Weekly Thought – May 23, 2023
Fred studied humor like others focus on languages, professional skills, or athletic achievements. He always talked about writing a book on humor. He left some unpublished observations and this week we feature some excerpts of this “scatter shooting” on laughter.
One of my highly intellectual friends sent me the biography of Mark Twain. When I called to laugh about certain things in the story he told me an interesting story. He and one of his friends called each other every Sunday morning to read the funny papers together. They found it is so much more enjoyable to laugh together rather than to laugh by oneself. In fact, you rarely hear anybody who laughs loud by themselves, no matter how funny the material is. But if they will read you the same material, they will immediately start laughing – sometimes so uncontrollably they can not continue. Of course you start laughing because humor is communal.
Keeping your eyes and ears open for humor is a discipline well worth developing. I practice looking for funny occurrences. For example, when I was driving to Mustang Island to prepare the condo for the coming hurricane I noticed a large real estate development sign: “Condos for sale – exit now.” Ordinarily that would be simple information about the booming real estate market of south Texas. But in light of the coming hurricane I read the words with this interpretation: “Condos ahead, so is hurricane, so “GET YOURS NOW!”
Repeating funny experiences is a good way to develop your sense of humor. It gives you a utility for the things you see and laugh about. Oftentimes in social situations you can substitute something funny you heard or saw for the same old chit chat about weather, television, or sports.
I was walking downtown to the office and noticed a long limousine coming down the street. I overheard a man’s comment to his companion: “Man, when you ride in one of those you have either got rocks or rigor mortis.” I laughed to myself, but filed it away for an appropriate way to give others a smile.
Humor is part of a healthy rhythm of life. It relieves the monotony. It improves the taste, like salt on vegetables or the meat. It is important to know and remember humor is a great deal more than telling jokes. Actually, very few people can do that well. Humor resides in that area between perfection and imperfection, between where we are and where we would either like to be or like for people to think we are.
Dr. Raymond Moody said, “Laughter has been linked by longstanding tradition with longevity. One thing almost all very healthy elderly patients in common is their sense of humor.” Humor is the lubricant for life. When I first started professionally speaking in my 20s I landed on phrases that became “Fredisms.” One of my better known was “Laugh or get high blood pressure.” Over the years the material developed greater depth, but the truth of those early chestnuts still holds true.
This week consider: 1) How easily do I laugh? 2) What makes me laugh? 3) When do I best use humor in social situations?
Words of Wisdom: “Humor is communal.”
Wisdom from the Word: “A cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NET Bible)