Wednesday, August 13

Laughter is the best medicine

I've suffer from chronic depression all my life, I’m not looking for sympathy, (though it’s gladly accepted) but there it is. It’s a drag but I get over it eventually. I don’t use fancy, expensive questionable psycho-tropic drugs oh no- I have something far more effective and potent.


When I’m feeling blue I check out comic book collections. Foxtort, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and the classic Peanuts. The New Yorker cartoons are always good. I watch old episodes of Monty Python and Mystery Science Theater. I read James Thurber, Douglas Adams and Fran Lebowitz. Comedy is the cure for what ails you.

Laughter, as Twain noted, is a great weapon against tragedy and boy did he know tragedy. Most comedians and comedy comes from a place of misery, poverty or dysfunctional families. I had a lonely, disruptive childhood but I had a sense of humor to keep me sane. Humor is a way to deflect the horrors of life and remind us to keep things in perspective.

James Callahan draws cartoons that are both hilarious and frequently offensive but always dead on. His pitch black humor is born of surviving alcoholism and being quadriplegic after a drunk driving accident. Great comedy material.

Humor is not just a way to make people laugh, it’s survival therapy. Scientists can explain how laughing releases endorphins, helps with relaxation, even cure illness, but you don’t need them to tell you how good it feels to watch someone do a pratfall or say something stupid in public. That’s what we have politicians for.

Observing the absurdity of life or trading wit among friends is a tonic that wards off the darkness that threatens to drown me. I need to laugh, we all need to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.

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