Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lesson #44: Is Humor Really the Spice of Life?

Last week, I read something that described humor as a gift from God, designed to remind us not to take this life experience too seriously. It said that our ultimate soul essence (beyond these bodies) is light and playful, and that the purpose of earthly humor is to reconnect us with who we really are. I loved this statement, and in my head, I heard the old saying, "Humor is the spice of life." But is this really true? Couldn't you say that food is the spice of life, or that sex is the spice of life?

Let's take a look at this from a higher perspective. It seems to me that God made food enticing to us so that we wouldn't physically waste away and die, right? And sexual desire was an incentive to reproduce and propagate the species, correct? But what is the function of humor?

The way I see it, food and sex are sort of the meat and potatoes (or vegetables and rice) of life, and humor is, in deed, the spice of life. It comes in all different varieties, for virtually any possible application. Just get creative: sprinkle on a little of this spice or that, saute  for 10 minutes, and you've got yourself a nice, home-cooked, life experience.

So, how's your funny bone? Do people say you have a good sense of humor, or do they tell you to lighten up? For me, humor has always been serious business. In fact, I've provoked many a raised eyebrow throughout my life for making myself or others the butt of jokes, laughing out of turn, being silly, sardonic, or unexpectedly funny. It wasn't until I read the recent blurb on humor that I realized why I felt compelled to do this. It became clear to me that comedians, clowns, etc., do what they do because it's their divine purpose to lighten the mood and help people remember joy in this often-too-serious world. And sometimes---a lot of times, actually---this involves poking fun.

When I was a child,  I loved Lucy! Lucille Ball, was a comic genius, and actually a strikingly beautiful woman (although she rarely took advantage of that fact, at least not on stage). Like so many other comediennes who would follow her, she was committed to making people laugh, regardless of the cost. What impressed me most about Lucy is that during the 1950s, when women were valued most for how they looked and how well they conformed and behaved, Lucy was a wild and crazy knucklehead who never minded looking ridiculous. If it made people laugh, Lucy did it. And as a self-conscious little girl who never felt attractive enough, I admired the heck out of Lucy.

I could go into the various health and wellness benefits of enjoying a good laugh (blah, blah...stress reduction, blah, blah...) but suffice it to say that a sense of humor can be as valuable in life as our other five senses, and maybe even more so.

This week, I encourage you to look for the humor and irony in life, choose a funny movie or TV show instead of something heavy, and if you hear a funny joke, pass it on.

So, what makes you laugh?