Laughter is the best medicine

Photo Courtesy of Pete Whalon EARNING RESPECT—Pete Whalon believes that the majority of life’s events and circumstances are not tragic, cataclysmic or negatively life- altering; rather, humor can be found in most occasions of everyday living.

Generally speaking, I believe many people take themselves (and life) much too seriously. The undeniable truth is that the vast majority of life’s events and circumstances are simply not tragic, cataclysmic or negatively life-altering. In fact I am certain humor can be found in most occasions of everyday living. In other words, guys and dolls, lighten up and have some fun…and laugh! Personally, I look forward to talking to people who possess a quick wit and a unique, creative sense of humor. Also, watching an innovative clever comedian perform is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m pretty sure my sense of humor developed while coming of age in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s watching on TV the myriad half-hour comedies flooding the airways. Humorous shows such as Mr. Ed, The Danny Thomas Show, Leave it to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show and The Honeymooners kept me glued to the tube. And who can ever forget the goofy offbeat classic, Green Acres. Although I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, Green Acres proved my particular all-time favorite comedy show. Come on, how could you possibly not fall in love with Fred Ziffel’s TV-watching pig, Arnold?

For me, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching a skilled standup comic perform. Conversely, there is nothing more gut-wrenching than witnessing a standup comic bomb on stage. Usually you can viscerally identify the moment when the sinking funnyman realizes he’s doomed. That’s the point at which I try to laugh out loud attempting to boost their confidence and turn around the train wreck unfolding before my eyes. It’s much easier watching standup on TV, since you can just change the channel to stop the agony of a deteriorating performance. Since you inquired, some of my favorite comics from days gone by include Jonathan Winters, Don Rickles, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Sam Kinison, Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson and Jack Benny, just to name a few. For the under thirty clan who may be clueless to the names above, go to YouTube and check out some clips from this list of classic yucksters. You’ll be glad you did.

Unfortunately, there are those ill-fated souls among us who are just not funny. However, their un-funniness can often prove comical. Okay, now I’m confusing myself. Anyway, I’m sure in your circle of friends there are those who crack you up constantly and those who you toss a strained courtesy laugh when necessary, much like throwing a meaty bone to a mangy dog–basically a gesture of sympathy and pity. Hey, that would be a great t-shirt slogan—“I pity the unfunny!” I digress. I sometimes hesitate before writing such observations, realizing that some readers may question themselves regarding my premise. Let me make it stress-free for those in doubt—if you are now wondering if you are funny or possess a great sense of humor, you probably are not and don’t! If you have doubts about your HQ (humor quotient) ask your friends or family the only salient question—“Do I have a good sense of humor?” They will probably respond yes; however if they hesitate for a second or two before answering, they are being untruthful. Sorry!

Allow me to offer a bit of unsolicited advice to hopefully increase your HQ. A few basic tips to easy your troubled mind. Scour the internet and locate five or six short, funny jokes (clean and inoffensive), then write them down and memorize them. Next, you should practice in front of a mirror to perfect your timing. Now try them out on a few people to make sure they get sincere laughs. Of course you can always compile a longer list and rotate jokes to shake things up. With your quiver full of fresh yucks, you are now prepared for parties or casual get-togethers to unleash your funny side and impress folks with your wit. Always remember though, there’s nothing more tedious than a long, long, long joke. When in conversations with others, don’t be afraid to drop a witty comeback or unleash a sharp one-liner. If it pops into your head, let it out. You just might discover that you are actually funnier than your other buddies. Spice up stories with humor, even if you stretch the truth just a tad for comic effect. I’ll leave you with three pithy, insightful quotes that just might inspire you.

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” Mark Twain

“There is little success where there is little laughter.” Andrew Carnegie

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin