At first, I only laughed at myself. The I noticed that life itself is amusing. I've been in a generally good mood ever since.
Marilyn vos Savant
The tragedies of life are generally the result of mistakes. The bigger the tragedy, the bigger the mistake. And the bigger the mistake the more people want to know about it. War is a tragedy, a big one, and when it's finally over it's time to count up the mistakes.
All the tragedies of the world can be traced back to things we didn't know about, things we didn't prepare for or things we did wrong. And they all make the news.
I like to approach things from a different standpoint. I prefer to look at things from the point of view of solving, healing and correcting. I never wanted to, and rarely did, plays about diseases, about sick people. I don;t want to watch someone suffering or dying from some ailment, and I don't want to portray such a person. I think it's cheap theatrics. Send it to the hospital.
The ancient Greeks wrote tragedies. People suffered and died but it wasn't because of an invasion of disease, it was because a major mistake was made. Hence there is something to be learned. A lesson. Shakespeare has only one character who is ailing unto death, but he gets healed by the second act. Shaw wrote a play about doctors, but not about diseases. And so on.
What I'm saying is that too much modern drama is taken up with the tragedy of something that no one can help and hence there is no message to humanity being delivered. People claim that the violence on TV and in the movies creates a violent society. I don't know. But much of it is without reason or justification, that's true.
Sometime around 1960 to 65 I began to observe and appreciate the ironies and absurdities of life. Certain circumstances that enrage some people simply make me laugh. I don't laugh scornfully, malignantly or sarcastically but with a heart full of compassion for those who suffer.
If you're not wearing your glasses, you can't find them. If you can't find your hat,it's probably on your head. A neighbor's dog used to wrap her leash around a tree. She would stand there and whine until he or one of his neighbors unleashed the dog, disentangled the leash and attached it to her again until next time. There was no coaxing her back around the tree the other way. She wouldn't do it. The poor dog suffered simply because she didn't know she could go the other way and free herself.
A physician neighbor of mine once told me that a patient at his hospital had undergone surgery three times on the wrong lung because a technician had mislabeled the X-ray.
A man drives to his home and finds his house has been destroyed. The wrecking crew had the wrong coordinates. It was the house across the street that should have been leveled.
Speaking of coordinates, the bomber crew gets the wrong ones and destroys an Iraqi family instead of the terrorist cell down the street.
The phone company erects a telephone pole equidistant from the others but it's right in the middle of the entrance to someone's driveway.
Geologists have been warning for decades what would happen if a major earthquake were to strike New Orleans. Were they prepared?
None of us are immune from life's absurdities. Last Thanksgiving I had a stove and oven that didn't work, nothing but canned foods to enjoy for my Thanksgiving dinner and my can opener broke. I dined on peanut butter.
Life is full of tragedies and most of them could have been avoided. That's what makes life so absurd. But we can't do anything about them if we sit around grinding our teeth in rage or punching walls. The only way to deal with the ironies and mistakes of life is with a clear, compassionate, abiding sense of humor.
DB - The Vagabond
Find some serenity this week.