Let me begin by saying I hope you all have extraordinary Thanksgiving celebrations and that you come away with some funny stories. Sometimes holidays are the funniest times of the year.
A few years ago I did a presentation at a library in California and when it was over a young college student approached me. He was a foreign student and I’m sure the idea of humor changes from country to country, and he had a question – a tough question. “What is humor? You say your stories are humorous, but what does that mean? What is humor?” What surprised me was that he was serious. Hadn’t anything ever made this young man laugh?
However, it was an excellent question, and I’m sure there are multiple answers, depending on who you ask. We sat down and had a chat. I’ve thought about his interest in humor for a long time.
To me humor means something that makes you laugh, or smile, or simply feel better than you did thirty seconds ago. It lifts you up and makes you feel good.
What may be humorous to one person might seem silly or corny to someone else. Actually, sometimes there’s no humor in what can make an individual laugh. I have a friend who laughs hysterically in an emergency, even knowing that what’s happening isn’t funny. She’ll react to the problem, but laugh until she cries while doing it. It’s nervous laughter and a release for her.
I once saw my ex-husband walk into an orange tree and almost knock himself out because he wasn’t looking in the direction he was walking. He was too busy saying something sarcastic to me. Now that made me laugh until I cried. While is wasn’t really funny… Well, I guess you had to be there.
Some people find physical humor uproarious. Watch someone stumble down a step in a crowd and see how many people laugh. Have you seen a sitcom where someone walked into a door or a wall? Humor. Personally, I love a dry wit – the understated humor – and yet I thoroughly enjoy Abbott and Costello. Go figure.
Marley, of Marley and Me fame (John Grogan), had me falling off my seat while I read the book about his life. (For those who haven’t read the book, Marley was a dog; a Yellow Lab.) I have to admit I shed a tear a few times while reading the book. Even after reading about this incorrigible dog, what did my husband and I do? We brought two Yellow Labrador Retrievers into our home and family. They’ve created havoc from time to time, but in the end it’s easy to laugh about.
The one thing I can say for sure is that humor keeps me going. If at all possible, when something goes wrong I try to find a funny side to it. Sometimes it may be six months or more before I can see the humor in a bad situation, but it’s usually there if you look for it. And it’s in the telling. Some people are natural born comedians when telling a story.
In the telling? My books tell stories and they have some humor in them. Hopefully you’ll read one, and even more hopefully, it will brighten your day.
I’ve mentioned this before and I think it’s time to mention it again. There’s truly nothing funny about murder and I won’t write humor into the crime. However, the people solving the crime, and circumstances, can often lead to humor. A victim will just lie there, but the living character can create outrageous scenarios.
What makes you laugh? Anything in particular? The Labs make me laugh almost on a daily basis. My husband has his moments, too.
Until next time, I hope your week is silly and corny and full of laughter. You deserve to feel good about life from time to time and humor will send you in the right direction.
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A Well-Kept Family Secret (Sandi Webster Mystery) is now available in audio book format.