If you perceive yourself as funny, but others perceive you as serious... does that make you seriously funny?
I was talking to a Jedi-in-training from the FA yesterday evening, who was saying that he couldn't figure out how to live as a Jedi offline. I asked him then what he thought he was not doing that was causing a problem? He replied that he tends to goof around and joke a lot. And he felt, by the way that the FA approaches things, that that is not the way of a Light Jedi Knight.
This led to an interesting conversation and thought-process about the idea of being serious vs. funny and how that impacts the Jedi Knight. I agreed that there are no lectures at the FA on humor and its place in self-awareness and service to others. Yet, I maintained that being "goofy" is also a critical part of being a Jedi.
I offered examples from my own life, where it relates to my job. Students will come up to me for help with their floppy disks, for instance. They are stressing and freaked out because their term paper is stuck on a disk that is dying and won't open. They are on a time crunch because they procrastinated until 10 min before class... and so on. I seek the balance between serious and funny in these cases. I will step into a professional role in getting the Disk Doctor program running and explaining what it is going to do to the ailing disk... what likely outcomes they'll be and begin explaining "why" the disk goes bad. As it continues to scan and repair, I'll offer amusing anecdotes about myself and computer experiences when I "knew nothing" too. I tell them about how I was so naive to think the campus wouldn't have any viruses or problems and I ended up riddling my home PC with viruses from things I'd downloaded to disk and brought home. Ooops! While the disk scan software does its surface scan (which we can observe with images), I'll relate how my whole Hard Drive had been covered in "B" bad sectors!
What does the blend of serious and funny do? Well, the serious/professional aspect lets the student know that I have some knowledge of what I'm doing on the job. It gives them reassurance that I can "make it all better", lending me credibility. The joking... it gets a laugh from the student to ease up their otherwise stressful experience AND puts us on the same page. The students tend to be afraid of the lab proctors (and our supposed awesome knowledge!) so my admitting to stories of being very computer dumb shows them that there's nothing to be embarrassed for when they have problems; we've all been there.
Again, I think that it's essential for Jedi to have a sense of humor and to be able to apply it appropriately. Saying appropriately, though, leads me to need to explain further. There are times where humor is not well-timed or well-placed, even for the Jedi. So then, how do you know when to make a joke and when not to? I explain it this way:
1. Be aware of the situation as fully as possible. Understand where the person you're helping/talking to is coming from to "feel out" if humor can be applied successfully. I'd suggest to start out with a smile and see what response you get from that.
2. If the situation feels okay for a joking remark, make sure it is appropriate for the situation. You know, don't tell a dirty joke to your English teacher. I find that telling jokes about my own dumb computer experiences works well for the situation with problem disks, for instance.