Humour

ANOTHER MISERABLE YEAR

Let’s talk about funny. Like who makes us laugh. Do happy people make us laugh? Are comedians people whose lives are running smoothly, easily?

No way!

Funny people have problems. The funniest people are often depressed. Yet somehow, they can see a sparkle amidst the darkness.

Laughter is not so much a celebration of good times as a shield against despair. Humor is borne of irony, the realization that life is not merely imperfect, but frequently dreadful. So we turn our disasters into laughter because the alternative is endless weeping and wailing.

mistakesdemotivator
Another demotivational poster from one of my favorite sites, Despair.com.

The first time my world crashed and burned, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart — though it lasted longer than it should have because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made — I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless back to the US.

When I finally stopped feeling like I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Calamities, crises and disasters are high comedy.

Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

I have a tee-shirt that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” It’s a killer at parties and is high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to hell in the proverbial handbasket, folks who were sort of friends eye you with suspicion. Is bad luck contagious?. But there’s also a light whiff of satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they’re overjoyed it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really (furtive, smug smirk).

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at least a great post for your blog. See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through life unscathed. Mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there.  Remember, it’s the first month of a new year. A fresh slate.  Anything could — and probably will — happen.

BLAST FROM THE PAST -The Best Medicine

Life in shreds? Out of work? Evicted? Hiding from the repo guys? Other half dumped you? Bank threatening to foreclose? Don’t take it personally. It’s just  a joke. No, really. Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on, now, no suffering allowed. This personal disaster is your cue to laugh. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.

The first time my world went to pieces, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart (though it lasted longer than it ought because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made), I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless — back to the USA. When I stopped feeling as if I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Misery, mistakes, and disasters are high comedy. Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now, well, yeah, they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

And about those fake tits: I own tee shirts that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” I’m wearing one right now. It’s a killer at parties and is the high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to Hell in the proverbial handbasket, a lot of folks who were sort of friends eye you with suspicion (is bad luck contagious?), but also with a subtle hint, a light whiff, of profound satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they are overjoyed that it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really. (Furtive, slightly smug grin.)

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at the very least, a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. Yay! See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through unscathed. So mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there. Watch out for the flames (OUCH).

Daily Prompt: Leave em’ laughing!

There’s no viable alternative to laughter. Drugs, booze, even chocolate … all are nothing in the face of the black comedy of our lives. True there is something to be said for laughing while drinking and eating chocolate, but not all of us can treat our bodies that way and live to tell the tale, so we have to settle for humor.

VeganWitches

When our lives are in shambles, when all around us is falling apart, the brave tell jokes. When the laughter dies down, we take a deep breath, tell another one … and laugh some more. The more horrific the situation, the more devastating the problems, the more catastrophic the impending calamity, the funnier it is. We do not laugh at tragedy.  We laugh at life. We laugh at ourselves.

Laughter is not about happy times. Jokes are full of pain and sorrow. They are the defense we’ve been given to push back the darkness and despair. Use it freely. It’s the best medication on earth.

The difference between tragedy and comedy is how you look at it. Laughter is the universal cure for the griefs of life.

What can you do? If the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed the headlight of an oncoming train? Heard any good ones lately?

Laughing at the craziness, insanity, ludicrousness, the utter absurdity of my life — and the demented world in which I live it — is my first line of defense against despair. Take away laughter, strip away my sense of humor and I’m a goner.

I hope I’ve left you laughing!

Watch Out for the Pod People!

Everything and everybody changes. Most of my family and friends have changed relatively gradually over the years. Recently a couple of people I’ve known for a long time have changed suddenly and dramatically. Overnight, they became dry and humorless.

It appears they had a humorectomy. While they slept, their sense of humor was removed. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but it’s deeply disturbing. I think it’s possible they have been replaced by pods, like the  “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

I could not survive if I did not see how ridiculous my life is. If the absurdity of it didn’t make me laugh, I would do nothing buy cry and bewail my state. Laughter heals me. It’s better than sex. Better than yoga, meditation, medication, or street drugs. It’s free, unrestricted by laws, available to anyone who is not yet dead and is acceptable behavior under almost all religious systems.

Many friends are going through rough times. Their problems vary, but the results are the same. Stress, anguish, fear, worry, insomnia. You worry, try to keep it together until you’re ready to explode.

What can you do? If the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed the headlight of an oncoming train, I say: “Buckle up and let your hair blow in the wind. It’s going to be a Hell of a ride.”

Laughing at the craziness, insanity, ludicrousness, the utter absurdity of my life — and the demented world in which I live it — is my first line of defense against despair. Take away laughter, strip away my sense of humor and I’m a goner.

At our wedding — 22 years ago — my cousin and I danced the hora. What makes the dance so memorable  — other than discovering that she was in great shape and I wasn’t — was feeling like I was going to spin out of control.  That feeling of being grabbed by something stronger than me and being twirled and spun with no ability to control what happens has become an allegory for life.

I laugh any time I can, at anything that strikes me as even a little bit funny. It helps me remember why I bother to keep living.

My friends make me laugh. I make then laugh. When our lives are in tatters and everything around us is collapsing, we laugh. Then, we take a deep breath, and laugh some more. The more awful the situation, the more dreadful and intractable the problems, the funnier it is. We are not laughing at tragedy … we are laughing at life.

The difference between tragedy and comedy is how you look at it. Laugher is the universal cure for griefs of life.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine – Laugh, Clown

Life in shreds? Out of work? Evicted? Hiding from the repo guys? Other half dumped you? Bank threatening to foreclose? Don’t take it personally. It’s just  a joke. No, really. Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on, now, no suffering allowed. This personal disaster is your cue to laugh. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.

The first time my world went to pieces, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart (though it lasted longer than it ought because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made), I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless — back to the USA. When I stopped feeling as if I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Misery, mistakes, and disasters are high comedy. Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now, well, yeah, they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

And about those fake tits: I own tee shirts that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” I’m wearing one right now. It’s a killer at parties and is the high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to Hell in the proverbial handbasket, a lot of folks that were sort of friends eye you with suspicion (is bad luck contagious?), but also with a subtle hint, a light whiff, of profound satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they are overjoyed that it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really. (Furtive, slightly smug grin.)

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at the very least, a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. Yay! See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through unscathed. So mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there. Watch out for the flame (oops).

A Twofer for Moi! Word Press Family Member (In need of washing) Plus The Sunshine Award

A huge thank you goes to Draliman on Life who obviously thinks better of me than I deserve. One award is a big deal, but a twofer … and two I’ve never received before. Thus he honors me while depriving me of bloggers to whom I might pass these awards. I mean, there oughtta be a law, y’know?

I was going to defer doing this until I next come up for air. But I started counting on my fingers (consider it a fleshy abacus with limited functionality, but infinite availability) and realized it might easily be the end of August or even September before I find a space in time. I might as well just do it.

I’ve been broadening my reading, writing, reviewing, picture-taking and enjoying the results immensely, but collapsing under the weight of committment to so many deadlines. They don’t call them deadlines for nuffin’! Yoicks. Why do I do this to me? Truly I am my own worst enemy. I’ve been enthusiastically saying YES my whole life. So you’d think I’d have learned something. Apparently not so much. Old Dogs (or Bitches, in my case) can learn new things, but are not so good at unlearning old bad habits. Woof.

Whining time is officially over.

Sunshine AwardNK-1

On to the accepting portion of the program. The two awards with which I’ve been honored are the Sunshine Award — which I assume has to do with spreading light and joy throughout cyberspace. I’m not sure I’m such a ray of sunshine, but I take pretty pictures and say something fun now and again. Maybe that’s what counts. Note I’ve created a shiny new badge ’cause the old one was getting a bit droopy.

The rules for the Sunshine Award require me to answer a few questions. These are not mind bending quizzie things, so I think I can get through them unscathed. And … I can do it with pictures! Yay! Yah? I’ve taken a few liberties because some of the questions were meaningless to me, so I didn’t include them. You’re welcome to add anything you want, however.

Favourite colour?75-RainbowNK-2

Favourite animal?

Bonnie Resting

Big Guy

cropped-75-pasturenk-363.jpg

Favourite number?

FortyTwo

Favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Mr. Coffee

My passion?

Our books say a lot about us ... maybe too much.

Cameras

Cameras

Prefer getting or giving presents?

Be sure to close the barn door on your way out
Favourite days of the week?

Mayan calendar
Favourite flower?

summer flowers

The second award is the WordPress Family award. I am definitely a part of this family, but apparently Mom and Dad at WordPress don’t approve of me. I’m the kid (every family has one) about whom they speak in whispers behind closed doors. With 80,000 hits, more than 350 followers plus well over 1000 posts, I have never written or posted a single thing worthy of Freshly Pressed.

cropped-75-sunshinegoldhp-1.jpg

I think I’ll survive the slight though I remain forever un-fresh, un-pressed and unheralded. I embrace my cyber family and joyfully contribute to daily prompts in photography and writing, though I’m stale as old coffee. Ah, but when I think of all my pals on the humongous cyber blogsite in the sky, my virtual sun shines again!

WordPress Family Award

YOU guys, you out there …. you’ve all been so kind and so welcoming. You’ve changed my world in all the good ways worlds want changing. It makes the effort a joy rather than a burden, gives me a focus for my days (and my nights, as often as not).

Here are the rules for the WordPress Family award:

1. Display the award logo on your blog. Done!

2. Link back to the person who nominated you. Done again!

3. I will nominate 10 others who I think deserve notice. That’s 10 combined for both awards, right? Because 20 is over the top. I want to point out if we keep requiring every recipient to pass it on to 10 or more bloggers, every blogger will have received every award many times over. This is effectively a pyramid scheme, a chain letter. It can’t keep expanding forever.

Many of the people to whom I want to give awards have just gotten them, from me or someone else. I have a suspicion they won’t consider another an honor. More a lot of work for which they don’t have time. Maybe it’s time to consider making sensible modifications to these awards. ALL the awards. Before no one wants them.

4. I will advise my 10 awardees of that I have awarded them. But it’s going to take a while.

5. This is it. The big moment. Ten — that’s 10 — friends who blog. I’m spreading love. I got it. A minyan.

All of you, heads up! You, at the computer. Don’t look around, I’m talking to you.

I’m giving you two awards. You may choose to ignore them, acknowledge them or pass them along to whoever you feel would genuinely like to receive them. And deserves them.

To my friends who have gotten every single award I’ve gotten, often at the same time — I’m not going to name you again. I love you as much as ever, but I understand you’ve got lives and obligations. Maybe even a family and a job. If you genuinely want more awards, let me know because I’m not sure how many of you see this as an honor versus how many wish I’d take my awards and disappear. I love you, I really do, but I don’t wish to burden you.

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- – -

Marilyn’s Dirty Dozen

John Howell’s “Rule is as Rule Does” got me thinking about life and how we invent rules as we go. I make rules for myself and I follow them. But I hate rules, so the only rules I follow are mine, all born of hard lessons.

What rules? I’m glad you asked.

I’ve had a life in which the light at the end of the tunnel was always the headlight of an oncoming train. At one point, I got so stressed I could barely breathe. Something had to give if I was going to survive. I had to change. I had enough issues without stressing myself to death.

I began by getting a tattoo, a symbol of life. It was an acknowledgement of change, an acceptance of survival and the possibility I might have to do it again. The tattoo is a large phoenix in full flaming color. It’s one-of-a-kind, designed for me. I had it put toward the back of my left calf. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so big, but I’ve come to like it. I was 57 when I got my only piece of body art. Tattoos are more permanent than most marriages, so if you’re going to get one, make it something you won’t find embarrassing later in life. Spelling and punctuation count. A typo in a tattoo is forever.

My left leg

It is difficult to shoot a picture of the lower back of ones left leg. Remember: Blue jeans leave ridges. If you want a picture of a your own body or some part of it, getting someone else to take the picture is better. Both terriers were really excited when I took off my jeans and socks. I’m pretty sure they thought it was a game. Bonnie figured she’d score a pair of socks but I outwitted her and put them up on the desk. Hah! Asking Garry to take the picture seemed weird and required too much explanation. So I snapped it myself. Awkwardly.

I never wrote my rules before, so this has been an interesting exercise. I don’t expect you to follow my rules, but they are pretty good ones. They grew out of decades of doing everything wrong, worrying myself into ulcers, simmering with anger at injustice, and getting frantic over every ecological or political crisis.

Marilyn’s Dirty Dozen

  1. Laugh often. Have friends who laugh with you.
  2. If you can’t fix it, don’t brood about it.
  3. Have pets. Cats, dogs, chickens, ferrets, bunnies, reptiles, bats or birds. Anything but spiders. I don’t like spiders.
  4. Don’t argue with stupid people.
  5. When you know you’re wrong, give up and apologize.
  6. Worrying is a waste of time. Whatever you are worried about, something else will happen.
  7. Staying angry at someone who wronged you hurts you, not them. They aren’t losing sleep over you. Forget it. Move on.
  8. Be a gracious winner. People may sympathize with a sore loser, but everyone hates a gloating winner.
  9. The path less traveled is often a dead-end. Before going down unmapped roads, make sure you can make u-turns in tight spaces.
  10. When you have a choice, do the right thing. When you have no good choices, do the best you can. If you have no choice, run for your life.
  11. Brutal honesty is inevitably more brutal than honest. Be kind.
  12. If you’re an artist, do your thing. Talking about it doesn’t count.

Live your life. You are unique. Celebrate!

- – -

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