The economy! Diseases! The environment!
Life gets serious. Hell, it’ll get downright grim if you let it. And you can spend all your days being serious and fighting serious battles and years pass and you suddenly realize that you’ve forgotten how to have any fun at all.
And those battles? Still being fought.
Life will grind you down to dust if you let it. The trick is not to let it. The trick is to stand up to it as to any bully and point and laugh. Blow a raspberry or two. Tell a fart joke.
You can still fight those great big battles. You’ll have to fight more personal ones, whether you want to or not. But you don’t have to lose your sense of humour, your sense of delight in the utter ridiculousness of it all.
One of my best teachers in this was my mother. She had MS, an utterly humiliating and undignified disease that would, quite literally, drop her to the floor on a regular basis. She chose to fight it with humour. Whenever she would lose her balance suddenly and without warning, she’d look to the family member closest to her and shout, “Quit pushing!”
And we’d play along. “Couldn’t help myself. You’re such an easy target.” or “Well, get out of my way!” Whatever would make her laugh, whatever would knock this disease that was causing her so much pain down to size.
Which was great. When were in the privacy of our own home. Out in public? Nearly got myself smacked by a total stranger more than once for playing along. Which Mum, of course, thought was hilarious.
We were in church once, Alan and I, as the prayers were being read out, seriously and with respect. “We welcome any visitors to our congregation and pray that they will feel themselves at home.”
I spluttered a quick and quiet, “Well I should think so,” to Alan, before giving in to silent hysterical laughter. Even funnier? He had absolutely no idea why I was laughing. Hadn’t heard the prayer in its entirety, or my comment. Perfect.
It’s not just events that need to have fun poked at them. We do, too. Which is why I’ve posted that picture of me, wearing a toilet roll wrapper hat. I’ve no idea why I had it on my head, but fortunately, Alan had the camera handy.
I’ve long held the belief that the key to a happy life is to have an activity that you love to do, but that you absolutely suck at. And then go out and do it with gusto. And if you ever show signs of improvement? It’s time to find another activity. Fortunately, after thirty years of solid effort, my tap-dancing skills have improved not one bit. In fact, they scare people.
What it come down to is this: life is just too precious not to be treated with a large dose of irreverence.