Humor is a wonderful cure for what ails you, an antidote to the blues, and an all-around great attitude to have. Through my current back & nerve dilemmas I’ve leaned heavily on humor to keep my spirits up by watching funny movies, reading the daily funnies in the Houston Chronicle, with intensive does of the Comedy Central cable channel. Oddly enough, except for the comics, I haven’t read much in the way of humorous writings preferring it seems with watching and listening instead. Whatever the choice, it’s been nice to laugh and smile more than I have in a long time.
Most of you are probably aware of Norman Cousins and his valiant attempt to overcome a terminal problem, and although he didn’t succeed ultimately (none of us are getting out of this alive, as they say), he credits laughing with extending his mortal time among us. In Cousins’ case he employed massive doses of The Marx Brothers as visual pharmaceuticals and through daily bouts of hearty laughter beat the doctor’s predictions. While it’s unclear whether this was a healing or not, it’s clear his life improved and his attitude reversed his depressive state from his battle with cancer. I’m not advocating eliminating doctors and medical treatments, but his experience portends the power of positive, happy thoughts. It’s hard to be depressed, angry, or sad while you’re laughing. Try it some time if you don’t believe me.
My preferred humor style runs to the dark side of things with a significant dose of the witty thrown in. Play on words, sarcastic humor, and clever twists of the unexpected make me laugh more than a pie in the face or a banana peel aptly placed in front of an unsuspecting victim. I find myself captivated lately by that cartoon show I never let my kids watch years ago: South Park. I can’t exactly say why I adore this show, other than it boasts terrifically witty writing and constant surprises with what the show shreds and destroys, leaving no social institution or taboo exempt. And even though the show is a running potty mouth and constant shockfest, each show ends up with a moral, positive message at the end, almost as if the two creators feel bad for trashing and swearing at everything from the Christian right to Sally Struthers to the elderly and must atone before the show’s close. If you haven’t seen South Park and want to, don’t say i didn’t warn you and I disavow all knowledge of ever mentioning the show!
I’ve written some humorous posts here before and hope to do a lot more humor writing in the days ahead. The blog is (again) in transition to a new layout/design, one that will include one or two humorous columns, hopeful repositories of my warped wit and (hopefully) semi-caustic tongue-in-cheek. But just to make things fun I won’t say anymore: you’ll have to keep coming back to find out exactly what I’ll do.
It’s clear to me that watching, reading, and writing humorous things is a vital part of my life and I intend to keep that momentum going. I’m on a quest to see how often and long I can laugh and find humor in the human condition, and especially in my own situations and struggles with being male, aging, and dealing with teenagers. After all, as Mel Brooks once said: “Humor is just another defense against the universe.”