When thinking about humor have you ever heard that the closest thing to laughter is tears? I can just picture my grandma now, hopelessly out of control, laughing so hard she was shaking, with no noise coming out but unable to stop, mouth wide open, and eyes crinkled in glee, with big crocodile tears running down her face. It’s kind of odd, the two sides of humor, we laugh, we relax, we find relief, but a lot of times there is pain involved, and laughter can be redeeming, or hurtful. Sometimes the most horrible things actually turn out to be humorous.
I know that lots of little kids think farts and bathroom jokes are funny, but I thought I got over bathroom humor when I was a teenager. I was going to a wedding, I had just had a baby, and my husband and I had to drive several hours to get there. It was a challenge with a newborn, plus none of my clothes fit me. After shopping for hours, I finally found a springy green outfit I thought was perfect. I was pretty exhausted, but my baby girl with several outfits to spare, my husband, my new green suit, and I finally arrived. I thought I would change her diaper just before the service and held the baby on a blanket on the trunk of the car to change her diaper.
She pooped-not an ordinary poop-an explosive out of this world poop, I’ve never seen anything like it! I was covered in poop from my knees to my face. And what did I do, I didn’t scream or get angry, I laughed. I couldn’t stop laughing. I missed the wedding, I threw my new green suit away. I went to the formal reception in an orange tee shirt and cut off jeans while my pristine baby girl stole the limelight in her perfect white dress. Getting sprayed in poop, missing an important wedding, wasted hours and money, pretty awful, but also pretty hysterical.
I looked up a list of oxymorons, which are defined as contradictory terms put together. Some of the funniest ones are birthed through hard experience. How about friendly weapons, airline food, legally drunk, or my favorite, Microsoft Works?
Kids are always screaming, “It’s not funny!” as siblings or other kids laugh at their ludicrous situations. Sometimes even as an adult I have to restrain a chuckle at the humor, when I see a youngster slip on their rear, or end up covered in goo. Watching America’s Funniest Home Videos you have to laugh, but “Ouch!” often pops out in the same breath. Why is getting kicked in the crotch so incredibly painful and yet funny at the same time?
I think the intention in the humor has a lot to do with it. When people are purposely mean, or make fun of others, it may be funny but it’s not fun. Being a brunette I love blond jokes. Have you heard the one about the blond who got fired from the pharmacy? She didn’t put any labels on the bottles because they wouldn’t fit in the typewriter! But yeah, I know blond jokes are always short because that is all brunettes can remember. Being willing to laugh at yourself, and trying not to hurt others, goes a long way to making difficult situations bearable, and often humorous.