Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can You Sense It?

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."
--Mark Twain

I wonder often at the strange phenomenon of laughter. It "cracks me up." A person's laugh is as unique as one's set of fingerprints. I'd put money on the fact that no one can laugh quite like me. What about those around you? Do you remember the laugh of your grandmother or an uncle? It is just part of who they are! Humor helps us see more clearly the jewels and gemstones of the day. 

Recently, I came home to a living room of people I love who were concerned and perhaps a bit discouraged. I could sense it. It was heavy. With nothing else in mind, I said, "What we need in here is a good joke!" Smiles emerged and the cloud lifted. It works! Yes, it can even work in the most dire of circumstances.  The example is given of a man condemned to be shot by a firing squad: "the head of the firing squad asked the condemned man, "Before we shoot you, would you like a last cigarette?"

And the prisoner replied, "No thanks, I'm trying to quit smoking!"

Humor has great power. Chuck Gallozzi ( wrote:
"Genuine humor points out the weaknesses of humanity, but without contempt. It is a commentator of life, not a critic of it. Its purpose is to uplift, not tear down, and to lighten the burdens of others, not add to them. Good humor does not belittle or promote stereotypes, for it springs from the heart, not the mind. It is a shock absorber that helps us get over the bumps in life. Those with a good sense of humor have a good sense of life."
It is of interest to look back on some of the great figures in history who were well acquainted with the medicine of laughter. Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, said that laughter was the element that would make things liveable if even for a moment. Through it he survived. Abraham Lincoln was known for his telling of humourous stories. Mel brooks called humor one of the defenses against the universe. It has been used well through the ages, no doubt.

So, the next time you find humor, laugh. The next time somebody laughs at you, laugh with them. Genuine humor is the sign of a happy spirit and a bright outlook. Oh, and there is nothing wrong with laughing at your own jokes.