it also feels as if my throat and eyes are stabbed. I am at a loss of words, and just cannot believe what I am seeing and hearing. Immediately, I stand up and complain and complain to the teacher, and I admit, it is like a toddler throwing a tantrum. My cheeks are as red as a lobster and it feels as if steam is blowing out of my ears. I yell and yell, and finally realize what I am doing, and run as fast as I can to the cafeteria. The rest of my group, or should I say “ex-group”, sits there waiting to make sure that their friend gets to direct the movie. Nope, not at all. After some thinking, I think that my reaction was childish and I realize that in the future I will laugh about it. But for now, I am let down and embarrassed, about being able to direct a five minute movie in the fifth grade.

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