Becky Pullum is easily amused. She’s quick with a laugh, and before you know it, you’re laughing too.
Naturally curious, she finds inspiration in all sorts of people and things. And while she doesn’t usually have to go far to find humor, she admits that sometimes she does go too far, and I mean that in the best and worst of ways. In the worst way, some humor can be sarcastic and mean. “I do know that I’m not supposed to say everything I’m thinking, It’s difficult though. Knowing when to stop is very helpful.” She adds, “You can always find an audience for the wrong bit of humor. Not everything I say is funny.”
In the best possible way, her search for amusement has taken her on long road trips in search of oddities, like unique scenery, one-of-kind restaurants, quirky museums, unusual activities and outdoor festivals. Among her favorites are the national parks, Scarborough Faire (Waxahachie, Texas), the Hobbit Hole restaurant, and the Battleship Museum (Galveston, Texas). “Jim and I will stop and see the world’s largest ball of string (Branson, Missouri). We’ll do that. Longaberger basket building in (Newark,) Ohio? I’m going to need a picture of that for Facebook. We love our road trips!”
Her advice to those seeking “off-road humor”? “You’ve got to be willing to take some back roads. Don’t be so concentrated on the road that you miss the road signs. When we were traveling west to California, we came to Yuma, Arizona, and saw a sign that said, “Next Exit, Center of the Universe.” We stopped. It was, after all, the Center of the Universe. So we took a picture of ourselves at the Center of the Universe. We didn’t know where it was until we saw the sign!”
She continues, “Moab, Utah, is not where you expect to find the highland games. But we did. We went, and bought a Wicked Tinkers album–they’re a Scottish bagpipe band–and saw incredible athletes throwing the hammer and caber.”
Becky is a thrill-seeker. “Don’t even double-dog dare me. Ever!” she said. One of her greatest challenges was taking a group of Boy Scouts to Philmont for a two-week adventure. It wasn’t long before she discovered, “Maybe I’m not going to be the best leader to get these boys safely up and down the mountain. The only way to get off this mountain is to go through it. I fell so many times. I came home with so many bruises, and my ankles were swollen to twice their size. People say, ‘Philmont changed my life.’ Yeah? It changed my life too. It hurt. But, everybody needs to do a 11-day, 60-mile backpack hike at least once in their life.”
Becky wholeheartedly climbed these mountains as well: parenting, teaching, training, coaching, leading PTA groups, scout troops and acting troupes, creative writing, owning and managing small businesses. “Learning all these things made me a better person.”
Becky, a confessed natural-born smart aleck, grew up in a family that enjoyed word-play and knew how to tell stories. “I had some great inspiration, funny relatives and great friends. My friend Margot, is always finding the funny in everything. John Everett was a person I could spend hours with. He and I would throw puns at each other until people around us were just groaning. As they should. That’s what we were going for.”
“My kids are very funny. They are hysterical and they make me laugh so hard. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat some of their funniest lines!”
Her secrets to easy laughter?
- “Surround yourself with great people. When I’m around the right people, that’s when the best stuff happens, so I try to stay around the people who bring out the best in me. The real secret to having a funny life is hanging around the right people.
- Be Open. Open your heart and mind to new ideas, people, places, foods, cultures, perspectives, and experiences. “Be open to the road sign that says ‘Next Exit, World’s Largest Ball of String’. Be ready for that. Be open to a child that comes up to you and hands you something sticky. Be ready for that. If it makes a child laugh, keep doing it till they stop laughing.
- Be daring. “I was asked on a life insurance exam, “Do you do anything dangerous, like parachuting?” I said, ‘Well, it’s not off the table.’ The correct answer was ‘no’. Darn it.
Every now and then I do a cartwheel just to make sure I still can. I know there’s going to be a day that I can’t do a cartwheel any more. I don’t want that day to come just yet.”