Being able to Laugh

As children we laugh at almost most everything. We find humor in life where others have grown beyond foolish antics. As kids we still find merriment at the simple slap stick, silly words and people making funny faces.

As adults we seam to forget how to giggle at these childish displays. Life becomes a serious set of all to real heart aches, stresses, and responsibilities. Along the way to adulthood our hearts become heavy and cold to the levity of life.

Most people forget how. Sure there are a few out there who still maintain their ability to not only laugh but to make others laugh too. Think about it: When is the last time you roared so hard you had tears running down your cheek and you had to leave the room just to catch your breath? As a grown up there have only been about 3 people in my life that can make me laugh that hard regularly. It is a rare gift. I lost one of those people last year and my life will never been the same again without her. But this blog is not about loss it is about happiness.

This morning I was buying a lotto ticket on my way to work. (Yes, I play now and again) At the 7-11 down the street I told the man at the counter I wanted a ticket.  As we were executing the transaction I told the man that I wanted him to sell me a winning ticket. I told him I was done with him selling loosing numbers. He looked at me like I was speaking Greek or something. Sure he has a very thick accent of some sort (I have not quite placed it yet) but I know he understands English. Then it dawned on me that he just did not get the joke. I added I would like you to sell me the winning ticket; (pause) well you would not buy a car that does not run or a piece of stake that is bad, right? It took him a moment and then he kind of half smiled. He proceeded to tell me he wished he could and I left.

This entire interaction made me realize that people just don’t know how to laugh at life anymore. Maybe people are just to afraid to look foolish for laughing at something silly. Or maybe they reserve it for dark theaters.

I have observed (but not participated in) the strange phenomenon going on in America these days. It is a rash of films which are so incredibly stupid that even as I child I would have turned them off. I believe this is a knee jerk response to people not laughing in their everyday life. The average American has become so numb to life around them that it takes the intellectual equivalent of a pie fight to get them to even smile.

I would think anyone who bothers to read my blog knows the kind of films I am talking about. Pretty much anything done by Will Ferrell can hit that list. Most of Jim Carrey’s work which is sad because I think deep down inside he is very talented, he just can’t stop being “that guy” in his films. And, well, I think this world is a better place now that Leslie Nielsen has left the planet.

I really hope Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Carry Grant were waiting for Nielsen at the pearly gates to beat him down, with Gracie Allen and Lucile Ball standing off to the side ready to smack him with their hand bags a few times. All this only to have the Marx’s brothers waiting to help him up, brush him off and throw him to the pits of comedy hell. Oh and if you don’t think Carry Grant was funny watch Arsenic and Old Lace he was a great straight man and every good slap stick comedy has a good straight man.

Not to say all modern comedy is bad or stupid. There is a film that hit the top of a lot of people’s stupid list that I thought was brilliant. That film was Idiocracy. Yes all the people in it were as dumb as a mud but what the film was saying was brilliant and it was all done on the level of a first graders vocabulary.

I think every good comedian alive today has had a few lemons but for the most part Robin Williams, Steve Martin and the Python boys (just to name a few) have done humor with intelligence behind it. Not to mention Carrol Bernette, Lily Tomlin, and Goldie Hawn all amazing women in their own right, fighting in a mans world as funny and beautiful women (remember beauty is all in preference). Not an easy task for these gals.

Of course there are some really great directors and writers behind these funny people too. There is Frank Oz who’s timing as a comic director is infallible (see House Sitter or the original Death at a Funeral). And the amazingly brilliant English writer Steve Moffat who is not only great at comedy but at complex drama and mystery (see the original Coupling or the new Dr Who)

Unfortunately these greats are being over shadowed by the big box office draws of mindless dabble catering to the lowest common denominators in the brainless masses.

But before I start talking about more of the  abandoned shrewdness of other illustrious greats let me digress.

People learn to laugh again.

If there is someone in your life that can make you laugh to tears call them (guessing you don’t talk to them everyday). Tell them how much you miss their wit and that you need to talk more often. Have a good chortle with them.

Because people if we don’t start using our brains again to have a good guffaw now and again then we are doomed to become not only brain dead but dead in spirit too or even worst where we are reduced to the cachinnation of schizophrenia.


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