CABBAGE GLEN, ARIZONA — On most days, Cheryl Michaels can be found at her cubicle, dutifully filing the paperwork her job requires her to, but when she’s not at work, sometimes she’s known to tell a joke or two. The jokes she tells have garnered Michaels a reputation around town, but she says she “couldn’t possibly care any less.”
Cheryl has been working at the same plumbing supply company for the past eight years, and mostly her co-workers see her as a bright, amiable person. Even though she is known by so many people in her life as a good person, she does occasionally use humor to express more serious feelings, Michaels tells us. That propensity for joking around has gotten Cheryl looks and stares from various people around town.
“Look, my mom and dad were always cracking wise, and it just sort of rubbed off on me, I guess,” Cheryl said. “So I tend to joke around a bit, especially when I’m feeling something more serious. It’s weird, I know, but some people just process their life through humor, I guess, and I’m one of those people.”
Sometimes people tell Cheryl after she jokes around about something that they were offended by what she said.
“And I always tell them the same thing,” Cheryl told us. “Go home, and get on Google Maps. Then find, ‘I Care.’ Because, seriously, life is too short to coddle the humorless.”
Ms. Michaels says she doesn’t really understand why people think their personal senses of humor should stop her from making a joke.
“I mean, I get it, we all have things we don’t find funny,” Cheryl said. “But as much as you may be offended by my abortion joke, I’m much more offended by you thinking I don’t have a right to control my own genitals, so here we are.”
She doesn’t set out to offend people, necessarily, but Michaels says sometimes if a joke is told from a place of truth, it can offend people. It can even offend people who would otherwise agree with her, Cheryl said.
Buy this shirt and help us feed these kids that won’t keep bothering us about eating.
“I mean, if I call someone like Ann Coulter racist, no one really bats an eyelash,” Cheryl said. “But I make some joke about her sex doll only being sold at Klan rallies in the South, and some hippy dippy liberal might tell me I’m being unkind to southerners.”
There isn’t a single topic that she can think of that would prevent Michaels from joking about it, either.
“You can either spend your life worried that someone got their feelings hurt, or you can go about your day telling the truth in a humorous way,” Cheryl said, “and letting the hurt feelings fall where they may.”
None of this means that Cheryl will just tell any joke at any time, anywhere, about anything or anyone.
“I’m not a racist piece of shit, so I don’t make racist jokes,” Cheryl said. “Like, I won’t tell a joke that puts down an entire race of people as being sub-human, or whatever. But I will tell a joke about one person in particular being a sub-human piece of garbage. There’s a difference, though I wonder how many people actually get it.”