Hum"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
The self same well from which your laughter rises
was often times filled with tears."
The other day in the car where he was pretty much a captured audience I asked Sweetie, "Am I funny?" When he started to laugh I had one of those moments where you instantly have 2 thoughts at the same time and in that same instant need to process them both AND pick a reaction. He laughed. I thought to myself, well damn I must be funny if just asking him brings on a guffaw. And I also thought, he's laughing at me, not with me. I chose to believe the former because it was a sincere laugh, and didn't seem to be a stalling tactic.
So he tells me I can be funny. Really funny. And what's funny about that is that I'm not sure I can see it. Which is the whole reason I asked him in the first place. Because in the span of a couple of weeks people have been telling me I'm funny, that I make them LOL. So I've begun to wonder what it is I say or do that is so funny.
I don't think I'm the stand up comedian kind of funny, or the pratfall kind of funny. I'd like to think I'm the Erma Bombeck kind of funny. Gentle, g-rated humor. Sometimes when I'm really in the zone, in a writing frenzy, I crack myself up. And I've been told I've done the same for some of my readers. I love the feeling I get when someone laughs at something I've said (that is meant to be funny not an embarrassing faux pas).
"A sense of humor has survival value;life is more endurable when one has a sense of humor."
According to my new Bible, Homecoming by John Bradshaw, two emotions are unique to infants - laughter and weeping. Aha I said to myself, laughter and weeping ... my two best friends.
I have a memory, maybe just a seed of a memory, that as a child I used humor to deflect tense situations in the home. While other family wheels squeaked for attention, for some reason known only to the little girl that was me shaking inside her proverbial boots, it fell on my shoulders to make my parents laugh. They couldn't be mad and laugh at the same time, right?
By the time I was a teenager and diagnosed with clinical depression, I may have forgotten how to laugh. I cried a lot, though, which is the other side of the same coin. I don't mean to say that for the last 40 years I have not laughed; I've been depressed, not dead. My question today is, have I always been funny?
I don't have a memory of when my children were testing out their own developing sense(s) of humor. I am pretty sure I was the "stop laughing" kind of mother when giggling at the dinner table was on the verge of making milk come flying out of someone's nose. And I KNOW I was the kind of mother that found no humor at all in a midnight raid on a pickle jar. I'm glad to say, however, when I was a nanny I was less uptight, and I was able to tap into my inner child's humor as well as my that of a three-year old little boy whose imagination and delight was infectious. Today, I'm glad to say (breathing a sigh of maternal relief), my children can tell a great story and have laughs that rival angels singing.
Over the years I've been writing this blog I think I've re-connected to the sense of humor the Divine Comedian gave me. Not so much as a defense mechanism, or in a self-deprecating way, but because I seem to have an eye for the quirky. Quirky makes for great story-telling. For instance, yesterday while we were at the Farmer's Market there was this mini-dumpster mover with "No Cardboard" spray painted on the dumpster it was moving which happened to be full of nothing but cardboard boxes. Okay so, this wasn't side-splitting humor. There was no 5 foot metal chicken involved. But it made me chuckle. I'm finding whether it be a simple little snicker or an out loud chortle, it feels good to laugh. And I kind of like being "funny."
Today I'm grateful for time spent listening, learning and laughing. I'm grateful for an understanding Vet, and I'm grateful for new insights on old behaviors.
Wishing for you something that makes you laugh til your sides hurt,
John Bradshaw, Homecoming, Bantam Books, New York, pg. 35