Laughing is no Serious Matter
Some centuries ago, in my first class of western civ, the professor asked us to write on a card what we hoped to do with history. I quickly scribbled “Tell jokes about it.” Thus began my checkered career of making fun of stuff. The prof wasn’t amused. I got a C.
Apoplectic better describes the newspaper editors who confronted me in subsequent decades for trying to slip witty asides into stories. Each pounded the desk harder than the last and through grinding teeth reminded me that the news business was deadly serious—Deadly! Can’t you see my head about to explode?
Okay, there were many times when the editors were right. But while I wrote my share of grim-faced, prize-winning, investigative stuff over a 26-year-career, the newspaper world proved much too serious for me. I knew it for certain the day I interviewed the comedian Morey Amsterdam. Best known then for playing Buddy Sorell on the old Dick Van Dyke show, he told me during an afternoon of gags that he saw the world through “joke colored glasses.”
His words hung there like a hint of light in the darkness. I could at last admit to myself that it was okay that my real world view wasn’t grim and serious even though the world was every bit of that. My eyeballs saw human comedy playing out in just about everything. Sometimes funny ha ha and sometimes funny peculiar. Sometimes funny absurd and sometimes funny uh oh, somebody’s gonna end up crying. And sometimes just funny smiley, oh isn’t that touching, beautiful, sweet, sad or gloriously hopeful.
When all is dark, it’s hard to laugh. Our mood gets depressed, our outlook turns bleak, our will to keep on keeping on screams keep this! then slams the door. The less likely we are to laugh, the more likely we are to live in darkness.
The thing is, sometimes those editors were wrong. So in these posts on this blog I’m regressing to my first instinct of making fun of the way we take stuff much too seriously in this world–starting with our silly ass selves. Think of it as a hint of light app, something to point a way out of the darkness. Just remember, if you don’t laugh your head will probably explode.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.
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