“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” ~ Hugh Sidey
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” ~ Mark Twain
I don’t know why, but I’m thinking of my dad today.
Part of his life was hard. He fell off a horse when he was three and busted his arm in three places. Back then, the doctors did the best they could, but his left arm was much shorter than his right, curved, and his hand almost useless. He was teased about it in school. He felt bad because they wouldn’t accept him to serve in the military because of it. He learned to use humor as a way to break through people’s initial reaction to his arm. In fact, there were whole patches of time I would forget that others might consider him ‘handicapped.’ He learned to use his humor and wit to make his living- carving out a space writing radio advertising spots. He billed himself as the second worst radio voice in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He went from barely making a living to never having to look for clients again, winning Addy awards – plus a silver one for “Lifetime Achievement.”
He couldn’t control his alcohol consumption and smoked heavily, ending up an alcoholic with emphysema. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous. He learned to carry an oxygen tank.vHe still kept his sense of humor, drawing cartoon drawings of himself, making others laugh. He taught my brother and me to appreciate humor – puns, jokes of all sorts, funny stories, funny situations, sarcasm, and to practice the ability to stand back and look at things, trying to see the funny side. This has been a lifesaver for me.
When he died, he wrote on a scrap of paper, “Remember me laughing.” And I do. I remember him telling stories, laughing so helplessly he could hardly finish. He and the lucky people listening would all be exhausted when he finished – stomachs hurting from laughing, cheeks hurting from smiling so hard – at the stories, but also enjoying the joy we all experienced as he told them.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.” ~ Linda Ellerbee