Friday, August 26, 2011

Serious Humor

I’ve known several morticians over the years. Without exception, they’ve each had a rich sense of humor. The ability to laugh is probably necessary in some professions, and those who work with corpses likely head the list. Otherwise, how could they stand the grief and pain felt by every family that walks through the door?

I once heard of mortician who liked to sign all his correspondence: "Eventually yours." That gets right to the point.

Humor is something I can get serious about. It is nothing less than an extravagant gift – to be frequently used and shared. Evangelist Billy Graham said that "a keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable." That’s serious stuff.

In the summertime, I like to ride my 150cc scooter instead of driving the car. I enjoy the breeze in my face and sometimes find myself smiling for the pure joy of it as I zip along.

But my scooter has a major flaw. It was not made for uneven surfaces. Its single, mushy shock absorber is almost useless as the bike grinds and scrapes at every unexpected bump and hole in the road.

A life without humor is no better at getting through life’s bumps and jolts than my scooter. It groans and complains at any unanticipated obstacle thrown in the path. And there is plenty of debris along the way. There will be obstacles in life’s road at every turn.

The problem is not that there are problems. There will always be rocks in the way. And where there are no rocks, watch out for a pothole. No one ever promised a smooth ride. As Katharine Hepburn said, "Life is hard. After all, it kills you." Problems are not the problem. It’s that when we think the way should always be smooth, every stone we hit feels like a personal assault.

We need resources to absorb life’s shocks. And a good sense of humor is one tool we can’t live without. The ability to lighten up is invaluable when we encounter teeth-rattling jolts. It helps us "overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable." And it’s just plain fun to carry along on the ride.

Maybe musician Corky Siegel got it right when he said, "Life is too important to take seriously."

-- Steve Goodier

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Gramma said...

You included a quote from "the late evangelist Billy Graham" I believe Billy Graham is still alive.

To properly quote him, it might be "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"--actually a quote from Mark Twain, I believe.

Edie Ridenour

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment about Billy Graham also. I assume you meant to phrase that "the great evangelist Billy Graham" and not the late evangelist. :)

Steve Goodier said...

My apologies. I only hope that Billy Graham might get a chuckle out of the exaggeration of the report of his death.

Honestly, one thing I love about writing these messages is that my readers are my editors, and they do an excellent job.


Billie Crosby said...

Ha ha...just so the government doesn't read your article and think Billy Graham has passed away. He will have a terrible time proving he is alive.

You are right about humor. It is what keeps me going sometimes. Thanks, Billie