Start your day with a laugh?

March 4, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this piece of advice – “I love people who make me laugh.  Laughing cures a multitude of ills.  It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”  (Audrey Hepburn)

The important message there is the ability to laugh. For some it is the ability to laugh at themselves; to take life less seriously than others do. When we let life get so serious that we can no longer laugh is when we get into mental health problems. People who experience depression have temporarily lost that ability to see any humor in life; theydepression3 can no longer look at what is happening and laugh. Sometimes things in life can seem so bad that they become absurd. It’s at those moments when the ability to look at the situation and just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all that can get you through it.

I have almost always had the ability to see the humor in life, even in it’s most absurd moments. My wife and I often say in bad situations, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” Of course, just saying that usually makes us laugh in the present, too.

Some comedians based their whole routines around making you laugh at the absurdity in their lives. Rodney Dangerfield was one such comedian and his stick based upon how absurd his life was never failed to make everyone laugh. Here’s a routine from the old tonight show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MecU2keW54I

I believe that it is important that we retain the ability to see the humorous side of life dumb blob guyand not get so serious about it that we lose the ability to laugh at it and at ourselves. My first reaction to having done something stupid is usually to be mad at myself, but that lasts only a moment until I see the humor in the dumb thing that I just did. Then I step back, have a good laugh and move on with life. It helps immensely sometimes to be able to see the humor in the absurdity of life and in our own reactions to things that are happening.

One of the things that I have advised in this forum in the past is to start each day as you finish your morning routine in the bathroom by looking into the mirror and making a funny face 2funny face. Stick out your tongue. Scrunch up your face. Do whatever it is you need to do to make yourself laugh at what you see. Break the grip of seriousness on you the first thing in the morning and see if that doesn’t make your whole day better. Laugh at yourself first and then find the humor in whatever life throws you way during the day. Life cannot defeat you if you can still laugh at it.

Can you still laugh? Make a funny face today.

Have a humerus week ahead.

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Have a good laugh today…

December 10, 2018

The advice from the Jack’s Winning Words blog today it this quote – “Laughter is the best medicine, and the cool thing is, you can’t o.d. on it, and the refills are free.”  (Rob Paulsen)

I’m a believer in that advice. I have what has occasionally been called a wicked sense of humor. I see humor, sometimes dark humor in many things that happen during any given day. My tendency for witty retort or often blurting out something that I found to be funny used to get me into trouble at school. These days, as often as not, my wife will question why I am chuckling to myself and I will share with her the humorous (at least smiling dogto me) thought that just crossed my mind.

One must include the ability to laugh at yourself, in order for the healing effects of laughter to be complete. Being able to stop and say to yourself, “well, that was stupid” and then have a quick laugh is much better than getting down on yourself. We all tend to take ourselves and whatever it is that we are focused upon way to seriously. Lately me wife and I have taken to exchanging the little phrase, “At least nobody died” as a way to lighten moments of disappointment or self-recrimination for a mistake. Forcing yourself to put things in that context serves as an emotional relief valve to let the moment pass, whatever it was.

animated-light-bulb-gif-22There are things in life that make us smile, like seeing a cartoon of Snoopy dancing or even the original smiley-face emoji. We also need things that make us laugh. I remember many routines on the old Carol Burnet show that were so funny that even the cast was laughing while they tried to perform the routine. Tim Conway doing his little old man shuffle inevitably broke up Harvey Corman in those routines. My wife loves to watch reruns of the show Everybody Loves Raymond, because they make her laugh.

I’m sure that there are scientific explanations about why laughter is good for us; things talking about endorphins being released into our body. To me, the only thing that is important is that laughter breaks the tension of the day and allows us a momentary return to the innocence of childhood where life was much more fun and many things around us were fun and funny. To often, like the children who grew up in Peter Pan andsmiling-sun lost the ability to fly with him, we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves and the things around us. Recapture that ability. Go watch an old episode of a comedy show. Let go and laugh. Don’t worry, you can’t o.d. on it.

Here’s a little clip from the old Johnnie Carson show when Rodney Dangerfield visited. See if it make you laugh. Have a good laugh to start your week. It will set a great tone for the rest of the week.


Three little words that may change your life… What, me worry?

April 23, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that may make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world. If you just had fun reading the post; well, that’s OK too. Enjoy.

When I was growing up a satirical monthly comic magazine call Mad Magazine was all the rage. I remember anticipating the latest issue each month. There were new Spy vs. Spy episodes  and great cartoons by Don Martin. The whole issue was an irreverent look at things happening in society. I noted at their web site today that recent issues have Alfred E. Neuman, the iconic gap-toothed kid who is always on the cover, twerking with Miley Cyrus and taking on the Lego phenomenon. Over all of those years and still today there was Alfred E. Neuman smiling from the cover each month with his tag line  – What, me worry?

Mad Magazine was launched in 1952 and is still around today, now in bi-monthly issues, and they have their own web site, too. I took a quick peak at the web site and can tell that they are still launching irreverent comic stink bombs into the minds of the children that they target. It’s still a hoot if you’re young. The humor at Mad has always been more sophisticated than the indicated target audience would seem to dictate, but I suspect that the audience has also caught up to a level of understanding of the satire involved. If you talk for long with a middle-schooler you’ll understand that satire and cynicism aren’t lost on them. Still it is on the surface a great temporary escape from reality and still has that great philosophy – What, me worry?

I believe that we could all use a little more humor in our lives and a lot less worry. I wrote about dealing with issues or worries in the post Deal with it. I also wrote about being at peace, which is for the most part being free from worries. Worries are a tremendous waste of time and energy, especially if they are about things over which we have no control. Did you remember to turn off the stove at home before you left? Did you mail the bills on time? Is anyone going to ask you to the prom? Will you remember everything for today’s test? What should you expect in today’s job interview? Is your really going to come visit for two weeks? Deal with it, be at peace and say to yourself – What, me worry?

It is particularly a waste of time and energy when what we are worrying about is something that we conjured up in our own imagination in the first place. That is often the case if we are facing some sort of confrontation at home or at work and let our imaginations explore all possible outcomes. What if they start yelling or crying, what will I do? What if they get mad? What if they can’t understand my side of things? What if I lose a friend? Don’t go there. Instead, relax, read a good book or watch a good movie and get your mind off of it. Instead, try to get to that state of mind of – What, me worry?

So, while Alfred E. Neuman’s little tag line might not be the bedrock upon which you want to base your philosophy of life, it certainly has value as a safety valve of sorts to prevent things from becoming overwhelming. Don’t take life so seriously.  If you find yourself drifting into worries about things that you know you can’t control, just look yourself in the mirror and imagine that little smiling gap-toothed character looking back at you and asking – What, me worry?


With tongue firmly in cheek…Anon the worlds greatest writer

February 3, 2013

This post originally appeared on one of my blogs in October of 2007.

I have long been a fan of the world’s most prolific writer – Anon. You see his work everywhere and the breadth and volume of works attributed to him is quite amazing: although these days he often writes under the pseudonym Unknown (Unk for short).  Thus, I was more than just amused when I “Googled”  Anon.

The scholarly dissertation written in 1983 by Donald E. Simanek at the end of this link (http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/anon.htm) was one of the returns from that search. It turned out a rich and full history of Anon, a man and family worthy of great respect. Mentioned in the dissertation is his contemporary Ibid; who, rightfully so, was dismissed as more of a hanger on to Anon and other great writers of the times. Another Anon contemporary – Nobody – later had a minor role in the comic strips as a character in the “Family Circus” strip. Members of the Anon family have perhaps been attributed with more contributions to literature over the centuries that any other writers, as well as countless sayings.

A short excerpt from the above mentioned work on Anon’s life –

“Few literary puzzles have inspired such universal apathy as the question: “Who was Anon?” Books no image availableof quotations are cluttered with sayings attributed to Anon, and these scraps of truth and wisdom have earned Anon universal recognition and immortality. Innumerable biographies have been written about lesser authors, even authors so obscure that their works are seldom read. But Anon, though widely read and widely quoted, has been accorded only widespread indifference by the literary community.

What little we know of Anon’s life is of doubtful validity. We have no authentic picture of Anon, nor any first hand description of him by anyone who would admit to having known him. Not one scrap of original manuscript in his own hand has survived the ravages of time. Scholars have given up hope of ever discovering an autobiography of Anon in some dusty attic.


Yet, from the available dearth of evidence, we can piece together a sketch (albeit apocryphal) of this prolific genius. We know that Anon’s wisdom appeared very early in history. When references to him are traced backward in time, in the general direction towards the emergence of civilization, they lead us to a blank wall. This suggests that Anon must be placed in historical times so ancient as to predate the emergence of intelligent thought. He was certainly ahead of his time, which may be the reason why none of his contemporaries knew of him.”

There is much more about the Anon family at the site referenced above with the link and I encourage you to visit it to get more insight into Anon the legend behind the myth.

anonymous women outlineIf you spend any time looking through the bibliographies of much of out literature you will not only see many references to Anon, but also to an off-shoot branch of the Anon family the Ibid’s. Apparently one of the Anon daughters apparently married into the Ibid family which was well known for doing research. The Ibids often collaborated on literary works with Anons and other great writers of ancient times, thus started a livelong collaboration between the Ibids and the Anons, which you will see in the many references to Ibid in bibliographies of books attributed to Anon. To a lesser extent another branch of the Anon family from the Middle East, the Id’s, also show up in attributions for many literary works. One can find references and attributions to the Anon, Ibid and Id families throughout the bibliographies of historic literature. A lesser known branch of the family, the Op Cit clan, was less prolific in their contributions and is much more obscure.

In these current times, when we have Wiki’s and Blogs and other electronic communications means the influence of the Anon family has waned a bit in literature; however, a new, more tech-savvy branch has emerged as a group of hackers, using the full, old family name Anonymous.anonymous man outline With their hack attacks, they are perhaps striking back at the very Internet that so threatens their world of literature and books.

Still the literary branch of the Anon family soldiers on; now focused mostly on writing Letters to the editor of various papers or posting remarks to various blogs and on-line bulletin board sites. So the next time that you see a letter to the editor printed or a blog post that is signed Anon. you will better appreciate the long history of this great literary family.