Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.
Two of us were sitting around the announcers' lounge one day waiting for our shifts to begin. We were visited by another announcer, a port time person who was brought in to cover someone's vacation. While there he told us about a good buddy of his who loved to make his pet cat jump forward and smack its nose against the wall. Then he laughed at the image. The other announcer said "I would say your buddy has a problem." I said "I agree."
The guy who told the story stopped laughing in surprise. Why didn't we think it was funny? It was suggested that his friend had a lot of character building to do. I noted, as I have often, if any one laughs at another creatures suffering, then he better be prepared to laugh at his own.
It does seem amazing what some people find funny. One year the Village Voice, in NYC, held a contest. They asked readers to send in the funniest photograph they could. The winning picture was of a man standing in his boat and peeing into the water. That's not funny, but peering around the corner of a large building, with it's big smile watching him was the huge Mickey Mouse balloon. The picture was very funny.
But the Voice printed an editorial about the contest saying they had received hundreds of photographs of little naked boys. What was so funny about a little boy's genitals was beyond their comprehension. I knew a woman who when she saw a baby boy or toddler who was naked would go into uncontrollable laughter. The people standing around thought she was crazy.
I'm not against laughter. I enjoy a good laugh. I enjoy the ironies and absurdities of life, the banana peels we all slip on now and then. It is healthy when people can laugh at themselves when the banana peel trips them up because it means they are not taking themselves too seriously.
I know I've told this story before but it illustrates what I'm saying and is also one reason for my own sense of humor. I was just 14 when my grandmother died. She knew she was about to die and asked my mother to come and get her. My grandmother was a product of the 19th Century and never went out unless she was fully dressed with fox stole and hat with a veil. When we approached the stairs leading up to our apartment she realized she couldn't climb them. We got a chair and put her in it. While she sat there primly with her hands in her lap we lifted her up step by step. I was wearing a tie and jacket. Every time I leaned over to grab the back of the chair my tie fell in front of her face. After a couple of times she got the giggles. When my grandmother laughed every one around would laugh.
I never saw her again after that day. She died a few days later. But the image of her having the strength of character to find something to laugh about at her own passing has never left me and it showed that there is an amusing side to everything.
DB - The Vagabond
Weekend quiz, answers.
Comet's driver (5) Santa
Headless egos are helpers (5) elves
Precipitation sound to gentle creatures prancing (8) reindeer
Sooty entrance for bag man (7) chimney
Herb's digit up above (9) mistletoe
Receptacle for feet hanging (8) stocking
Charles' festival song (1, 9, 5) A Christmas Carol