Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Power of Laughter

I laugh to avoid crying, to save me from the blindness of my tears.

I also laugh to escape the bordom of dull talk. I see the serious import of the conversation; I truly do; but while waiting for others to see it fully (or perhaps not caring when and what others see--or think), I co-opt it. I veer off as rapidly as possible to its underbelly: the tasty irony shadowing the truth, the sweet comic present in the bitter tragic; I am eager to taste the happy, sweet/sour taste of life.

I also sometimes laugh to avoid the tension of conversation's truth, or, worse, the repetition of the obvious. Comedy's mask seems more easily worn than than the narrow, sad mask of tragedy. I like the way it hangs on my face; and heart.

This attitude of 'jokester-ism' and my witty comments (at least I think they are) can be off-putting to my co-conversationalists. They think I lack any serious side. They feel I am being indifferent to death, or poverty, or sadness...or whatever great issue is the topic of our spoken moment. Sometimes they think I disrespect them; and their thoughts, or humanity in general. I agree...but I couch my apology in another joke.

Life is short, meaningless (except of course with the meaningfulness we give through our loved ones and our work; or our sense of elegance and dignity). Life should be lived deftly, with a light touch. The sound of laughter gives buoyancy to weightiness, brings lightness to the universe's eternal darkness. I daily hunger for it.

Norman Cousins believed that cancer could not be contracted while laughing; the joyful process arrayed the body's molecules in chemical flows to prevent it. He proclaimed the healing power of jokes.

I agree.

So, please, Dear God: give me the power to laugh in the inexorable, to smirk in the eventual face of existentially argue with a joke to Him that my life has been truly enjoyable. Make my last verbal utterance be a quip, witty and profound, commensurate with the joke He is playing on me.


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