In a dire situation, on a sad day, in a long line, in a boring meeting where the guy beside you is napping and another is playing on his phone, during a stressful final exam–in any situation where it seems everyone else is serious, where it would be politically incorrect to chuckle, guffaw, or even crack a grin…did you ever?

My mind is playful. She thinks of funny connections between ideas. She is immensely entertaining to carry around atop my shoulders. She often tries to send these tidbits to my mouth, and sometimes they escape.

Such events may offend others, and for that I apologize. Perhaps a year ago, some of these random thoughts would’ve been called politically incorrect, but we all know the idea of political correctness has been slain. For an empathetic human, the escape of the funnies may cause embarrassment, regret, or maybe a twinge of guilt.

But later, after careful reflection, just remember that life is a quest for peace. For contentment. We yearn for and despair without the good feelings. And when we are submerged in all-encompassing anger and despair, and when hope seems lost, a subtle reminder to our hearts and minds of goodness, a taste of the sweet, is like a fresh breeze. It brings relief.

So when I obsess on Twitter, and follow a thread to the place where someone I’ve never met simply throws up their hands and spouts humor, I find hope for our species.

Our self-awareness and consciousness gives us a closed loop of think, rethink, look, listen, collect information, hold it up to our opinions, reshape and reanalyze our ideas, and continually mold ourselves. Social media lets us display our self-critique in public, if we are so brave, and our tiny tweets touch others, who react, respond, and send the wave of ideas out in more ripples. (The mathematical web is beautiful.) And then, unexpectedly, in the middle of a battle of good vs bad vs evil vs a blur of human emotion and gut responses, someone is funny. And when that happens, I laugh, and silently thank those brave funny people with a little heart, a click on the favorite, a pat on the back, and encouragement to share.

I periodically check up on (stalk?) a funny woman on Twitter who shares my birthday. She used to be hilarious. Now she is so sad and angry, I worry for her health. I hope she finds a way to laugh until tears wash away her sadness.

A friend told me he saw a play last week that made him laugh for hours. The entire audience roared with glee. Once you laugh, you want more, so the comedy is like a catalytic quip that cracks your stern shell and spills out the need for more and more addictive good feelings. (You are thinking of SNL right now, right?)

This week, try to find some funny. Don’t feel guilty for laughing. You could even BE the funny one.

And to all of my students studying for their exams and frantically trying to meet the homework deadline, have a good weekend.

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9 thoughts on “How serious must we be?

  1. How timely, and how true. As depressing as things are in the world right now, without humor we would all be lost.

    I found myself laughing at the most macabre thing the other day, and immediately chastised myself for it internally. Then, after thinking about it, I can’t imagine why I should feel censored, or unworthy, of a good laugh over something that is so ridiculous.

    I have so enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you!
    -Sparrow

  2. Great call to action “This week, try to find some funny” and we’ll all feel so much better for it. Usually, the more inappropriate the better, but whatever can bring a smile, a snort, giggle or belly laugh in the swirling mess around us -go for it! Thanks, lauralanni.

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