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Story ID:2515
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Broken Tree Ranch Mt. USA
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No Laughing Matter?
by Kathe Campbell

"Oh, dear God," I laughed with a friend one day when she noted I had kept my humurous outlook on life, despite a few handicaps. I asked her with a grin, "How could I bear life without a sense of humor?"

A sense of humor is a lot more than foolish talk or jesting. It lends us a sense of perspective, and shows us just how stupid we often are. C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters says our "sense of the ridiculous" is one of our main weapons against Satan. If we refuse to see the humor in our own errors, we will soon break down from the sheer stress of it all. A sense of humor provides us an outlet when things get too stressful. We can let go and laugh for a bit, because --- so much of the time --- we really are rather silly.

My daughter, KT, was wheeling me along the corridors of the latest state of the art hospital where my arm had just been amputated. Both our spirits were good after much trauma, and although homesick, I was working hard on the old me and admiring stunning artwork gracing the walls of the entire building. "KT, stop!" I demanded. "Look at that gorgeous painting. I'd give my right arm for that one," both of us still flaunting our snickers and giggles as we exited the elevator.

Are you acquainted with people who seemingly can't, or don't know how to laugh about anything? As I search my memories, I can think of two. One was an old maid school teacher who perceived humor as silly, the preacher's ice breaker on Sunday morning as unnecessary, and she was fighting mad at those who made political jokes and satire.

Then there was a fellow who seemed to have it all, on the outside. Handsome good looks, great dresser, a real bon vivant for gastronomic adventure and a refined wine palate, but nary the slightest smile creeping across his lips. The girls who accepted his invitations for a date ended their evenings in serious, meaningless chit-chat grandizing his pittiful self. Mr. Personality had trouble keeping a girl on the string five minutes, decidedly not husband material.

A sense of humor is one of the most important ingredients of what most people deem a winning personality in a mate. Studies on dating and courtship, and success in marriage have shown a good sense of humor to be a valuable factor. It's no laughing matter that a successful marriage requires mutual compassion; compassion requires communication; therefore, a relaxed sense of humor constitutes a major element of wonderful communication skills.

A sense of humor is armour, joy in one's heart and laughter on one's face. It's a sign that we are deep down happy and have a good grasp on life, for no matter how high the throne we sit upon, we're sitting on our bottoms.

Humor is really the only test of gravity. For instance, the publicist of author, Johnathon Swift, tried to defend his client from reports that he advocated cooking kids in stews. This is a simple test of satire that hails back to Aristotle who insisted that if you have to start talking about humor, it's not funny anymore, it loses it's bite and is suspicious. Humor is a challenge of the very core of an idea and it's seriousness. Laughter demands a response.

When you try making fun of one's idealogy, just see what happens. Usually those who can't tolerate jokes cracked at their idealogy's expense betray its weakness. Thank goodness a hearty laugh resonates from me when I can appreciate Buck Henry's old line, "We need a president who is fluent in at least one language!"

I am able to laugh at the jokes made about the things I believe in. There are those who wring their hands, deciding to be offended, and then strike out, some with viscious rails, some violently. When the going gets tough, how does one keep a firm footing and avoid slipping and falling into an abyss of despair? There is no better tool than a sense of humor.

There once was a man who had no sense of humor. He said God wanted us all to be that way. We all laughed at him. Of course He has a sense of humor. Think about it, He made people like you and me. That alone practically proves that God has a sense of humor. Moreover, any good doctor will tell you that a good sense of humor and hearty guffaws are healthy. Laughter is God's sunshine. Take time to laugh, for it is like inner jogging, and the music of the soul.