Humor in the Face of Tragedy
Last night I jumped into bed early and opened Nora Ephron's new book, I Feel Bad About My Neck. I spent the next hour laughing to tears, her observations hitting, unfortunately, a little too close to home. Then, I turned on the news to hear about the tornado devastation in Alabama, with 8 high school students killed. Sometimes the juxtapositions of life are really hard to contain. Being a grownup and trying to find explanations for the inexplicable and the random is frankly impossible. Call it bad luck, God's will, fate, karma, your time, whatever; bad things happen. What to do about it? First, I think it's important to reconcile yourself to death, your own and that of everyone you know and love. This is the hardest thing. Most people I know, including yours truly, are still in this process, struggling. Many of us don't really want to deal with this issue at all, and actively defend against it, deny death, and deny lots of other things as well. On the other side of the spectrum, there are others that taunt death as a way of coping with the ultimate. These are the mountain climbers, race car drivers, sky divers, rock climbers, etc. In the middle are those that initiate mid-life affairs, divorces, change of career, move out of state, country, etc. There's no doubt that getting a year older each year brings you closer to finality. So, after you complete suggestion number 1, reconcilement, (which may take most of your life to actually do) I guess the next thing to do, after making sure that you imbibe at least a half glass of wine daily to delay the inevitable, (and the other half to impose a daily minor anesthesia), is to carefully examine your sense of humor. Do you have one? What kind is it? This requires examination. Do you only laugh at other people's jokes? Do you find things to laugh at that aren't really funny? Do you laugh at all? Smile? Grin? A good sense of humor will carry you through life much better than a heavy heart. Not that grieving or sadness aren't part of the human experience. Of course they are. But those emotions need to balanced, at least by irony. So get out there and have a good laugh. And while you're at it, do something to enjoy yourself, however small. After all, we have to LIVE while we're living. And you can quote me on that!