Sunday, January 3, 2010

What are you laughing at?

Life's perhaps the only riddle that we shrink from giving up.

W. S.. Gilbert
I think there is nothing in life that doesn't deserve a good laugh. But there are good laughs and bad laughs. There's laughing with and laughing at. There are things we can laugh at that don't hurt, things we are supposed to laugh at: clowns, comics, the shenanigans of some animals in the zoo or our own household pets. But there is another form of laughing at, where someone is made the butt of a joke that may be funny but hurtful.

Three times in my life I had to work closely with someone who got great delight in poking malicious fun at someone else's expense. Two of those people were radio announcers which meant that their barbs went out over the air. I was speaking with a listener one day who was praising one of them for being so funny. I said that he was funny until you become the subject of his jokes.

It was inevitable that some day those jokesters would stick the wrong people with their sarcastic darts. They were both fired from their jobs.

There's a well known TV nighttime host whose opening monologue is almost entirely made up of making fun of people. Some people find it very amusing. I don't. It's cruel. Next time you watch one of those people aim his so-called wit at someone else, imagine if it was you he was talking about. You might stop laughing. If you find yourself telling jokes like that about other people, slap yourself, figuratively, across the mouth and stop it.

That kind of humor is beyond being disrespectful. It is disguised hatred, dressed up envy, a dish of bile with whipped cream on top.

The other kind of laughter is a loving laughter, an acknowledgment of the things that are really humorous, a poking of fun that is not malicious or hurtful, a sharing with others the ironies and absurdities of life.

Why is life so funny? Why is it so confusing? Why do things not behave they way they are supposed to? Why does your garbage weigh more than your groceries? Why did you put your car keys in your bathrobe pocket? Why aren't your shoes where you left them when you took them off last night? Why does the weather report say snow when the bright sun is shining through my window? Why is there sometimes a crack in the solid wall of reason?

The subject of humor is something I could write about forever. Other people write about it and keep writing about it because it's an endless topic and because there isn't anything in life that doesn't deserve a laugh, including life itself.

In the midst of my six weeks of anguish at not being able to get back on line I was on the phone with one of the techies who was trying to fix the problem but wasn't doing it. There are certain things they are supposed to say to every customer, such as "Thank you for calling ...." etc. One of those prescribed comments is "Is there anything else I can help you with" even when they haven't done anything. When this particular techie asked me that I said "No. Unless you can tell me the true meaning of life." He laughed. Considering the people he had to talk to and the problems he had to deal with it was probably the only time he laughed all day.

How cold is it?
Weekend challenge.

You are to complete the following sentence:

How cold is it? It's so cold.........!

As in: "It's so cold the pine tree is shivering!"
There are only 5 answers so far. Come on, I know there's a sense of humor out there somewhere. Be inventive, creative, original, outrageous. Exaggerate. Enter as often as you like. The decision of the judge is final and probably biased.


Bonnie Bonsai said...

It is so cold that I need a pair of big warm arms to wrap around my small frame to keep me warm. There you go!

Bonnie Bonsai said...

"... a crack in the solid wall of reason "... i like this phrase.

I don't like watching a TV program in the like of L...n... of your country. He's downright outrageous, he thinks he's funny!

I am a kind of a person who easily laugh. Who can easily see the crack of humour even in a situation that is beyond redemption. But I direct my laughter to a reason of seeing "the lighter side of life" than meaning to be mean.

Sometimes I laugh not because the situation is funny, but the way it is being expressed in words. Perhaps, mainly because I can see myself in that situation once or many times in my life before. And I managed to outwit that situation however horrendous.

That helped me to overcome prematured aging!

"Laughter is the best medicine!"

Sorry DB. I hope I did not offend you.