Saturday, January 16, 2010

Laughter Is My Favorite Companion

A sense of humor... what is it?

What prompts one person to laugh at something seen, heard, or merely revisited in memory while that same occurrence or situation often leaves another person unaffected

For example:

Back in the 1980s a certain person and I were watching the movie Airplane. In one scene the flight attendant (God! I almost wrote: 'stewardess') loudly announced,

"Alright . . . everybody, get in crash positions!"

Immediately all of the passengers arranged themselves in helter-skelter positions, draping their bodies in the exaggeratedly twisted-about positions in which they would have been thrown 'after' there had been a crash.

I burst into a fit of wild laughter, strangling and choking and almost in tears, and I laughed so long and so hard that this other person said she feared that I would rupture myself. And this person asked me, after I had calmed down, "What was funny about that?"

Which of course stimulated another round of gasping hilarity. When I explained that the term 'crash-positions' had another more familiar meaning, she just shook her head and said, "I still don't think it's funny."

You be the judge; see for yourself . . .

Oh well . . .

Dorothy Parker's quotations were, and still are, laughed at by many people, but most of her observations are not funny to me. Such as this one: "If all the girls at Smith and Bennington were laid end to end, I wouldn't be surprised."

I understand her meaning but it seems, in my opinion, to be little more than an insider's snide and superior sneer at a particular institution, and at a supposedly inferior group of people. And not funny. Too 'sophisticated' for my low-brow, slap-stick temperament, I suppose. Just not funny.

But this is:

A friend sent me that and I thank him for it.

I do not watch Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert or any of that ilk, except occasionally David Letterman. To me, they are mostly mean-spirited Bob Hope or Johnny Carson wannabes, and not all that funny.

My favorite funny man was that master clown Red Skelton and at times I still revisit him in old reruns, and I still laugh at his simple and unassuming antics.

Richard (Red) Skelton

I recognize that I am undeniably an old grumpy curmudgeon, firmly set in my ways. And absolutely unapologetic about it.

Thanks for reading . . .

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